Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Incivility is Not the Point

I'm pretty much done with mealy-mouthed cries for a return to civility. I'm not sure our political discourse has ever been civil, and I'm not all that excited that it be so. Let's climb into our way back machine: Remember when George Bush was caught on mic calling a NY Times reporter an asshole? I was with old G. Dubya that there was no need to apologize for that. As may be clear from this bloggity, I'm a big fan of calling people assholes. And while I'm not sure that Adam Clymer IS an asshole, I am sure that Bush was perfectly sincere in his assessment.

The problem is not with a lack of civility. The problem is with ginning up anti-government paranoia. Dog whistle at the barely sane with language that lets them know that all their fevered paranoia is RIGHT! Democrats ARE going to take their guns and once those guns are gone, America will become socialist, but not socialist like Sweden but like that movie you saw on TV that one time about how Russia still is and also China, I think.

I don't care how uncivil our political dialog is. But I do care when so many hugely successful political figures have no issue with increasing their fame and fortune by insisting that democratically elected figures are illegitimate and should be "taken out." I care when they speechify about "real Americans," defined as people who share your political views; the tacit follow-through to this being that people who have different political views are NOT real Americans, but pretenders and interlopers. It's not rude to do that, it's dangerous. If we're going to live in this crazy country where any maniac can buy an assault rifle, it seems only sensible that the people insisting that there's a Constitutional right to these assault weapons should take some care to avoid language inspiring their base to strap them on.