June 21st, 2012


Party of Hecklers

I happened to catch a minute of the Daily Show this morning, where John Stewart was talking about the Administration's problem with hecklers in the audiences lately. And it occurred to me that this is a horribly apt metaphor for the modern Republican Party. They're not interested in solutions; they're not interested in compromise; they're not interested in reasoned debate. Instead, they are solely interested in *winning*, and have decided that the easiest way to do that is to simply keep interrupting and distracting every serious discussion with heated soundbites and yelling instead.

Of course, some Democrats do this as well -- worse, some of them are picking up the bad habit from the Republicans. But by and large, it's still currently a bit anomalous among the Democrats, whereas it seems to be a deliberate and managed strategy on the right.

And I think that, more than anything, symbolizes my frustration with the Republicans. You have to understand, I *desperately* want a Republican Party I can respect -- one that I could seriously consider voting for. The country needs that, because it's not as if the Democrats are perfect -- while I think that the Dems *try* a lot harder, and are much more sincere about attempting to find functional solutions, they tend to have their own big blinders, and are sometimes just plain dumb. I dearly want to be in a position where choosing between the parties is difficult, and requires careful thought between reasoned left and right positions.

Mind, there are still a fair number of conservatives who I respect immensely. The problem is, they're mostly political pariahs at this point: they can't be Democrats, and they've all been purged from the Republicans for the crime of Insufficient Purity of Dogma. A few have wound up as pundits (mostly on left-leaning media that are trying to look fair, since the right-wind media has little tolerance of apostates); many have simply dropped out of politics entirely out of disgust.

But mostly I'm left with a Republican Party that I despise. Indeed, it forces me into a more or less pure Democratic line, on the grounds that, as far as I can tell, the best outcome I can work for is utterly *annihilating* the current right-wing leadership, so that it can be replaced by some more sensible forces.

Right now, though, I mostly want to start calling out the hecklers for the cowards that they are, afraid of the reasoned discussions, complicated issues and messy compromises that make up the real world. I don't like bullies, and that is basically what the heckler culture is made up of: people who are desperately afraid of being seen as anything other than Completely 100% Right All The Time, so they instead just try to shout down everybody else...