hard heads soft hearts
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
. . .and what the hell. Here is a comment in response to David Neiwert's epic blog post, "The Political and the Personal" :
you've written an essay which is like a piece of music you listen to with no great reaction a couple of times but has a way of sliding itself into your mind again and again. I don't know if you've read Jeffrey Toobin's "A Vast Conspiracy", but there's a moving scene where a West Virginia Democrat looks across the Potomac and weeps for the partisan hatred which has been stirred up. I reall could write an endless response to this but here it is in a nutshell: getting angry over political arguments is nearly always pointless, even when a great deal is at stake. George W Bush is not a bad person, nor is Sandra Day O Connor, nor is Antonin Scalia. But then how could they issue such an intellectually dishonest ruling? Well, they reminded themselves of several instances of Democratic perfidy and intellectual dishonesty, and thus convinced themselves that Bush V. Gore was an eye for an eye, a fair response to Democratic provocation.
here are are some notes I once jotted down on the subject:
"the partisan outlook: when confronted with an unpleasant fact, argument, or assertion glide past it, and present the other side with an unpleasant argument, fact, or assertion. Pile up a long list of grievances/proofs of the other sides wrongness, and remain wilfully ignorant of the pile of evidence the other side is accumulating. Then, when you are challenged on any one argument, you can wave it away in good conscience. All right, the opposition may have scored one minor point, a few branches on a tree, but is there any doubt about who the forest belongs too?
the mainstream media/establishment and many conservatives are not acting out of malice, or indeed out of any conscious intention of different treatment, and therefore will not realize the error of their ways, nor will history correct current wrongs. Nor, for those who believe in the afterlife, will the perpatrators pay grievously for their sins.
democrats will have to conquer their anger with the knowledge that justice for past wrongs will never occur. They must overcome their anger and self-pity and console themselves with the belief that: 1) this world was never meant to be fair, and you only have the responsibility to do your best. 2) to keep sanity and perspective, make a careful note of where your opinions differ from the mainstream, without expecting that the mainstream will eventually come round to your way of thinking when the scales somehow fall from their eyes. Precision helps to diffuse anger. You are more likely to become angry and disilusioned when you vehemently disagree with the mainstream, you suspect their disagreement is based on disingenousness or failure to think things through or some kind of error or disingenousness, but you cannot quite prove this is the case."
So are we just supposed to sit back and take it? No, but we have to fight back in a disciplined, kind-hearted, cheerful (even when you don't feel it) take the high-road type way. Instead of attacking Bush, boost up your own people. The best revenge is doing well.
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