As the country slogs its way toward a bitterly contentious midterm election, it's important to note that civility has always been in short supply when it comes to politics.
In many ways this midterm election is no different than any other midterm or presidential election held in the past 50 years.
People say bad things about each other. People say things they think will get them elected, even if they don't necessarily believe in them. Often they are told to do so by campaign handlers whose reputations are staked on getting their candidate elected, not on taking the high road.
So when I look at the conflicting ads saying the other candidate is lying, or cheating, or has been known to double-dip chips into party guac, I just smile that derisive, contemptuous smile and move on.
But when I see mainstream news anchors, interviewers and reporters brashly fawn to Democrats while showing their snarky and snide side to Republicans, well, I just want everyone to realize they're trying to play you. And I'm not saying play with you, I'm saying "play you" as in "play you for a fool."
For instance, let's pick on "CBS Morning News," though I can guarantee the other major networks are all on the same prejudiced highway to hell onramp.
On Thursday, Norah O'Donnell, while speaking with former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, threw nothing but softballs to the Delaware Democrat, setting him up for digs at President Trump like Ed McMahon set up Johnny Carson doing his Carnac routine.
Anyone astute enough to see the dynamic wouldn't bat an eye seeing such sycophancy, but what she did in the midst of this interview, I didn't even see coming.
Prefacing a question, O'Donnell cooed, "I know you love this country, but what do you think about..."
I don't remember what the sentence finished with. It doesn't matter. That a member of the press, which is supposed to be objective and not take sides, to preface a question with such an assertion during a campaign season leaves any thinking individual little chance to give her a pass on this. It is unmitigated lip service. In fact, Biden's handlers couldn't have written better script themselves.
Now, earlier in the week, "CBS This Morning" cohost John Dickerson had a several-minute interview with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan.
After a pretaped and often-argumentative interview in which Dickerson interrupted Ryan several times, cohosts O'Donnell, Gayle King and Bianna Golodryga sat around the big table and cheered Dickerson's feisty interviewer's persona.
Surprisingly (btw, this is satire), Dickerson never prefaced one of his questions with, "Mr. Speaker, I know you love this country, but ...."
Today, CBS' big takeaway from a Trump campaign-style rally in Montana was that the president joked about Republican Montana Congressman Greg Giaconte's run-in with a reporter in which he "body slammed" him to the floor after having a microphone shoved in his face last year.
"Greg is smart," the president joked, "and by the way, never wrestle him."
Giaconte ended up pleadin guilty to an assault charge and pledged a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Now the major networks taking the low road upon Trump's attempts at humor is something I have come to expect, but the reporter inserted his own assertion into the piece castigating the president's remarks as "celebrating violence."
This comes just days after former attorney general Eric Holder said, "When they go low, we kick them. That's what this new Democratic Party is about."
And a few months after California Democrat House member Maxine Waters said "Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere."
In a news report about her comments CNN inserted this sentence as cover: "Waters, however, did not call for physical harm to the officials or harassment against Trump's supporters."
So I guess CNN believes there's little chance of violence if "in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere."
I would suggest that anyone who does this, is, in fact, risking a violent encounter.
Even the NFL, itself a bastion of violence, gives you a penalty for taunting for doing something like this.
So who's celebrating violence?
But no one chided Holder or Waters for "celebrating violence."
Trump made a joke.
Holder and Waters asserted a directive.
You be the judge.
Pay attention to the body language and repartee of reporters and candidates and learn to identify the prejudices and biases that are so easily seen.
And then on Nov. 6 vote your conscience, not theirs.