Hope.

Ted Cruz and Chris Christie mocked Jimmy Carter the day after the former president announced he had cancer which had spread to his brain. This on top of Cruz making fun of Joe Biden earlier this year, three days after Biden’s son Beau had died.

Donald Trump continues rolling over his Republican opponents in the polls (although both Ben Carson and Carly Florina seem to be gaining on him). (A very conservative relative of mine dislikes Trump immensely; an outsider, like those to whom he appeals, she is appalled by his demeanor and his nastiness. “He’s not presidential — can you imagine what he might say to other nations? And he’s so mean!” She likes Ben Carson.) He seems to be giving the “base” the strongman they apparently want: complete with the death penalty for supposed traitors, revocation of birthright citizenship, and a huge wall along the Mexican border. While I disapprove of him thoroughly, in large part for his dismantling of the public service unions in Wisconsin and his extreme anti-choice views, Scott Walker at least has the consistency to suggest that we should build a wall along the Canadian border as well. Silly Scott, don’t you realize it’s all about the brown-skinned people?

The website Twitchy (created by that paragon of reasoned debate, Michelle Malkin) targets liberal and pro-choice writers (usually women or people of color) for harassment: slurs on Twitter that stop just short of Twitter’s TOS*, nasty emails, calls to employers. Twitter is a particularly unpleasant medium for this, since it is easier to swamp someone with abuse than by using email.

All this among so many other signs of not just partisanship but viciousness. Sigh. Even recognizing that this will not be the nastiest election in U.S. history (Google election of 1828) only mitigates dread of the looming conflict a little.

But there is hope.

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have stated that they are not running against each other personally but on the issues. When asked if Joe Biden should enter the race, Clinton did not attack Biden, but simply said that it was his decision to make.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Sanders continues to draw large crowds. While I do not want him as President because I think he would have a difficult time governing**, that so many people are this passionate about a man who comes across as decent and honorable makes me smile.

The sinister “gefilte fish” memo in Clinton’s emails is about just that: gefilte fish.

The Sunday after Jimmy Carter announced his cancer, and after Cruz and Christie made fun of him, a thousand people showed up at Carter’s church in Plains, Georgia, to hear him teach Sunday School. People lined up before daybreak to get a seat in the church, and came from all over the country. (Carter asked where people where from: when one woman answered “D.C.,” he replied, chuckling “That’s nice — I used to live there.”) As Rachel Maddow said, politics may be nasty, but people are generally good.

But my favorite sign of hope comes courtesy of the news media and Project Veritas, the good folks (that’s sarcasm, people) behind the “gotcha” Planned Parenthood videos. This time they took aim at Clinton’s campaign. They surreptitiously videotaped a low-level worker at a Clinton event (probably a volunteer) being badgered into giving a t-shirt to a Canadian who claimed to support Hillary. The worker repeatedly said that she could not give the t-shirt to the Canadian woman; when the woman offered “what if I give the money to this lady? She’s an American” the worker gave in and let the American could get the t-shirt in exchange for a donation. In a press conference, part of which was shown on the Maddow show, Project Veritas offered this as evidence that the Clinton campaign was illegally taking donations from Canadians.

For once, the press wasn’t biting. “All of this over a t-shirt?” asked one reporter. “Is this a joke?” asked another, “‘because it feels like a prank.” The third reporter asked who the Canadian woman was, at which point the head of Project Veritas stated that they didn’t know. (If you believe that, I have some land about fifty miles west of Miami I want to talk to you about.) The Project Veritas guy was defensive, saying “You should see the whole video!” The press, probably knowing full well that this organization always leads with the most outrageous thing they’ve got, didn’t seem particularly interested.

See? Hope.

*Twitter does not have all that good a track record of enforcing its TOS anyway.

**I have always been a huge Bernie Sanders fan, but in the current atmosphere in Washington I do not think he would be able to get anything done. If voting in support of Obama, who is tarred as a “socialist” by a lot of Republicans, presents difficulties for Republican (and some Democratic) Congressman, voting in support of Sanders, who has for most of his political career identified as an actual socialist, might be political suicide. In particular, the fight over the Supreme Court justices would be nasty.

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