Our politics has become a game of feigned outrage over purposeful misunderstandings of straightforward arguments made by someone completely different from yourself but no less convinced of their point of view.
How’s that for a high-calorie sentence?
It’s almost as if we are unable to stop fighting long enough to recognize how much we all have in common. We have manned the ramparts for 40 years, firing salvo after salvo into the opposing forces across an ideological divide. The culture warriors on the left and right see no signs of surrender so on they rage.
But are signs of surrender being missed all around us?
The republican party lost for two reasons this year – low republican turnout/enthusiasm and a transformational democratic candidate who captured the moderate conservative vote. Both are obvious signs of surrender by the republican mainstream, even if the fringe elements still hold the pulpit and most of the power.
Seeing no obvious backing down in “the other side’s” rhetoric, the democratic faithful fight harder despite their president-elect’s example of the exact opposite.
For every vote Barack received from a republican, another republican stayed home allowing Barack to win by a healthy popular vote percentage. The largest in decades. That is a massive shift in the electorate in four short years. I submit that this year’s election results should satisfy the democratic faithful that they are indeed the winners. The culture war is over, though the cleanup period may take a little time. “Liberals” can lay down their rhetorical slings and arrows for “conservatives” and get about the business of changing the country.
Relish the election of Barack Obama as both victory and vindication.
Barack certainly seems to have decided that was his mandate. He totally changed the campaign postmortem narrative. He doesn’t give a shit what people said during the primary and general elections. The other democratic candidates and their supporters said stuff every bit as heinous about Barack as the republicans. Including Lieberman. Barack won by taking the high road at every turn. That is the lesson we should all take from the election and act accordingly.
I know the liberal argument by heart already: “We have to smash republicans into the ground and grind them underfoot to ensure we never face this evil again!”
But we will face “evil” again if our only restorative measure is to grind a large percentage of our fellow citizens into the ground to accomplish progressive goals. Progress can never be made in a time of recrimination. I am not sure how the inherent contradiction is missed when the strategy says: “We are moving the country boldly into the future but first we need to destroy our enemies.”
Enemies who just happen to be their fellow citizens. Some antics indeed.