Sunday, January 09, 2011

Arizona incident highlights vitriol in conventional politics and on the asymmetric Web; at the same time, the media's prepared satire continues

First, Carl Hulsie and Kate Zernike have a New York Times story Sunday, reproduced by MSNBC, about the Arizona Incident: “Bloodshed puts new focus on vitriol in politics”, link here

The Pima County sheriff, Clarence W. Dupnik, said “Pretty soon, we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people to serve in public office.” In fact, I remember some personal criticism some years ago about my first “do ask do tell” book: rather than be read, people asked me, why wasn’t I willing to “compete” to run for office?

It’s hard to say where the focus is on the vitriol, whether it’s among politicians and lobbyists, or whether the biggest concern is over asymmetric speech, which I will take up further today on my main blog. Both First and Second Amendment rights, as usually seen by libertarians, come into question; obviously people will ask about the way Loughner obtained his “machinery” (as had been the case with Va. Tech).




One of the most disturbing observations is that Congress doesn’t feel comfortable going back to its agenda. True, I don’t agree with gutting the new health care law, but if that is what is on the House’s plate under its new leadership, that’s what I think it should debate; that’s how our democracy works. What I’m afraid they’ll debate instead is restricting asymmetric speech.

Before the tragedy, a lot of silly stuff was going on in Congress (the 112th) indeed. David Cole has a humorous satire in The Washington Post Jan 6, “The Conservative Constitution of the United States,” printed Sunday Jan. 9 on the Outlook page, link here

Then, James W. Loewen has a piece on p B2 of today’s Post Outlook, “5 myths about why the South seceded,” preparing for the year marking the 150th Anniversary of the start of the War Between the States. True, Abraham Lincoln didn’t go to war directly over slavery; on the other hand, slavery was much more important economically than anyone wants to admit. One may want to watch Kevin Wilmott’s satirical film from IFC (2004), “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America”, and imagine how the world would be today if the South had won.

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