Saturday, November 1, 2008

Political Crap

Crazed demonization of enemies is bad.

I am a pretty big sports fan. I love college football and the NBA, and keep a general eye on most other things that run in the sports page. However, one of my least favorite weeks of the year is the week preceding the Utah-BYU football game. Otherwise good people just go nuts. Seriously. The little comment boards on the newspaper sites and ksl that week make the political debates seem tame. I attended both schools, root for both teams--though in the big game, I root for the Cougars--and am embarrassed each year for both schools, Mormons, and sports fans in general by the anonymous insults and sniping. I saw the same the one time I was able to attend the game in person.

That preface brings me to the topic of my post. I have tried to largely avoid the topic of the presidential election on this blog except as it bears on educational decisions. There are plenty of other good places to get that information and I don't want a heavy partisan debate generally. But I saw something this morning that is just stupid.

Do you remember November 5th, 2004? I was grudgingly happy since I extremely dislike John Kerry, though I'm not a huge Bush fan by any means. That day, I saw news reports of anti-Bush rallies in some spots around the country. The image I remember, in San Francisco I think, was of a shirtless hippie-type holding up a poster that said "F*** America!" (or maybe it was Middle America. Bad either way...) as those around him flipped off the camera with both hands. Most justly condemned such idiocy. I can understand those who totally disagree with many of Bush's policies; both current candidates strongly rejected him. But the utter, arrogant disdain for fellow Americans who thought differently than you is wrong and contributes to stupid name-calling on behalf of both Democrats and Republicans.

I remember doomsday predictions when Bill Clinton won the presidency, and my middle school friends and I semi-seriously batted around plans for moving to Mexico, though I could not have articulated what angered my parents and neighbors so much. I remember the same types of comments from both sides during the Bush/Gore campaign. Some British commentator I randomly found was actually calling the Bush presidency the "Fourth Reich," all before 9/11, the Iraq War, etc. I better remember the crazy, crazy rhetoric from both sides in 2004 as well, since I was paying more and more attention each election. I distinctly remember hearing in 2000, 2004, and 2008 that this was "the most important election of our lifetimes." I guess in a way we should think of every election as the most important so we'll actually research the issues and vote, but you can see my point that the rhetoric is overblown.

The idea I found on a blog this morning is to me just as much of an inarticulate scream of primal, hillbilly, uncivilized chest-thumping as the stupid men with the anti-America posters in 2004.


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