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The term “useful idiots” has been credited to many people. But where it originated from is not important. The concept matters now because it is more applicable in today’s political climate than it has ever been before. Why? Because no matter what side people are on, there is a tendency to default to party tribalism. This behavior is not new, but it is increasing with the advent of social media.

Many voters vote with the “lesser of two evils” mentality. But because of their tribal behavior, they will also fail to overtly disagree with the people they voted for. Without voter consequence, the bad behavior of elected officials is condoned. Worse, it is defended by their supporters, who have become “useful idiots.”

Thomas Jefferson once wrote in a letter to William Hamilton, “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” That statement is relevant to today. If we continue to argue among ourselves over team colors, we will never address the real issues challenging America. We will be distracted while the politicians continue to run amok.

America was founded on an inherent distrust of power because it is corruptible. Do not let those in power use you for their political ambitions. A nation divided does not need to be conquered.

Joe Pascal,

White Sulphur Springs

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