Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ann Coulter, Ron Paul, and General Babbling

In discussing the latest in the unending buffet of nonsense that issues from Ann Coulter's mouth, most people have focused on her saying (more or less) that all Jews should convert to Christianity. But I found the exchange leading up to it interesting, when she's asked what the perfect world would look like:

COULTER: Well, everyone would root for America, the Democratic Party would look like [Sen.] Joe Lieberman [I-CT], the Republican Party would look like [Rep.] Duncan Hunter [R-CA] --

What would the American political scene look like in my ideal world? Well, I wouldn't say that I want the Republican party to look like Ron Paul or Andrew Sullivan (although either one is much more conservative than Lieberman is liberal). And although I would want to country to move to the left, I wouldn't want liberals to take over the world--God knows what kind of idiotic things they'd try to do without the Republicans checking them! I like having a balance of power and an open political debate. That's what democracy means. I guess if I were to reduce it to something pithy, I'd say that the Democrats would realize that there's a lot of support for liberalism, would grow some backbone, and would actually voice and explain liberal viewpoints, while the Republicans would treat the religious right as a nutty fringe group. And people would understand that arguments questioning the patriotism or other Americans, or accusing them of not "supporting the troops," are bullshit.

Bill Maher brought Ron Paul's opposition to the war up last week, and Tucker Carlson (apparantly a big Ron Paul fan) said something like "If all these liberals who are in love with Ron Paul for his position on Iraq knew what else he stood for, they'd be horrified." A pretty condescending view--I don't think there's a lot of liberals who are "in love with" Ron Paul, but we do wish that HE was the guy we were arguing with, because at least his positions make sense. I want to have arguments about how active a role the government should play in the economy, through taxes, regulations and social programs. I want to have arguments about how hawkish, dovish or isolationist our foreign policy should be. I have my opinions, conservatives have theirs, and we can argue our respective philosophies out rationally. Instead, I feel like we spend all our time having these stupid arguments about things that shouldn't even be up for debate. Questions like:

Should people be denied basic rights based on their sexuality?
Should science be taught in science classes?
Is it a good idea to give teenagers information about birth control?
Should the government be allowed to wiretap citizens without a warrant?
Is torture an acceptable practice for a democracy to engage in?
Is that whole habeus corpus thing really that important?
Is the invasion of Iraq turning out well?
Is pointing out that the invasion of Iraq didn't turn out well the same thing as insulting the troops?

That's what's so frustrating. Why are we even having these arguments? This is stuff that's not even up for debate. And this atmosphere, with so many people pretending that these are real arguments, has changed my political outlook, and not, I fear, for the better. I've always been liberal, but I've also always been one for civilized discourse. I used to be the one that would play devil's advocate with my fellow liberals, just to give some balance to a conversation. I try to see things from all sides. I dislike it when liberals try to characterize conservatives as being motivated by greed or racism, or as being dishonest in their arguments. We all see the same problems, but we have different philosophies about how they can best be solved. At least, that's how I used to feel.

Now, I really do feel like all Republicans are racist, misogynist, greedy, dishonest and insecure about their dicksize. I don't like feeling this way, but I don't have any patience for listening to their arguments. And it's because they've been arguing all these things that have no basis whatsoever in logic, and compounding my frustration by basing most of their arguments on smearing their opponents. It's like living in topsy-turvy land. Can we please just get back to taking politics seriously?


Blogger Joe Pettit Jr. said...

Bravo Chris! You are absolutely right. Political discourse in this country has been reduced to argument over topics that shouldn't even be an issue in a true democracy. I used to argue that Republicans are people too to my far left friends. Now I don't even want to make the effort. I'll just be proved wrong by some new boneheaded political maneuver.

10/29/2007 12:24 PM  

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