Q&A Friday #10: When Your Political Opponents Die, How Should You Handle It?

Question: “I know there’s a fine line between partisanship and hatred, and that when Ronald Reagan died, all the Dems said nice things about him (even if they didn’t mean them). But do you think that Robert Byrd, who is a blatantly racist former member of the KKK, would deserve any respect or kind words when he dies? I’m sorry, but I couldn’t bring myself to feel the least bit bad about it. Should all been forgiven, or is his past just too appalling to forget and forgive?” — Schroman2002

Answer: My view on this is pretty simple. When somebody dies, even if it’s a bitter political enemy, the classy thing to do is to put aside how you feel about him & wish condolences to his family and friends.

I’m not saying that you have to come out and tell the world that you think he’s a wonderful person, but you should keep in mind that people are grieving and at least keep quiet about what a rotten guy you think the deceased was for a while. Being gleeful about the death of a political enemy or using the occasion of their passing to try to score cheap political points is bad form and most people don’t appreciate it.

PS: A lot of Democrats said very nasty things about Reagan when he died.

PS #2: As far as I’m concerned, terrorists, dictators, or enemies of our country are fair game when they die. So feel free to throw that “Osama Bin Laden is dead” party when that happy day finally comes.

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