October 13, 2010

Why liberals and Tea Partiers are talking past each other.

..it’s only one subset of Ivy Leaguers that seems to bother anybody on the right: the lawyer-social engineers-journalist-activists they churn out by the boatload. No one begrudges kids who’ve made good from tough backgrounds. What bothers lots of Americans is when those kids then think they are entitled to cajole, nudge, command and  denigrate the rest of America. To date, I’ve seen not one instance of Tea Partiers denouncing engineers, physicists, cardiologists, accountants, biologist, archeologists or a thousand other professions who’ve emerged from elite schools. Because those people aren’t bossing anybody around.

Nailed it.  The left has been ascribing racism and hypocrisy as prime elements in the Tea Party.  That is, Obama is a scary black man and white people don't want him as President because they're racists.  It has nothing to do with trillions in new spending that has had zero effect on helping the economy.  Hypocrisy comes from supporting some government spending but not others.  This is a convenient strawman that is easy to set up and knock down.

If you remember Al Gore was going to "reinvent government" and I loved him for it.  He was going to be the crusader against waste, fraud and abuse.  He went on Letterman to illustrate how absurd government rules were.  According to some bizarre government regulation, ashtrays had to break into a specific number of pieces when broken.   It could have made him very appealing to both left and right.  It did not.  I think once in office he saw the enormity of the task before him and that the institutional momentum was insurmountable.  Government has no interest in efficiency.  There is no impetus for efficiency.  Rather, the system serves itself.  It wants to get progressively larger in scope and size so as to avoid being defunded.  

This inexorable growth is what has been stoking the fires of discontent among the average voter.  For years they've had little chance to vote for anyone who really wanted to reduce, not just hold, government spending.  Nor were they able to find major candidates who wanted to make government less intrusive in their lives.  The Tea Party changed that.  It acted as an amplifier for those voices.  This should have been a function of the GOP but that it isn't shows how far afield the GOP has gone from the Reagan years.  The rise of the God Squad on the Right has soured a great many of people who would otherwise support them.  Combine that with Bush's big spending and you lose another chunk of would be supporters.  

Libertarians should be the home to these people but instead of being the party of low taxes, unobtrusive government and property rights, they're the party of legal drugs and legal prostitution.  Not to mention the inherent difficulties in organizing people who pride themselves on being self-sufficient.

Liberals dismiss the Tea Party as racist and stupid because it's easy.  It is much easier than actually listening to what they're saying.  Liberals know, but won't admit, the stimulus was an abject failure.  Spending in phantom districts, dead people and prisoners receiving thousands and thousands of dollars.  

The media isn't helping.  They've set their timetables to shorter than a gnat's eyeblink.  Everything is soundbites and no substance.  Four talking heads on an issue and they'll take all of 3 minutes to speak to them.  If you ask me, the reason TV is on the decline and podcasts are on the rise is exactly that.  Longform is more organic and natural.  It lends itself to substance more than the b.s. recycled talking point/soundbite crap we're fed by the noise machine.  (For the record I include all major media outlets ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc.)

Lastly the thing I think is most damaging is personalizing the political.  Ages ago, politics were merely one thing of many that people identified with.  They agreed or not but if not they usually agreed to disagree and went on with their lives.  Spirited debate and argument were fine but it was intellectual exercise.  Now, however, politics is personal.  To disagree with a man's politics makes you <i>the enemy</i>.  As if it means that person is against you <b>personally</b>.  Think of it as being a sports fan.  I'm a Giants fan and I live in Sheagle country.  I take no small amount of heckling because of it but nobody hates me for it (that I know of).  They don't take it as a personal affront.  If the Giants lose I get the ribbing and simply ask when the Eagles won their last Super Bowl and that's usually the end of that.  That is what we need again here.  We are all in the same boat and trading hammer blows isn't good because somebody is going to put a hole in the hull or capsize us.  

Two local examples:  Donviti was one of the first lefty bloggers I read in the DE blogosphere.  Why?  He was consistent and respectful.  Whenever I posted something that contravened something he said, he would disagree and then thank me for commenting.  That, my friends, is the way it is supposed to be.  I didn't follow the whole saga at DelawareLiberal (largely because they kept it among themselves) but it appears DV left (or was drummed out) for being critical of Democrats when they do something wrong.  He was insufficiently partisan.  I commend him for his integrity.  (NB:  I don't really know any of the parties involved other than meeting them in person once at DV's house so I don't have a dog in this fight)

The other example is KAVIPS.  He was the other voice of reason in the blogosphere until he started to get incoming links from HuffPo.  As I noted in about his latest postings, Republicans are now Nazis and even Satan himself.  Respect the will of the voters until they vote for the wrong people.  Then you must demonize them and fight them until death or something.  That, my friends, is not the way things are supposed to be.  KAVIPS to his credit is always polite to commenters (read: me) but demonizes the nebulous "others".   That is very dangerous ground.  (I am not saying KAVIPS or anyone in DE for that matter is advocating or prone to violence).  I am saying that demonizing our fellow citizens is bad for the country and if taken too far may lead to violence. 

Look, I'm a microbe in the blogosphere.  Roughly 5 people know my scribblings and 3 of them are co-authors of this blog but here's what I'm asking:  Think twice before you post.  Commit to attacking ideas and policies not people.  Do not ascribe motives without evidence.  Do not ascribe to evil that which can be explained by stupid or just wrong.  Do not assume all errors are lies.  Understand that if you say something you believe to be true if you have no evidence to the contrary is not a lie.  It is a mistake or an error.  If my watch is wrong and you ask me what time it is and I tell you.  I have not lied.  I have made a mistake.  This post will never be read by anyone outside of Delaware (most likely).  The DE blogosphere is tiny.   We're neighbors and we should act like it.  

I am, of course, including myself on this one so any time I violate that which I've asked for please put it in the comments.  Just be civil.  

Posted by Duffy at October 13, 2010 11:33 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Damn! .... That's a good post!

Posted by: kavips at October 19, 2010 03:18 AM