Friday, August 01, 2008

Politics & the golden rule (by Suzie)

         After the UU church shootings, Echidne and others discussed conservative media that fan the flames of political hatred. The question arose: If liberals don’t fight fire with fire, what do we do instead?
        As a journalist, I grew disgusted with colleagues who wanted to make issues black or white, with no grays. They presented “both sides,” not a multiplicity of views. The worst examples were on the op-ed pages.
        Simple is easier to do than complex. Plus, simplistic and outrageous stuff sells. As long as the public buys it, people will sell it.
        I like that Echidne is more likely to raise questions. Her civility stands out in a blogosphere where anger and ridicule rule. I don't want liberals to stoop to the level of the conservatives who say hateful things and twist facts. If we do right, will this change those doing wrong? I’m sort of doubtful, but I still want us to do right.
         I want to apply the golden rule to politics. (Not as a rule, but a guideline.) If I object to people demonizing me, then I better think twice about demonizing them.
        If I employ a certain strategy, I can’t complain about that strategy if it's used against me. For example, I’m happy to boycott most of talk radio and its sponsors. But I have to understand that conservatives also run boycotts of media that they consider harmful. I can criticize their political views, and I can support my own, but I can’t talk about them stifling free speech if I use the same tactics.
        This week, the RNC put up a web site that parodied Obama. Bloggers on Kos suggested people flood the site with pro-Obama posts, and a few comments urged people to get the site to crash. If Republicans tried to crash Kos, these particular Kossacks could not argue that what the Republicans were doing was wrong, without being hypocrites.
         Yeah, I know. I’m no fun.