Edgar Allen Beem’s latest column (“The Universal Notebook: Ignorance triumphant”) is a timely counterpoint to a recent Salon interview with Van Jones, the progressive political activist, commentator, and author. Jones addressed Donald Trump’s election from a refreshing viewpoint, free of vitriol and condescension.
In the interview, Jones said, “(Democrats are) building Trump’s coalition for him by basically treating them all as if they’re all ‘deplorables’ and irredeemables or stupid people who we need to fix, and that’s the problem. That’s the elitism. … both parties suck right now because the liberals think we’re the party of the working people and the poor people and the downtrodden, but we have allowed a strain of very nasty elitism to take root in our party such that we don’t even see it anymore.
“Then the Republicans suck because they see themselves as the party of color-blind meritocracy, but they’ve allowed a section of horrible bigots, including outright neo-Nazis, to take up residence in their party and they either deny it or downplay it.
“Neither party now seems to be capable of actually respecting all Americans. This is a major problem.”
Jones is on to something: There are major problems in our society and politics that will not be addressed or fixed by more name-calling, elitist condescension, and denial. Maybe that’s as good a place as any to start.