Thursday, January 13, 2011

You can't do rage every day and not be consumed

Rage, conspiracy fear-mongering, demonization, and extreme aggression, for hours on end, are staples of right-wing talk radio. You find nothing even remotely this severe on the left-wing of the political spectrum, especially now that Obama is in office and democrats remain in control of the Senate. The closest that liberals might get to this would be people like Keith Olbermann or Mike Malloy. But Keith and Mike have nothing on the ranting, raving lunacy of Michael Savage, or the maudlin fear mongering of Glenn Beck, or the in-your-face bullying of Bill O'Reilly.

I am suggesting that constant anger, fear, and aggression cannot be healthy, either physically and mentally, for people to consume (or to produce for that matter) for hours on end. It has to do something to your mind to constantly be in an agitated state. It is no surprise that most people turning to violence for political reasons in recent years also come, almost exclusively from the right-wing, where they are whipped into a frenzy nearly every day. Rage is all the rage today, with these folks. It is hard to think of an agenda item where they disagree with their opponents calmly. Instead, everything is about death panels, and gays, and immigrants coming here to kill and rob and take our jobs. If vote *for* health care for all you are not simply disagreeing with them. You are called a baby killer, and dark murmurings are made about how the government is planning to round people up and put them in concentration camps.

It may seem that I'm overly attacking the rightwing here, but that's because politics has shifted so far to the right of center in the last several decades that many people have noted that people like Nixon and Reagan would be derided, these days, as liberals by the modern neo-conservative and TEA party movement.

Therefore, a key to returning to centrism is reigning in ultra-extremism on the right. Extremists on the left have long been marginalized, ridiculed, and hold very little power. People like Kucinich or Wellstone or Bernie Sanders are never given the media attention of someone like Sarah Palin, for example. People like Pelosi or Reed, hyperbolic rhetoric to one side, cannot possibly be said to represent anything approaching the extreme fringe of the democratic party. They are firmly in the center.

Liberals do need to work on not allowing some of their vocal extremists, such as gay activists, from dominating the dialog, as they often end up doing on things like Don't Ask Don't Tell, which will probably still remain a liability in 2012 elections. Liberals have paid very little attention to the cost versus the benefits of various positions, like gay marriage, and have instead ended up martyring themselves over so-called principles at the ballot box. I would humbly suggest that, if you are going to choose a hill to die upon, that you choose causes where the payoff is worth the risks electorially, because otherwise, you will be voted out of office and your principles will be defeated anyway. I know that people love to jump all over this sort of thing, but I will share a little tidbit with you. As a real estate agent, you know the deal is over when one side starts arguing "over the principle of the thing". Some people will throw away hundreds of thousands of dollars over $40 curtains. One wonders if people can afford principles like that for long.

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