Thursday, November 04, 2004

Apparently this country is 51 percent ignorant...

I found this linked on Powerline. Please tell me, if you can, how this will contribute to political discourse:

Ignorance and bloodlust have a long tradition in the United States, especially in the red states… When the forces of red and blue encountered one another head-on for the first time in Kansas Territory in 1856, the red forces from Missouri, who had been coveting Indian land across the Missouri River since 1820, entered Kansas and stole the territorial election. The red news media of the day made a practice of inflammatory lying—declaring that the blue folks had shot and killed red folks whom everyone knew were walking around. The worst civilian massacre in American history took place in Lawrence, Kan., in 1862—Quantrill's raid. The red forces, known then as the slave-power, pulled 265 unarmed men from their beds on a Sunday morning and slaughtered them in front of their wives and children. The error that progressives have consistently committed over the years is to underestimate the vitality of ignorance in America. Listen to what the red state citizens say about themselves, the songs they write, and the sermons they flock to. They know who they are—they are full of original sin and they have a taste for violence…

Next, they tell you that you are the best of a bad lot (humans, that is) and that as bad as you are, if you stick with them, you are among the chosen. This is flattering and reassuring, and also encourages you to imagine the terrible fates of those you envy and resent. American politicians ALWAYS operate by a similar sort of flattery, and so Americans are never induced to question themselves. That's what happened to Jimmy Carter—he asked Americans to take responsibility for their profligate ways, and promptly lost to Ronald Reagan, who told them once again that they could do anything they wanted. The history of the last four years shows that red state types, above all, do not what to be told what to do—they prefer to be ignorant. As a result, they are virtually unteachable.

Now… This is in no way constructive. It offers no criticism, other than to say that the 58 million people who voted for President Bush are ignorant idiots. Yeah, it’s that explicit. “I suppose the good news is that 55 million Americans have evaded the ignorance-inducing machine. But 58 million have not.” It's a shame, but the author is apparently from the "I'm too good for the American people" school of thought. Ms. Smiley, If you think we're beyond redemption, move to Canada and leave us alone. Otherwise try to persuade me. Hint: Calling me an idiot isn't particularly likely to make me charitable toward you, your views, or your party.

In the words of PowerLine, "As a Republican, maybe I should be glad that the Democrats are making fools of themselves. But as an American, it saddens me that the party of hate would rather nurse its bizarre grudges, prejudices and hatreds than make a serious attempt to restore itself as a constructive political force." I try to be open minded and talk about our disagreements, but it's impossible to have a discussion when one's opponent resorts to infantile name calling.


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