Fri Nov 9, 2012, 05:17 AM
Ghost Dog (15,292 posts)
The country remains bitterly divided (The Economist)
AFTER a panel discussion on the US elections hosted by a Dutch radio station the other night, I got to talking to a fellow American who's looking for work stateside. His Dutch government-funded job had been eliminated by austerity measures, so he was trying to convince his wife of the virtues of moving back to America. The main reason he was hesitating was the mood of vicious and increasingly entrenched political animosity. "Do you get the feeling," he asked, "that it could get violent?"...
... My basic take is that the stable, narrow, bitter partisan divide in America is a phenomenon driven by an interaction between two major players: the parties themselves, and the media. Political parties have achieved a staggering level of professionalism; the increasing availability of voter preference data and increasing sophistication of recruitment techniques in the age of information technology are likely to result in convergence between their abilities to secure their vote shares. The media, meanwhile, and this can't be repeated often enough, is overwhelmingly biased towards producing exciting political races. Horse-race reporting gives the media the collective ability to shape the kind of narrative it needs in order to report excitingly. The increasing interaction between mass media and social media seems only to exacerbate this tendency: both mass-media analysts and private social-media contributors are rewarded for sharply divisive characterisations. We're seeing market segmentation in which a number of players have an interest in keeping the segments at equal sizes.
But most people don't view the increase in partisanship as a morally neutral, structural phenomenon in which they're being driven into two camps by organisational forces. And they don't see the policy argument as being a narrow one. The suspicion on both sides is that, while the results in policy terms if the other side wins the election may not be catastrophic, the other side's true aim is a vision of America that is anathema to one's own. And this leads to a social antipathy that can be quite profound. It increasingly takes a conscious effort for Democrats and Republicans to be socially at ease with each other. There is an increasing level of outright hostility; on the Republican side especially, the arguments that have been deployed to rally opposition to the enemy's agenda provide intellectual support for violent resistance.
Setting aside the policy issues we're facing over the next four years, I think the most immediate need is for Americans to find a way to live civilly with each other. "This American Life" brought on a pair of writers, liberal Phil Neisser and conservative Jacob Hess, who've written a book ("You're Not as Crazy as I Thought (But You're Still Wrong)") about their efforts to find a way to talk to each other and agree to disagree on fundamental philosophical and moral issues. There need to be a lot more similar efforts along these lines. This election has put Barack Obama back in office, and returned him a Democratic Senate and a Republican House. Over the next four years, legislative battles are going to continue to be savage and hard-fought. Neither conservatives nor liberals are going to change their minds en masse about fundamental issues of political philosophy. The top priority is for Americans to figure out a way to keep these divisions from dividing the country into two hostile armed camps that are incapable of talking to each other.
7 replies, 1519 views
The country remains bitterly divided (The Economist) (Original post)
|Ghost Dog||Nov 2012||OP|
|Tigress DEM||Nov 2012||#4|
|Tigress DEM||Nov 2012||#5|
|Tigress DEM||Nov 2012||#3|
|Ghost Dog||Nov 2012||#7|
Response to bkkyosemite (Reply #1)
Fri Nov 9, 2012, 10:17 AM
Tigress DEM (7,887 posts)
4. NOT a mutually exclusive goal. I'm WITH you on this one.
It's the 99 million Americans who DID not Vote (for whatever reasons) that are the additional weight we need to get that job done.
ALSO the 58 million who voted for Robme at least SOME of them will see the world NOT fall apart in the next 4 years and if we maintain DIPLOMATIC CIVILITY instead of letting the 1% turn US ON THEM in ATTACK mode, then we will win MORE AND MORE of them over.
There are SOME that will never come, but 99 million Americans are still watching from the sidelines not knowing WHO to believe and we need to be the GOOD strong COPS who don't take any BS from the Oppositional Defiant rethuglicons, but who ALSO aren't out there randomly BEATING on the confused people who actually thought they were voting for the right guy when they WEREN'T.
THE TRUTH will set them free, but it's going to be a PAINFUL awakening and WE don't need to make it any worse.
Response to Ghost Dog (Original post)
Fri Nov 9, 2012, 07:01 AM
fasttense (17,301 posts)
2. False equivalency
Who does most of the mass shooting sprees? RepubliCONS. Who goes around murdering Doctors for helping women? RepubliCONS. Who pretends that there is no such thing as Global Climate Change? RepubliCONS. Who pretends evolution is not real? RepubliCONS. Who would make those who are poor and suffering, poorer and and give them more suffering? RepubliCONS. Who wants to give rich people welfare? RepubliCONS
And who has tried and tried to make compromises with the other side? Democratic leaders.
Until these fools who go around saying "Why can't we just get along" acknowledge that one side is putting all their efforts on keeping the unequal wealth and opportunity distribution in America for themselves while shutting out all other Americans no one is going to get along.
Response to fasttense (Reply #2)
Fri Nov 9, 2012, 10:26 AM
Tigress DEM (7,887 posts)
5. You're right and we need to keep telling this truth without pounding them down.
I think the point of the OP is caught up with that false equivalency, but it doesn't mean we can't make this whole MEME our own.
WE ARE THE PARTY OF PEACE.
WE ARE THE GROWNUPS IN THE ROOM.
WE ARE THE HOPE TO TURN THIS SITUATION AROUND.
It's just going to be 4 years of dealing with toddler mentality and not flipping our lids or blowing our cool and letting them become "victims" and "martyrs".
The 1% is DESPERATE to separate US from their base because they know when we are allowed to talk calmly and reasonably with them about what happened and what is GOING to happen, that their base will FINALLY SEE what's been going on ....
and all that ANGER they've been directing at US and Obama
WILL FIND A NEW TARGET.
The 1% - their handlers - their oppressors.
We just need to give them time to see it for themselves by not allowing ourselves to be inserted into that space instead.
I'm not saying get wussified and roll over. Just that we need to remain civil and keep the TRUTH front and foremost. REPETITION of the FACTS until it's the ONLY thing they hear from US day in and day out.
Response to Ghost Dog (Original post)
Fri Nov 9, 2012, 10:05 AM
Tigress DEM (7,887 posts)
3. This isn't as bad as it seems. 1st The "grownups" (DEMs) are "mostly" in charge.
WHICH (2nd) actually makes a conversation about the partisan divide issue possible because we have the capability of both:
LISTENING AND STANDING FIRM.
It increasingly takes a conscious effort for Democrats and Republicans to be socially at ease with each other.
OUR SIDE IS FINALLY PISSED OFF ENOUGH THAT WE COULD START TALKING LIKE THIS. But we don't have to and hopefully we won't. WE ARE in the final analysis TRULY the PARTY OF PEACE, but we ALSO know how to fight MANY kinds of WARS and WIN.
Setting aside the policy issues we're facing over the next four years,
NO, WE CAN'T -- BUT WE don't have to become the rethugs in order to BEAT THEM AT THEIR OWN GAMES.
I think the most immediate need is for Americans to find a way to live civilly with each other.
TRUE ..........but it is ENTIRELY CIVIL to make it clear that WE ARE:
A) The GROWNUPS in the room.
B) The PARTY IN CHARGE.
C) The PEOPLE who have been TELLING THE TRUTH all along
D) The PEOPLE who WILL NOT be BACKING DOWN FROM the TRUTH.
"This American Life" brought on a pair of writers, liberal Phil Neisser and conservative Jacob Hess, who've written a book ("You're Not as Crazy as I Thought (But You're Still Wrong)") about their efforts to find a way to talk to each other and agree to disagree on fundamental philosophical and moral issues.
AS LONG AS we don't have to compromise on what is NEEDED to move America FORWARD, THE PEOPLE of AMERICA still need to learn HOW to have the conversations needed to GET THE JOB DONE.
There need to be a lot more similar efforts along these lines.
THIS IDEA DOES NOT HURT US
WE OWN IT and DO IT
FROM a position of POWER and with the
PEACEFUL UNWILLINGNESS to let the 1% turn the crazies in their base
INTO VICTIMS AND MARTYRS.
AND THE BENEFIT of PEACEFUL UNWILLINGNESS ...... makes America a better place FOR EVERYONE.
DEMs ARE the ones who tolerate Differences of Opinion
DEMs HAVE BEEN THE ONES BRINGING SOLUTIONS TO THE TABLE
SO NOW we have to set our friends and neighbors down and reassure them that the BULLSHIT they've been being FED about Obama AND US has been LIES.
YOU SEE, the 1% WANT TO SEPARATE US from the 99 million Americans WHO DID NOT VOTE and the 58 million who have been drinking the Kool Aid.
WE'VE BEEN CONVERTING their base slowly, painfully, one on one.
ALL THEIR MONEY
ALL THEIR LIES
BUY or STEAL
WE NEED ************* TO TURN THOSE TWO GROUPS*******************
AND LET THE BASE that was LIED TO CONFRONT their TORMENTORS for BETRAYING THEM.
Those WHO DIDN'T VOTE for Robme need to see the Obama policies WORK.
So they need to be persuaded to STAND WITH US against the PARTY OF OPPOSITION and DEMAND COOPERATION on ACTUAL, FACTUAL PROBLEM SOLVING.
They (the remaining Republicans) have 2 choices now...
1) Come to the table willingly with ideas and reasonable proposals and get some credit for doing something for the American people
2) Continue the whinny brat behavior and stand in the corner until you're willing to get to work or until your constituents REPLACE you with someone who WILL work to get America back on track.
WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE ANGRY, HOSTILE and treat them the way they treated US. BUT that won't get the policies put in place or the JOB DONE.
AND at the END OF THE DAY
GETTING THE JOB DONE is what DEMs DO.
SO STAY STRONG, but don't BEAT THEM DOWN, win them over.
It's the more challenging path, BUT WHAT ELSE IS NEW?