The words of the prophet Yosemite Sam ring in my head this noon, not just because I burdened with a summer cold because a coworker can’t tell the difference between allergies and cold, but for a variety of pesky reasons:
Beck-a-palooza, Beck-th Fare, Beckstock, et al. The gathering of the there but for the grace of God go I society was a little hard for my cerebral cortex. The idea that a middle aged white guy is going to reclaim the civil rights movement seems a little repugnant to this middle aged white guy. I have no problem with polite disagreement and minority opinions, hell that was the dinner table for awhile, but the politics of division and fearmongering is something to be scared of. My honor was fine, I don’t need a guy like Beck coming at me with the minute wax to shine it up. The never-ending newscycle and the need for Fox, MSNBC, and even CNN to fill programming hours and these folks bending over backwards in a ceaseless attempt to sound like Howard Beale (look it up). Olbermann, who writes a great baseball blog, can be over the top, but merits my respect more so because he actually admits when he is wrong. Beck argues with himself in the name of ratings. It doesn’t achieve any greater dialogue, just warps our collective attention span. Easily manipulated poll data has conservatives growing, God doing well in the primaries, bleah! It’s all so much blather and hardly any information.
We’re a sound byte world and it is spooky to me how few people accept that as gospel. Real life allows for the use of more than 140 characters, but it concerns me how few folks read beyond that. Reclaiming Honor? What the hell does that mean? and why were there so many people at the Lincoln Memorial gathered around listening to Beck and Sarah Palin play to cameras at an event that was a campaign event, despite what anybody says, all that was omitted was which campaigns would benefit most from the million loafer march. Entire speeches were given in short-term memory slighted pronouns.
A twitter poster who I know a bit was upset that President Obama was not making a public pronouncement on the day as yesterday marked the 47th anniversary of Dr. King’s speech as well. Think Glenn was using that, just a little. For that, I say good for the President. I’m glad he is above battling media opportunities. There is too much work to be done to trapped in a blather-off with News Corp.’s talking head.
The tone of the discussions have changed in recent years. I remember seeing news footage of John Wayne talking about President Kennedy and saying “I didn’t vote for him, but I hope he does a good job.” Civility from the Duke, no less. That seems to have been lost as many of the minions as yesterday’s rally were there solely because Glenn told them to come, they are against his policies, but have none of their own, so they wrap up in garments printed with stuff like “taking my country back.” From who? Where did it go? Yesterday’s tomfoolery added nothing to the discourse of where we are as a nation, didn’t reclaim honor or civil rights, it was a made for tv event on a nice day in DC. That is all it was.
Full disclosure, I am a progressive leaning independent. I think there are an awful lot of smart republicans and democrats, a lot of placeholders and more than just a few self-serving assholes. I think when the boy scouts are encouraged to boo the President, something is wrong. By the same token, I think President Bush got some shots he didn’t deserve either. It’s fine to disagree or not know everything, that when this stuff works.
These are complex problems in complex times and you need more than 140 characters (and a few nouns) to talk them through.