In fact that idea is the subject of this initial post. Is it just me or have we sunk into new lows in our political discourse? This is not a new observance for me, I have been aware of it for several years.
I participated in a discussion on a youtube.com video recently. The video consisted of an exchange between CNN reporter Aaron Brown and cartoonist Aaron McGruder. During McGruders hateful diatribe against the president he states that “Beliefs don’t mean anything if you are stupid.”
This comment was met with resounding cheers from commenters that believed it to be a remarkably intellectual statement. I don’t see it that way. I think the comment is soundly failing in logic, compassion and benevolence.
In my mind it is a remarkable display of both arrogance and ignorance that accompanies a mindset of hatefulness. I pointed out to the commenters that it is perfectly possible to have beliefs that effectively guide your life even if we might not have graduated from a northeastern prep school. Actually I used Forrest Gump as an example in my rebuttal trying to help them understand that the fictional character Gump had a profound belief in the power of love for his mother and for Ginny, and that his beliefs were (while fictional) nevertheless meaningful.
I was thinking in a philosophical context that separated the statement from its political hatefulness and placed it instead into the context of human reasoning and simple examination of its base logic.
As you might imagine I was immediately told that I was comparing Bush to a retard and that that somehow proved their point that I was defending the president and this made me stupid as well. The discussion culminated in a commenter declaring me a 13 year old f **** retard. If you would like to follow this predictable and sometimes bizarre discussion it can be found here . I am the commenter Sleepy7.
Now it is important to know I am essentially a political independent and cast no particular lot with either party. As a matter of information you can consider me a limited government advocate. A deadlocked Congress is a wonderful thing to me since it means the government will not actually function except in emergencies, an assessment with which Wall Street agrees.
I do enjoy an intelligent and reasoned discussion. The problem I am seeing across our country is that the process of discussing points of politics or culture often digresses into one party calling another one nasty names if you are not a member of their ideological camp.
In my opinion one of the hallmarks of intelligence and the development of useful social discourse is the ability to listen and accept that another’s position and understanding is important and meaningful to them even if we disagree with their opinion. The fact that they hold a different opinion is not the same as delivering a death sentence to our own beliefs.
In the case of the ‘you tube discussion’ it appeared the audience was unable to excise the intellectual examination of the logic of McGruders comment from their intense hatred of conservatives and the president. The fact that I would challenge the statement immediately set me as a conservative enemy in their mind and the hateful venom was quickly ejected. What is comical to me is that Bush is far too liberal for most conservatives and yet is widely despised by liberals. It’s a strange and hateful political world we occupy. I would leave everyone with this thought. Not everything in our lives or judgment carries political party implications. Perhaps we could all act in a more thoughtful and reasonable manner when dealing with our neighbors beliefs?
Beliefs do mean something to anyone that holds them; even if you are not a northeastern seaboard ‘blue state’ cartoon artist that is all too ready to dismiss the beliefs of those he considers inadequate.