Monday, October 13, 2008
The Sins of Decency and Moderation
Wow, so all a Republican candidate has to do to win the scorn of his rabid followers is to fight like a gentleman. McCain was booed at his own rally when he referred to Obama as "decent." Showing himself to be a decent guy turns out to be a terrible political move for McCain. Decency in their own candidate seems to be unforgivable to Republicans, and admitting that the other guys' candidate might be decent is unthinkable.
Is there something nonsensical in this, Alice? Might it be excellent parlance over tea at the Mad Hatter's?
The shocking part for Republicans is the horrible discovery that they may have a moderate on their hands. Moderation is a dirty word in today's polarized political climate. Once upon a time there was a difference between popular polarization and partisan polarization, but not anymore.
Now ordinary people open their mouths and out come sound bytes prepared at political party headquarters, distributed unquestioned through the media, directly into the uncritical brains of average Americans.
High schools have been scurrying to provide media literacy classes to their students, and colleges include critical thinking classes as part of their breadth and depth courses. But these educational endeavors can't combat the barrage of bad rhetoric we receive every day. Unethical rhetoric, tribal rhetoric, us-and-them rhetoric, what is the term? Demonstrative rhetoric.
If I were in a position to offer advice, this is what I would say: Wake up and put your rational mind back in charge. When you hear/read something, never accept it at face value. Fall back on the old journalist tricks from back when journalists investigated and exposed corruption: consider the source and follow the money.