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Author Topic: Culture Wars  (Read 46474 times)

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Royal☭

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Culture Wars
« on: October 10, 2008, 12:15:17 PM »

So the media is starting to notice that McCain and Palin are stoking the flames of a heated culture war in our society.

We've all seen the videos of the various McCain rallies and how his constituents view Obama and liberals.  Two weeks ago nobody cared about Bill Ayers.  Nobody knew what ACORN was or had even heard about it.  But now McCain is trading on these non-issues to encourage anger and hate at his rallies, and it's reaching a creepy boiling point.  Attendees routinely call out to kill Obama, accusing him of treason and of being a terrorist.  In an effort to salvage his own campaign, McCain is driving a deeper wedge between conservatives and liberals at a time when the whole country needs to be working together, not viciously attacking each other.

Now liberals and more progressive types aren't entirely blameless here, often times viewing the right as contemptuous and ignorant.  But I don't see my liberal friends hinting that McCain or Palin might be terrorist, just unqualified.  I'm not seeing them openly call for John McCain to be killed.  And that's where the problem lies.  As the right pushes to have the left be viewed as subhuman, mentally ill or as dangerous terrorist, unhinged individuals might take solace in this and find reason to act on their darker impulses.  While it's shocking to read stories about people like Jim David Adkisson shooting up a Unitarian church, the culture wars I'm seeing almost seem to encourage this behavior.  Mr. Adkisson repeated a lot of the talking points and tropes that O'Reilly, Michael Savage, and Sean Hannity espouse in their books and in their TV programs, radio shows and syndicated columns.  They're not directly to blame, but they do offer a target and provide convenient excuses for the ill to target people.  If liberals are terrorists, treasonous, mentally disturbed, and godless monsters, then it must be okay for someone to take them down.

I don't expect riots in the streets anytime soon, and I don't expect lynch mobs to suddenly form and take progressive liberals screaming out of their houses to be executed, but it still feels me with disgusts and unease to see a major party candidate piddling the filth and hatred at his rallies as McCain does.  There is a dark, murderous past found in America.  A past that has resulted in the suppression to vote, public lynchings, and violent, clandestine murders.  If McCain wants to tap into that because he feels it's the only way he can win an election, then he can go to Hell.  A few weeks from now, hopefully we can put these barbaric lies he's spouting behind us and begin to repair the deep wounds in our country.  Until that happens, though, the only thing we can do is fight against the ignorant and support a candidate who isn't trying to scare voters or rally them to hate.

Bongo Bill

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2008, 12:29:07 PM »

Maybe I'm traveling in the wrong circles from you, but I haven't seen anybody characterizing Obama as a terrorist, merely asserting that he is a political ally of a person who describes himself in that way. This strikes me as the sort of issue whose appropriate response would be to discuss it in the open: maybe it's important, maybe it's not. Maybe it will be revealed that Obama is a perfectly respectable liberal who cut a deal with disreputable elements out of necessity - heaven forbid that happen to a politician! - or maybe it will turn out that an extremist has an inappropriate amount of influence over him, or maybe something else altogether.

The point I guess I'm trying to make is that the sort of idiot who would skip all this concern and go straight to ALL LIBERALS ARE RADICALS AND PROBABLY DANGEROUS are probably the kind of idiots who would feel that way regardless of anything that happens in the news.

I also don't think it's fair to blame a candidate for having idiots among his supporters. But, then again, I'm na´ve like that.
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sei

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2008, 02:05:43 PM »

He's not complaining about McCain having them, but for pandering to them.
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Franšois

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2008, 02:06:53 PM »

It certainly is fair to blame a candidate for catering to those idiots. McCain absolutely depends on the vote of people who would cry tears of genuine relief if someone put a bullet in Obama's brain. He can't afford to lose that demographic. He has to choose between feeding the zealots, and outright giving up. And he's not going to let a little thing like extreme social polarization stop him.
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sei

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2008, 02:11:11 PM »

To be fair, a lot of the left (and center) would be similarly relieved if something equally unfortunate befell Palin.
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Brentai

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2008, 02:13:03 PM »

Er, probably not.  As often as she instills the urge to kick in her teeth, I don't think the left is generally violent enough to actually want to see a woman killed for being stupid and misguided.
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sei

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2008, 02:17:55 PM »

It's not a matter of wanting to see her killed; it's a matter of her no longer posing the threat of potentially holding such large sway over how others live their lives.  It's not "thank goodness, she's dead;" it's "thank goodness, we won't have to deal with a second Bushshe won't be in a position to fuck things up for everyone."
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Mongrel

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2008, 02:29:28 PM »

Er, probably not.  As often as she instills the urge to kick in her teeth, I don't think the left is generally violent enough to actually want to see a woman killed for being stupid and misguided.
Uhm. Riiiiiiiight.

Do you want me to post a long list of violent leftists? Would you prefer American ones only, or will international ones be acceptable?

Come on guys, you should know better.



Anyway...



Ignoring this, I think that America has long had a very uncomfortable, ambivilant, relationship with intellectual and the left.

I think that the states have always prized 'ingenuity' and 'cleverness', but have been a lot more wary pure intellectuallism, or anything that smells like academia. And on your worst days, a terrible fear of anyone who seems smarter comes out. During times like these, people like Sarah Palin, who pander to the absolute lowest common denominator, are very comforting.

I don't know, blame the Revolution*, blame whatever you want. But I always find that latent hatred to be so absurd when it comes out. If only it wasn't so terrifying.

*I can state with absolute confidence that the character of Canada was very heavily defined by that same revolution. It is no mistake at all that the American Constitution contains the famous provision for 'Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness', where the Canadian equivilant stated a desire for "Peace, order, and good government.". Three hundred years is not such a long time as you might think.
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Classic

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2008, 02:32:26 PM »

I'd be pretty happy if she up and rejected the nomination tomorrow.
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Franšois

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2008, 02:32:47 PM »

If McCain gunned Obama down himself, X amount of people would call him a hero.
If Obama shot McCain instead, Y amount of people would call him a hero.

X > Y

Probably.

...now I have this mental image of Obama pointing a gun sideways at McCain's head, all saying "looks like you were right about me, cracka", then pulling the trigger. And to my own shame I find it hilarious.
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Bongo Bill

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2008, 02:37:41 PM »

Maybe when you say "pandering" I am thinking of something else than you are; I haven't seen any demonizing of liberals coming out of the McCain campaign. The demonizing that is happening is aimed at people who apparently go a great deal beyond "liberal" and into territory where there's genuine cause for alarm.

If, on the other hand, you were referring to the way his campaign isn't doing anything to disabuse his idiots of the delusion that being left-of-center is tantamount to treason, then I suppose that's true. But it's Obama's behavior, rather than McCain's, that has any claim to being the exception to that strategy (and good for Obama! Seriously!). Allowing the die-hard bloc to think that the other side of the aisle is going to fuck everything up is an ancient (as these things go) tradition. Not that I like it, but I think that if that particular kind of intolerance were going to lead to calamity, it would have done so already. Certainly the last seven years would have been much bloodier.

And I'm stepping out of this discussion before it turns into a thread about whether liberals hate conservatives more than conservatives hate liberals.
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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2008, 02:39:17 PM »

Only because your average violent liberal supported or wasn't bothered by gun control policies.


EDIT: I mean to say, only because I suspect most liberals, at least urban ones, aren't particularly in any position to have the south rise again or something.
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Kashan

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2008, 02:50:40 PM »

Maybe when you say "pandering" I am thinking of something else than you are; I haven't seen any demonizing of liberals coming out of the McCain campaign. The demonizing that is happening is aimed at people who apparently go a great deal beyond "liberal" and into territory where there's genuine cause for alarm.

If, on the other hand, you were referring to the way his campaign isn't doing anything to disabuse his idiots of the delusion that being left-of-center is tantamount to treason, then I suppose that's true. But it's Obama's behavior, rather than McCain's, that has any claim to being the exception to that strategy (and good for Obama! Seriously!). Allowing the die-hard bloc to think that the other side of the aisle is going to fuck everything up is an ancient (as these things go) tradition. Not that I like it, but I think that if that particular kind of intolerance were going to lead to calamity, it would have done so already. Certainly the last seven years would have been much bloodier.

And I'm stepping out of this discussion before it turns into a thread about whether liberals hate conservatives more than conservatives hate liberals.
Did you just miss the McCain add which paints Obama as the Anti-Christ? Or Palin saying that McCain was the only man in the race with courage? The way they're connecting Obama to Ayars isn't via some intellectual examination of their actual connections, it's by screaming that Obama is friends with a terrorist. They're trying to blame him for the economy via ACORN without using any arguments of substance. They're playing on base fear, anger, and xenophobia. At least Palin as hatchet woman is.
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Thad

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2008, 03:12:48 PM »

Maybe I'm traveling in the wrong circles from you, but I haven't seen anybody characterizing Obama as a terrorist, merely asserting that he is a political ally of a person who describes himself in that way.

Yes.  Because they're doing so much to emphasize the nuanced difference between the two.

Bongo, Sarah Palin's exact words were, "This is not a man who sees America as you and I see America. [...] Our opponents see America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who would bomb their own country."  What do YOU think she's trying to say?  Because what I, and even as middle-of-the-road a news outlet as the AP, get is "He is a scary black man who hates America and might be a terrorist."

This strikes me as the sort of issue whose appropriate response would be to discuss it in the open: maybe it's important, maybe it's not. Maybe it will be revealed that Obama is a perfectly respectable liberal who cut a deal with disreputable elements out of necessity - heaven forbid that happen to a politician! - or maybe it will turn out that an extremist has an inappropriate amount of influence over him, or maybe something else altogether.

You're talking about this like it's a huge mystery.  It's not.  It's all asked and answered.  Obama met Ayers DECADES after he was trying to bomb the Capitol (though he's still a pretty serious dick).  They served together, they were friendly but not close.

McCain has gone from a 15-point lead to a 10-point deficit in the month of September.  He is losing on the issues, so he's resorting to tenuous guilt-by-assocation scare tactics.

I haven't seen any demonizing of liberals coming out of the McCain campaign.

:scanners:

McCain's TV ads.  I...I really don't know what to add to that other than "Have you actually seen them, and, if so, could you please explain how you do not believe he has demonized liberals in general or Obama in particular?"

And that's BEFORE we get into the videos of people shouting "TERRORIST!" and "KILL HIM!" at rallies without McCain or Palin giving any kind of negative response.
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Royal☭

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2008, 03:36:07 PM »

Hey, Bongo, those words in red are actually links.  If you follow them, you might learn something.  The more you know!

Here, an example, from CNN: Rage rising on the McCain side

There's a lot of good material in that article alone covering what we're talking about.  The McCain rallies are reaching such a fever pitch that the media is starting to take notice.  Which is kind of surprising, as reporters and journalist have been getting attacked and insulted by the mobs for the last week or so.

McCain is clearly attempting to appeal to a deep cultural divide to win the election, but I fear it'll have far more disastrous consequences if he doesn't try and stem the tide.

As an aside, I would like to note that in that CNN article, they debunk a lot of what Palin and McCain have been saying.  That's unusually good coming from CNN, and I think even they are getting disgusted by McCain at this point.

Detonator

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2008, 03:47:13 PM »

McCain finally says something to the crazy people.

I could accuse McCain of trying to play both sides here, but it's still good that he's publicly saying Obama is not a terrorist.
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Brentai

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2008, 05:03:55 PM »

Probably not "playing both sides" so much as "when people are blaming you for putting the idea of assassination into people's heads, you need to back off a little."
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Royal☭

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2008, 08:46:09 PM »

And probably just playing to one side, as revealed when his campaign comes out and says, "Hey, don't blame us.  It's Barack's fault"


I can only assume that with the way McCain acts as his numbers slip, that his next logical choice will be to try and bring a high-powered rifle to the next debate.

Brentai

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2008, 09:01:38 PM »

...it occurs to me, this sort of "Obama's going to crash an airplane into Kentucky!" rhetoric is very clearly what Sarah Palin is aiming at, but I'm not sure at all if John McCain is at all responsible or even aware of it.  He may not be at all informed at what kind of muck his running mate is raking and is only now beginning to notice the shift in his constituents.  He wouldn't be the first Republican candidate to remain basically oblivious to his surroundings while events were mostly driven by his total rat-bastard of a running mate.

(The worst part about Sarah Palin is also her biggest strength: she is very literally one of the hateful women who show up at every gathering and accuse everybody they know of being a witch, terrorist, pedophile or whatever people have agreed are the Ultimate Evil this week.)

Also, am I the only one who thinks the narrator in those TV spots Thad linked to sound a bit like  :evil:?
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Thad

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Re: Culture Wars
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2008, 09:51:14 PM »

Probably not "playing both sides" so much as "when people are blaming you for putting the idea of assassination into people's heads, you need to back off a little."

An extreme example, but a good reason to tone down the rhetoric:

Quote
Angered by a delay in the receipt of his voter registration card, a Louisiana man today threatened election officials, claiming that he urgently needed to cast a ballot to "keep the nigger out of office," according to police. Wade Williams, 75, was arrested this morning on a felony terrorizing charge after allegedly calling the Registrar of Voters and warning that he would come to the state office and empty his shotgun unless he got his registration card.
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