Tuesday, October 14, 2008


No matter who wins, civil discourse loses

Today during one of my classes, by the way I am changing careers, the professor made a snide comment about Sara Palin. I smiled and kept my mouth shut. He acknowledged that he wanted to keep politics out of the classroom but said he was really itching for an argument. On a previous occasion he made a comment that you could spot his car because it had the anti-Bush bumper stickers.

Please don't tell me I should give him one. I doubt he would try and sabotage my grade but why take the chance. Besides, he really hasn't politicized the classroom other than a couple of comments and they weren't made during the lecture. I can live with that. What is noticeable is that the other students, who are all a good deal younger than me, just stay quiet when he has made these comments. I mean not a word was spoken nor a sound made in protest or agreement. I get the feeling that Generation Y has had enough of ideological battles.

Unfortunately, their parents aren't as civilized. Elderly poll watchers in a battle. An Obama volunteer turns in a McCain supporter to the Secret Service. Slamming heads against walls. Where are we going to be after the election is over. Here is one possibility.

This is surely small of me, but if Obama wins, I plan on giving him as much of a chance as the Democrats gave George Bush. I will gleefully forward every paranoid anti-Obama rumor that I see, along with YouTube footage of his verbal missteps. I will laugh and email heinous anti-Obama photoshop jobs, and maybe even learn photoshop myself to create some. I'll buy anti-Obama books, and maybe even a "Not My President" t-shirt. I'm sure that the mainstream bookstores won't carry them, but I'll be on the lookout for anti-Obama calendars and stuff like that. I will not wish America harm, and if the country is hurt (economically, militarily, or diplomatically) I will truly mourn. But i will also take some solace that it occurred under Obama's watch, and will find every reason to blame him personally and fan the flames.

After 16 years of acrimony both liberals and conservatives are really touchy about this election even more than the 2004 election when, arguable, more was at stake. Socionomics has an explanation for this animous. If you remember, socionomics postulates that changes in social mood predate drops in the stock market, civil unrest, wars, etc. Social mood is cyclical. Cycles can vary in length from months to centuries. Larger recessions or depressions indicate larger down cycles in social mood which often end in larger wars. If we are in a large downswing in social mood then it is not surprising that there is more strife in this election cycle. That differences are magnified and tempers shorter.

So where does that leave us? It is not that I will give an Obama administration much slack but I do think that conservatives shouldn't deny that Obama is our president. We shouldn't engage in slander against him and we shouldn't point out that his memoir was ghostwritten by Bill effing Ayres. We should be civil but oh boy is it going to be tough.

Diego: There will be temptation to imitate the left's anti-Bush behavior and direct it towards Obama if he wins but I agree that restraint is the better option. Making light of such behavior and applying it towards Obama in parody is another matter. Perhaps offering to remake and update the film Death of A President with Eddie Murphy cast as President and doing his Buckwheat's been shot routine could work if the absurdity of the original was exposed without any suggestion that some lunatic take it serious.

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