Whether the packages delivered to leading Democrats and liberals turn out to be functioning bombs or dummy devices intended to send a message, the effect is largely the same: American politics are descending further into the logic of the vendetta.
If you read about famous feuds or intergenerational rivalries — Hatfields vs. McCoys, Israelis vs. Palestinians, etc. — one simple truth makes everything much more complicated: Everybody has a valid point. The Hatfields shout, “Your family shot my uncle!” The McCoys reply, “Well, you folks hanged my father!”
And they’re both right.
And they’re both wrong.
They’re right that the other side did something bad, but they’re wrong that the first bad act justifies the second.
They’re also wrong because, outside of war, “sides” don’t really kill people; people kill people. If someone named Smith kills someone named Goldberg, I have no right to kill some different person named Smith, who did nothing wrong, simply because I happen to be a Goldberg, too.
Until now, I’ve been speaking mostly metaphorically. We’re not a failed state where competing coalitions visit bloody reprisals on each other. We’re not ancient Rome, either. But we’re getting closer. And you can tell by the way we’re talking.
In response to this still-unfolding crime, the overwhelming response from Democrats and most of the mainstream media is that this is all Donald Trump’s fault.
“Time and time again, the president has condoned physical violence and divided Americans with his words and his actions,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a joint statement Wednesday. “Expressing support for the Congressman who body-slammed a reporter, the neo-Nazis who killed a young woman in Charlottesville, his supporters at rallies who get violent with protestors, dictators around the…