December 03, 2004

Teeter Totter

In our new and excitingly polarized political spectrum, baseless anecdote now rules the roost.

Apparently the closer one gets to the extreme right or extreme left, the arsenal employed in the discourse is reduced to the opposing cannon of bluthering bombast. And, a phenomenon that I think has really changed the landscape recently, these extreme ends are becoming the most vociferous parts of the political body. The ends are tending now toward defining the Demo and Repub positions in the public sector, essentially abandoning the 33% in the center. Actually, check that. Delete "Abandoning". Insert "Beating Down". Thus the polarization we've witnessed.

Sure, the actual elected politicians are all essentially Republi-crats, but their supporters, their fundsmen, their voices, those to whom they are beholden, are the insaniac PACs and Interest Groups and highly acidic squeeky wheels of rhetoric directing the bus. To a head-on collision.

True, it appears that discussion in general has gotten lively and open, uncensored and inclusive. Look at the Political Blogstitutions springing up everywhere. Yeah, well, now look at the Comments on those sites. Witness the terms "echo chamber" and "troll". As of two weeks ago I had no idea what they actually meant in the Big Bloglossary. Obviously I'm just slow on the uptake. Each side HATES each other. Middle ground is no-man's land, a mine-field. Open season on understanding and concession!

Now, I don't know if this is a particularly new trend. But things have filtered through fairly completely and we seem to be getting closer to the most logical conclusions of such a trend. Suddenly everything is red vs. blue, Jesusland vs. The U.S. of Canada.

You know, somewhat recently there were still "Moderates" in each party. Nee Liberal Republicans and Conservative Democrats.

The idea being, sociopolitical issues might move somebody one way, whereas spiritual or financial issues may point that same person in precisely opposite directions. In the not too distant past it was a few certain positions, on a handful of issues, that truly distinguished each party from the other, and much of the rest was open for discussion.

Each party internally maintained a fairly wide spectrum of opinion, based on their cultural and regional origins. There were anti-abortion or states'-rights-advocating or fiscally conservative Democrats (in the South for instance), and conversely there were regulatory, isolationist, federal-powers Rebublicans too. Those people, in small numbers, still exist, but increasingly they've been dragged in handcuffs to the proverbial political border and deported. "You are not on our team. Big guy says so." So while the national political center of gravity straddles that border, the puppeteers hovering over the actual combat theatre are the aforementioned rhetoric-masters against the back walls. Way over there on the far left and right. Manifesto automatons with no ears.

Pragmatism?
Measured arguments?
Points we can agree on?

Psshhhh. Troll.

1 Comments:

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