Earlier this week I read an article entitled 50 Things That Are Being Killed By The Internet. Number one on the list: the art of polite disagreement. It said:
While the inane spats of YouTube commenters may not be representative, the internet has certainly sharpened the tone of debate. The most raucous sections of the blogworld seem incapable of accepting sincerely held differences of opinion; all opponents must have “agendas”.
It seems this entry was tailor-made for the current atmosphere in which we discuss health care reform…or, as it’s more commonly known, Screaming Sound Bites At Elected Officials Without Ever Asking A Question Or Presenting Facts Or Letting The Guy Respond BECAUSE HE’S A SOCIALIST!
Yes, recent town hall-style meetings have been a real low point in the history of intelligent discourse, but as ridiculous as some of those forums got, even with the Hitler-mustachioed Obama pics, I think on some level we must have not only penetrated the bottom of the barrel, we started digging to China when Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina last night shouted out “You lie!” at Barack Obama during his address to Congress.
(Dunno about you, o readers, but I thought Nancy Pelosi was going to unleash the full fury of her heat vision on the dude.)
I’m already hearing the argument: he was exercising his right to free speech. True enough, but as I like to say, having the right to say whatever you want does not mean you have to say it…and it certainly doesn’t obligate you to act like a total arse when speaking.
I’m very relieved that instead of following his lead or trying to defend Wilson (as I’m sure some of the more whackadoo conservative commentators will — Glenn Beck, lookin’ at you), the GOP has roundly decried his behavior as unacceptable.
Wilson has since apologized and is now saying emotions got the better of him, and that he really wants to have a civilized conversation about this thorny matter. Oh, NOW he wants to be civilized…
I truly hopes this marks the official end of our modern Age Of Belligerence, but I’m somehow skeptical.
Y’know, I think I had a better point to make in this post, but I’m functioning on about two hours of sleep so I’ll just count myself lucky that this diatribe even vaguely resembles a coherent thought.
Tags: health care debate
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