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'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, (original, huh?) airs on Tuesdays at 10:PM and Saturdays at 8:PM, Eastern time on RainbowRadio.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Times flies and Civil discourse...

Before I begin, I want to say that this was written last week and I still haven't posted it.  I have be so busy, there is like no time left in my week anymore.  3 Blogs, an art class, and I've joined a gym.  Plus my wife still does aikido twice a week, which is (1) time I have to watch the kids, so can't blog; and (2) time I can't go to the gym, so I have to find other time.  Not that I mind her doing Aikido - I'm happy she's doing it, and doing well in it, I might add.  But somethig's got to give and SO FAR, it's been IMHO.  Now, without any further pitchign and moaning: On with the show...

Wow. So a couple of weeks have flown right on by, and I didn’t make any time to write anything down about it! And what a couple of weeks it’s been. “Speaker” Boehner. *shudder* We’ll see how long that lasts! The unfortunate events in Tucson, and the terrible fate that played out on January 8th. And part of me wants to say “Thank God” that it WASN’T some deranged Tea-Bagger or Glenn Beck fan, or else there would now be some liberal, somewhere, embarrassing himself and the rest of us the way Sarah Palin did for her crowd. Hey: I watched it happen after Seung-Hui Cho and Virginia Tech – the closest thing I have to hallowed ground, I might add. The vigil hadn’t ended before you had assholes on one side calling for more gun control laws (note: the ones we already have weren’t enforced, and the existing system was not operating the way it was designed to, or even being used) and assholes on the other side saying that it's just proof that we ALL need to start carrying guns. Right. Because apparently what Blacksburg and Tucson needed on those terrible days were MORE confused, panicked people finring weapons through the crowd. Anyway, the one guy I think had the best take on the inevitable politicization of public tragedies was Professor Bob Carrol, someone who I usually think has the best take on just about everything. Check it out: Contrary-to-fact Conditionals & Media Vultures in my Crosshairs

I’m not saying that we SHOULDN’T be more civil in our discourse, but using tragedy to highlight even THAT (which to some people STILL constitutes an “agenda”) is still politicizing it. At some point, we need to let the families grieve in piece and realize that the WORLD is not like the INTERNET: People don’t want to hear our opinions immediately after a loved one has died, and no one is looking to us to solve all the world’s problems with a proposal that can fit on a bumper sticker. It’s tempting, I know. But this was nothing more than “just one of those crazy things that happens in this fucked up world.” Civil discourse would not have prevented it. Nor would gun control laws. Nor would MORE guns. Nor would the death penalty. Nor would anything that some dipshit in our sad excuse for the media has to suggest. And little they’re going to say will help anyone make sense of what happened either. There’s not a lesson to be learned, nor is there any hidden meaning, and God doesn’t have a grand plan, here. Each was simply the random act of a madman.

Personally? I might say it’s the price we pay to live in a free and open society. I don’t know if I REALLY DO believe that, entirely, in this case. But the principles are there, and I’ve argued it before. But if I DID decide to make that case, I’d at least have the decency to wait until the dead had been buried and mourned, and not say that in a forum where one of the family would hear it! (Which means… NATIONAL TV is probably out!) What I WILL say is this: My heart goes out to the victims and their families. I can not imagine the pain they must be feeling. They have my sincerest condolences, and I do hope that in time they will find peace.

Was that so hard?

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A quick adendum... my condolences also go out to the Kennedy and Shriver families for their loss today of Sargent Shriver.  I can't wait to read about Ann Coulter's summary of the man's life, as she evicerates him for the crimes of being (1) a democrat, (2) a Kennedy (sort of) and (3) someone who actually accomplished some GOOD with their life.

7 comments:

  1. I started to write a reply, Eddie, but it ran a bit long, so I went ahead and turned it into a post over on my own site:
    http://lefthooktheblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/re-thoughts-on-civil-discourse.html

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  2. (this is the same comment I posted on "Left Hook," but please do go and check out his post, because he makes some excellent and important points.)

    Classic, as is so often the case, I disagree with NONE of your points, but disagree on the final judgement.

    And I found it perversely ironic that you concede to (or at least acknowledge understanding of) my point in your very first sentences, saying, "I'm currently in the midst of a devastating personal crisis, and I'm probably crazy to even attempt to comment on any serious subject."

    Now, I would never, for a minute suggest that you should ever hold your tongue (or keyboard as it were)on ANY subject, serious or frivolous. I'm always keen to hear your thoughts, regardless of your state of mind. But your first sentence says it all! Any "real conversaion" we have about "civil discourse" immediately after the attempted assassination of a political figure would last about as long as that "patriotism" and "unity" did after 9/11. In the days following a crisis, everyone is too emotional, and we run the gamut from "Let's all join together" to "How dare you blame this on me!" (Whether or not that's even HAPPENING!) And before you know it, the guy calling for 'civil discourse' is pounding the table with his shoe (probably for good reason, but still) meanwhile the guy who brought it all on himself by being the poster boy for the Rancorous Right gets to snort idignantly and, immune to the forces of irony, make some comment about the hypocirsy of the Left.

    Now, don't get me wrong: we DO need to have that conversation! ABSOLUTELY. A real, grown up, adult conversation. And you're also right about who it is that DOESN'T want that to happen: The Right. As well you're spot on about WHY we won't have it: The Right owns the media, and so the media has no interest in us having that conversation. Rather they strive for "balance" that ends up looking so absurdly unbalanced, it's like comparing a Rabbi perfoming a circumcision to a Priest molesting an altar boy and saying they're "similar" because both acts invole touching pensises. (Apologies for the vulgar example, it's seriously the only thing that came to mind.) And that's how the bosses want it!

    You're dean on, with all of it.

    But look at what we're doing: The Right this... The Right that... The Right, The Right, The Right! Now... we're RIGHT! No doubt about it. But you can't simultaneously accept the truth that having "civil discourse" will affect the Right's behavior 90% and the Left's just 10% and NOT call that "an agenda." That I happen to SHARE that agenda with you doesn't change the fact that it's AN AGENDA. And while you and I will rightly call it an AMERICAN agenda or a MORAL agenda or a PRINCIPLED agenda, given the affect it will have, and on who, the Right can reasonably call it a LEFTIST Agenda. That's bullshit of course, and it's their fault for moving to the Right of SANITY, but from their POV, it's still TRUE.

    And as it turns out? Nasty, violent rhetoric had nothing to do with it. Even if it HAD, I still say we shoudl take a breather after a tragedy before going in to adress it. We will only do harm to that very agenda otherwise, as the other side accuses you of "politicizing tragedy" or some other such nonsense. And to a point? They'd be be right. (If they weren't they very assholes who created the problem anyway.)

    One more thing... as you are wont to say, or have to me on many occasions, sometimes an ANGRY RANT really IS what's called for. Well, regarding the rhetoric in the 2008 and 2010 election cycles? Yeah, I'd say a violent, abusive, angry, indigant, agressive RANT is PRECISELY what's called for. How you have one about the lack of CIVIL DISCOURSE without rightly being branded a hypocrite however? Is above my pay-grade.

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  3. "I might say it’s the price we pay to live in a free and open society"

    Good thing you didn't, because it's factually wrong. Many free societies don't pay that price. People can fight forever as to why, but the fact won't go away.

    I think that it's ludicrous to postpone an important national conversation because 100 people might get their feelings hurt. But I think a stupid national conversation should be postponed forever. This one's pretty stupid. Conservatives should have been forced to stop lying decades ago, and that's the end of that.

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  4. I posted my own response over there, and I'll cart it over here, as well. Had to snip it into two parts, because of blogspot limitations. Part 1:

    "...you can't simultaneously accept the truth that having 'civil discourse' will affect the Right's behavior 90% and the Left's just 10% and NOT call that 'an agenda.' That I happen to SHARE that agenda with you doesn't change the fact that it's AN AGENDA. And while you and I will rightly call it an AMERICAN agenda or a MORAL agenda or a PRINCIPLED agenda, given the affect it will have, and on who, the Right can reasonably call it a LEFTIST Agenda. That's bullshit of course, and it's their fault for moving to the Right of SANITY, but from their POV, it's still TRUE."

    That's a symptom of the very malady I outlined in what I wrote before, though, and you can't cater to that. If you try, you lose before you even begin, because that's the outcome their narrative is designed to produce, the only one. If, as a precondition to having that conversation, you have to wait until the right doesn't act that way, that conversation will never happen.

    As for angry ranting, it is often not only appropriate; the lack of it would be inappropriate. There's a big difference between angry ranting based on something that should provoke angry ranting and the sort of manufactured outrage that flows from (and sustains) the right on a daily basis. That's why the narrow focus on mere "civil discourse" is so misguided. There's no reason at all to be civil about things that legitimately provoke incivility. The reason the right's incivility is a problem is because it's based on nonsense. One lie on top of another on top of another.

    When those on the right were fighting the health-care bill because it set up death panels to kill old people, they weren't disagreeing with the health-care bill; they're just making up shit to try to dehumanize their enemies. The same is true when they opposed it because it provided government health-care to illegal immigrants. No permutation of it ever did, and this was thrown out merely to fan the flames of racism and rip at the fabric of society (that clown Wilson, who, at Obama's address to congress, shouted "YOU LIE!" became a hero on the right for doing that). The same is true when they oppose it because they're against "socialized medicine." The bill that was passed doesn't "socialize" any aspect of health care. (and, further, the idea behind that--that any government involvement in business is properly characterized as "socialism"--is also a part of what I'm talking about, as is the fact that, in the right's usage, "socialism" is both a synonym for "liberalism" and an invocation of Bolshevism).

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  5. part 2

    Now, the health care bill was, it's true, a monstrous piece of legislation. There were more painfully real reasons to genuinely oppose it than could be easily listed. I wrote article after article denouncing it at the time. The right wasn't opposed to it because of any of those real reasons. As I pointed out repeatedly, it was, in fact, a Republican bill that was passed. It was modeled on Romneycare in Massachusetts, and almost exactly the same legislation had been proposed, in recent years, by Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, and by former Republican Sen. Bob Dole. The first iteration on it was created by congressional Republicans back in the '90s when Clinton was working on health care--it was their proposed alternative (that's where Romney apparently got it). When Obama adopted it as his own, Republicans dropped it like a hot rock, and attacked it with the sort of rhetoric I just outlined.

    There's a huge difference between outrage based on something actually outrage-worthy and this kind of bullshit. If I offer up an angry rant on an angry-rant-worthy subject and I'm tagged, by the right, as a hypocrite for doing it because I denounce their angry ranting (which is based on bullshit), that's symptomatic of their own problem, not an indication that I'm "rightly" branded a hypocrite.

    As much as I've gone on--had to carve this into 2 parts because of blogspot limitation--I don't think I've even started to do this subject justice. I'm just having an incredibly hard time right now. As bad as everything else is, a "friend" chose this, of all times, to manufacture an absolutely absurd drama and use it to drop another atom-bomb on me a few days ago (a few of them, actually). She has problems of her own (some of which contribute heavily to this behavior), and I try not to hold it against her, but she was incredibly sadistic toward me. I thought I'd already hit rock-bottom these last two months; she set out to prove me wrong. A lot of what I've "written" here, was cut-and-pasted, with modifications, from some earlier things I'd written, because I'm just not up to writing right now.

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  6. @Steeve - I couldn't agree more. I'm just of the opinion that at certain times (typically after something like this when someone could very reasonably say, "I told you so") the conversation will inevitably devolve into the stupid. And it's not necessarily the one who was right's fault! But hey, I guess if we were wise enough to have these conversation BEFORE the crisies and act like adults, recognizing our responsibilities to society, to each other and the consequences of our actions, well... we'd have precious few crisies and very different conservtaives, I guess.

    @Classic - I disagree with none of you points. (As always.) You got it right, and I'm in 100% agreement as to WHY. but while "you'll lose before you even start if you cater to it," (agreed, 100%, BTW) you'll also lose (and be eaten alive, IMA) every time if you IGNORE it. I don't think we're so far apart here, you and I, I'm juts saying that it's a delacate balancing act, and in the days (AZ), Weeks (Va-Tech) and Months (9-11) after a crisis, it is far to easy to loase that balance. Who's right doesn't matter if the point is lost on an audience is too numb (or too frenzied) to listen. (Or to be ready to change, which is even harder.) I'm just saying that were so many see "opportunity" in these things, I see a trap.

    And it's great to hear from both of you. Always great comments, always great food for thought.

    Thanks.

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  7. A bag full of explosives rigged with a remote detonator was just found in Spokane along the path of the scheduled Martin Luther King Jr. march. As there is no known brown-looking fellow with a funny accent and a name like Achmed behind it, the press is doing it's best to ignore it, but it just makes the case even more forcefully that delaying that conversation I was suggesting could have some very unfortunate consequences.

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