JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: DEMOCRATS AND LIBERALS IN AMERICA NEED TO BE MORE RESPECTFUL?   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED SERIES OF RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY CLIVE CROOK IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Clive Crook, you are quite wide of the mark here.

First, if it’s respect for the views of others that needs correcting, no clear-thinking observer can honestly say it is not Republicans who stand most in need.

For decades, Republicans – Delay, Gramm, Gingrich, Cheney, Thurmond, Robertson, Nixon, Agnew, and so many others – have specialized in quite vicious attacks on their opponents.

And was it Democrats or liberals who used to stalk the homes and offices of doctors who performed legal abortions? Or liberals who worked viciously to keep the poor boy, Elian, from being reunited with his loving father in his home were he had friends and relatives, indeed who vilified the father in front of the boy? What about the eight years of nastiness handed out to the Clintons when in the White House, a great deal of it highly personal? Was it liberals who hatefully blamed homosexuals for killer storms that were supposedly the wrath of God? Was it liberals who built entire careers calling people soft on communism?

Indeed, the basic tenet of Christian Fundamentalism that it has the only truth and if that you don’t embrace it, you are damned to hell forever, I think may fairly be characterized as a trifle vicious in nature. It is hard not to conclude only vicious people can embrace it.

I do not know the entire explanation for this phenomenon of the Right Wing. It could be that people on the Right are simply genetically mean-spirited. I do think a lot of politics is the result of basic temperament. It could be, at least in some cases, that negatives are used to overcome the inherently less popular tenets of Republicanism. Negative campaigning works, at least within limits. It’s all McCain has done so far, and it’s all Palin’s speech was. And it could be in part the need to build a coalition large enough for power requiring accommodating the most hateful and mean-spirited.

Surely, you do recognize that there are personal views or behaviors that genuinely deserve criticism?

Just one example in Sarah Palin’s case is her Creationism.

Now, the genuine stupidity of Creationism is calling it a viable theory. What possible tests or data collection could hope to disprove Creationism or even lead to serious adjustments in its statements? None, ever.

Creationism is not a theory, it is a belief, based on superstition and ancient traditions, and nothing more. You are certainly free, in a free society, to embrace it, but people like me are also free to make judgments about your attitudes and abilities if you do.

With a dozen nuclear carrier taskforces on the seas, I think it is mighty dangerous to have people with close-to delusional beliefs in positions of power. Moreover, embrace of this belief says something about flexible thinking and ability to adjust to new realities.

Creationism is a belief that goes back several thousand years, at least, and it has suffered no contradictions from testing because it cannot be tested.

Imagine going to a doctor whose knowledge reflected only and exactly what was contained in superstitious writings from 2,500 to 3,500 years ago. I believe it fair to say, if you saw a certificate framed on his office wall indicating just that qualification, you would run screaming from the office.

And just so, Creationism.

__________________

Another nasty personal behavior of Palin’s was dragging the boy – the one who fathered her daughter’s coming baby – to the convention.

I don’t care in the least about her daughter’s pregnancy. It’s certainly not an a campaign issue, although it nicely and humorously shows up the hypocrisy of Palin’s beliefs.

But dragging the boy – cleaned up and dumped in a new suit and introduced to everyone as her daughter’s “fiance” clearly displays a highly controlling and manipulative temperament.

The boy’s Internet site – now taken down – clearly showed what his own views were. No babies, pride in being a redneck, and packed with obscene and threatening language.

Truly nasty stuff.

But there he was, all polished up as though he were Jimmy Stewart dating Donna Reed.

Can you imagine the pressure brought to bear here? By the governor of his state? And he was even introduced to McCain.

That’s not my idea of acceptable behavior by a politician.

____________________

“Dear Clive, Please read John Chuckman’s post. Perhaps you could write your next article on the Canadian’s elitist view of America and why most American’s could care less what a Canadian thinks about our country or election.”

Well, even on its own terms, it doesn’t get more confused and muddled than that.

A column should be written, but on a subject Americans do not care about? Very sensible suggestion indeed.

And this confused writer appeals to a Brit to tell readers about Americans not caring about the views of Canadians?

And why should it matter from what country views come from? The views either have validity or not.

Putting it into that prejudiced, nationalistic context is revealing and one of the qualities which unavoidably make many Americans look so parochial and unpleasant abroad.

And indeed makes them so unfit to be leaders in world affairs.

I would be glad never to say another word about American politics were it the case that it did not so influence, and often hurt, the rest of the planet.

America is running a de facto aristocracy in which something like one or two percent of the planet’s population – the rough percent to world population of Americans who vote – sets the rules and policies for everyone else.

So your government matters to others because its blundering and viciousness affect so many others, of course never raising so much as a fleeting thought from Americans of this writer’s capacities.

Elitist view of America? Seems to me the only elitist views around are those who defend America’s de facto aristocracy and right to do as it damn well pleases.

___________________

From his deep well of wisdom we have this from John Powers:

“Obama would still be a community organizer if he practiced clean politics.”

That’s just what I mean about the American Right. Always attacking, never any analysis or logic.

What an utterly ridiculous statement.

First, Mr. Powers would have us think he is possession of some convincing evidence around his flat-footed assertion.

But if that is the case, why isn’t it turned over to election authorities?

The answer is simple. It exists nowhere but in Mr. Power’s brain.

Second, the statement completely ignores Obama’s remarkable talents.

This is the brightest, best educated, most thoughtful candidate to run for decades.

It doesn’t even matter whether you agree with Obama. Recognition of his talent is essential to your being a credible commenter at all.

But the Right goes on making its extreme assertions, throwing mud, just hoping some of it will stick.

I do believe that was the technique of the late Dr. Goebbels.

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