Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Do shut up, sirs and madams!

I like Facebook.  It's handy to keep tabs on people whom I wouldn't necessarily contact directly.  Those old friends from high school, lost to the dust on the shelf were it not for their ability to leave a virtual sticky-note on my front door.  Some of the contacts I've made would have slipped by if not for the site, so I'll always be appreciative of that angle. 

Doesn't it sound like I'm working towards a giant-sized "however"?
But I'm not.

While there are aspects of Facebook I find less-than-smiley, it's nothing I concern myself with.  Facebook is a way for some people to make money while offering a service.  I don't begrudge them that (though I do wish they'd let me buy in!).

Still, there's a scent of lingering "but" in the air, isn't there?  Yes, there is.  But I'm ashamed to say it has to do with my friends much more than it does my social networking software.

As much as I like hearing about what people are thinking, being privy to all these political conversations is driving me crazy.  If you don't already know it, allow me to introduce the word of the day...

DEMAGOGUERY -- the act of manipulating a (political) issue through obfuscation and extreme emotional outbursts

There's a lot of it.  And if it's in my circle of friends, that means it's ubiquitous.  I'm sick and tired of everyone plugging their ears and yelling other people down.  I realize that's what passes for national debate now, but I'm not interested in debating on the Internet.

I've got friends at the far end of each camp: there's the fancy lawyers and ad execs who are die-hard Democrats and there's the blue-collar ultra-conservative musician Republicans.  "Hunh?" I hear you cry.  "That's totally not the stereotypical party identification."  What can I say? -- my friends are atypical.

And on and on they tussle.  The Republicans taunt the Democrats about Acorn.  The Democrats hammer the Republicans about the so-called "death panel" attacks.  Jim calls Debby a scrounging communist.  Debby insinuates that Jim would be happy to let the "lesser" races die.

And then they take off the gloves and really get to work.

Insinuations that Mexicans are taking over.  Allegations of driving the country to nuclear war.  Accusations that certain people should be tortured after all.  Fingers pointed and always the label "anti-American".

And finally, somebody comes out and says we should let the poor die, because of natural selection and job hunting.  Charming.  Plus there's a U.S. Representative from Arizona who called the president "an enemy of humanity".

*** *** ***

Have you ever heard an author use a comparison between bile on the lips and something distasteful?  It actually happened to me when I read all that stuff.  I felt the vomit as I drew back my neck, tendons tight, and a grimace on my face. 

Screw them.  All of them.  Yes, I know they're my friends.

But they're behaving like bratty children.  Everyone visits THEIR websites, gets THEIR talking points, nods along with THEIR spokespeople, and calls the other side traitors.  Are these the intellectual progeny of the Internet?  A balkanized public who can only regurgetate the words that make them look good? 

So much lip service to "balance" and "ideals".  I find myself wondering if it's balance if - after listening to the other side - you can't feel the squirmy uncertainty of wondering if they have a point.

Alas, I don't have any solutions at the moment.  I'm just angry that nobody wants to listen.  And when I try to listen, all I get are people shoving the "correct" idea down my throat with a canoe paddle.

Signed,
An Extremely Frustrated Person

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you're agitated with it. You and I have a lot of common friends and I honestly haven't noticed the political strife. But perhaps I'm just overlooking it or only focusing on new babies, summer trips, trombone crap, and a bunch of random nonsense. Maybe a vacation from it all to Jacksonville is in order.

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