If there has been one main political theme during the past several years, it's the idea that our opponents on the ideological field of battle don't just differ from us in regard to worldview, but are truly evil. This mindset does nothing to help an already damaged electorate that seems to be fracturing more each day.
Like most generalizations, the proponents of this idea exist on both sides of the aisle. It does not take much effort to find those on the Right who believe Democrats and their allies are actually wicked. Conversely, it's easy to locate individuals on the Left who feel Republicans and those of like-mind are fully corrupt enemies of freedom and personal choice.
Not only are these sweeping statements proof of our collective exhaustion, but they're also incorrect.
There is little doubt that fringe groups exist along the political spectrum. The proof is right before us. We see the militant behavior of Antifa as they gleefully give in to full-blown violence. They are not interested in constructive dialogue. Their goal is to accost the opposition wherever possible and harass and even harm them. We also see those who situate themselves on the alt-right cling to a mindset of racial supremacy. White nationalism spurs them to reject those of varied backgrounds and to wrongly conclude that America is made less because of diversity. At times, they can be physically aggressive, but most of all, their disturbing rhetoric is what makes them a problem.
Neither of these groups should be praised no matter who or what they claim to be fighting against. For the most part, the vast majority of Americans denounce these overall attitudes and actions. However, the underlying message remains: Our political rivals are evil, for they don't believe as we do.
Thankfully, there are individuals like U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. Though she is part of an administration given to extreme expression at times, she maintains common sense and composure. Thursday evening, Haley was in New York to speak at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. There, she referred to the current political toxicity that invades much of our dialogue. She was also quick to point out that political counterparts are not literally evil as many may claim (including at times her current boss, President Trump).
As Politico reported:
"In America, our political opponents are not evil," she said, highlighting atrocities committed against political opponents in Syria and Sudan as examples of true evil permeating the world of politics.
"In South Sudan, where rape is routinely used as a weapon of war, that is evil," she said. "In Syria, where the dictator uses chemicals weapons to murder innocent children, that is evil. In North Korea, where American student Otto Warmbier was tortured to death, that was evil."
What a refreshing perspective.
In America, while we are often frustrated by the news cycle and the players involved in decision-making, we must also admit to being insulated from the atrocities that many citizens of the world experience at the hands of despots and terrorists. Social media quips and Capitol Hill soundbites are nothing compared to the genuine horror and deeply-rooted evil that exists elsewhere. This reminder is for everyone.
We live in a time when "agreeing to disagree" is a practice that has all but disappeared. Now, the tendency is to berate and belittle the "evil" opposition, concluding in the end that they could never be good people who may just see the world from a different perspective.
Unfortunately, Nikki Haley's sober point of view is a rare one in 2018. Before the nation can begin to heal from the turmoil of the recent past, Americans need to realize that, for the most part, true evil doesn't reside within our political adversaries, but in places far beyond our own borders.
Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog and a senior contributor at RedState.com.