Wednesday, July 02, 2008
The Wesley Clark - John McCain flap:
If the media want to push this
, and the public accepts it, then this country deserves whatever it gets.
There is no point in arguing this issue. Arguing, in a sense, validates the pundits who are saying Clark insulted McCain. You want to do that? Fine. This blog won't.
There comes a time when you see that the opposition, of whatever stripe, is inpervious to facts and logic. Instead of arguing with conservatives or the media about Clark, why not instead argue with a Mormon about the reality of Joseph Smith translating the golden plates with the "Urim and Thummim" or a seer stone
? It'll be about as productive.
Too many people in this country - actually throughout the world - have fixed attitudes that cannot be changed via argument. What does change them is a crisis (financial, medical, mortal) that destroys their life, or comes close to destroying it.
Looks as if the situation this nation is in, is not bad enough to get people to (a) reject bullshit campaign antics, and (b) focus on failed Republican policies and corrupt and incompetent governance.
Looks as if the situation this nation is in, is not bad enough...
How bad does it have to get?!? What happens if people don't wise up until it's far too late?
It's just July, but do we already have enough material for a Top Ten List of 'inartful' comments that were used without complete context to fatally flog a dead horse to death for a week of news cycles ?
- RFK flap - (HRC)
- In Iraq for 100 years - (JM)
- First time in my adult life (MO)
- God bless America? (Rev. JW)
- "As far as I know..." (HRC)
...and now this one. And others, I'm sure.
Every team in this campaign has tried to smear the others with broad strokes based on little snippets that sound real bad in isolation. None of them are innocent in this pissing match of an election year.
If I didn't know better, I'd think it was a conspiracy to give Bob Somerby enough easy targets that he can let an intern write the posts at Daily Howler while he takes a well-deserved luxury vacation somewhere.
If Clark had had an ounce of sense, he would have just said, "Listen: Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government! ... Hello...? Anyone...? Look it up!" and been done with it.
I am not sure I will ever be able to divine a model of the prevailing thought processes that have lead America to this point, but I am confident that it is some mix of laziness, ignorance and pride.
We are voracious consumers too lazy to put in the effort to make sure we're not merely ingesting the junk food versions of news and information. It is almost unAmerican not to have an opinion, so we're forced to choose from one opinion or another.
Complicating things is the fact that sound opinions and salacious ones are given the same short burst of airtime, which is never long enough to properly explore either idea. In this context, the product with more immediate punch will usually win over the one that requires more thoughtfulness, and things as they seemingly "should be" win over how things actually are.
Americans are utterly illiterate with regards to basic understanding of government, geography, personal finance, health, religion, or on any other topic of importance. That is how completely baseless arguments get real consideration. We equate "gotcha" politics with enlightenment and do not differentiate logical fallacies from fact.
Above all, debate is not seen as a crucible in which competing thoughts are used ultimately to divine a greater truth by allowing weak ideas to die. Instead, debate is a competition to win, regardless of merit. We will prop up discredited ideas at our own personal expense so we don't "lose".
Often, discredited ideas are swathed in seemingly unquestionable pillars of God and country as well as purely selfish motivations like bigotry and greed.
I think if we are to evolve past this sorry state, we need to rethink how we discuss things as a nation. There has to be some forum that eliminates all the shortcomings of big media. Perhaps that forum does not yet exist, but I believe something will eventually bring many of the smaller tributaries of good discussion together to either form or inspire a new method of discussion.
Hopefully it will come in time to avoid significant irreparable harm.