I bring up these examples not because I am trying to score political points. After Wednesday, I am genuinely uninterested in that. Even whataboutism, that old standby, has little appeal for me now. But too many seem to be trying their damnedest to drag what should be an opportunity for universal condemnation of wicked acts into the muck of reflexive partisanship. There is no doubt that some Republicans deserve a comeuppance. But let’s not turn this into just another partisan outrage by scoring points off conservatism as a whole. Elected leaders — notably, Biden and Harris — and media figures risk ceding a certain high ground left open by Trump’s and other Republicans’ failures.
They also frustrate the drawing of a bright, bold line that every responsible actor, along the whole political spectrum, should be drawing and stepping to one side of, consigning to the other the reckless fools who have made a mockery of our government. Some Republicans and conservatives have, sadly, crossed to the wrong side of that line, but not all have. It should matter that not everyone on the right believes storming the Capitol is the logical endpoint of their worldview. And it is in the interest of the Left, and the functioning of the country, to help conservatives increase the number of responsible individuals in their own ranks — to encourage a responsible opposing party. May liberals not be driven by the anger they feel to mark all those to their right as lost and be done with them. Otherwise, the recovery this country needs may never come.