While it's good to defend against shoddy journalism, the overall result of the "Pointergate" uproar will simply be to help keep north Minneapolis in the distressed condition that it's in. This outcome is a product of our political system and ideologies, and it paralyzes urban areas everywhere.

No politician or public policy has the power to transform all economic and social ills. But to the degree that policy and political leadership could bring positive change, the Minneapolis DFL has achieved practically nothing in its decadeslong political reign to improve the situation of north Minneapolis.

Normally, such a record isn't rewarded. But American politics isn't normal.

From the White House to school boards, political competition and debate is bifurcated. It's for vs. against, us vs. them, liberal vs. conservative, right vs. left and right vs. wrong. In the case of #pointergate, we have in one corner "bad KSTP," branded with conservatism and racism; and in the other corner "good Betsy Hodges," somehow affirmed as the answer to the community's woes.

There are no other sides.

To the commentarial, polarized bifurcation means one can safely neglect the search for ways of actually being helpful. The "good guy" representing progress and a better future can be the same guy overseeing a continued malaise of dysfunction and underperformance. Two-way ideological warfare means you jump on your only opponent when they screw up. And boy did the commentaries and websites and social media have a field day with #pointergate — less out of concern for the north Minneapolis community, I feel, than as a blow against an ideological foe.

It's all wheel-spinning.

And the people off to the sideline of this right vs. left collision are those whom these websites and readers and #pointergate retweeters are patting themselves on the back for protecting.

Here's a thought experiment: Take #pointergate out of the equation, and what are we left with? A mayor in a photo op working to get out the vote for her party. But because of some bad journalism and the dualistic nature of American politics and ideology, that cheesy pose, attacked by her ideological enemies, is now a heroic cause rallying support.

I do understand that this is a grand delusion that seems to have taken over the nation. (Do voters for the recent wave of Republicans to Washington, D.C., think their lives are going to get better under this new leadership? Or is it just the comfort of having someone in office who says the right things — or, more likely, simply isn't the "other guy"?)

But I admit my understanding becomes challenged as educated and supposedly enlightened people so blindly embrace failure.

Perhaps the lesser of evils is still the better choice. But north Minneapolis really hasn't gotten any better under the leadership of the proclaimed good guys. And yet, because of the sentiments underlying #pointergate, the media and voters will help see that such leadership continues.

That's the real tragedy.

Brandon Ferdig is a Minneapolis-based writer. He can be reached at brandon@theperiphery.com and followed on Twitter @brandonferdig.