Sorry for the hiatus. I've been ill.
Spreading the blame around once again has become the order of the day. And thus we learn that liberals are guilty for expecting too much of Obama and not doing enough to bring about the change he promised. And everyone is guilty of the shooting in Arizona because we're all—especially our politicians—talking trash.
This "tone down the rhetoric" sermon interests me. It is akin (to my way of thinking) to insisting that since rapists are "impassioned," men should never get passionate.
In other words, we have more form over content working the crowd here. Surprise, surprise. Voters on the right get incensed when journalists suggest the far right is guiltier of inflammatory rhetoric than is the so-called extreme left. (I'm still looking for those folks, by the way.) The idea is to smear the blame around until it is impossible to effect any change at all because, in the final analysis, humanity's responsible and how can you change humanity? We see similar footwork in arguments regarding public funding of various (limited but even so rarely extended) props to the less efficient in our efficiency-obsessed economy. The argument is either "Blame The Victim" or "Everybody Is Culpable." Thus, when children are failing in crappy public schools, it's the fault of the parents who don't spend time reading to their little ones and supervising their homework. It's irrelevant that many parents are incapable of doing these things, through some deficiency or disability or because they are just too exhausted after working at a rotten job or two to keep their family in food and rent. They ought to do better, according to the Judicious Critics of Those Who Don't Behave As They Ought. And so the "public" is let off the fiscal hook.
In this case, the politicians are let off the rhetorical hook since they are "all" doing it. We don't need to examine the content of speech, merely its level of passion. Truth? Well, first, let's be nice because we need civil debate in Congress. Politicians must refrain from attacking one another.
Excuse me, but at this point, thanks to our esteemed President, we have been buried by civility. As I write this, for instance, Congress has voted to overturn the Medicare bill. The GAO reports that ditching this bill will cost the Treasury more than keeping it, but do you hear our President articulating this fact forcefully? I don't. He didn't stump for Single Payer, presumably because he might've annoyed some of his enemies by speaking the truth. Now he isn't even stumping for the watered-down version. I know he's aware of the importance of winning over the American voters because recently he said he had to take his case for automatic citizenship for children born on American soil to (drum roll) the People. Well, duh.
The problem is not that our political speakers are passionate or even that they are harsh. The problem is that they are manipulative. As a nation, we've been manipulated into terror by these fools. Funny how the War on Terror has accomplished just that. We have a lot more to fear from fear itself, lavishly purveyed by the right and endorsed by their cohorts on the so-called left, than we do from Islamic Terrorists. Islamic Terrorists, as I have argued previously, are merely the "Better Dead Than Red" FedEx packages of the present day.
As for fear, it has a funny way of behaving, particularly in men. I recall when I carried two large dogs around in a truck equipped with a camper shell, one dog a giant poodle, the other a German shepherd. These are deep-chested dogs that individually can turn bones to water when they bark. In stereo, in a sudden invisible barrage, they are scary as hell. Walking back to the truck, I've witnessed women jumping several feet in reaction to the dogs' territorial announcements. Afterward, the women often laughed at themselves.
Men, however, were generally a different story. One man keyed the truck. Other men shouted in fury. This, I believe, is the source of the violence we are witnessing. Fear is catching and it is a disease. Disturbed individuals will pass it on.
It's not passion we need to quash; it's manipulation and lies.