Rancor

633 words written by dylan
Posted January 09, 2004 @ 11:08 PM
1 TrackBacks

I don't think people in the middle of this country understand how much hatred there is for Dubya on the coasts. It's the flip side of all the Clinton-bashing of the last 10+ years -- the lower the blows, the lower the height the opposition feels it has to hit.

I believe political discourse is now impossible in this country, thanks to the media, the bevy of talk-show moruns out there, and a bunch of writers too lazy to write an interesting and factual column. It's sad when bloggers on both sides have a better grasp on political ideas than the mainstream media.

At times, I wonder if the decay of political discourse has been part of a conservative plot hatched over the last 15 or so years. Declare that the media is biased against you (despite owning said media). Sponsor talk shows and writers that twist the truth and say things out of bounds -- then say the other side is doing it. Those that care rabidly support you and buy into your 1984-esque mindthink. The opposition is clobbered because they don't control the media, and all they can do is sink to your level, further sending Middle America into political apathy. The more of Middle America you can send to the sidelines, the more your rabid supporters can send your guys into office.

Last night on the way home I heard a commentary from some columnist at the National Review. His argument was that because we have an entitlement system, people emigrate to the USA to live off our tax dollar, so we should get rid of welfare. Problem is, he didn't cite any numbers. How many immigrants, illegal or otherwise, are on the dole? He didn't say, he just broadbrushed "bad" immigrants. "Good" immigrants are people who work hard, bad ones come for the dole. Thing is, I don't think I've met an immigrant who came just to live on our welfare system (though I did meet some folks in the UK who were doing just that.) So, based on my anecdotal evidence, he's talking about a handful of people that should be the root cause to 86 welfare, WIC, and Medicaid. Mind you, I don't have the numbers... but my numbers are as good as the ones he cited.

In effect, the GOP is turning into the Democratic party of the late 19th century. They want to rule, not govern. The current crop of Democrats are left wrong-footed and can't form a coherent opposition. Without a coherent opposition, the GOP entrenches and changes the rules to ensure they can maintain power. (Thing is, they already are. Remember those term-limits on committee chairs in the House they promised in 1994? Gone to history, just like every other discussion of term limits.)

This entrenchment is a very, very bad thing. You're left with a government moving towards indifference to what its constiutents really want, consolidation of financial power into a very few, and the possibility of a plutocracy that controls the instruments that allow for self-improvement in American society, such as education. Last time this happened the Progressive movement beat the snot out of the Democratic party, broke up the trusts, and brought about the banes of modern politics -- initiative and referendum. Now... where will the new Progressives come from? Where's our Teddy Roosevelt, our William Taft?

The rancor between right and left is a reflection of the chasm that exists in our society right now. The left and the right won't admit it, but we're dangerously close to severe social disorder in this country. Sure, we've had this sort of rancor before, but I don't remember it being this nasty. The vitriol that's out there makes the Ken Lay/American Spectator view of Clinton look like a polite disagreement.