Sunday, November 1, 2009

Elevating political discourse

I like to report on people doing the right thing, so I was happy to discover Megan Carpentier at Air America calling out Keith Olbermann for his pointless ad hominem attack on Michelle Malkin.

One can say a lot of things about Michelle Malkin's politics, her tactics, her strained relationship with reality and her commenters' propensity to embody the worst of the Internet. Or you could do what Keith Olbermann did...A liberal, progressive critique of Malkin need not and should not resort to an attack on her looks or her gender or rely on silly stereotypes or imagery that brings to mind victims of domestic violence.


If people on both sides would be more honest about criticizing each other for doing the wrong thing, the debate would be entirely more civil. Unfortunately, they are usually too busy circling the wagons to be willing to point out faults among others inside the defenses, and the ever-escalating rhetoric contributes to this sense of beleaguerment and us-against-them mentality. It takes courage to come out and say it isn't worth winning at the cost of losing one's honour, so kudos to Mrs. Carpentier for her essay. Her readers' comments show that, unfortunately, most people are more than willing to sling mud rather than to engage in debates.

On a similar vein, thanks to Sarah Palin for her gracious comments on Dede Scozzafa's withdrawal from the congressional race in New York. While I strongly support running more conservative Republican candidates over moderate ones, I agree with Newt Gingrich that there is no reason to run the moderates out of the party. Members of one wing of a party can take over from another, but they can only govern if they keep the party whole.

I wrote some time ago about content as the major factor differentiating country music from rock. Given that the content is overwhelmingly nationalist and Christian, it is easy to assume that country music listeners would be more likely to vote Republican than Democrat. Now someone has come along and done the research to prove it, and there is even more correlation than I had expected: the existence of country music stations is a highly predicitve of a region's voting pattern. While television, movies, and most music stations are on the liberal side, country music has become a major voice for conservatism in entertainment.

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