Saturday, November 23, 2019

Vindictiveness Is A Bad Habit

     Here and on Facebook, I will sometimes post something that's kind of anti-divisive, or that points out that we don't need to carry the bull-headed stubbornness of our elected servants over into our relationships with our fellow semi-hapless voters even when they're wrong.  Every time -- every single time! -- a certain appallingly large proportion of the commenters use the posting as a launching pad to make points-scoring, nasty cracks about how the other side (whichever side is "other" for them) is stupid, evil, enthralled by foreign powers and/or controlled by Big Money, whilst their own side are a bunch of, if not saints, at least  great benefactors to The Common Man and The American Way Of Life.

     Buying vanilla or a chicken sandwich has become a political decision, completely unmoored from the quality of the product.

     If you are walking around with nonsense like that in your head, the person who writes horoscopes for your morning paper or your favorite news-and-features website knows more about the world and human nature than you do.

     Politicians are as human as you are.  We're all wired up to make patterns from what we see and hear, patterns that we build based on our knowledge, prior experience, opinions and emotional state.  This works really well if you're a savage hunting dinner with a sharpened stick, wary of big cats; you may see a few tigers where none exist but you're all the more likely to return home intact and probably bearing game.  In today's complex, stimulus-rich, BS-rich world, it can make us see lots of things that aren't there -- and miss the big picture.

     If you think your worst enemy are the Democrats or the Republicans, guess again; if you think it's big business or those kids who dress in black and smash windows and heads, bzzzt, nope!

     Russia and China would love to see the West fail.  Uncle Vlad doesn't care who wins U. S. elections as long as he can get us to doubt the validity of the election process.  China snickers at democracy and stamps on it in a manner not seen since Nazi Germany started turning out the lights in Europe. Every time you question the Constitutional provisions of the Federal government, you aid their cause.

     There's a lot wrong in this country, just as there's a lot wrong everywhere.  There's a lot that's unfair.  But the people who wrote the Constitution -- and who made provisions for amending it -- did try to keep from baking in the unfairness so deeply that it couldn't be rooted out.  They left deep flaws in place, flaws that darned near tore this country apart not once but twice, and yet somehow we got through.  Somehow, slowly, painfully, with great tragedy, our better natures prevailed.  One reason this happened was because our basic institutions were able to buttress the good while giving up on the bad.  We didn't have to burn the village to the ground in order to save it.

     We still don't.  No foreign power, no internal conflict can make you do so if you don't go along with it.

     Stop being Putin's chump.  Stop helping Red China make us look like fools.  Grow the hell up.

     Edited to add: And I have a few comments already that repeat divisive and alarmist nonsense, cherry-picked headlines, and slanted intepretations.  You're not helping.  Rush Limbaugh and Rachael Maddow are not sources you should accept without both fact-checking and context checking.  If you won't do your homework, you're not going to be able to keep the freedoms you've got, and will be befuddled by your own paranoia until it's too late.


Douglas2/Unknown said...

Well that explains the dearth of comments on the previous post pointing us to read an excellent thing on a site where I wouldn't expect to find something so good. There were in fact many, as on this post, that justifiably didn't make the cut.

I think I started writing comments several times to that post, and each time self-edited when I realized I was veering towards my own biases and would not be adding something that moved the conversation about that article in a forward direction.

I find lately that – in order not to raise hackles – on controversial topics I just drop in links to primary source documents without further comment. That government report that 'fully supports' the position of the activist-site writing about it? Believe it or not, it is freely accessible on the web! And anyone can read it and see whether the activist site has given a fair summary! Whether anyone will, or not, is their own problem, but perhaps I can make it easier for them.

I'm slowly meandering to the formulation of a canonical version of Douglas2's laws:
1st law: If there is no path of fewer than 5 clicks from hyperlinks in the article to the primary source documents, then the intent of the article is to deceive you.
2nd law: often even when they provide a link to the primary source, they don't expect anyone to click on it. Frequently the refutation of the headline point is contained in the links provided in the article.

Anonymous said...

Re: Vindictiveness being a bad habit, preach on. Too long the electoral process has had the dynamics of a third grade recess.

Antibubba said...

That's a really good start, Douglas.

Roberta, I agree with you 100%. I've said as much to my friends. And almost all of them, whichever side they favor, accuses me of being a moderate who is afraid to take a stance.
Meanwhile, whichever party is in power that's a few more pieces out of the Constitution to bolster their ability to dominate.

Not that it will do any good, but may I share this?

Roberta X said...

Antibubba, of course you can share this!