Friday, August 13, 2010

In Reply: "Things pretty much are what they seem..."

In reply to (a Facebook conversation I don't have permission to post the other half of... ...though I think the gist is pretty apparent, just from my end...)

No one who reads the stuff I write can credibly suggest that I go in much for sweeping generalizations. (In fact, I'm often arguing against ones being made by others... the one you make about the lamestream/mainstream media and the "too stupid to think for themselves" American public, later in your rant.)

Do I think that the bigoted signs at tea parties are being held by liberal infiltrators? For the most part, no. Maybe one out of fifty, just as there were a very few right wing infiltrators at liberal protests.

I'm not much for elaborate conspiracies... I see a racist sign at an event, I believe the guy holding the sign is at the event because he supports the cause and that he means to say whatever it is his sign says.

I don't believe that the "infiltrator" excuse holds water, given that two major players in the tea party movement have been implicated in clearly bigoted actions. (Look up Dale Robertson and Mark Williams, and please don't claim that they're not REAL tea party people, because no REAL tea party person is a bigot.)

Now, does that mean that all tea partiers are bigots? Of course not. But those two--and most, if not all, of the folks pictured in that video holding bigoted signs--are.

Far too many of us (Americans, though I've no doubt it's more widespread than that) talk about "the right" or "the left" or "The Tea Party" or "Progressives" as though they're all one monolithic block. Anyone who suggests that Dale and Mark prove the tea party is racist is wrong, and probably has an agenda. Anyone who suggests that Rangel and Waters prove that Democrats are corrupt is just as wrong, and just as likely has a different agenda.

I think we need to learn to talk about people as individuals more often, rather than as representatives of the groups to which they belong. (If you ask me, our failure to do so is where bigotry and the divisive political partisanship you so decry in your rant begins. When we talk about Mark Williams (or Charlie Rangel) rather than "the tea party" (or "Democrats"), we can get to the business of discussing their behavior(s), rather than engaging in divisive partisanship based on what we falsely claim these individuals say or show about the groups to which they belong.)

I don't believe the American public is as stupid as you say they are. I don't believe that the American media is as liberal or biased as you believe it is, either. (I know who owns much of it, and who just works there, and therefore who calls the shots.)

Now when it comes to blind partisanship, I'm with ya, at least as far as that portion of the electorate who enjoys politics is concerned. Too many see it as a zero sum game and root for their team like it's a sporting event. The horse race "who's up, who's down" takes up too much of the news. And based on what I said above, you can see where I don't think it's a good thing.

...I'm not so sure whether they're leading us, or reflecting us back at ourselves. While it is kinda sad, America does like a good horse race, and some believe it's the only reason some Americans pay any attention to politics, at all.

...I don't believe that the portion of the electorate that enjoys politics is very large. Most folks read the paper or watch the news a little more in the week or so before an election, and then goes and votes. The rest of the time, they have families and jobs to take care of... (There's even a good argument to be made that those people aren't right; all the protesting and letter-writing and caring about every little thing in the space between elections doesn't change all that much, in the end...)

So, to wrap up, Deb, I believe my own eyes, as far as these things go. A guy holding a bigoted sign is a bigot. The news is the news (though I do suggest getting one's news from a variety of sources, including one or two that you believe might be "biased" against your political/social beliefs.) The American people are made up of all kinds of people, but by and large ain't baby birds compliantly being fed by a corrupt media (or political party, or corporate entity.)

Things pretty much are what they seem and, while some of the truth probably is out there, some of it is in here, plain as day, as well... YMMV...

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