In all the years I’ve been alive on this earth I don’t believe I’ve witnessed a more jaundiced political climate than I have over the last 10 years.
A while back, actress Jeannine Garofalo went after the Tea Party protesters, saying, “It’s about hating a black man in the White House. That is racism straight up. This is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks.”
Hollywood trots these dupes out every once in a while. Garofalo hasn’t had much of a career since her standup days during the 1980s, so she works perfectly for the liberal elitist establishment in Tinseltown. Matt Damon shrewdly kept his politics to himself for years and enjoyed a meteoric rise, but then blew it all, calling Palin’s run for Veep, “a really bad Disney movie … ” and now he’s spouting this Iraq conspiracy nonsense. Memo to Matt: You’re about to be offered some great supporting rolls.
What is missing here, I think, are a sense of common civility and good humor. I believe they are inextricably linked. Garofalo I understand, she’s smarter than the rest of us, but to guys like Damon and former Boss Bruce Springsteen, I just want to say: Stop for a second and take a deep breath. Deeper. That’s better.
Now, go to your dresser in the bedroom. Yes, the bedroom, that’s right. The bottom drawer … or is it the middle drawer? Whatever. Way in the back, under the stash of Hustler magazines you think Jesus and your wife don’t know about, there used to be a sense of humor.
Freaking take it out!!!
In the brief few weeks since I launched the Ledger I have denounced liberal (excuse me, progressive) Republicans that forgot their glasses thirty years ago and checked the wrong party box when they registered to vote. I’ve gone after both Bushes as globalists, and scathingly criticized W for what can only be reasonably understood as his collusion with Vicente Fox to subvert federal immigration laws.
More recently I have taken on Barack Obama, who’s rapidly shaping up to be the greatest Chicago gangster since Al Capone left the Lexington Hotel for Alcatraz.
All of this being said, I don’t hate liberals. The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a wellspring of true liberal thought and Tip O’Neal had a great sense of humor. Which may be the problem because most of my favorite liberals are dead.
If the New York Times or the Washington Post – well, just about any daily newspaper – is your staple news-gathering medium, I know, you think that conservatives are hateful, intolerant, and dangerous bigots, who would rather squash a liberal like a bug, than run their Bedtime For Bonzo CD on a Friday night.
Wanna count gay friends? Bet I have more.
Seriously, what has happened to the sense of civility in our society? I have deep, abiding, unwavering beliefs as to why I think Barack Obama is bad for America, but I think the President is a good family man with two lovely daughters, and a guy who loves B-ball, golf, and dogs can’t be all bad.
Perhaps the more appropriate question is, What has happened to civil debate?
America is bipolar. It’s the nature of the beast. We are a two-party society and a third party will never take root here without replacing one of the existing parties. Why? Because it’s the American way, and something about this great experiment in Democracy works in spite of the most vicious attempts to destroy it. Heated debate has and always has been a part of the American tapestry. But lack of civility in the war of ideas is and always has been unacceptable.
What deeply disturbs me lately is our society’s waning ability to know the difference between extremism and just being American.
What I don’t understand is this seeming inability to know the difference between a gangbanger smuggling an AK-47 into school, and a child trying to make an impression at Show-and-Tell. The six-year-old suspended for kissing a little girl on the playground. Remember that one? I mean, sheesh! Pin knives and cap pistols and kissing girls until they kick your shins are a boy thing to do. It’s the stuff we laugh about when we see each other at class reunions.
Honestly, I see this lack of civil humor surfacing much more in liberals nowadays than I do in conservatives. Yes, it exists on both sides, but I don’t hear very many conservatives slinging around words like racist, dangerous, and intolerant, when someone says something offensive about them, and liberals deal them out like Pez dispensers.
This guy Grayson, in congress. I mean how do you reconcile sewage like that spewing out of a man who walks the hollowed halls of the greatest legislative institution in the history of the world? Saying the other party wants people to die? Calling someone who disagrees with you a whore? I just don’t get it. I understand it; I just don’t get how anyone can be that hateful.
Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda were fast friends for fifty years. Fonda was one of Hollywood’s most ardent liberals, and Stewart was an archconservative. Yet, every Saturday morning for decades the two met at one or another’s home and built model airplanes together.
Since when have our beliefs become so fragile that we can’t disagree to disagree as adults? Since when have personal attacks become acceptable? Hollywood I understand, most celebrities need an encephalic enema, anyway. But the personal vitriol I’m seeing from senators and congressmen and from the mainstream electronic and print media is plain out of line.
Everyone has an opinion and everyone has a right to express theirs, but when I hear of Administration plans to go after the Internet and talk radio, because some have the audacity to disagree, it horrifies me.
If Americans on both sides don’t stand up and demand an end to these attacks, and quickly, some administration — whether this one or another — will own us.
And that, my friend, will be the true demise of civility.