Wednesday, January 11, 2006

And on a quick, unrelated note...

Here is what I make of the Alito hearings so far: The Democrats all think Alito, in his spare time, enjoys lynching black people. The Republicans would enjoy lynching Democrats, and not just in their spare time.

In another sense, this post isn't so unrelated after all. Today's climate of political polarization--where neither side is willing to concede even an ounce of credibility to the other side, or anything it says/stands for--is at least in part a byproduct of two themes that emerge from self-help: the notion of the "higher power" (which inevitably fuels demagoguery), and the societal pervasiveness of sportsthink, as outlined in SHAM, which fosters a mentality exactly opposite to what we try to teach kids in Little League: to wit, it's not how you play the game, it's whether you win or lose. Consider that politicians today make speeches that rely to no small degree on metaphors drawn from athletic competition: They drone on about touchdowns, and end runs, and homeruns, and gut checks; they huddle with their strategists to decide whether an unforeseen event may require them to call an audible. When politicians begin conceiving themselves as members of teams--rather than the individual social consciences of a nation--the end result is, well, what we see going on in Washington now: If you're a Democrat, your fellow Democrats can do no wrong, and your Republican opponents can do no right. If you're a Republican, simply reverse the allegiances.

The real losers in all this are We, the People.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree. As terrifying as the political climate is these days, the scariest thing of all is how I felt--and still feel to this day--about the people in my area, all unknown to me, who put out political signs for the opposition in their yards during the last presidential election. I think not the war in Iraq or [put your significant milestone here] but political polarization--and its tragic consequences for America--will be the real if unwitting legacy of the Bush administration.