I admit it. I am one of those annoying folks who prefers to give others the benefit of the doubt. This way of life has served me (relatively) well over the decades. May have created some conflict from those who doubted my sincerity. May also have been a balm to others tired of the duplicity and derangement of present public discourse.
Which brings me to today. In place of last night’s sleep, seriously strange sensations surged through me. Something not unlike the spin cycle on high. I felt wrung out by morning, but neither refreshed nor sweet.
My first response to last night’s ‘presidential debate’ (yes, I need to use ‘ ‘) was to wish every candidate had some kind of truth-detector device attached to them. Clearly a bell would be of no use. They talk right through them. I began to wonder if a shock might be helpful. Something that would make them jump, create a visual for the listener to help distinguish between fact and fiction. I mean – how can they stand there and keep repeating utter falsehoods – about health care, about the economy, about Obama’s record, about the ease with which they would annihilate whole groups of people.
I get that memories are short, that their revisionist version of history is entirely spun from their own need to seem strong and smart. And electable – at all costs. I also get that the more forcefully something is stated, and the more frequently, the greater the ring of truth.
But here’s the rub. Saying something does not make it so. Instead of either finger-pointing or assuming an air of pious self-righteouness, how about some simple fact-checking? Let’s start with this: just WHY has the current administration been unable to forge meaningful ‘across-the-aisle’ (how I hate that phrase) progress? Hint: it’s not because this President hasn’t tried – repeatedly, tirelessly – even, I might say, with his own belief in the ultimate goodness and humanity of his detractors. Who in their wringing away truth from all the spin, can only speak in ultimate polarities. Us – them; all good – all bad. That in itself should tell you something. It does me. (to be continued)
When there’s dissatisfaction and split opinions, political spin tends to thrive on blame and fear. In such context, clever, powerhungry individuals know how to use division to win the votes of those with the most anger in their belly. It’s called diplomacy. Outrage can have an impact, but only if it’s collective (therefore the impotency of the individual.)
The spilt rhetoric may not be upheld once such a politician is in office – then again – it may, a possibility that makes any intelligent person despair.
My reply seems to have become lost … Yes, indeed, political spin is fueled by blame and fear; and the we/them split offers an opening, no doubt of it. But OH, NO! is this truly diplomacy??? I had always thought diplomacy to be the respectful approach to difference – civil discourse, allowing difference – with the ultimate goal of reaching compromise. Somehow the loss of this idea of compromise has led to the extremist either/or polarity. THAT’s the opening for a greater split that has been capitalized upon by careless words and reckless promises. Not to mention the wanton rewriting of a history so recent it is still warm … Well, more on all this, I’m sure. Thanks for stopping by!!!
You’re quite right, it’s not diplomacy, though some call it that. It’s clever scheming and plotting, provoking emotional reactions from voters, and pitching parties against each other. When fear emerges, politics seems to become a strategic game where honour and respect are replaced by propaganda. It’s a comic tragedy.
Fear is some powerful negativity. Catches like wildfire. Leads to exaggerated assertions and equally untenable premises/promises. It’s not clear who’s the most surprised by this turn of events… Appreciate your interest. More to come, that’s for sure!!!
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Ah! I may have discovered a new blog to check in on occasionally.
Good post about the debate – & I just noticed in the schedule that there is another one tonight – oh, joy. I’ll see how much of it I can take.
Yes, Susan – it’s a sad time when a presidential debate elicits ‘how much can I take.’ There’s been so much in the media, our heads, the ether that is just plain false, overwrought, and downright scary. I feel drawn to write and write . . . and yet, feel strangely reticent to do so at the same time. Not that all the words have been spoken, not by a long shot. I just sometimes feel that more words are just, well, more words. For now I’m focusing on energy. But I’ll still plod on ahead with Spin II, at least. Stay tuned 🙂
IT must be hard to be a rational American right now! The level of discourse has sunk to new lows everywhere, and the soundbite politics is hard to distinguish from twitter and text messages. We have our own variants here too (UK), but the real danger is that extremists, justifiably disillusioned,become more extreme in consequence! It is truly terrifying.
Well put, Phillippa. It’s not hard to be rational. Just to be heard!!! I shudder every day at the name calling and the inability to focus on issues – and facts. My father — he who always wanted three rational reasons for a decision — cringes within daily.
There is more and more to lend wings to outrage, and at the same time the same blows away the sense of anybody listening, or saying what everybody already knows. A curious inflated impotency!
Oh, Philippa, I hear you! And how wonderfully worded: ‘lend wings to outrage’ and ‘curious inflated impotency.’ Precisely. Feels like we’re living the emperor’s new clothes in real time – out loud, in full living color, bigger than life itself. Curious indeed; and dare I say, terrifying …