Sunday, March 4, 2012
An Honest Fight
"Look, I have lots of problems with the president, but those problems are with things that rarely get discussed outside of the internet niches I inhabit. The war on drugs rages on under the Obama presidency. The deportations of immigrants continue at a faster pace than ever before. Obama talks just as tough, if more soberly, than any of his Republican rivals about the Iranian threat…and you know, as much as I am in denial of this, we might be going to war with Iran. Or Israel might. This is just so much more important and frightening to me than any stupid thing that Rush Limbaugh said – and yet, the two are linked inextricably with one another.
We can’t have a grown-up discussion about the problems facing this nation if one side refuses to participate. It’s just not possible. When the GOP is intent on ostracizing virtually every one of its members who refuses to speak the language of movement conservatism, how can we have an honest fight?
It’s not possible, and so everything is left in the fog of punditocracy. Maybe the mediocrity of it all is what drives me crazy. I really don’t mind the political circus itself. I enjoy seeing politicians battered and beaten as they run the campaign gauntlet. I don’t think negative ads are bad. It’s just that there seems, at times, to be something more sinister going on, even if it’s an incidental sort of sinister. Or motivated by the almighty dollar.
But really, this is also the point. The right doesn’t want to have a conversation. They don’t want to use language to speak. The conservative movement has weaponized its linguistic arsenal. They have it down to an art form, or a soft science maybe. They’ve carved away at language until words become smart bombs and targeted long-range missiles."
That's a lengthy quote from Erik Klein's lengthy post, Rise of the right-wing double-speak machine and the Sandra Fluke affair from the libertarian-friendly blog, The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.
While using the broad term 'the right' as a synonym for this ascendent style of reactionary Republicanism misses the mark, the thrust of the piece, which is that more and more political adversaries are becoming less and less capable of conversation because of professional trolls like the long-standing Rush Limbaugh and his innumerable followers, is dead-on. (Even when these demagogues are forced by their advertisers to apologize, they cower behind weasel words and self-rationalizations.)
You just have to read the comments in my own posts which tangentially mention Sarah Palin, Rachel Corrie or Barack Obama, to see how quickly these anonymous spam-bots jump in with abusive language and predetermined talking points. It shows this group's utter contempt for the idea that language should be anything other than a cudgel.
I went to university in the nineties and am well aware that dialogue-aversion can occur on any side of the ideological divide but those identity-politics types who often hold such sway in academic discourse have never been so well-connected, so well-funded that they could effectively stifle the talk of the land.
However, this powerful, reactionary force, one which labels American advocates of reproductive freedom 'sluts' or Canadian opponents of internet censorship as child-pornographers, is actively working to gut democracy and cannot be left unchallenged.