For the last year, many Americans have been incensed by Sarah Palin’s and Rush Limbaugh’s inflammatory remarks. The ad hominem attacks waged by these two on their political rivals and anybody who didn’t agree with their ideology have made them both the target of blistering counterattacks in the press and, especially, in blogs. I’m guilty of this behavior myself, even though I’ve tried to stick to the facts in criticizing them. It is unfortunate that, in our attempts to discredit and criticize people like Limbaugh and Palin, we become so much like them. David Letterman’s completely inappropriate insult of a teenage girl who happens to be Sarah Palin’s daughter was as unacceptable as anything Palin said during the campaign, and yet many people rush to defend Letterman simply because they hate Palin. The back and forth salvos of insults are in major conflict with the fundamental message of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and what he has tried to do since his inauguration. The most depressing part of this is that our behavior appears to be a basic part of human nature. Neither side of the argument can help themselves, nor do they really want to because they’re convinced that they’re 110% right in their views. The stridency that this certainty breeds is most evident in people like Limbaugh, but we all suffer from the malady. I suppose that partisanship is an unavoidable side effect of all politics. Self-interest is the driving force, whether it’s the desire to increase one’s radio show ratings and make ungodly sums of money, or attain political influence and power. The fact is, we can discredit the greedy charlatans and incompetents without resorting to their tactics. American politics needs to show a lot more maturity. The schoolyard mentality is not helping us “form a more perfect union.” The underlying message here seems to be that we need to try harder as a people to become less like our enemies, whether they’re spewing their hate in a press conference, radio sound booth, or village in Pakistan.