“Seeing the Splinter in Our Neighbor’s Eye”

We only see what we value.

‘Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye?” These words of Jesus seem to shout at me when I read the daily news. Why is it that we can see so clearly the faults and failings of those around us, yet we can’t see the same flaws in ourselves?

I’ve read how Trump supporters are angry and frustrated that their president is not being treated respectfully by the “liberal” press. The media seems like a pack of meat-crazed dogs growling and tearing at any sign of weakness in their hated foe. By seeing the newscasts through Trump supporters’ eyes, I have to agree in part with their perspective.

It bothers me that there seems to be a sense of media glee when President Trump or one of his loyalists stumbles or makes some stupid remark through tweets or reports in the press about some issue. It could be the travails of Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen and the massive search by the FBI. Or, it could be the result of recent comments by fired FBI director James Comey in his book or in interviews about Trump’s character and sins.

It doesn’t seem to matter. The liberal media appears determined to bring down this president, the sooner the better.

Paradoxically, though, when I ask the Trump supporters I know about the absolute hounding that President Obama endured through his eight years of the presidency, their response is bewilderment. They have little recollection of any such criticisms. I’m astounded (though I shouldn’t be) that their memories are so short.

We only see what we value. We don’t remember the criticisms of some public figure when media statements agree with our views. We only remember the criticism of our heroes because we identify with them so strongly that the cutting remarks are felt as a personal attack.

Republican leaders on the national and state level seem deeply depressed. As several political cartoons have portrayed, the GOP ship is sinking. Republicans in Congress are bailing from their positions, deeply aware and fearful that the Republicans may take a “shellacking” in the November elections. Even Speaker Paul Ryan is quitting after nineteen years in the House. He represented the best of the GOP’s future young guns who would lead the party into the next generation.

The Republican Party seems at war with itself. Though they control both houses of Congress, the presidency, and hold a majority in the Supreme Court, they can’t agree on many issues. Their president’s flip-flopping and unpredictability have demoralized, discouraged, and confounded them.

Congressional Republicans passed the December tax cut to juice the economy for the November elections, only to be stunned by President Trump’s decision to go forward with his tariffs, which, if Trump actually follows through, will hurt those who live in the red states the most. All the hard work the Republican majority exerted in November and December 2017 seems to be neutralized by their party leader. Trump appears to be blithely unaware or just doesn’t care that he is tearing his party apart and making it vulnerable to defeat in the November elections.

President Trump can make his tweets against Mueller and even his own cabinet, but he seems to be blind to the fact that it has been his actions and words that have provided much of the red meat for the liberal press to pounce upon. President Trump is, in great part, responsible for his own woes.

There are lessons to be learned from both the political wars being waged in Washington D.C. and the media feeding frenzy. Even if we, as individuals, have little power to do much about it at this point in time, we can observe and consider. The biggest lesson for us in the hinterlands is to realize that none of the antagonists in Washington in any way can see the beams of wood in their own eyes. They can only see the splinters in the eyes of their foes.

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