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.


humboldtherald said...

McCain's exercise in being a gentleman follows his campaign's concerted effort to whip up hatred and ignorance.

Good for McCain for telling his supporters that Obama is a "decent family man" and not an Arab (as if wholesale hatred against Arabs is acceptable). Hopefully it will quell some of the hatred caused by his campaign.

Indie said...

The open acceptance of racism against Arabs, Muslims or anyone of Middle Eastern descent has been going on since 9/11. I am ashamed of us every time I see it. I really started paying attention to it in 2005. Things are tolerated -- statements, media portrayals, behavior-- that, if leveled against any other racial group, would outrage most Americans. Case in point: the TV show "24." Because of our fear and dread of terrorism, we have allowed ourselves to become inured, accustomed, blind to blatant racism.

Carson Park Ranger said...

I suppose that the coverage of the open hostility exhibited at McCain/Palin rallies finally shamed Senator McCain into reproaching one of his supporters. We're supposed to be favorably impressed.

Indie said...

I am. Not enough to swing my vote his direction... But it didn't seem to impress his own followers much.

Carson Park Ranger said...

Bush/Karl Rove's nasty campaign against McCain in 2000 should have made McCain more independent from the GOP, but it appears to have only made him more submissive.

That campaign should also have given faithful Christians a glimpse of who George W. Bush really is, but the lesson remains largely ignored.

Indie said...

It continues to astound me. But then Bush was re-elected fair and square after that, so people weren't too put off by the way the previous election had gone, I guess. Unless some people gave up in disgust and decided not to vote at all.