Port: Stop falling for the gotchas and grandstanding


MINOT, N.D. — We all know that politics, especially the sort that emanates from Washington, D.C., consists of a lot of theater that has little to do with coherent policy agendas and a great deal to do with casting aspersions at one’s political enemies.

We know this. We write move scripts and novels and stand-up routines about this sort of thing. So why do we fall for it?

I was thinking about that while reading a recent piece by my fellow columnist Joan Brickner who demands to know why Congressman Kelly Armstrong didn’t sign a letter condemning bigotry that was circulated to members of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability by Rep. Jamie Raskin, the ranking Democrat on that committee.

I don’t know why Rep. Armstrong didn’t sign that letter. Truthfully, I don’t really care. Every day the climate of our national political discourse is marred by a cloud of this sort of gotcha grandstanding. This side demands that the other side condemn some odious thing, and the other side refuses and casts aspersions back.

And to a point, I get it. I wish my friends on the left had done more to speak out against left-wing protest violence. I wish my friends on the right weren’t so dismissive of the Jan. 6 riot, and disgraced former President Donald Trump’s role in it. But beyond a point, this is all just thespianism.

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