Saturday, September 5, 2009

A nation of assholes

David Sirota nails the trouble with our current culture of political hysteria.

Most often, the haters have succeeded in turning political discourse into a war of attrition against their personal demons -a war won by those who can go nuclear the fastest.

That's clearly been the story of the summer on health care - and it continues to be the story on most major issues. I mean, conservatives are quite literally calling the president's plan to promote the value of education to the nation's schoolchildren a secret socialist plot. All of it has convinced me we are living through one of the darkest periods in the last 50 years - one in which intense hatred has now become an accepted - even celebrated - part of our democracy.

This hysteria is mostly driven by the right, though not quite completely. But it infects me, too, to name only a single minor example. There are days when I don't easily find my arsenals of snark and sarcasm - the best rhetorical weapons against frothing stupid rage - and I defend myself and my ideals from attacks with strong counterattacks.

I'd rather be an asshole myself than a sap. I wish that were not my choice. As a nation, we need to find a way to broaden our choices from the current polarization.

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