Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tribal Warfare

So I’ve recently come across a new blog that I think is pretty amazing. Why do I like it? First, that was very considerate of you to ask. Thank you. Second, it’s just that this other blog offers an original and interesting perspective that’s light-hearted and funny. Mostly it’s the funny. Reading that blog is a good time. It gives the people what they want. But the weird thing is that I’m an attention seeking whore. The kind of guy who’s desperately trying to make up for the peak-a-boo his parents never provided, or the dates the high school, college, and law school girls never showed up for. So you’d think I’d simply work harder to make my blog fun like theirs so I’d have a larger readership. But alas, I can’t shake this need to go a different direction and be preachy.

So today’s preaching concerns the Rush Limbaugh wanting Obama to fail business. So what’s got me in a pique isn’t even that Rush said it, despite the obvious hypocrisy after he railed against unpatriotic liberals who hated America while the last guy was in charge. (I’ve learned that rage for the hypocrisy of ideologues is a wasted emotion, much like frustration for an autistic kid who won’t mingle at a party. They’re doing the best they can with what God gave them.) What’s got me upset is the way people who should know better are talking about what Rush said. There are some articles saying it’s a good Democratic strategy to run with this, and other articles saying this is a nefarious White House plot (Drudge linked this story with the headline: “Enemies List: White House Plots Limbaugh Coverage”) to focus attention on Rush, and then there are responses to this claim of conspiracy, so basically everyone is just getting bogged down with the political aspect to this whole thing.

But what the essential focus should be, like 99% of the focus by the media and responsible people who want to improve America’s collective consciousness, is how Rush’s comment reflects the us v. them mentality that Obama is trying to move past with his call to bipartisanship. (For a prescient analysis on why Obama was doomed to fail to bring America out of its political tribalism read this guy.) So those who seek to advance human existence should focus on how Rush’s way of thinking is the dogmatic, intellectually lazy, personally vile, and one of the more detestable traits that we humans possess, traits that all people should identify and work very very hard to move past so that we can live in a more harmonious world, a world of sunshine and rainbows where we focus on the proper issues that are threatening our existence like climate change, the overfishing of the seas or the decline of primetime television.

Just look at what Rush said compared to what he could have said. Rush didn’t say (1) “I disagree with Obama’s policies and think those polices will fail.” He’s also didn’t say (2) “I know Obama is going to fail.” What Rush said, four days before Obama took office, was that he wanted Obama to fail. This means he wanted Obama the person to fail regardless of what his policies turned out to be, regardless of how that failure would affect the rest of us God fearing, NASCAR watching, apple pie humping Americans.

Since (1) is the sort of thing a well reasoned person who understands the limits of human knowledge would've said, and since no one expects Rush or any pundit to live up to that standard, there’s not much use discussing it. But even (2) wouldn’t have been so bad. I mean (2) is frustrating, since it's the kind of annoying certainty ideologues possess even though just selecting the proper metrics to determine how successful the New Deal was is a dicey affair fraught with implications of bias and selectivity (even though on balance that argument looks wrong since it counters what most regard as the historical record). But ok if Rush had said (2) like how the WSJ editorial pages say stuff like (2) then that wouldn’t have been that terrible. But Rush didn’t even say he was certain the policies would fail (regardless of how things are currently being spun). He simply said he wants Obama to fail. The enemy. The guy who is a liberal, and a socialist, and all of those evil words that make someone come in the middle of the night and steal your children and seduce your wife and feed your dog because it’s a crafty enemy and he knows how to win your dog’s loyalty.

So no matter how you parse it, what’s happening here with Obama and Rush and Rush's millions of fans who see the world the same way he does is that this is more than strategy, or a nefarious plot, and it deserves to be discussed in a less cynical manner than how it will play with the electorate. My point, again, is that human progress and bipartisanship require an open mind and an open heart, so let’s open those up people and rethink those simplistic platitudes that help define our way of thinking so we can pretend to know how best to deal with certain problems. And let’s see if we can work to overcome the prejudices we’ve developed to protect us from our perceived enemies and maybe we should give them a chance at failing on their own before we wish for any predetermined result. Because when we do wish they fail ahead of time because of these prejudices and our egotistical desire to see our way of thinking validated then we're rooting against America. And people who root against America should be peed upon and then set on fire.


Anonymous said...

Urine is flammable?


2 Birds, 1 Blog: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

Being preachy is a good thing. It shows that you know about shit and you have opinions and feel confident about expressing those opinions. I could never be preachy because if someone were to challenge me, I'd be like, "ugh, I'm tired of this. I'm going to lay down right here and take a nap and hope I don't see you when I wake up."

Either way, thank you for linking the blog!

- Meg, 2b1b

Sir Fantastic said...

I hadn't thought the plan all the way through. I guess we should towel them off after urinating and then set them on fire? I don't know. We can work out the details later.

And yea Meg, your blog is the cat's meow.