Thursday, March 25, 2010

Can't we all just get along

Apparently not.

John Edwards, before his fall from grace, used to talk about "two Americas." One for the haves, and one for the have nots and have littles. Well, I think there are two Americas, but I see the split a bit differently.

There's FoxAmerica, and there's everyone else. As it turns out, the two Americas don't seem to speak the same language, they have completely different cultural cues, quite different moral values, and are growing further and further apart. Idaho, of course, is squarely in FoxAmerica. It's in the running for the heartland of the place, and might even be the capital.

In FoxAmerica, when a Republican president gives tax cuts for the very rich and starts two wars, none of which is paid for, resulting the the largest increase in the national debt ever, the response is .... crickets. Not a peep. But when a Democratic president tries to extend health care to 30 million Americas, FoxAmerica shouts n***er, f***ot, throws bricks through windows, asks people to "RELOAD," files frivolous lawsuits to prevent giving health care to the uninsured, and generally pitches a huge fit. All of which is tolerated, and indeed egged on, by Republican leaders.

The point is, the two Americas can look at the same thing, and see two completely different, opposite probably, things. I do not get it.

It's in the best interests of the Fox leadership, Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, and their ilk, to stoke this split, not to bridge it. If they can keep people angry and afraid, people will keep tuning into Fox, driving up ratings, and making the Fox denizens big money. They get rich by exploiting divisions in America. Sadly, that exploitation is having real, negative consequences.

I think it will get worse before it gets better. Some people on the right are beginning to speak out about the insanity (so it appears outside of FoxAmerica). But, those voices are immediately attacked, and marginalized.

And to FoxAmericans, of course, I'm an idiot who can't see the plain truth. A deludinoid. A completely misguided person, probably a traitor. Certainly hopelessly naive. And for now, that's a chasm that can't be crossed.


Julie Fanselow said...

Tim Egan has an excellent column in the NYT today on this topic, Alan:

Sisyphus said...

Seems a good place to plug this poll in Alan.

They are bat shit crazy.

Alan said...

14% of Americans believe Obama is the anti-Christ, per the poll Sisyphus cites. That is crazy.

Egan cites another poll that says that 13% of American identify themselves as Tea Party members.

Of course, not all tea-baggers think Obama is the anit-christ, but that percent probably IDs what percent of Americans can safely be called the lunatic fringe. Wonder what the number is in Idaho? 25%

fortboise said...

Tapping into the lizard brain is a growth industry. Definitely driven by economic strife; idle hands are the Devil's something, don't you know.

And yes, plan on it getting worse, which will make our country more like the rest of the world, which has known a lot more strife, and a lot more terrorism than we ever have.

fortboise said...

Speaking of lizard brains, and having looked at the interesting Harris poll Sis pointed to, it occurs to me that the narcissism of polls is taking on a life of its own.

Some people say Obama is a socialist. Do you agree, or not?

This is at best a shallow belief, driven by entertainers who make a living making up epithets and repeating them ad nauseum to whip up their audience. (Anyone compared the Nielsen ratings of Fox News and pro wresting, I wonder?) If you don't like the target of the poll, it provides some small satisfaction to punch the "Agree!" button, get in the swing of the insults. All the way down the field, HEY!

Proper statistical sampling provides a way to gauge who lines up with an attitude more than who all believes bat shit crazy stuff.

Which is not to say we don't have an epidemic of BSC as well as a dearth of civility and community spirit (the true patriotism): more that BSC is a communicable disease.

Bubblehead said...

I agree, the two sides in the current debate aren't starting from the same set of assumptions -- or maybe, they are. Just as the most extreme Tea Partiers believe that President Obama wants to destroy the U.S., I submit that the most extreme Progressives believe that President Bush wanted to do the same. Since we're quoting polls, how about the 16% in 2006 who believed that pre-planted explosives brought down the WTC on 9/11? 16 > 14.

fortboise said...

Folks aren't laid out on a tidy right-left axis, Bubbles. This is a 3-D problem, and I'll bet you a donut there's a big overlap between the believers in Obama out to destroy US and Bush plotted 9-11. (Or maybe it was Clinton?)

And 16 = 14 within the margin of error of polls we read about in the news. (They don't call it "margin of error" for nuthin.)

Bubblehead said...

I submit the 9/11 Forum at Democratic Underground into evidence. I think it would be hard to deny there are whackjobs on the left as well as the right.

Nemesis said...

Well said. Try living in Idaho Falls, where the moderates are considered extremely liberal.

I also thought a conspiracist was a conspiracist was a conspiracist...until I met the local libertarians.