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political rage and satisfaction

Six years of going unheard, being edged out with questionable election mechanics. Two years of "I told you so" falling on deaf ears, ears so filled with denial that victory is touted, flying in the face of increasing doubt. Such a history of deception that even when the truth does come from their lips, it sounds like lies.

It makes extremely fertile territory for hatemongering, for the attacks to go personal, and for rhetoric to go hyperbolic. When the party in power doesn't even make a show of listening, the powerlessness in the air is palpable. A man who confidently comes forward and says "No" can satisfy a hunger, the craving to be heard. He hears me, and feels this rage, and is not afraid to express it, in stark terms.

I fall for it sometimes. Sometimes I look back later, when my blood has settled down, and say "oh; this man is a demagogue." But sometimes I can look back and say "now, from this point of view, rational, analytical, this still makes sense." This is the danger; mixing the two together in one place, under one name, lends credence to the emotional appeal.

Hearing Keith Olbermann recite his 9/11 commentary, about the continued existence of a hole in the ground—about how the terrorists have won, and have turned our own government against us—I can't help but cringe at the tone of his delivery, or at the tone of the prose. The attack is fierce, and beyond confidently stated—he is certain that Bush is a criminal.

But there is something snakelike in his wordcrafting. "History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away ... by its critics." What? "It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage." While I agree with the subordinate clause—that Bush used that support to political advantage, and to grab undue power for the office of the President—I do not think that the full statement makes any sort of logical sense. He attempts to prove a concept by mere assertion that "History teaches us." This isn't the only part of the column that makes me suspicious.

The form appeals to the emotional, and draws people in. The column states things that people know to be true, alongside things that they want to be true, stating them all as equivalent fact. There's a satisfaction to it. And there's danger in it.

Keep your eyes open.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 13th, 2006 06:32 am (UTC)
What Keith was saying was that a fringe-element screaming "they suck they suck they suck!" over and over doesn't actually have any real effect unless they actually DO suck. In other words, Bush's approval ratings tumbled because he actually did things that caused them to tumble. I am confused as to how a statement like that requires proving since it seems emeninently obvious.
Sep. 13th, 2006 12:23 pm (UTC)
Water flouridation.

Schools teaching Evolution.

Jews in Germany.

Catholics in England.

Olbermann's right about history---but only on scales longer than about a decade. It's quite possible for a fringe or even a single demagogue to turn a democratic populace against a perfectly fine idea for a short period of time.
Sep. 13th, 2006 01:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you for being reasonable. I suspect that we disagree about just about everything politically, but we're not enemies. We share as common enemies those who refuse the dialogue, who are fatally sure of themselves, who believe that a lie is better than the truth if it's for the "greater good."

The Democrats are more likely than the Republicans to win the next Presidential election. Please be very careful whom you nominate.
Sep. 13th, 2006 01:28 pm (UTC)
The sad thing is ... I am fairly sure I know who the Democrats would nominate. I know that I do not want this person near the White House, I know that if the Democrats nominate them I will _still_ vote for them over a Republican candidate. And I know I would hate myself for having to do so.


I hope the Democrats win the mid-term elections and show a strong showing in the Congressional '08 races ... because then hopefully the Republicans will put up a candidate I can vote for just to keep things split.
Sep. 13th, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
Feel free to make a politics filter at any time :)
Sep. 13th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
Sorry, some people read my lj without an lj account.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )