Sunday, March 22, 2009

Half Of America Hopes I Fail

We were listening to BBC 4's "The Now Show" Friday night. They were talking about American politics and said something rather stupid: "Half of America wants Barack Obama to fail." I have to ask: how stupid are the people on "The Now Show?" Really? Half of America wants Barack Obama to fail? Their primary reason was: payback. They said the Democrats spent the last eight years wanting Bush to fail, so it was only then logically natural that the Big O should have failure rays being shot at him from the right. Then he went on to lament on how polarized American politics has become, "much more so than here," he added. Of course, it's not as polarized as that. Perhaps it is in the world of the media, where a lot of incorrect images are created, but it is not so here. And to say it is while relying only on the media and polarized independent voices is ignorant, short-sighted, and politically naive. Aside from the pundits and bloviators on television and the Internet, I have not heard anyone say they hope Obama will fail. I have heard a lot of people express dubiousness about some of his approaches and policies, but I have yet to hear a single soul aside from Rushmo say they hope for failure. Expressing doubt is not the same as hoping for failure, else there are plenty of Democrats out there who syllogistically hope Obama will fail as well.

The sub-issue here is the lamentation over the polarization of the proletariat. To steal a phrase from Tricky Dicky, I firmly believe there is a mostly silent majority of people in this country who, to use a term of polarization, sag in the middle. It's this middle, alternatively cautiously optimistic and leery of both left and right that swing elections in this country to the right or to the left. One of the effects of the two-party system is that it masks this majority under the flimsy guides of "moderates." In other nations, with multiple parties, these moderates are not physically united with other parties, having parties of their own. (Yes, we do have Libertarians, Independents and others, but it's clear these parties represent the fringe, not the center, where the moderates lie, or they have become platforms for single-issue candidates.) That, in other countries, these parties form ruling alliances is akin to unpartied moderates voting Democratic in one election, Republican in another. We have to share power before or at the election, not afterward, when alliance-building occurs in most multiparty democracies. For the moderates, the platforms of either party do not wholeheartedly appeal, but sometimes it's just choosing one lesser evil over the other.

The polarization comes from the talking heads and the media. The Republican Party has reluctantly take on the role of the opposition party and us screwing it up royally, much as the Democrats have in the past eight years. Bloviators on both sides and the media ferret out and point to polarizing opinions and actions of a few and foolishly pass those off as the will of the people or the desire of "half the nation" to see the other side fail. This is a childish approach to politics, punditry, and journalism that does little to fix things, because lies that are widely spread are lies still.

Posted with LifeCast

1 comment:

carl g said...

Great post. I'm actually going to abstain from any posting on the economy, politics, etc., this week. To lower my blood pressure. It's all just a slo-mo train wreck right now.