Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Are we in "backwards" land now?

I'm a Republican. Technically, I consider myself somewhere between a "Colin Powell Moderate" and a "Ron Paul Libertarian", but that is too hard to quickly describe at a party and really kills the conversation (people start finding excuses to go talk to other people.) I usued to "mostly" agree with the Republican platform of a strong military, spending less, taxing less, and encouraging business. The Republican Party has been mutating, though; and not in to good mutants like Halle Berry's "Storm".

Based on the predictable right-wing's outcry surrounding John McCain's rise to be the Republican candidate and his not really caring, I expected McCain's running mate would be someone with not only impeccable credentials but also highly qualified. I like McCain, by the way. So Sarah Palin sort of put the election in to bizarro mode. Yet the "left" and "right" reaction to her is even more bizzare. The Week's editor, William Falk, is apparently in the same boat I'm in. Here is his commentary from The Week's 19 Sept 2008 issue:

"I am so confused." After years of steeping myself in a couple of hundred opinion columns a week, I'd thought I had a good grasp of where the Left and Right's leading lights stood on any given issue. But somebody seems to have switched the scripts. Conservative pundits who once disdained feminism are lauding Sarah Palin's heroism in pursuing a demanding career while raising five kids. Liberal feminists, meanwhile are suggesting that because of her unseemly ambition, Palin would either be an irresponsible absentee mom or a distracted vice president. Stranger still is the reaction to the out-of-wedlock pregnancy of Palin's 17-year old daughter, Bristol. Just yesterday, it seems, religious conservatives were denouncing the young, unmarried, and pregnant Jamie Lynn Spears as a symbol of all that’s gone wrong in our permissive, secular culture, and condemning her mother’s terrible values. Now, in defense of the Palins, evangelicals are arguing that those things-oops!-happen in even the best of families. Meanwhile, the usually free-thinking Left is fulminating that Bristol’s swelling belly sets a terrible example for the nation’s impressionable youth.

Have we all fallen down some rabbit hole? One day, Republicans say a lack of political experience is a fatal flaw; Democrats say it frees you to see things anew. Now it’s the other way around. It’s as if these strongly voiced opinions were simply debating points, chosen because they suited the circumstances-and candidates-of the moment. Could it be that intense partisanship unhinges us all, leading us to being with the conclusion we prefer, and then to reason backward to reach it? But that would be so intellectually dishonest, so … irrational. Surely, there must be some other explanation."


At 8:16 AM, Blogger Mark Arnold said...

It's not that difficult. Many Americans are so politically ignorant (the nice sense of the word) that they drop back on what they think their core values are, as told to them by their congressmen who listen to what their constituents tell them their core values are and they know what those values are to tell the congressman because their congressman just told them.

Suddenly the circle is complete and it's Aliens out, Terrrists are attacking our values (They're not, they're attacking us because we're over there and they don't want us over there)and then everyone starts chanting USA, USA because they don't have anything meaningfull to contribute to the debate.

As a member (until I moved here) of the British Conservative Party I really aligned myself with the GOP. Living here for a while now has completely changed my opinions. I am horrified at nearly every Republican I listen to. It's like Fox News on every bar stool and airport lounge.

I'm afraid the only salvation for the USA is when someone with a Democrat type leaning (and I don't support the current candidate btw) stops the whole USA in its tracks and says:
Pregnancy termination is not murder. You might find it morally repugnant but that's no reason to impose that view into law with no exceptions or caveats.
Creationism is just plain stupid.
Globalisation is not taking your jobs.
You need immigrants to serve your morning Dunkin Donuts because no WASP/whatever is going to do it for you.
You need a sensible state-by-state NHS type-broad-equivalent (only way better managed)
No, guns really, really DO kill people and there is no need for any rabbit hunting Virginian to own an M16.
And a ton of other things I won't bore you with.

(Use of the word 'you' is generic and in no way targetted at Jim whose opinion I very much respect in all things)


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