The fragility of our republic has been known since its inception, evidenced by Ben Franklin’s “…if you can keep it” quote. Back in the 1950s we were taught that an informed and moral citizenry was fundamental and essential for success in self-government. I’m told that’s no longer taught and American history and civics have been replaced with what conservatives like me call indoctrination. Whether that indoctrination is pervasive or only prevalent might be a fascinating debate, but we have no reliable facts or honest observations, so, it could only degenerate into assertions at ever-greater volume, much like what now dominates both old and new media.

One thing that should not be contentious is that we will get the kind of government we vote for, and that means the kind of country we deserve. If we can’t keep our republic, history has repeatedly shown, we’ll be ruled by an oppressive dictatorship. Furthermore, if we exclude those we send to Augusta and Washington, only the certifiably insane among us would dispute that both cities are already swamps of corruption, influence-peddling, and rampant disregard for fiscal sanity and the good of the people. The sad thing is that what we read, hear and all too often say focuses on identities, not honest and factual characterization of problems, evaluation of solutions and assessment of what has succeeded or failed. In fact, we are even assaulted by vehement argument that what has clearly failed is somehow the righteous thing, and we must double down on the idea because it cannot be allowed to fail.

None can deny that hyperbolic assertion and loathsome accusation have displaced thoughtful deliberation and truth-seeking. But denial will explode when tortured generalities, like those so far in this article, are replaced by specifics. Consider a few ‘or instances:

Dan Bongino has painstakingly dismantled all seven assertions in the infamous dossier commissioned by the Clinton campaign and used by the FBI to get FISA approval to use intelligence assets to spy on the Trump campaign. Yet, even now, coordinated remarks among the leftist media do not acknowledge that there is no corroboration of anything in the dossier but, rather, advance the absurd notion that none of it has been proved false. We will see this sorry behavior repeated until we acknowledge that the only real collusion was among the Obama White House, corrupt leadership in the FBI and intelligence community, and a blatantly partisan media to ensure Hillary Clinton was installed, not elected.

The Kavanaugh hearings were another reprehensible circus. Once again, the absence of anything resembling corroboration was ignored and a new standard was put forward: Accusation is proof, and the burden is on the accused to prove innocence. The media treatment of Brett Kavanaugh was pure malice, but half the country continues to assert that malice was righteous. Oddly, these same people simultaneously condemn Trump’s multiple relationships and Pence’s monogamy. Could it be the people, not the behavior, are the target?

It is said that Professor Alan Dershowitz would tell his students to argue the law when the law was on their side, argue the facts if facts were on their side, and when neither was on their side to pound the table. Others have said: “Call the opposing attorney names.” It appears we have lots of failed lawyers in politics and the media. Undeniably, neither Paul LePage nor Donald Trump is a racist, yet there is no shortage of instances of that patently false assertion being published and broadcast. Could it be these accusers know they have lost the debate on the facts and principles and have nothing left but name-calling?

We cannot long keep our republic if we continue to divide ourselves by race, gender, identity and ideology and tolerate name-calling displacing legitimate debate. We must know that we cannot indefinitely dissipate our fiscal health pursuing public policies rooted in fantasy and folly. Our Constitution is the covenant by which we agree to be a republic. We will not long survive if we tolerate attacks on that fundamental covenant based on fabricated injustices and frenzied attempts to gain tribal advantage by rationalizing legal and economic discrimination against other tribes.

I believe most of us are better than our behavior suggests. I sure hope so!