In a sane world, the Mueller report would spark genuine soul searching among Democrats and their bylined operatives in the media.
After all, for two years they worked to overturn the 2016 election by accusing the president of treason.
Using the vast powers of the federal government and Russian disinformation paid for and disseminated by the Clinton campaign, they vilified, maligned and defamed the president with vicious abandon, unconcerned about the cancer they were spreading across our body politic.
Democrat leaders went on TV each day, looked straight in the camera and lied to the nation that they had hard evidence proving the most serious charges ever leveled against a sitting president.
Prestigious news outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the New Yorker magazine, published prize-winning stories filled with the darkest innuendo.
Now we know it was all a lie — perhaps the most irresponsible and consequential smear in American history. Echoing the findings of the Senate and the House, the Mueller report was unequivocal: there was no conspiracy with Russia.
The president was right all along, it was a witch hunt, a hoax, a slow-motion coup.
Democrats like to say that Trump has upset “norms,” but what is more destabilizing, more beyond the pale, more un-American than the hateful campaign they led against a duly elected official?
Liberal news outlets cast themselves as guardians of the truth, but what is more undermining to the authority of journalism than spending two years peddling conspiracy theories that also required them to disregard the extensive reporting by conservative-leaning outlets debunking their narrative from the get-go? Why should be believe anything they write?
Instead of reckoning with the dark forces that led them to launch this vicious attack, Democrats have doubled down on their false narrative. Instead of holding responsible the high-level sources who fed them lies for years, the media continue to quote these figures.
Instead of standing down, they have aimed at Attorney General William Barr, slandering him for doing his job. Special counsel Robert Mueller left it up to him to decide if Trump obstructed justice – if the president materially impeded a bogus effort to remove him office – and properly concluded that he did not.
Instead of demonstrating integrity, Democrats and the media are desperately trying to defend the indefensible. My guess is they will get away with it.
Thanks almost exclusively to the identity politics practiced by Democrats, our politics have become so divisive and dishonest that the truth is almost an afterthought in the shameless quest for power.
Drawing from the gutter to smear your opponents – branding them Russian agents and sexual predators, white supremacists and Nazis – is now just an arrow in their quiver.
We saw this first hand in North Carolina beginning in 2010 when Democrats responded to the end of their century-long reign by besmirching Republicans as racist neo-Confederates.
The sad irony is that Democrats have so poisoned the well that their supporters are willing to give a pass to shameful tactics because they have come to believe the Republicans are evil.
This is no longer politics, it’s political war — a state in which truth is always the first casualty.
Contributing columnist J. Peder Zane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.