I was sitting at a stoplight on Capital Boulevard in Boise, Idaho when I heard a loud crash in the rear of my car. I turned around and saw the hatchback window of my Prius was shattered. I immediately pulled over and looked for the rock that did the damage. When the policeman arrived he just shook his head, wondering how and why this incident occurred.
“Could it be a meteor? Maybe a little chunk of meteor rock fell from the sky into my back window,” I suggested.
He looked at me doubtfully. “I guess that could happen.”
“What about this?” I pointed to a mangled bumper sticker laying in the glass debris on the floor of the trunk. It read: “Blue Girl, Red State.” Since Idaho is a more conservative state, maybe someone took offense at my politics and threw a rock at my car.
I thought my bumper sticker was fairly innocent, and I liked the colorful irony behind the slogan: blue girl/red state. My bumper sticker was not nearly as inflammatory as one I saw a few weeks ago: “MAGA—Morons Are Governing America.” And my bumper sticker definitely pales in comparison to a road-side sign I sped by on a Sunday drive: “Democrats are baby-killers.”
The policeman shifted his eyes, obviously uncomfortable with my inferring the busted window might be a political act and said, “Looks like we’ll never know. I don’t think there’s any reason to file an accident report.”
I’ve thought about this incident, which happened a couple of years ago, many times watching the increasingly vicious political battles in Washington between Democrats and Republicans. Our first president, George Washington, worried about partisanship. In his day political parties were called “factions.” Washington was afraid lawmakers’ allegiance to their political parties would supersede their allegiance to the country as a whole. Compromise and Rule of Law would take a back seat to party politics. The other side, whether Democrat or Republican, would be characterized and treated as the enemy.
Michigan Republican, Justin Amash, a member of the House of Representatives is currently being punished for his lack of party loyalty by withdrawing his support of President Trump. He’s now being maligned with the label RINO (Republican in name only) just as many Democrats are branded DINO (Democrat in name only) because they favor a white, male candidate for president over a minority female. This kind of rigid thinking is evident on both sides of the aisle. I saw a post on Facebook today with a picture of a Native American chief wearing a headband of feathers in his hair.
Below the picture it read: “The right wing and the left wing are both from the same bird”–meaning we’re all Americans. We all want our country to do well and prosper.
Beside me as I write this blog is a book I’m currently reading called How Democracies Die. The authors posit that in countries where democracy has failed and authoritarian dictators have risen up, political parties have become so acrimonious they’ll do anything to win and keep power, including elect a flawed leader. Sadly, there may be a risk of this scenario playing out in our country today. Representative Amash is not officially on my “team” but if he ran for office in my state, I’d cross party lines to vote for him. I like his courage. Sometimes all it takes is a few brave people to turn the tide.