Friday, July 02, 2004

How Frustrating...

Yesterday, I had typed up a well-researched and insightful article* into the increasingly polarized and machiavellian turn politics have taken in this age of sound-bytes and spoon-fed ideology for the deliberately ignorant masses. Too often, I run into the MTV generation who can't tell you where Washington is on a map, but will tell you we have to clean it out. This demographic can't explain the differences between party platforms (other than in vague generalities), but will tell you that "theirs is evil and ours is good." They know this, of course, because some vacuous, but pretty entertainer has told them so during a five-second sound bite between rap videos.

We have an seemingly popular movie in theatres right now feeding on - and in turn fueling - this ignorance with with glaring inaccuracies, misinformation, distortions and outright fabrications (ironically, the very things the film alleges to expose in its subject matter). I don't have to tell you the name of the film, nor do I really have to relist all the sources, pro and con, that I spent so much time looking up yesterday. You can read a transcript of the movie here.

There is already a groundswell of internet sites dedicated to pointing out the falsehoods of the film with actual documentation, often the very same documentation used in the film - but this time unedited to fit the preconceived theme of the movie.

The original post, however wasn't entirely dedicated that film. Rather, the point of the article was my concern the movie was symptomatic of an attack-mentality that has pervaded the entire political scene, particular among the younger set.

No longer can we disagree politely, or sit down to work out our differences. These days, the tactic is to get a few soundbites of outrageous hyperbole into the vacant minds of ignorant masses who eat it up and spit it back out to passers-by.

Make no mistake, both sides do this to some degree, but it is always the political minority that makes the most noise.

During any administration, the minority party will grumble and find fault with just about anything that sheds a positive light on the majority party. Plenty of good legislation has been killed over the years by petulant and jealous minority parties. My point yesterday was not this particular trait of human nature- you can watch two siblings compete for their parents' attentions in much the same way.

No ... my point was that as we allow ourselves to become increasingly polarized, there is a increasing tendency to take the civility out of civilisation. With each of the successive administrations that I have been around to witness, the attacks on the sitting president and his policies have become more pointed, personal and vitriolic. The more acrimonious the attacks, the more polarized and slavish the supporters become in response - both sides swingly blindly in the dark, hoping for a knockout. We are becoming less and less the melting pot that was the envy of the world, and more and more an "us versus them" society.

Sometimes, I think we forget that we're all supposed to be on the same team ...

*That article, alas, fell victim to my login-session timing out and disappeared the momement I hit "publish post." Its electrons are doubtless being recycled as we speak into a spam email for penis enlargement or a some insipid rant about how Bush is a modern-day equivalent of Hitler.


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