What interests me (well, one of the things that interests me) is the collapse of political debate that's so often reflected in these discussions. On conservative blogs and boards, criticism of the President is tantamount to High Treason (unless it's Michelle Malkin going after him for his stance on immigration reform. She gets a pass for some reason). And then discussion between the "sides?" Forget it.I understand where Amy's coming from about the breakdown in civil discourse. At the same time, though, I'm puzzled why every blogger I see wringing hands over this neglects to mention who turned up the furnace full blast to begin with, starting all the way back at Afghanistan.
Of course, since Afghanistan did play more like the ideal war movie Andrea describes so perfectly in her post, everyone has since had complete amnesia about it--and now you can't find anyone who will admit opposing it, even though many on the left did at the time. Have I mentioned my cousin . . . ? Note the date: September 24, 2001. There's another one out there I'm too lazy to hunt up from an organized protest held at Oberlin (the Guardian does love talking to my cousin--or he's just an expert at positioning himself in front of a microphone, I don't know which) on October 11 that same year.
Nope, my cousin didn't waste a minute agitating for peace. Neither did the socialists who organized the October 11 event.
Of course, every time someone on the right suggested the antiwar crowd disengage itself from radical leftist organizations, that person was met with the rebuttal that just because you share a sandbox with shady characters doesn't mean you are a shady character yourself. This came as quite a shock to any Republican who'd ever been hit with the "racist" tag, and that's most of them. Oh!--Or are we saying no one on the left would care if conservative leaders let a bunch of neo-Nazis organize a pro-war rally? Because bullshit.
But back to mourning civil discourse: I used to cry over the inability of either side to really "debate issues" myself, but lately it seems I'm on my last box of sympathy tissues. It's been a gradual process, one I think plenty of others have gone through during the last four years as well. Some burned out quick, some burned out slow, and some are still going strong. It varies from person to person, but the trend is ever downward.
What the left can't or won't learn in this country is that seething, full-throttle anger is subject to the law of diminishing returns--it gets less and less attention paid to it as it's used more and more often. Thus I find I have no more sympathy for either the antiwar left nor the can't-we-all-just-get-along? right, even though I've previously counted myself among that last group.
No more. If the antiwarriors had wanted their message discussed and debated with respect and civility, they should have turned the volume down from 11 literally years ago. They shouldn't have shot their wads in an orgy of Bush Derangement Syndrome--the stolen election! the impending theocracy! the torpedoing of the economy! ANWAR! KYOTO! the brutal Afghan winter! the crushing of dissent! Tell me one thing: Is crushed dissent always this loud?
And you wonder why no one's listening now?--It's because we can't; we've gone deaf from all the screaming and intolerant from all the silliness. It's going to take years of kinder, gentler, and (dear-please-God) smarter Democrats--none of whom seem to be forthcoming (or, well, even in existence) at the moment--before I'll listen to anything from that party.
You've blown it. You've taken a legitimate opposition party with an inspiring heritage of standing up for the oppressed and you've turned it into the party of toddlers. You're in time out. And as far as I'm concerned, you can stay there until you're 45, or until your leadership has the sense to take deranged frothmasters like Oliver Willis and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga off the payroll, whichever comes first. Right now I'm forced to bet it's the former.Posted by Ilyka at August 23, 2005 12:35 AM in hell is other people | TrackBack