Saturday, August 29, 2009

Uncivil Society?

There is something rotten in the air. Spend a few minutes listening to talk radio, surfing the political blogs, or watching cable news, and it is undeniable that hatred and anger is on the rise, and seemingly spiraling out of control. Both the extreme right and the extreme left share in the blame. But just as much at fault are our political "leaders" who stand by silently (or even worse, offer encouragement) when some nut-job spouts hateful rhetoric.

Just a few days ago, video surfaced from yet another Town Hall meeting, this time hosted by Wally Herger, a non-descript Congressman from California. An audience member proudly announces that he's a "proud right-wing terrorist" and goes on to spout the typical anti-government nonsense. So does the esteemed Representative chastize this creep for his hate-mongering? Does he report him to the FBI? To the contrary, Herger praises the self-proclaimed "terrorist," saying, "Amen, God bless you," and then telling the audience, "there is a great American."

Looking back on our history, it seems we are heading back to the days of the "Know Nothing" party from the 1840's and 1850's. There's little room for reasoned and rational political discourse, just a lot of noise and sound bites designed to frighten those too lazy or ignorant to think for themselves. And if we insist on electing lightweights the likes of Wally Herger to positions of power, we only get what we deserve.

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