Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Two-fer Day

The other day I heard a commentator say that it was stupid to say that harsh rhetoric in the media and elsewhere in the political discourse of the Republic was "dangerous to our democracy."

She went on to say words the effect that "no one would object to the fact that political debate sometimes gets sharp and contentious."

I was in the car at the time and, although the speaker could not see me, my hand shot into the air.

I object to sharp and contentious political "debate" such as we have seen, for example, around the latest Supreme Court nomination. In fact, I object to sharp and contentious debate anywhere.

This kind of stuff locks people up, freezes them into opposition, makes it difficult if not impossible to do business with one another.

The danger, here, is that the discourse that allows people to call one another "murderers," and "traitors," and all kinds of other stuff of that ilk is so divisive that it makes the give and take of a self governing republic difficult to do.

The inability of the political parties to compromise with one another, on both the state and national levels, has created a gridlock that has left serious problems unaddressed for the better part of a decade. Who, after all, can compromise with "murderers" and "traitors" and expect good results. Who can even talk, let alone listen, to such people?

The rough and tumble of such things as "Tiller the baby killer" isn't harmless. The words matter.

And I think that some people who defend this kind of discourse, and dismiss it as "political correctness" or some such shibboleth, know full well what they are doing. There are those who are positively dis-interested in a "give and take" type of government. They want to rule as the Bush Administration did: going into power on a razor's edge (or perhaps no edge, at all) of a "mandate" they governed as though they won five votes to one.

I supported Mr. Obama because he said that wasn't a way to go about things and he has been trying to change that culture. In the end I know he will use the votes if he has them to get health care and climate change legislation--even if not one Republican supports it. But I admire his effort to compromise and bring some along some Republicans, to try to change the culture of overpowering opponents without any concern about their positions.

So, the Lily is for people like Rush Limbaugh--he is one of those who knows darned well that he is using language in a dishonest way to overcome those with whom he disagrees without any accommodation toward them, at all.

No compromise. Compromise is, apparently, now un American.

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