In these hateful times, we need the rituals that bind us

We live in mutual contempt, right loathing left, left loathing right. It makes Thanksgiving feel jarring, an ideal starkly at odds with the bitter reality of the moment. Or maybe not.

So maybe we should just cancel Thanksgiving this year?

It’s probably an attractive idea to many of those now traveling over the river and through the woods for turkey, cranberry sauce and political arguments that promise more angst than a flat tire in a thunderstorm. It grows increasingly clear that the problem in America just now isn’t that we disagree with one another.

It is, rather, that we hate one another.

You may think that an overstatement, but the word is used advisedly. Take the case of GOP senatorial candidate Roy Moore as an example. As you surely know, some putative Christians still support him despite credible charges that he has a history of perverted behavior toward teenage girls.

Indeed, a preacher named David Floyd dismissed the charges as “an attempt by the Democrats to sway voters in Alabama.” It seems many of the same self-appointed guardians of public morality who are poleaxed at the idea of two men holding hands can muster no opprobrium for a grown man who allegedly felt up a 14-year-old girl.

Which is hypocritical, yes. But it is hateful, too.

Faced with choosing between an alleged child molester and a Democrat, these people find the latter more objectionable? Apparently so. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said that while she considers his accusers credible, she’ll still support Moore because: “I believe in the Republican Party, what we stand for …”

And suddenly one struggles to even remember what that was. “Family values?” Is that part of it? Does that ring a bell?

In fairness, yes, many Republicans have repudiated Moore. Also in fairness, it took many of them several long days to do so. No, the question this all raises will not be denied: If you prefer a child molester to a Democrat, how much must you hate Democrats? More to the point, how much do we all now hate one another?

Which is not to imply moral equivalence; there is none. When you find yourself defending coarseness, mendacity, incompetence and now child molestation, you may be certain you do not occupy the moral high ground. You can be just as certain that you are on the wrong side of history.

No, the point is just that we live in mutual contempt, right loathing left, left loathing right. It makes the ritual of Thanksgiving feel jarring,…

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