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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Civility

Has anyone else noticed that with this election year, our media have dipped to new lows in basic civility, which weren't high to begin with? Ridicule, outright mocking, accusations that the right doesn't know what it's talking about rather than answer their arguments.... Partisanship is more flagrant, discussions seem more heated, open-mindedness has gone by the wayside, and the issues that bring about the most 'discussion' aren't even substantive! I'm talking, of course, on the 'war on women' and all the other distractions the Democrats use to keep the national attention away from Obama's (and his liberal supporters) failed policies. Why is this OK in the minds of their supporters? Maybe it isn't OK and will affect Democratic support.

Do we really need to be subject to the inflammatory and utterly inappropriate words of Bill Maher? Or to have the message that "You're wrong!" shoved down conservative throats when conservatives aren't responsible for the focus or direction of national attention anyway? Or do liberals really think that they're winning a debate with conservatives when conservatives aren't guilty of the things the left accuses them of doing? This sort of behavior is unnecessary, though it is par for the political course. I think the tenor of this politically-charged atmosphere is going to have consequences in terms of Democratic votes. This blatant bias and rudeness has to be a turn-off to at least a few fence-sitters. Democrats really can't say they take the high road in their policies when the results of these policies show failure (which they make excuses for or disregard or ignore) when to get support for these policies they resort to belittling the opposite point of view in combination with a few ambiguous hard numbers, nor can they spin their failures into conservative failures through their finger pointing and name calling. Incivility makes them look bad.

Were Democrat talking heads civil, they would respectfully disagree with conservative positions and argue their points. This leads me to wonder whether they can make their case in rational ways, since instead they inevitably make fun of the other side and try to drive national opinion to follow suit. Think of Sarah Palin! They so demonized that poor woman that people who had never met her, never heard her speak, or read her articles proclaimed her of the devil, stupid, ignorant, and hateful!  And even now, though they grudgingly admit that they haven't killed her even though they sure tried their hardest to ruin her reputation, they continue to mock her, without calling her stupid since that didn't work. They also falsely accuse the Tea Party of things like racism and slander, etc. They even offered to pay anyone who could provide hard evidence of racism or law-breaking at a Tea Party rally, but nothing turned up, yet the story continued without any evidence. Is that civil? Now they ignore the Tea Party rather than give them any attention and possible support. The OWS group, begun as a liberal version of the Tea Party to drum up compassion and fervor for the liberal cause, was promptly dropped from national attention because the members were so rowdy and violent and law-breaking that they weren't helping liberals at all! I realize that Democrats might here say that I'm being uncivil myself. That is not my intent. My intent is to provide food for thought and for introspection on where you stand relating to this sort of discourse. Do you support it, agree with it, or find it effective?

Let's look at the other side. For conservative media to have national attention paid to it, it has to be so substantive that liberal media can't ignore it. Like the John Edwards scandal, for example. That story broke grudgingly and belatedly after exposure by Breitbart. The tenor of these articles or conversations is starkly different than liberal media. Rather than making fun of people, they have to make their cases by using the hard facts, often by pointing out liberal bias or holes in the liberal logic for these distractions such as 'the war on women.' Even Rush Limbaugh's supposedly inflammatory remarks really aren't, if you listen to all of what he says instead of only a phrase or two. A caution for the right would be to avoid excessive sarcasm and maintain a respectful tone to promote the conservative cause. Many of us on the right point fingers back at the left and essentially do the same thing they do. It is easier and more entertaining, and they are valid points to make, but we can do it without rancor to more effect.

There is a lesson here. Substance and reason are more convincing to change minds than contention will ever be, as entertaining as it may seem. Obama is lauded for his restraint and self-discipline. I don't know that I've seen such a thing when he is crossed or questioned (arrogance and condescension come to mind), but I'll go with it for now. Mitt Romney is as well, in at least some of the editorials I've read. In this they are both examples of appropriate behavior when we have differences of opinion. These are people serious about winning over the minds and support of the people of the United States.

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