BOSTON (CBS) – Every year, it’s the same experience: the 9/11 anniversary comes along and we’re reminded of the incredible courage and civic-mindedness of the first responders, the hero citizens who helped others survive (some at the cost of their own lives), and the amazing sense of national unity that immediately followed, however temporarily.
Then came the crash, the realization that all of that positive stuff was the exception to the rule.
Remember all the members of Congress and their show of bipartisan unity on the Capitol steps? That was gone within weeks. It didn’t take that long for the rest of us to revert to form.
And now look at us.
Even within the relatively small groups of voters who really like Clinton or Trump, there’s a high level of disgust with this campaign. Among the large majority who aren’t thrilled with either of them, it’s off the charts.
And what’s starting to get to me is the reflexive demonization of each side by the other.
It isn’t enough for Clinton supporters to point out the glaring flaws in Trump’s temperament and experience – he has to be cast as a neo-Nazi as well, with the requisite contempt for his disciples.
And it’s not enough for Trumpites to trash the Clinton/Obama record where it merits it – they have to paint her as something close to, if not worse than, Satan.
Over the weekend I went to see the new movie “Sully,” about the famous airline pilot who saved the lives of his passengers with a heroic landing on the Hudson River. The movie dwells on the bureaucratic impulse to undercut his heroism, and find fault where there was none.
Trump and Clinton may not be heroes.
But the sullying of their images may say more about us than it does about them.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: