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The United States Capitol building and Constitution Avenue in Washington DC at night. (Getty Images)
You wouldn't know these were boom times with the stock market at all-time highs and unemployment near all-time lows if you were in the nation's capital.
Washington, D.C., is a city of hate.
When you visit, it appears no one can stand each other. The two political sides are at each other's throats so constantly it's hard to imagine they sleep. Maybe they don't. And then there are the sides within the sides, always ready for more gnashing of teeth, mutual hostility, and endless contempt.
Talk about the cliché "can't stand prosperity" — that's what we have. If the boom goes on much longer and the economy becomes yet more successful, we'll be on the brink of a civil war. Only this time, it will be fought in Mercedes and Teslas. The richer we are, the more we despise each other.
And speaking of clichés, Truman's hoary "if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog" has never been more true. Only now, that dog's a Tibetan Mastiff with an estimated worth of $582,000, slurping leftover foie gras from some uber-pricey restaurant by José Andrés in the backyard of the most expensive real estate in the country. And yet they still hate.
The government shutdown — whatever that actually means other than yet another opportunity to blame whichever opposition for anything anyone ever did since the Paleolithic Age — is the most obvious sign of that enmity, but nothing shows it more than those same two sides lined up against each other on the question of the publication of "The Memo."
Yes, after more than a year of "Russia, Russia, Russia" (translation: I hate you. I hate you, I hate you.), it's all coming down — or may be coming down — to amemo to the House Intelligence Committee.
Only we're not supposed to see it — that and all the attendant documents, emails and texts that prove or disprove its contents.
Was a forged document by a sleazy coterie of wretched political attack dogs actually used by our government to justify spying on U.S. citizens and upending a presidential campaign? Inquiring — or normal human — minds should want know.
Yet you and I, the people of this country, are not permitted to see things only the denizens of Washington can see. Hidden in a SCIF somewhere, they alone determine what is permissible for our untrained eyes. They release information about Russia — and everything else — only when they see fit. And then they redact said information to such an extent most government documents resemble Rorschach tests once they are published. Your guess is as good as mine what's in them.
Transparency was the watchword of the previous administration, but that proved to be their greatest lie. They were about as transparent as a wall of lead. But transparency is what we need. Among other things, we need to know the facts in order to stop hating each other.
Not that that will happen easily. In the short run, the revelation of this information after all this time — if it is anywhere near as potent as people are rumoring with heads rolling, etc.—- is likely to cause more enmity, probably a great deal more. Many will disbelieve whatever proof is offered. They will use it as a basis to dismiss and hate again. It's not going to be pretty.
Still, we need to know. We live in a democracy — or think we do. We have no choice. We have to learn to live with the hate in order to defeat it. The memo must be published in its entirety — without redaction, whatever its results.