Friday, March 31, 2017

Side Vs. Side

[B]ack in September, Flynn made it clear how he felt about people who seek immunity.

"When you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime," Flynn said  during an interview with MSNBC commentator Chuck Todd.
Michael Flynn's comments about immunity last year are coming back to bite him
While I will admit that this prompts me to look askance as General Flynn, in the end, that's because I'm not a staunch partisan; I don't have an interest in shielding Republicans from criticism and casting Democrats in a bad light. But, by the same token, I'm unprepared to level charges of "hypocrite;" again, because I'm not a staunch partisan. I don't have an interest in shielding Democrats from criticism and casting Republicans in a bad light.

For me, where General Flynn erred was in not being more partisan during his interview with Chuck Todd in September. Had he simply cast the Clinton aides who had requested immunity as probable criminals flat-out, he'd still be facing criticism for following in their footsteps, but he's have an easy defense in the idea that he was impugning the motives of the specific people he was talking about. Because that's likely what he was intending. I somehow doubt that General Flynn honestly believed that the American justice system was 100% witch hunt-free until the day he decided that asking for immunity in exchange for testimony was a good idea.

After all, this is the nature of partisanship. If I'm talking to a die-hard Republican, I'm not at all surprised when they insinuate, or even flat-out declare, that Democrats are dishonest by simple virtue of them being Democrats. Likewise for Democrats. Of course, any investigation mounted by Democrats that target's Republicans is simply a political which hunt and power play. Of course, any Republican operative who requests immunity from prosecution is looking to avoid jail time for crimes they knowingly committed. When speaking to someone whose worldview, and perhaps more importantly, moral compass, is centered around their partisan/tribal affiliation, why would one expect anything different?

Our problem with partisanship isn't that many of us are active partisans. It's that many active partisans openly look down on active partisanship, and so seek to present themselves as neutral, objective, players. And they do this despite the fact that it fools no one. In a sense, we're all partisans, in the sense that we have biases. If you've read more than two or three of my Politics posts, my biases should be fairly apparent to you by now. And if there were a political party that directly aligned with my biases, I'd likely be a fairly partisan supporter, and have to constantly be on my guard against reserving the presumption of good intent exclusively to fellow party members. So, in that regard, I'm non-partisan in the American system only in the fact that neither of the two major parties particularly suits me. I'd like to think that I'd escape groupthink enough to only believe in my party, right or wrong, as opposed to my party is always right, but I don't know that I'd bet on that.

Because in the end, there's no profit in being even-handed about these things. A Republican who disputes that there's a witch hunt or a Democrat who says that General Flynn is simply playing the game as it played won't earn themselves anything with the people who matter. Their co-partisans will likely resent the party's reputation being undermined, and counter-partisans might be happy to point to their statements as proof of the other side's dishonesty, but that's different than an embrace at the ballot box.

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