In the ongoing uncivil war between President Donald Trump and Democrat congresswomen like Reps. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, I choose to side with …
… neither side.
This choice may seem unfashionable in 2019, because we’re all supposed to have picked a squad by now and adorned ourselves in either red #MAGA hats or #ImpeachTrump T-shirts.
But I’ve never been much of a joiner.
I quit Boy Scouts at age 10, didn’t pledge a fraternity in college and have been a registered political independent for the better part of the last 25 years.
Plus, I subscribe to the notion that it is indeed possible to judge people by the company they keep.
Let me be perfectly clear: In no way, shape or form do any of these combatants speak for me on the subject of how we might repair what currently ails America. They don’t have my back and I don’t have theirs.
Let’s take Trump first, since he’s the president of the United States, though you’d never know it by his demeanor, word choice or treatment of those who disagree with him.
Was Trump’s Twitter attack suggesting that “The Squad” members “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” a racist statement?
Of course. It was also abysmally stupid — three of the four targets are American-born — and un-American.
I mean, we’ve come a long way from the inscription on the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free …” — to chants of “Send her back” filling the air at Trump’s July 17 rally in North Carolina.
So no, Trump doesn’t speak for me.
On the other hand, neither do progressive Democrats intent on pushing the country as far to the socialist left as possible.
Contrary to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, I don’t believe we have a “manufactured crisis” at the Mexico-U.S border. And yes, Rep. Omar has herself wandered into Trump territory, tweeting, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
A month ago, I tried watching the Democrat debate, a project that lasted about 30 minutes.
Part of my lack of interest had to do with watching 20 people trying to have a conversation, but most of it had to do with moments like Joe Biden discussing wind farms and Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and multiple others nattering on about “free college” and free everything else.
While I find Trump’s personality noxious, watching these 20 felt like attending a faculty brunch at the nation’s most politically correct community college.
Couple them with the anti-American sentiment of The Squad and no, I won’t be joining that movement either.
Nor am I alone in wanting to be alone. The most recent Gallup poll saw 27% of Americans call themselves Democrats and 26% identify as Republicans. Meanwhile, 46% chose independence of either party.
Back in the day, political pundits would have used that number to suggest the path to the White House demanded a moderate tack.
Now the goal in advance of the 2020 election is clearly to inflame the base while depressing everyone else.
Heading into next year, expect more hate from Trump and more anti-Trump hate and leftward policy shifts from the Democrats. Meanwhile, the rest of us get to stand around wondering if anyone actually cares about solving the problems we face as a nation.
I’ve heard it said that countries get the leaders they deserve. If that’s true, I have to wonder what hellish crime America committed to merit this feckless bunch.
David Leibowitz has called the Valley home since 1995. Contact email@example.com