Saturday, June 26, 2004

Pessimism and rage vs unintentional irony

The news today is about Dubya's latest ad, "Kerry's Coalition of the Wild-Eyed", which intersperses comments from Gore, Dean and others slamming Bush with shots of Hitler. And then ends with "Now is not the time for pessimism and rage ... ". Now, I'd have have thought it would impossible for Bush to both compare Democrats to Hitler and critize them for negative campaiging in the same 30second spot. I guess anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Interestingly this is the same day that Cheney is in the news for telling Senator Leahy to f**k himself. From another source,

"I expressed myself rather forcefully, felt better after I had done it," Cheney told broadcast sources. Cheney said those who heard the putdown agreed with him. "I think that a lot of my colleagues felt that what I had said badly needed to be said, that it was long overdue."

Unfortunately, the direction the country's heading is not particularly funny: regardless of who wins or loses in November I don't see when or how we're going to get away from this take-to-prisoners sort of partisan warfare. We're all red or blue, and nobody's even a little bit purple. I don't know if it's helping Bush to continually bash Kerry, but at this point I think it's hurting Demos to keep pounding at Bush quite as bitterly as they often do. For one thing, political discussions now seem to quickly devolve into whether or not Bush is, in fact, the anti-Christ, which a relatively difficult preposition to conclusively establish, let alone find common ground on.

Admittedly, I sympathize with the rage, and even from time to time start wondering myself about the various conspiracy theories. Bush is easy to rage against - although he made a point of sounding moderate in the election, since then he's cozied up quite soundly with the Republican hard-core...and if you don't know what that's really like, I strongly recommend you look into it. For instance, read about the Texas GOP platform. But I think part of the polarity is that it's just so darn easy now to find news sources that you agree with. It used to be that if you wanted to follow sports you needed to look at the news, but now you can watch only the news you believe in. There's a recent survey which is very revealing...for instance, Republicans are twice as likely to believe "all or most news" from Fox than the NY Times. If nobody listens to the center - let alone opposing viewpoints - it's no wonder that the left and right are progressively more and more divergent, and progressively more and more at odds with each other.