Greg Knauss on the Political Divide

Greg Knauss doesn’t have a blog, so I occasionally publish some of his writing here, because it deserves a wider audience. Today, Greg writes:

There is a divide in this country today, miles wide and fathoms deep. It has cleaved our great nation, and has only grown — and will only continue to grow. But it’s not a left/right split, or Democrat/Republican one. It’s lunatic/non-lunatic.

Our culture has been swept along in a tide of emotionally-resonant, steadfastly anti-rational entertainment, and politics is at the head of the wave. The course of our country, the future of our people, is being determined by lizard-brain responses to images designed to trigger sub-rational responses.

Michael Moore and Ann Coulter aren’t opposed to each other, they are each other: determined propagandists, using the language and mediums best suited to strike at the emotional core of their audiences. They do not work from a common set of facts, and would ignore them even if they existed. When they speak well, they’re Henry V on St. Crispin’s Day. When they speak poorly, they’re a spittle-flecked wacko with an “End of the World is Nigh” sign. But that’s just a matter of presentation: they’re all lunatics, asking us to stop thinking and start feeling. And to start feeling what they want us to feel.

This determined emotionalism — which is another way of saying anti-rationalism — is what drives us today. You can find it distasteful, you can find it depressing, but it’s most important impact is that we have turned over the direction of the country — our future — to the part of our psyche that doesn’t want to think.

It’s not about smarts. The lunatics aren’t stupid — just the opposite. It’s about the willingness to abandon the deductive process in favor of epiphany. It’s about the abandonment of the brain in favor of the gut.

Jon Stewart has said all this, of course, and said it better. But it hit home, hard, because I recently discovered — realized — that I am not immune. I edged up against the lunatic side of the divide the past few weeks. I went — close, anyway — mad. I was angry, irrationally furious, to the point of raging at the world — appallingly, my children included — that things were going they way they were. I stared into the abyss, from the wrong side, and it scared me.

A potential reason for my brush has to do with how I spend my time: on the Internet. The Web is a festering cesspool of lunacy and emotion: Free Republic, Daily Kos, Little Green Footballs, Atrios, Instapundit, on and on and on. Facts only enter the picture when they’re favorable. Emotion rules. There is no common ground, nor a desire for any.

That’s a problem.

Left or right, Democrat or Republican, these labels don’t mean much in the face of the looming (or nearly complete) lunatic take-over. Dispassion and reason are qualities that need to be nurtured and promoted from every political viewpoint, even — or especially — in the face of spittle-flecked wackos.

The question is, where do we start?

If you want to comment, take Greg’s advice and keep it reasonable and dispassionate. Whining (or gloating) about the election will be deleted.

43 thoughts on “Greg Knauss on the Political Divide

  1. I get swept up in it, too, and it is a problem. Well said, Greg.

    I want to contribute to some kind of huge healing project, some mega common ground community both online and in meatspace, but I just don’t know what form it needs to take. Maybe we need to find new a way to push the media to turn away from Emotional Lunatic Reporting…. or a new way to push people to turn away from that same media.

    But what form will this new community take? If MoveOn.org and so much of the res of the internet is caught up in this same fervor, how do we forge new ground? With so many non-voters in our country, and so many voters who cited “moral values” as the most important issue driving their presidential choice, how do we make people understand the very real consequences of choices; how do we help people frame their political choices as questions of policy?

    I’m not sure, but I want to help figure it out. We are a smart bunch.

  2. Where I disagree with Greg is over the identification of the locus of the divide. Ann Coulter and Michael Moore are popularizers and gladiators representing true differences of opinion that can be stated more clearly, more rationally, and with reference to facts. While they might be lunatics, they are representing reasoned positions held by people who are not lunatics. For every William F. Buckley there are fifty Ann Coulters. I think Greg comes across as very 19th century here – he’s got to get used to the idea that facts aren’t found, they are created. Yes, there’s a real world, but we don’t access it through an unmediated, purely-rational process. Rationality itself is a complex of moral, emotional and instinctive acts. The question becomes who has a more compelling picture of reality – which side combines logos, ethos, and pathos in such a way as to inspire others. Some people want what Michael Moore provides; it itches them where they scratch. Other people want to read Suskind. I’m optimistic that both sides can convince people for the right reasons, and they should try. I’m also uncomfortable with what passes for debate on shows that have Ann Coulter as a guest. But I do think there is a deep divide in our country that is not lunacy-based. It is sometimes lunacy-mediated, though!

  3. I just feel as if there is a lack of empathy in America. The vast majority of Americans just are not willing or capable to think independently outside of their personal cocoon. And it shocks me. I am utterly stunned.

    * bracing for the impact of 200+ ranting comments… *

  4. I think that this is an example of how we are all sick from the various “media virii” going around. In the religious world, its the virus of the Christian Coallition that is spreading through sermons and prayer. On the left it is conspiracy theory… both of those are simplifications, but the general thing is that sensationalism is now infecting our basic functions.

    I wouldn’t go out and blame the internet, per se, but post-election discussions with my best friend from my home town (now living in NYC), agree that “email forwards” played a big role with those that don’t read blogs in perhaps almost the same virual way.

    9/11 being the biggest media virus to date.

  5. I think that Greg has a point when he says that Michael Moore and Ann Coulter are essentially the same type of beast. I wholeheartedly agree. Regardless of whose politics you agree with, both of them are extremely emotionally manipulative and don’t rely heavily on rational, reasonable thinking.

    The problem is that their kind of schtick WORKS. It gets people riled up, and those people then go out and do crazy things like vote! And as long as there is a market for it – as long as there are people who will pay to watch Ann Coulter on cable TV, or buy her book, or watch Fahrenheit 9-11 in theatres – the Michael Moores and Ann Coulters of our world will continue to thrive. It will be left up to the rest of us to try to figure out how to operate effectively in the environment that is created by their schtick.

  6. I think of Ann Coulter as more a Jello Biafra than a Michael Moore. If you reverse the sign on Moore he’s somewhere around the Rush Limbaugh level, exact calibration depending on mood.

  7. Moore is O’Riley, maybe? I understand the point, but using Coulter as the Right example is really picking someone on the *far edge* of lunacy.

    This is an excellent piece!

    The only exception I would take is that is is not just “the Internet” (though it is indeed the biggest ” a festering cesspool of lunacy and emotion.”) Most people do not read about politics online. Most people don’t read *anything* online. It’s in our radios and TVs, also. Those are still the media of the masses.

    I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a bigger jack-off session than when they would have the campaign pundits on TV for the “post debate discussion.” The person on the Right said “It’s obvious my guy won.” The person on the Left said “It’s obvious my guy won.” And this is on our “news?”

    I was thinking one of the newspapers needs to just print an Onion-style headline:

    ULTRA-RICH WHITE GUY BEATS OTHER ULTRA-RICH WHITE GUY. Most American’s lives remain a struggle.

  8. Nearly every election year, I have to convince myself to vote and am always reluctant to have either major political party benefit from my vote since I dislike what both of them stand for: division for divison’s sake. This year, you had both Bush and Kerry attacking each other on something they agree on (reducing terrorism) because of the defensive position they are assigned by their party. Too many groups in this country with no real dialogue to addresses each other’s concerns. Sad.

  9. I think that alot of the symptoms of partisanship and party-based vitriol could be alleviated if we got rid of the disease: an unchallenged two-party system. The two party system depends on only one principle: voters will not take any other political party seriously. It’s the only principle that they need to perpetuate in order to stay in power. Any other important issue takes a back seat to the means by which Kerry and Bush keep their hands on the reins of power. The candidates revel in the fact that “Halliburton” and “flip-flopping” are the issues on everyone’s tongues, instead of securing our borders and getting rid of corporate belly rubbing as well as real social-program reform. Voters would rather back a winner than vote for who they actually want to win. It’s idiotic to vote from anyone else but the best candidate; that is a truly wasted vote. The worst part is that people freely admit that they are “voting for the lesser of two evils” or that they really don’t like their candidate of choice, but they don’t want to waste their vote on a candidate that has no chance against the two party system. So people have to frame their viewpoints in line with the only political realities they know: Left or Right.

  10. “The problem is that their kind of schtick WORKS. It gets people riled up, and those people then go out and do crazy things like vote! And as long as there is a market for it…”

    This is another aspect of why its troublesome. And also another reason why an internet mediated lifestyle is troubling. It’s only based on SELECT notions or values. How can I get the best price? How can I kick ass on the online clan server? What’s the difference who I buy my stuff from? If all of this news and links are free, what can bloggers use to capture readers? Drama.

    I liked reading this rant on emotionally driven irrationality. What would happend if everyone in the US acted life “crack addicts looling for a fix”, everytime they got behind the wheel of a vehicle? Trouble.

    Unfortunately, as I quoted above, it works. It’s here to stay. The question is how can we learn to cope. What are the reasonable and justifiable responses to these actions? What happened to that girl after the Sox won the leage championship was irrational and tragic. We are learning that there are these situations that we don’t want to be in if we value our health and the health of our friends.

    People who think its OK to push other peoples buttons just to get a response SUCK. Its fine for movies. Its fine for writing. It’s not FINE when harm comes from people bringing their irrationality onto our lives. Actually, come to think of it, it’s not American. I’m gonne go git my gun.

  11. I agree with you. The Internet, all the blogs, are wonderful vehicles for personal expression, but without action and personal commitment, they’re just a different kind of video game.

    The next few weeks, I will be thinking about what issues, what problems are important to me, and what I can do to help solve them. All my worrying and handwringing about who will or won’t get elected has left me feeling stupid and ineffectual. Bloviating about it online, without action, consumes energy and produces no benefit.

  12. All you needed to say was the United States lacks any form of objective journalism, which gives rise to partisan propaganda which is in turn accepted as truth by the majority, who then “zig heil” whilst marching on to Washington DC spouting clever slogans and political buzz words plastered on hand made signs.

    The problem isn’t the media (not that the media is innocent of wrongdoing). The problem is an idiosyncrasy of human beings. (In other words, people are sheep.)

  13. Personally I miss Perot. Maybe Powerpoints are dead and maybe he really is wacko (although he certainly seems more sane than the extremists on either side of the aisle) but I think Perot is the only significant candidate in the past 30 years to speak to voters as rational, thinking adults.

    I’m hoping his ’92 run (19%) wasn’t the last chance for a valid third-party. Perot showed the value of framing arguments with facts, not opinions, and made the major candidates deal with the facts and positions he laid out for all of us to see in detail.

    Unfortunately, Nader did zilch the last two elections to advance any arugment. The Libertarians and Greens can’t find their asses from their elbows.

    Developing a Perot-like alternative prior to 2008 should be a priority for all sane Americans who feel disenfranchised by the two candidates and platforms we were presented with. It doesn’t matter if he/she can’t win. We need someone with money and cojones to explain the facts in ways the average voter can comprehend.

  14. I don’t think there’s much connection, actually, between party-based vitriol and the unchallenged two-party system. Britain has a parliamentary government and multiple viable parties; there are two that tend to lead the government, but the system isn’t constructed to kill all the others the way the American one is. But they definitely have apocalyptic party-based vitriol, probably more than we have here: just read their newspapers sometime, or some of the things Labour people said about Tories during the Thatcher years.

    In fact, Europeans and others often look at American political parties and are confused by their blandness. The Democrats’ and Republicans’ favored policies seem too similar to be the source of so much dissension; aren’t they both just center-right parties?

    This is a common observation, but it’s actually a category error. Because of the dynamics that kill third parties in the US, our political parties do not correspond precisely to European political parties; they’re more like the multiparty coalitions that sometimes unite to dominate European governments. Average party positions over all the internal factions, adjust to get the median voter, and you might come up with bland mush. But inside the parties, there are factions that look like European parties: in the US Republican Party, for instance, there are the foreign-policy-hawk neocons, the cultural theocrats, the corporate supply-siders and the quasi-libertarians, all of whom might well be separate parties governing under an uneasy coalition in another political system. Here, the Republican Party is that coalition.

  15. The EMOTION. We’re so easily provoked. We WANT to feel and to argue. We can’t empathize. Its a real phenomenon. And the hysteria. One of my closest and smartest friends burst into a crying fit here at work yesterday over Kerry conceding. I don’t want to be numb, but I don’t want to be a crying mess, either. I’d rather start thinking of ways I can improve the world, instead of one-upping those who believe differently than me or pointing my finger at someone.

    But my dream? I would like to see a candidate in some future election that more accurately reflects the majority of our country. One who has a more diverse background. Who maybe didn’t have wealthy parents, or maybe didn’t have two parents at home at all. Who worked his or her way through college, maybe in a bar or in a restaurant or in retail. Who maybe had a crappy first marriage or maybe never chose to marry at all. Someone who live and wasn’t just groomed. Someone who gets called out for something “undesireable” they did in the past and says, “Yeah, I did that, and it was a mistake. I wouldn’t do it again, knowing what I know now.” Someone who has actually done their own research on how to fix some of our country’s more serious problems and has a FIRM plan on what to do about them. I want a real person and I want to see them excited and enthusiastic about what they can do for America. I would love to see a campaign where there is less accusation and more optimism.

    And I’d like to see Michael Moore and Ann Coulter say something nice about someone.

    Silly, aren’t I?

  16. I don’t think this piece is all that great. I think it plays on the very thing it says is a problem. It glosses over huge aspects of a very complicated issue, and its tone is frustrated and profers a simplistic and naieve solution.

  17. Arguing a lunatic/non-lunatic split is subject to manipulation. We rationalize our irrationality and often identify with a group to strengthen it. Often, anybody who isn’t in agreement is the lunatic. I understand your argument, Greg. Yet people will only mold it to their rationed bias.

    It’s reassuring to get behind someone who has the gall to say, “We’re right, they’re wrong.” Michael Moore, Anne Coulter, ad nauseum are decisive and because of it and appear to have thought out a position when their purpose is only to prove the other person/party/dogma wrong. People are afraid to follow a leader who will say, “I don’t know. Tell me more.” It is an admission of ignorance and by golly, we can’t have that. Leaders need a plan, a position, a talking point.

    Binary systems do not allow for this; it is either or, right or wrong. The distribution of power is most effecient in this split and it is a derivitave only one option: the majority. It is an entity of power like a monarch or dictator. No matter which party is in control, the majority can impose its will on others. Whoever can rile up the most supporters is in power so why even bother with a common ground? I can get who I think is right and just elected by making the majority stronger. I have no need to be rational.

    Perhaps we start by building a majority who realizes how its existence is its own enemy. Perhaps then we’ll be less concerned with our fallible interpretations of what’s right—for everyone.

  18. I agree wholeheartedly with the statement in the top post. Our society has embraced ‘image’, ’emotional knee-jerk response’, ‘anti-intellectualism’, and more.

    There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the nature of our mass media system. Because we have reduced the entire ‘purpose’ of media to be a profitable enterprise, the things that cost money don’t get done. As others have remarked, it’s much easier (read: cheaper) to send a team of reporters to hang outside a courthouse and talk about each and every little move made by the lawyers, than it is to send them out into the world at large, and report about things that many others find important.

    We have given ourselves over to our most base instincts, because they are the simplest to appeal to, and the most..profitable for those that tell us of the outside world.

    I never once heard on Network TV about how many Iraqis have ‘blogs’. And I’ve been reading Iraqis blogs since the start of the war. The MSM has a desire to channel and control the flow of information and the ideology is simply one of maximizing return on investment. Of propping up the stock price. Of making out like a bandit.

    This isn’t a rant against money or capitalism, both are very useful for motivating people to NOT becomes useless lumps of divine clay. My point, and it’s been made before, is that the LOVE OF MONEY, above all else, has warped our perception of what we value. This is so because the ‘people’ who run our media system are not people at all, they are corporations who care not for morals, value or truth. If they did, they would lose in the marketplace to another corp. that does not.

    This shakeout, has, over time, led us into the situation we now find ourselves.

    Also, I am writing a book on how to fix it. Visit my homepage to see the outline and the parts that have already been posted.

    peace, love, unity…not just words, words to live by.

    Values. Functional values.

  19. Most importantly, I think you are missing the point that is what is rational for some is not what is rational for others.

    What is rational for a farm family in the midwest, where society is based on social solidarity is not rational for urbanites, where society is based upon social contracts.

  20. “This isn’t a rant against money or capitalism, both are very useful for motivating people to NOT becomes useless lumps of divine clay. My point, and it’s been made before, is that the LOVE OF MONEY, above all else, has warped our perception of what we value. This is so because the ‘people’ who run our media system are not people at all, they are corporations who care not for morals, value or truth. If they did, they would lose in the marketplace to another corp. that does not.”

    I respond mostly because you said you were planning on writing a book, and being in a position to influence many, it’s that much more important that you hear as many ideas and opinions as possible.

    Here’s mine: I used to hate the media. Actually I still do. But I’ve come to accept that fact that blame lies squarely with consumers, not suppliers. The media sucks because they’ve determined that their crappy products sell better than quality products. If consumers only purchased quality products (in this context, that would be objective, informative, insightful reporting and discussion), that’s what the corporations would provide.

    So the question isn’t what to do with the media. The question is how to raise the intelligence, education, open-mindedness, and standards of quality of consumers (in this context, consumers of information).

    Either that, or nuke all churches.

  21. Ofer, Here’s mine: I used to hate the media. Actually I still do. But I’ve come to accept that fact that blame lies squarely with consumers, not suppliers.

    While I agree that we have a warped sense of values as a nation, there is enough blame to go around. The way in which the media leverages base instincts and base appeals to emotion, does much to influence our culture at large. It is not a question of ‘art reflecting life’ or ‘life reflecting art’, but rather a hall of mirrors that reflects back upon itself. When one mirror is warped so profoundly (the media lens), it follows quite naturally that an additional warping of perception would follow.

    If consumers only purchased quality products (in this context, that would be objective, informative, insightful reporting and discussion), that’s what the corporations would provide.

    Ahh, that’s the tough part about competition. It’s a simple fact that without an exterior impetus to provide ‘actual’ information, we lose good examples of in-depth reporting and it’s hard to even know what quality looks like. While I’m fairly far from being a Randian at this point in my life, “The Fountainhead” give a fairly decent fictionalized account of how such things can happen. In that story it was the ‘godless communists’ that destroyed quality in favor of ideology. In modern American, it is the ‘race to the bottom’ that has resulted in much the same result. The ideolgy is simply the out of control corporatism and worship of the dollar that results from the most powerful citizens in society being nothing more than fictionalized people, created out of network of laws and documents, who never have to face the music for their wrongdoing. The ones who never grow old and weary of the constant quest for more, the ‘people’ that never die.

    The question is how to raise the intelligence, education, open-mindedness, and standards of quality of consumers (in this context, consumers of information).

    There is a good answer to that, but you aren’t going to like it. The left needs to find their faith. They need to be able to articulate their values in such a way that explains why these values are worthwhile. How they can help society. How they empower the individual to succeed. In essence, the the left needs to find religion*

    Either that, or nuke all churches.

    Please, don’t even joke like that. Nuking the mosques could become a fairly possible scenario is there is antoher major attack here on U.S. soil.

    *not the silly, flowing robe stuff, but definitely a profoundly emotional argument based on figuring out how to make society work better and explain the unexplainable.

    A general attack on atheism, again, by yours truly, is available here.

  22. I think Keith hit on the real issue when he said…

    ‘what is rational for some is not what is rational for others’

    We are becoming a nation that has no tolerance for different points of view, and that is pushing us to extremes. Immediately dismissing someone’s core beliefs or rejecting him as evil (communist, evangelical… take your pick) just exacerbates the problem. But I’m not sure how we can fix this… If it were a Disney movie all the Reds and Blues would magically switch bodies, and after a few days of high jinks, would learn that they are not that different after all.

  23. Andy, saying all of it is just the same when it isn’t glosses over the problem and gives the really bad stuff a pass. And I’m not even a huge Moore fan.

  24. Oliver: Of course you’re right, some individuals are much worse than others. My point is that it’s coming from both sides, and I don’t want to get distracted from Greg’s main point.

  25. What we need are philosopher-kings to rule over us so we won’t be so vulnerable to emotional persuasion.

  26. what is to be done?

    This is a person-by-person kind of thing. It’s not a matter of convincing a whole nation to become more reasonable: not going to happen. How about just trying to be more reasonable yourself?

    Dispassionate thinking is like objectivity, a mirage, but a useful one. It’s worthwhile, personally, to put in the effort to think clearly, without letting your emotion short-circuit your reason. But trying to force someone else to do that is, I think, impossible.

  27. Reading responses I think Lucas most reflects my current feelings: “How about just trying to be more reasonable yourself?”

    We can turn the lense to ourselves (culturally), or blame the qualities of media (other people’s work)? Arguing with media professionals is like yelling at a snake not to bite you.

  28. Arguing with media professionals is like yelling at a snake not to bite you.

    but we need someone that does their job. The world is too large to ignore. In a weird way, I like Google News..but that only works as long as they stay !evil.

  29. “If consumers only purchased quality products (in this context, that would be objective, informative, insightful reporting and discussion), that’s what the corporations would provide.”

    But they DO provide it! The ironic part is that excluding the publishers of scientific journals and databases there is plenty of high quality content published by smaller organizations and government institutions. Theree is plenty of high quality scientific online content to be found like the SEC EDGAR database, FAS, United Nations, OECD, NBER, various EU institutions or better PUGWASH

    Magazines too, who has a subscription on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist (yeah, those of the famous doomsday clock) or reads it from time to time*?

    Sounds like me that a lot of people are only trying to rationalize their own beliefs and laments here. What we have here is “the fallacy of black and white”

    Greg seems to have fallen for this as well by dividing american society into two, and just two, totally opposed, totally opposite categories. This American “either/or” posturing concerns me, because I see it a lot these days. Does it never occur to any of you when someone poses the question: “Do you want to be left or right? democrat or republican? master or slave? black or white? lunatic or non-lunatic? That you could also want to be NEITHER?

    The only thing going on here is making sharp distincions. That is something else then thinking clearly.

    *And time is running out. The NPT review is coming up in 2005 and failure is a likely possibility now.

    Goodnight folks…

  30. Daniel:

    > Yes, there’s a real world, but we don’t access it through an unmediated, purely-rational process. Rationality itself is a complex of moral, emotional and instinctive acts

    I don’t believe this is the correct definition

    for rationality. We react to the world through

    instincts, but we don’t have to perceive it that

    way. There’s a difference between perception

    and action.

    Wah:

    > Does it never occur to any of you when someone poses the question: “Do you want to be left or right? democrat or republican? master or slave? black or white? lunatic or non-lunatic? That you could also want to be NEITHER?

    I think you missed the core of the argument, that

    there is a binary choice here. Rationality or

    not rationality is the divide. Not left/right

    dem/repub. etc.

    Perhaps this is a result of all the pervasive

    advertising done in the US? We are constantly

    battered with ads that try to get you to buy

    for emotional reasons. Is advertising training

    us not to think?

  31. People are drawn to the overly emotional. There are political blogs that offer thoughtful, relatively dispassionate commentary but they are far less popular than the ranters and ravers.

  32. What is to be done? Well . . . how about nothing?

    Let’s step back a bit. The most cursory review of, well, all of recorded human history, should probably make one just slightly skeptical of either the notion that there is a “problem” to be solved, or the notion that, if there is a problem, it has a solution. It seems pretty clear to me that the historical record suggests that we humans have equal and opposing impulses to unite and to divide. Indeed, the dynamic equilibrium between these two opposing impulses seems to be one of the defining characteristics of both individual human consciousness and human society.

    Take, for example, Christianity, a roughly 2000 year old monotheism — teaching the unity of god and his/her creation — predicated on the cleavage of that god from his son, and thus from all the other creatures in his creation. And viewed historically, the theoretical (or theological) convergence of the impulses to unite and divide that lies at the foundation of this religious system, explodes, almost immediately following its foundational moment, into a fractious morass of denominations, sub-denominations, cults, sub-cults, heresies, what have you, each preaching competing versions of the foundational theory of unity-in-division, and thereby instantiating the same.

    It’s really not a pretty picture, We join to divide, we divide to join. Over and over and over . . . .

    Imagine a world in which everyone is very beautiful, very smart, very wealthy, pretty much equally so. Would that be a happy world of joyously shared bounty,

    or a world — rather like our own — of jealously competing cliques, sub-cultures, and interest groups, each certain of their superiority, and yet equally certain that they’re being screwed, stabbed in the back, and played for fools by the others?

    Do something? You’re already doing it . . . .

  33. All life’s greatest endeavours are driven by passion of one form or another. Politics, in the end, is not about facts and logic and disinterested points of view – it’s about my interests, your interests, and striking the balance between them.

    The problem I see is not too much passion, but no great endeavours for harnessing such passion, giving it a point. For all Moore’s elaborate bombast, his great alternative is Oprah for President. For all Coulters’ vitriolic wit, all she’s fighting for is, more or less, the status quo. Start looking for revolutions, BIG changes, and we’ll maybe start rollin’.

    BTW, on Greg’s frustration with the internet, I think that’s an issue of accountability. Communication at such remove, so anonymously, is not conducive to being held accountable for your views. That’s either an argument for a new model of internet discussion in which a person’s Big Room identity is laid wide open, or an argument to get out and do this stuff face to face.

  34. You’re all missing the big picture. The divide does not come from pundits, who are nothing more than overpaid demogouges; the division comes from the issues which are themselves so divisive. We can excercise our right to free speech every day in our blogs, but saying these things means nothing in the end. The real key to ending the divisive nature of politics is not in our speech, but in our ACTION. We need to actually move our asses out of our coomputer seats and start making a change. Voting is not enough. We should all write letters to our representatives, we should all be active participants in the world in which we live. If we type a billion words a day, it won’t change the faces on the Supreme Court one bit. If we organize ourselves against the extremists on both sides, then maybe we can start making some changes in this country.

  35. Yeah, the country is divided between the 50% that actually votes and cares about politics and the 50% that could care less and only really care about living their lives. A large chunk of people in this country won’t be affected too much either way if it was George Bush or John Kerry who won the election.

  36. All I got to say is, “The election is over.” I am so tired of seeing bumper stickers for candidates! Get over it!

  37. It seems clear to me that the political divide is real, though it is undoubtedly exaggerated by the media and exploited by two-party politics. The political divide, for the most part, I think is a reflection of a deeper moral divide. And if you look into the origins of this moral divide, though perhaps a little simplistic, it basically comes down to two groups: naturalists and spiritualists. Whether or not you believe in the existance of a transcendent spiritual dimension affects your moral philosophy, which in turn is reflected in many of the differences between the liberal and conservative political ideologies. Yes, you have the Michael Moore’s and Ann Coulter’s that tend to distort and polarize things more, but to me it is pretty clear that, fundamentally, it comes down to secularism vs. religion.

Comments are closed.