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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.

Comments

chenoameg
Sep. 13th, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
Feel free to make a politics filter at any time :)
crs
Sep. 13th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
Sorry, some people read my lj without an lj account.

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highway
crs
just a guy made of dots and lines
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