By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK
It is among the most quoted biblical passages, a favorite of Christians and non-Christians alike: “How is it that thou canst see the speck of dust which is in thy brother’s eye, and are not aware of the beam which is in thy own?”
Jesus’ words hit all the right notes. The Lord warns of ignoring your own faults while you defame others, of hypocrisy, of what the old Baltimore Catechism used to call the sins of calumny and detraction. The passage came to mind when I read E.J. Dionne’s attack on Donald Trump and his supporters.
There are reasons to be unhappy with Trump’s candidacy, but no one deserves a cheap shot. That is what Dionne hit him with in the May 20 issue of Commonweal. (Dionne’s columns are syndicated by The Washington Post.) He attacked Trump for things he has overlooked for years now in his favorite liberal Democratic politicians. Trump is the speck, Barack Obama and the Clintons are the beam. William F. Buckley was fond of using the term “selective indignation” when describing liberals. It fits Dionne.
The headline for Dionne’s column is “The Irony of Celebrity Populism: How Trump Exposes the Weaknesses of Our Political Culture.” He accuses Trump of bringing about “the demolition of the line between celebrity and political achievement,” of “converting fame directly into electoral currency, moving from celebrity to front-runner status without going through the messy time-consuming work” of holding political office. … Continue Reading