I am crumbling beneath the heavy gravity of our national cynicism. I am being washed away by the flood of ill will between and among Americans. I am blinded by the whirling police light on Drudge and by the "Breaking News" scroll at the bottom of my TV screen. I have been rendered deaf by the non-stop shouting on cable chat shows.
I know this sounds like I'm signing off. I am not. But I feel like I need to go to Good Citizenship Re-hab along with about 317 million others, and get back to some semblance of a shared national direction.
Nothing generates more nasty-grams from both the right and the left as when I try to steer what I believe to be an evidence-based, rational course on TV.
On the Left I am immediately identified as a Right Wing Freak especially if the Chyron reminds viewers I have been press secretary for both Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle (among others) in my career.
On the Right I am immediately identified as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) if I don't call for the impeachment of President Obama and/or the public flogging of (whatever member of the Administration is currently in the news) with my first breath.
There is an unequal but opposite member of the phylum "Political Hack" known as a DINO.
This group has only recently been identified in the wild and it will probably take a GOP win in 2016 for groups of DINO hunters to organize and attempt to root them out of the Democratic Party.
A hundred years ago James Carville and I were doing a panel for one of those groups that brings high school seniors to Washington, DC for a week of sightseeing, visits with their elected officials, and lectures from JAMES CARVILLE and Rich Galen.
James got off on a tangent about how he knew high school seniors were supposed to be bored with everything that didn't require a fake ID. James told them he and I did politics for a living, but we understood that politics is the mechanism by which we choose our governmental leaders. The best of those leaders get a monument.
He said that the two of us go by those monuments each and every day but never without having the hair on our arms go up in respect for what they represent. We've had a lot of leaders, he said, but there are only a few monuments.
I mostly smiled and nodded.
This cynicism thing bubbled to the top on Friday as I watched President Obama's speech about the National Security Agency. I understand he's trying to walk a nanometer-wide line between the public safety and an on-going violation of our Fourth Amendment rights: