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Related Post Roulette

8 Responses

  1. Sam M says:

    ‘increasingly vitriolic, ill tempered, and divided. ‘


    To justify “increasingly,” it would help to know the moment that we are using as the golden age of political civility. Not 1861, surely. Or 1776. Maybe the Kent State era? The immediate post-revolution era, when a bunch of people mad about whiskey taxes wrote nasty op-eds, and the government responded with an education campaign? Wait. They didn’t write nasty op-eds. They dipped local officials in hot tar and covered them with feathers. And the government responded by raising an army and crushing the revolt.

    Timothey McVeigh. Bill Ayers. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Was this column stupid and ill advised? Sure. But that’s PART of the American political tradition, not a departure from it.Report

    • Bob in reply to Sam M says:

      When one inundates themselves with all the divisive language easily found on the web, talk radio, cable, pulpits, wherever, it’s easy to agree with Joyner, it does seem out of control. But I think you are correct. Without a starting point, your “golden age,” it is pretty empty to say things are worse today.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    I honestly don’t know if things are different today than they used to be when it comes to the vitriol.

    I think that vitriol is a lot easier to find and highlight and point to, of course…

    But I have no doubt that folks said things about LBJ, or Hoover, or Fillmore. It’s just that if they said it in a basement among friends, so what? If they said it in a newsletter (hi, Ron Paul!), so what? You not only had to know where to look to find the stuff, you needed to know people who knew about the stuff to have them point it to you.

    Now someone can say something on one of the chans, it gets to somethingawful, it goes from there to facebook, and then we’ve got people saying “can you believe that there are people talking about handicapable students engaging in unnatural acts with a pokemon named ‘mudkips’?” who, once upon a time, would never have even heard of pokemon.

    Put another way, there have always been six degrees of separation from good christian folk like me and you to the nutters. It just took months and months for news that #6 told #5 to get to #4… and months to get from #4 to #3… and by the time the news filtered to you and me, there was plausible deniability and anyway there was a new guy in the White House.

    Now #6 can say something crazy and you read about it 2 hours later. There is no plausible deniability (indeed, the facebook post with 300 comments is RIGHT THERE). It’s still immediate.

    I don’t know that people have changed so very much in the last few generations. I suspect that they’re much the same.

    They just have iPhones now.Report

  3. JosephFM says:

    Well, it’s really just a short step from defending the coup in Honduras because Zelaya was trying to follow in Chavez’s footsteps, to proposing the same thing for the U.S.
    Military coups are pretty much always worse, no matter how bad the previous guys were. But once you start believing otherwise, and accepting the logic of military coups to defend the Constitution from elected civilian governments, I don’t see why you’d only apply it to the Hondurases and Thailands of the world.Report

  4. North says:

    Yes, the article is idiotic. But I agree with the others. This isn’t a departure. Parliment was orinally designed so the opposing parties were more than a swords length apart. There was a reason. Legislators physically beat each other with canes even in this country in the past. Politics has always been vitrolic, rough and tumble and I say that is fine because we must always keep in mind what it replaced; fists, swords and bullets. Let the blowhards bellow.Report

  5. Katherine says:

    The problem isn’t vitriol. People should stand against those who advocate torture, the transfer of money from the poor to the rich, military aggression as a tool of foreign policy.

    The problem is the use of racism, lies, and xenophobia by the right. The problem is rule by lobbyists. You’re attacking the symptoms, not the disease. The difference between the two sides here could not be stronger.Report

    • Katherine in reply to Katherine says:

      In short: the other side aren’t honorable, decent people, and it would be lying and whitewashing to call them so.Report

    • Bob in reply to Katherine says:

      “The difference between the two sides here could not be stronger.”


      But the question is, is it, the right worse today than it was during the McCarthy era? The John Burch era? The “Bull”Connors era? The Father Cloughlin era? The Al Smith era? The Know Nothing era?

      American politicians have never been citizens of that Shining City on the Hill. Elected political office is a zero sum game. It’s tough out there.

      My gut tells me that every word you write is correct, the racism particularly, but none of it is a new phenomenon.Report