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Dial down divisive rhetoric

Maybe while standing in line to pay for your groceries, you've noticed the outrageous attacks on Hillary Clinton in the National Enquirer. This week's smear sinks to a new low in despicable viciousness, claiming Clinton suffers from Alzheimer's a...

Maybe while standing in line to pay for your groceries, you've noticed the outrageous attacks on Hillary Clinton in the National Enquirer. This week's smear sinks to a new low in despicable viciousness, claiming Clinton suffers from Alzheimer's and featuring an unrecognizably photo-shopped zombie mask purporting to be the Democratic candidate.

Googling what I suspected to be the Enquirer's ties to Donald Trump, I quickly learned that Trump and Enquirer CEO David J. Pecker (I'm not making this up) are cronies from way back.

It figures. The Enquirer used to run harmless entertaining fake stories about space aliens and two-headed babies. Now the Enquirer runs destructive un-entertaining, fake stories about anyone who opposes Trump, including such Republicans as Ted Cruz.

Beyond this specific matter of the Enquirer's naked hatred for Clinton, America needs to take a hard look at the amount of hate in general around this election. Right and left, everyone - including the various candidates for office - needs to dial down the divisive rhetoric, because no matter who wins in November, about half the electorate is going to feel angry and frightened. Under these conditions, how can the country find a way forward together?

As an antidote, I would advise anyone who fears the power mania of the next president to read a good contemporary political biography, such as Carl Bernstein's fair, detailed 2007 portrait of Hillary Clinton, "A Woman in Charge." Bernstein makes clear that no president can succeed without the cooperation of a vast and complex Washington establishment, which both major parties have created together and which is not going away anytime soon, no matter which of our flawed candidates we elect.

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