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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

Camera got them images. Camera got them all.

Nothing's shocking.

In some ways, what we got this time is what democracy is supposed to be. Contention. Voices raised in argument both logical and partisan. Debate.

Given a historical perspective, I'm not necessarily sure I see this brawling, mud-slinging, name-calling, savagely hypocritical campaign season as a loss. It has people interested. It has people--some people, at least, if not enough of them--thinking.

Things really weren't more polite in yesteryear. There's been a lot of talk about how deeply divided the country is, how we're enmeshed in a culture war, on the verge of a not-so-civil one. A lot of talk about how far apart we stand, and how the country's going to hell in a handbasket, and how we're tearing ourselves apart at the seams, and No Good Can Come Of This.

The funny thing is, I prefer the world of 1975 to the world of 1965.

Upheaval is not always bad. Conflict is not always bad. Getting really fucking pissed off and screaming at the top of your lungs, change this or else! is not necessarily bad. Weird times make for great states(wo)men. Great arguers, and great compromisers.

We've been here before. Social Darwinism, the Great Depression, McCarthyism. Each of which resulted in another tic upward on the ladder of social change, a correction, as it were.

Democracies are like drunks. We don't start to get better until we hit bottom. So, personally, I'm not all that sure the recent lack of canings on the Senate floor is a good thing.

I think it indicates a breakdown in vigorous discourse.

Comments

I agree with your argument, but at the same time I think we have to be careful about becoming a place where you're not even allowed to stand up and say change this or else! anymore.

There have been times in just the past few years where questioning the government in any way was seen as outrageous and even dangerous in some quarters. So while debate and argument in general are good things, I'm not sure I really like where this particular argument and 'debate' could be heading.
Thus the parallel to McCarthy. *g* In case you missed that first time through.
Hmm... apparently I didn't make as strong a note of it as I should have. You're right that we managed to survive it (obviously), but I still don't know that I'd classify that as a good thing. (The risk to democracy, I mean, not McCarthyism, which definitely is not a good thing.)

I get what you're saying and I agree--sorta. Taken to the extreme, the philosophy then says that we were at our absolute strongest just before, or during the Civil War because that's when the contention and discourse had reached a fever peak. Obviously an absurd extreme, but the argument does kind of lend itself to that sort of thing.

Instead, I think our nation's greatest times of strength are when the bonds between individual and nation are strongest. While I think they're exceptionally strong for many, I also believe that there are many more for whom their strongest bonds right now are between themselves and their Party Of Choice.

When discourse, even vigorous discourse, is nicely Socratic and productive, then yes, I think it's a definite strength. When it's just party hacks butting heads, I think it's weakness.
I totally agree. People actually paying attention and thinking and discussing is a very good thing.
It wasn't just a caning on the Senate floor--it was a caning of a Senator by a member of the lower house, showing an intensity of discourse not often seen between the two houses, even if you had Tom DeLay and Hillary Clinton together on a reconciliation committee.
Dr. E.C. was saying just about the same thing at lunchtime today - she was in high school in Ohio at the time of Kent State, for another example of things getting out of hand.

And it's true, mudslinging isn't NEW. (It was Garfield who was accused of having fathered a child out of wedlock, I think. Ever seen the famous cartoon?) We just like to think that we've gotten above all that.

Oh well.
Well, I just got rid of the old motorcycle helmet with the scar across the top from Chicago, Summer of '68. Maybe I shoulda kept it.

Just remember, whoever you voted for, the Government got in.
That is, of course, the ongoing problem.