Tuesday, July 24, 2012

No parity in this election

I've been duking it out with an assortment of Rommey supporters on Amazon.com's Jackie Evancho "Dream with me" CD forum, on a thread titled "The Redford movie!"

Kind of curious to have a vigorously combative political thread on a forum devoted to the first major label CD of a soprano who sings classical crossover music--nothing remotely political about this singer's life, music, or political activities (none except for campaigning against the annual Canadian baby seal slaughters).

But her fan demographic includes the same kinds of older white males who call in to CSPAN programs to fulminate about them dayum Democrats, so there you are. The thread started with a Russian-American fan worrying that Evancho acting in a film by Robert Redford would damage her career since Redford is a Communist (!!!). It has evolved as place to send all political statements so the other threads on the forum won't get politicized, and they generally aren't, so it works. Yay.

I bring it up here because it has provided me with an interesting assortment of conservatives and a few more liberal folks to debate with. The conservatives include, at one extreme, the kind of people who look through or past you when they talk to you and fill their sentences with words like Socialist Marxist Obama's birth certificate college transcripts United Nations plots dictator take our guns away...you know the type. At the other end are some literate conservatives who fill their entries with links to articles with at least some semblance of credibility.

But the latter type is in the minority, and for the rest, what most strikes is the fact that for them everything every Democrat has ever said or done is a lie or a crime, and everything ever Republican has ever said or done isn't just true but Truth and an expression of virtue. The only exception is a suspicion that Candidate Romney won't immediately act to ban abortion nationally and make it a felony to do or have one.

I've also noticed that when I write something that criticizes both Democrats and Republicans, they completely ignore my criticisms of Democrats and act as if I'm as doctrinaire a leftist as they are rightists.

They're utterly credulous about their side's daily talking points--it all becomes Instant Gospel.

And it's all woven into a narrative they'll line out at the drop of a hat, blaming the Democrats 100% for the Big Recession, the national debt, our trade deficit with China, Iran's nuclear weapons program, and everything else.

President Obama gets zero credit for being a good father and husband. Zero for killing Bin Ladin and innumerable Al Qaeda officers mostly via UAVs striking deep in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. Obama's intelligence is dismissed as affirmative action/teleprompter reading. They talk endlessly about Ayres/Wright/Pelosi/Reid/Barney Frank/Holder yada yada, because they need to focus their wrath on people as talismans of evil. Political ideas are too abstract--individuals must be constantly named--invoked, really, in a kind of mantra--and demonized.

I also know some real live Republicans at church who are like this, but most aren't. They'll still vote for   Governor Romney, even though they wouldn't dream of lying constantly like Romney does--but even the milder ones completely overlook his constant lying.

And that, folks, is what we're up against. Eisenhower would be aghast. One after another, lifelong moderate Republicans take a hike or at least opt out of campaigning for the craziness that is Republicanism today. Think General Colin Powell or Judge Posner or Justice O'Connor. They aren't campaigning for Obama, but they just can't take the nuclear glow-in-the-dark crazy of today's GOP.

Is this what happened to Germany in the 1930s? The gradual slide into tribal ideology, into an extremism that's so black and white, and which justifies anything short of physical violence if it helps My Side win? I don't think it will go that far but after spending a day with the crazies, as I did today, it makes me wonder...

It is not a parity of lying. The Right's lies are crazier, more extreme. There's no law of nature saying both sides must be identical in their devotion to demagoguery, and they aren't. It's the Republicans that have gone off the deep end. I feel personally betrayed because it would have been easy to be a Republican back when the Republican party was conservative. It is not now. The word "conservative" has become decoupled from its denotation. It now means "reactionary."

I'd love for us to have a parliamentary system with a liberal, a conservative, and a moderate party, eternally vying with each other to serve America best.

We all need out dreams, eh?

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