Monday, February 03, 2014

How do we deal with the new McCarthy-ists?

The picture is from a website called "Stop Telling Lies about Liberals and We'll Stop Telling the Truth About You."    I have a sister in law who seems to like it a lot.   Their righteous indignation mantra is -

The truth always stands up for itself. we fight fire with fire and always tell the truth. If you disagree, or do not like with anything posted here, tough!

A few days ago she linked this on Facebook and with the same kind of civil discourse standard that the website promotes commented that it is "amazing that 'these people' can figure out how to vote."   She immediately got a lot of likes and statements of agreement - mostly focused on how ignorant they guy in the photo was.

I am not sure when this photo was taken.   I do not really care.   The guy holding the sign, even if the spelling errors were not there - does not represent even a small sliver of political opinion in the country.  Yet it is presented like it is a mainstream view of conservatives.

The Website also spends a lot of time on the usual suspects like Fox news and criticisms of policies by the Obama Administration (the IRS seeming abuse of power and issues surrounding our response in Benghazi are dismissed as "pseudo-scandals"   I am sure the Department of Justice's gun running to Mexico - which on its face seems like an absurd project for the government to undertake - got similar treatment when it was being discussed).   I realize that the same level of vitriol is available for conservatives.

From my perspective every American should be concerned about politicians in Washington and their constant interest in accumulating power in all sorts of areas.    Sure I am concerned about many things going on in the last five years, including getting better answers than we have been given about the conduct of public officials in the IRS, the Department of State and the Justice Department.   Public officials should be held accountable for their actions and at least in my view all three of those problems represent significant mal-or-misfeasance.    But I was also concerned about many things that happened in the preceding eight and the eight before that.  In my own professional area I was concerned when the Secretary of Education began assuming that she could run colleges better than colleges could (a trend that continues in the current Administration).  What concerns me here is the level of vitriol offered against the other side.   There is no room for civil discourse because one's opponents not only disagree with your thoughts but are evil in their disagreements.

The politics of self-righteousness  did not work well for Joe McCarthy (although there were indeed some problems that he helped to uncover) and they do not work for either side now.

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