Decency is now officially as dead as irony. That’s pretty damned dead. In American Politics, Decency died the day Lee Atwater went to work.
Lee Atwater’s the dude on the right — keeping company with Paul Manafort & Roger Stone. During the 1980’s & 1990’s, Atwater ran campaigns for Ronald Reagan & George Bush before running the RNC. Atwater didn’t invent dirty, malicious politics in America but he turned them from gamesmanship into brinkmanship. He had no interest in compromise. None.
Newt Gingrich picked up the mantle when cancer took a bite out of Atwater (though I bet cancer wished almost immediately it could spit Atwater out).
Newt turned Atwater’s political war against the Left into an all out Culture War. We have not been the same since.
When you choose not to compromise with someone, you cease having to communicate with them — except to tell them what you expect to DO to them. It’s an aggressive act — cutting off effective communication with someone. It’s a not-so-subtle declaration of War. Culture War. Political War.
It flows: When you see yourself in a perpetual state of war, the people opposing you are your enemy — even if they’re your countrymen and they simply see a different way of solving the Nation’s many problems. Decent people don’t see people they disagree with as their enemy deserving of cultural death.
But Newt did. As did Lee.
Paul Manafort and Roger Stone — friends of Lee’s — went to work for Donald J Trump. We all know where he stands vis a vis ‘decency’.
Another of Donald Trump’s mentors of course was Roy Cohn — another member of this despicable club.
And Roy Cohn famously worked for Joe McCarthy. And Joe McCarthy famously got asked the very same question Donald Trump and the whole Republican Party need to be peppered with repeatedly: “At last, sir, have you no DECENCY?”