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Opinion: Political rhetoric

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One man's lack of civility is another's defense.

The political discourse -- or lack thereof -- has taken an interesting turn.

The buzz of the week and probably of the weeks ahead, concerns the shrill political discourse and the appalling lack of civility in the political arena.

But to focus on tone is little more than a smoke screen to avoid focusing on issues. When you falter on issues, just shift the focus and put the other side on the defensive.

In a feeble attempt to be nonpartisan, let's all agree that the rhetoric is equally inflammatory from both sides of the political spectrum. Tune into Fox and then switch to MSNBC. You can do the same on the radio dial.

What you hear is a sharp divide -- probably the sharpest divide in modern politics -- that plays squarely to their selective audiences. For every overreaching right-winger is an equally overreaching lug nut from the left.

I suspect the real issue here is that the left has far fewer viewers and listeners than the right.

Does anyone remember Air America, the feeble attempt to counter the voices from the right?

I absolutely abhor the venom spewing from the MSNBC talking heads just as much as the left abhors the clearly slanted opinions uttered by Rush Limbaugh, et. al.

So if I understand this correctly, it's not the differences of political opinions that mark this era but rather the "tone."

It's the choice of words. It's the emotions behind those words. It's the inflammatory nature of those words and emotions all bundled into the push for civility.

Do I have that correct?

I believe it is often not just the rhetoric in today's political debate but rather the reaction to that rhetoric.

If you really think about it, the lack of civility more often than not stems from the reaction to words spoken by those in the political arena.

It's not so much that Limbaugh -- by way of example -- says outrageous opinions but rather his harsh reaction to words spoken by those with whom he disagrees.

The talking heads of MSNBC are equally as guilty of outlandish hyperbole while defending their liberal agenda.

Both are examples of overreaction, and I suspect that is at the heart of this debate.

One man's lack of civility is another's battle to defend his position on the topics of the day. And civility is in the eyes of the beholder.

Partisan politics is a harsh game. And thus, words spoken in political discourse are equally as harsh.

Telling a politician to "play nice" is a quaint notion. And politicians will "play nice" when all sides agree on all issues.

Don't hold your breath!


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Politics is violence. What sort of behavoir do you expect when the subject is forcing people to do things that do not honor their individual self interests?

-- Posted by Lumpy on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 6:45 AM

Conflict is the strength of politics.

-- Posted by BCStoned on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 7:05 AM

Suspect some folks think its fun to toss a lighted firecracker under an unsuspecting opponent and hope to watch them at least flinch.

-- Posted by voyager on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 10:31 AM


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