This is something I feel very strongly about. I've lived through some times and if you haven't seen them, then you'll have to take me at my word. But I really have to say here, now, that things used to be very different.
Look at this video. This fellow is William F. Buckley.
Don't pay much attention to what he's saying, just notice that he is engaging Noam Chomsky on an intellectual level. He isn't talking about abolishing Social Security and the Department of Education, he isn't yammering about magically making gasoline cost $1 a gallon or some such, he's erudite and seems to have something to say.
Well that's what conservatives used to be like. You could talk to them. Fence with them lancing back and forth with an interchange of ideas.
Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.
And that was the opinion of the father of modern conservatism. And where are we now? The aftermath is over the fold...
They are now just lying. President Obama has made things worse, he's a Muslim, he's opposed to capitalism, or add anything else you like. The right wing is now completely over the edge and off the cliff.
You cannot reason with these people. There can be no "common cause" with the Teabaggers, because they won't listen to you no matter what you say.
Randi Rhodes nailed it in a recent broadcast when she said that many Americans are living in an informational desert. They are. During a time when I lived in Alabama, the local paper was Teabag, the local news was Teabag, and every radio station that had talk radio was Teabag. If you lived there, the only perspectives you heard were crazy hard right-wing hoo-hah.
There were zero liberal voices. No progressive media. Nothing. And how much of the "Heartland" is like that? A lot.
Our language divides us. Over on the right side of the aisle, they have code words, terms they use to test who is in the tribe and who should be excluded. For example, republicans use the adjective "Democrat" as an insult - "It's a Democrat bill" or similar. Should be "Democratic," but they truncate the "-ic" to signify that they are Fox viewers.
Watch Fox news for a few minutes. It is non-stop degradation of the President and continuous attack. Never a single positive sentiment - ever.
Our opposition feeds on this and they have no other source of information. Of course they hate President Obama. They have been taught that he is a radical and the gravest threat to ... oh, plug in whatever you like. That's what they do.
They also use the term "drive-by media." Or "mainstream media," or "lamestream media," but per George Lakoff, this is a frame that makes the modern conservative distrust, discount, and avoid any media except Drudge Report, National Review, and Fox.
They go to Townhall.com, Ace of Spades, Powerline, Redstate - they know where they will get "news" that has been carefully massaged to fit the idea that liberals are tree-hugging enviro-terrorists who love Palestinian bombers and want to destroy money and end life as we know it.
There is no reasoning with people who believe that you are a terrorist because you support the President. I listened to the Rush Limbaugh show yesterday, and his guest-anchor was Mark Steyn. Go ahead and give this a look.
That's insane. Utterly, completely insane. And for 3 hours on the air, this man was raving about how the President wants to put Zebra Mussels in your gas tank and is dedicated to enslaving you because blah blah blah. Disturbing doesn't even get close.
What we have here is a generational, epochal, clash of ideologies that will decide our future. Either the ideas of the Enlightenment get edged a little further, or some bizarre amalgam of Ayn Rand and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale comes to pass.
It's really that serious. Get ready to phone bank, door knock, register voters, drive people to the polls, whatever it takes, because this.is.it.
Addendum: Thank you all for the wondeful comments. Appreciated very much.