The Demonizing of America


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
So, having read every post, I now realize something: for Americans, health care is not the issue under debate. It's just more of the same old "us" vs. "them" Republican vs. Democrat crap. Anyone in favor is obviously a communist. Anyone opposed is obviously a right-wing extemist. There are no Americans anymore; just two mutually antagonistic camps, always happy to cut off a nose to spite the face.

I've decided that I'm done with the health care thread but I did want to respond to this statement that Kith made and another Paizoian pointed out to me. The point you made is a very valid one, but I think it is not so much the average American that has made it so. I think the blame lays squarely at the feet of the television news media and politicians.

Now don't get me wrong, this is not an issue of right and left, Republican and Democrat, or anything like that. The biggest culpurt in the demise of civil discourse is the 30 second sound bite. It is impossible to fit any substantive discussion of an issue into a sound bite that short, so it easier to just called you opponent a socialist, or to say that they are part of the "Brooks Brothers mafia" or what ever. Eventually people who spend a lot of time speaking to the news media seemingly develop an inability to debate issues substantively. This is evidence by the fact that they continue to speak in 30 second platiudes that are better served for bumper stickers then civil debate when they are givn a larger forum to speak in.

Now, what does this have to o with the American public? Because most Americans still get their news and informtion from the nightly half hour news broadcast. Sure, some might tune in to CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News, but even then the majority of what they see is 30 second sound bites. Since most have never spent and length of time in a political science class or a debate class, they assume that this is how we carry on public discourse, particularly whn the see people tht the respect and trust doing so.

If we ar ever going to change the way that political discourse occurs in the United States, we must find a better way of transmitting information to the general public. hat means ultimately holding the news media and our politicians to a higher communication standard. What this world needs is another Tim Russett or Walter Cronkite, someone who will hold both sides of any debate to a tough standard, demand that the give us the whole story, and will tell us when they are reporting the news and when they are expressing their opinion. Sadly, I don't see that person coming anytime soon. The longer we go in the current model the more people will come to accept it as the way things should be. Now you know the rest of the story.


Honestly, I think it has more to do with social dynamics than anything. If you divide people into competing groups, naturally members of each group will view themselves as superior to the other group. Also, since there is a certain amount of anonymity in groups, people will be more likely to resort to hostility when dealing with members of the other group.

Some other interesting things about group dynamics. Winners will typically attribute their success to their own superiority, while losers will typically resort to scapegoating themselves and others in order to explain their losses. If the losers survive this turmoil, they eventually focus on resolving the problems within their own group. Winners continue to think they're all that. :P

That's not to say that competition is necessarily bad. For example, in a free market, competition is a good thing. However, it's not a good thing when the competition happens within an organization. For example, if payroll starts fighting with shipping, you know bad things are in store.

Personally, what I think needs to happen is Democrats and Republicans need to recognize that they are not competing groups in separate governmental systems. Rather, they are both part of the same government, working together to create laws. As long as we look at each other in the light of Us vs. Them, our governmental system is going to remain broken. That goes for Democrats as well as Republicans.*

*But mostly Republicans.

Spoiler:
I kid! I kid! :P


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
David Fryer wrote:


Now, what does this have to o with the American public? Because most Americans still get their news and informtion from the nightly half hour news broadcast. Sure, some might tune in to CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News, but even then the majority of what they see is 30 second sound bites. Since most have never spent and length of time in a political science class or a debate class, they assume that this is how we carry on public discourse, particularly whn the see people tht the respect and trust doing so.

You're starting to sound like Al Gore. He outlines how the quality of American discourse has declined since the television media overtook print in The Assault on Reason. Interesting read.

Dark Archive

Bill Dunn wrote:


You're starting to sound like Al Gore. He outlines how the quality of American discourse has declined since the television media overtook print in The Assault on Reason. Interesting read.

I actually read it for a class on politics and the media. It's one of the few things I agree with the former vice-president on. Just goes to show that common ground is possible. :)

Dark Archive

I keep expecting the grammer police to pop out and mention my spelling in my openning post. I've been bad before, but that was atrocious. I should never post and eat hot wings at the same time.

The Exchange

Wow... I... am.... you know, just forget it.


I do have to agree with you David, that the level of discourse has fallen from where it once was. It is a little disheartening when a lot of Americans seem to place political debate in the same category as "American Idol" or a sports match.

This isn't an issue inherent in either side, but rather both. The far extreme of both ideologies that dominate American politics seem unwilling to even admit that the other side might have good ideas. I am a politics junkie, and I love a good debate, but the websites I see for both the Left and Right jump all over anyone who isn't ideologically 'pure' in the most offensive manner. I wouldn't even dare show my Libertarian face at any of these virtual fora. And that is sad, since I am basically somewhere in the middle of politics, socially uber left, fiscally somewhat right.

But considering we've shown on these and other RPG boards we cannot even talk civilly about differing game engines, it really doesn't surprise me that politics have become such a cut-and-paste insult quagmire.

PS: Hot wings + keyboard = tehsuxs#jds

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Moorluck wrote:
Wow... I... am.... you know, just forget it.

Yes, yes you are.

Dark Archive

Patrick Curtin wrote:

PS: Hot wings + keyboard = tehsuxs#jds

Absolutely.

Silver Crusade

David Fryer wrote:
I keep expecting the grammer police to pop out and mention my spelling in my openning post. I've been bad before, but that was atrocious. I should never post and eat hot wings at the same time.

You spelled grammar wrong.

Feel better? ;)

Dark Archive

Celestial Healer wrote:
David Fryer wrote:
I keep expecting the grammer police to pop out and mention my spelling in my openning post. I've been bad before, but that was atrocious. I should never post and eat hot wings at the same time.

You spelled grammar wrong.

Feel better? ;)

PUNT!, I bet you didn't see that coming.


DoveArrow wrote:
If you divide people into competing groups, naturally members of each group will view themselves as superior to the other group.

Or even members of non-competing groups -- players of (insert pretty much any two RPG's here), I'm looking at you...

RPG Superstar 2012

Readerbreeder wrote:
DoveArrow wrote:
If you divide people into competing groups, naturally members of each group will view themselves as superior to the other group.
Or even members of non-competing groups -- players of (insert pretty much any two RPG's here), I'm looking at you...

I think CourtFool could tell you which RPG is superior to all others. :)

(Sorry for the threadjack)


Political discourse has always been contentious. Go back and look at some of the political cartoons (the 30 second sound bite of the time) of the 1800's. Hell there were things like duels and beatings in congress. That was real politics. Today's politicians are hot air compared.


I would think that what is wrong with the demonization of America would be obvious. As the Great Satan, the USA is clearly Lawful Neutral. Make the world stop hurting me with it's ignorance!

Spoiler:
Too early for humor? Seriously though, stop hurting me, stupid world.

The Exchange

David Fryer wrote:
I keep expecting the grammer police to pop out and mention my spelling in my openning post. I've been bad before, but that was atrocious. I should never post and eat hot wings at the same time.

Wings the bane of all proper typing!!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm distantly descended from various 19th century criminals and thieves, including Aaron Burr, who was most famous for shooting Alexander Hamilton in a duel and then fleeing west to possibly raise an army. Jefferson had him brought back in chains, but they let him go. That may be true or I'm remembering a half-read Gore Vidal book.

So, yeah, democracy has pretty much always been a freak show.


James Keegan wrote:
So, yeah, democracy has pretty much always been a freak show.

Says the fetus in the jar...


Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
James Keegan wrote:
So, yeah, democracy has pretty much always been a freak show.
Says the fetus in the jar...

Will someone please change the brine in here?


Getting pickled?

You should have said something before I finished off my Omegang Dubbel.


Mairkurion {tm} wrote:

I would think that what is wrong with the demonization of America would be obvious. As the Great Satan, the USA is clearly Lawful [Neutral]. Make the world stop hurting me with it's ignorance!

** spoiler omitted **

Okay...what joker is changing my posts? I clearly typed Lawful EVIL. No wonder the laughs weren't rolling in.

Scarab Sages

Crimson Jester wrote:
Wings the bane of all proper typing!!!!!!!!!!!!

See, for me it's beer. Maybe we need to start a group...

Posters Against Booze Sated Typists?


Aberzombie wrote:
Crimson Jester wrote:
Wings the bane of all proper typing!!!!!!!!!!!!

See, for me it's beer. Maybe we need to start a group...

Posters Against Booze Sated Typists?

Perhaps seat a blue ribbon panel?


James Keegan wrote:
So, yeah, democracy has pretty much always been a freak show.

As someone quoted in another thread: Democracy is the worst form of goverment, except for every other method tried. I'll take our contentious brawling mob, even with the debate cheapening, over totalitarianism any day. And yes, politics have never been nice, but politics never seemed to be more of a fan-based sport before.

Fun historical links:

The Swiftboating of George Washington. Kerry's not the first pol to exaggerate their wartime bravado.

James' ancestor schemes to set up an empire in the Louisiana Territory. Just goes to show how whimsical Fate can be. We are very lucky to have the country we do, considering the forces that worked against it, even from the inside. Of course, James might be the Emperor of America if things had broken differently. I for one welcome our new fetal overlord...

The slanderous origin of the Democratic symbol. Funny how a good politician can take a slur by his opposition and forge it into a powerful counter symbol.


Patrick Curtin wrote:
Aberzombie wrote:
Crimson Jester wrote:
Wings the bane of all proper typing!!!!!!!!!!!!

See, for me it's beer. Maybe we need to start a group...

Posters Against Booze Sated Typists?

Perhaps seat a blue ribbon panel?

Pabst Blue Ribbon Panel? pic

Dark Archive

Aberzombie wrote:
Crimson Jester wrote:
Wings the bane of all proper typing!!!!!!!!!!!!

See, for me it's beer. Maybe we need to start a group...

Posters Against Booze Sated Typists?

PABST??? Well played...

Unfortunatly, nothing will get done in our Government until we vote out extremists on BOTH sides.


Emperor7 wrote:
Patrick Curtin wrote:
Aberzombie wrote:
Crimson Jester wrote:
Wings the bane of all proper typing!!!!!!!!!!!!

See, for me it's beer. Maybe we need to start a group...

Posters Against Booze Sated Typists?

Perhaps seat a blue ribbon panel?
Pabst Blue Ribbon Panel? pic

Absolutely

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Mairkurion {tm} wrote:

I would think that what is wrong with the demonization of America would be obvious. As the Great Satan, the USA is clearly Lawful [Neutral]. Make the world stop hurting me with it's ignorance!

** spoiler omitted **

Okay...what joker is changing my posts? I clearly typed Lawful EVIL. No wonder the laughs weren't rolling in.

Yeah, the joke is clearly more awesome with that change. Gary must have been playing a trick on you.


I love this cartoon as an example of old-timey politics.

Sound like modern day right vs left talking points? Why yes. Yes they do.

Dark Archive

Patrick Curtin wrote:
James Keegan wrote:
So, yeah, democracy has pretty much always been a freak show.

As someone quoted in another thread: Democracy is the worst form of goverment, except for every other method tried.

I saw a quote one time. "Democracy is the best form of government because the people get exactly the leaders they deserve."


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber

[rant]

The media as fighting ground for inept politicians is by no means exclusive to the US. The message is not important anymore, but the skill with which you get the media to share your point of view. If you can get the media to share your view, you will get the masses easily. Style has definitly won over substance, even if style means shouting down the opposition. The political caste seems to have devolved into a bunch of self-important airheads mainly concerned with their own power. One German politician recently said something to the amout that "political parties are the foundation of democracy." I strongly disagree! The foundation of democracy is the people, not any organization. I really wish there would be politicians that truly had the best for the people in mind, not their own best. There are elections to our Bundestag in a few weeks, and I don´t think any of the established parties is worth my vote. All the same sh**, just different colors. I might just vote for the pirate party, out of spite. (they mainly fight against attemps to establish an internet censorship - a worthy cause in my eyes.)

[/rant]

Stefan

Dark Archive

Is the board acting up for anyone else?


God bless America!

Scarab Sages

David Fryer wrote:

Is the board acting up for anyone else?

Maybe the length of the "Forums are way too long" thread is starting to cause problems.

Dark Archive

One could hope.


David Marks wrote:

I love this cartoon as an example of old-timey politics.

Sound like modern day right vs left talking points? Why yes. Yes they do.

I really like that cartoon from a historical perspective. Its an interesting piece especially considering what was held to be the radical fringe at the time.

Liberty's Edge

Aberzombie wrote:
Crimson Jester wrote:
Wings the bane of all proper typing!!!!!!!!!!!!

See, for me it's beer. Maybe we need to start a group...

Posters Against Booze Sated Typists?

Never! Only Booze Sated Typing is best. All Hail Cayden Cailean!

PS to David: Yes, the boards are acting up for me, too.

Dark Archive

I like it too.


Stebehil wrote:

[rant]

The media as fighting ground for inept politicians is by no means exclusive to the US. The message is not important anymore, but the skill with which you get the media to share your point of view. If you can get the media to share your view, you will get the masses easily. Style has definitly won over substance, even if style means shouting down the opposition. The political caste seems to have devolved into a bunch of self-important airheads mainly concerned with their own power. One German politician recently said something to the amout that "political parties are the foundation of democracy." I strongly disagree! The foundation of democracy is the people, not any organization. I really wish there would be politicians that truly had the best for the people in mind, not their own best. There are elections to our Bundestag in a few weeks, and I don´t think any of the established parties is worth my vote. All the same sh**, just different colors. I might just vote for the pirate party, out of spite. (they mainly fight against attemps to establish an internet censorship - a worthy cause in my eyes.)

[/rant]

Stefan

I'll let you in on a little secret. If you don't like the media- if you honestly think they're the cause of all our social ills- there's this little button on almost any television, computer, or radio made anymore that says 'Power.' If you press it once, the evil media intelligentsia will no longer be able to reach you with their messages of propaganda.

Tell your friends about it. :-)


I know I often end up posting terse oversimplifications out of frustration. The vast majority of the time, and on both sides it's the same old (unsound) arguments. Which is something that I lack the ability (or patience) to fix.

As an example: Even if I wanted to have a reasonable discussion about health care reform, I can't. Why not? Because invariably, for everyone that might be able to have that conversation, there are ten people who post "OMFG death councils!," or "OMG socialism is teh evil! Why do you hate America?"

The problem isn't that my intellect has been crippled by our sound-bite media; I retain the ability to debate pretty much any topic that isn't highly technical, with just about anyone, and hold my own. The problem is that there simply isn't any point in trying to do so in a public forum, which leads to frustration, and ultimately to oversimplification.

Dark Archive

DoveArrow wrote:

Tell your friends about it. :-)

I'm a gamer, what are these friends you speak of?


DoveArrow wrote:


I'll let you in on a little secret. If you don't like the media- if you honestly think they're the cause of all our social ills- there's this little button on almost any television, computer, or radio made anymore that says 'Power.' If you press it once, the evil media intelligentsia will no longer be able to reach you with their messages of propaganda.

Tell your friends about it. :-)

The problem persists unless the vast majority follow the same course.


bugleyman wrote:
The problem persists unless the vast majority follow the same course.

That's why you need to tell your friends. :)


David Fryer wrote:
DoveArrow wrote:

Tell your friends about it. :-)

I'm a gamer, what are these friends you speak of?

Well tell whoever those fat guys are sitting around your kitchen table on game nights.

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bugleyman wrote:

The point is that my intellect hasn't been crippled by our sound-bite media. I have the ability to debate pretty much any topic that isn't highly technical, with just about anyone, and hold my own...the problem is, there simply isn't any point in trying to do so in a public forum.

My point is that those people that you were referencing have had their ability to argue resonably stunted or else they never possessed it in the first place. So that reduces those who can to either decending to their level or giving up. I believe that those of us who still posses the ability to argue and debate in a rational manner need to set the example. When you see someone that is arguing a point that you believe is unsound, don't address your response to them. Adress it to someone that might be on the fence about it and can be swayed to see your side. The goal is not to move the far left to the far right or the far right to the far left. The goal of any good political debate should be to move the undecided one way or the other.

Dark Archive

Frankly I begin to see smear campaigns and party propoganda all over the place. And usually they end up with immature ugly name calling and arrogant a!*#!~!s leading them. I see news media ripping on other countries (mainly France and Canada lately). I even see the right wing saying things "If you want to live in a country who doesn't take any action at all move to France". And I see the left saying stuff like "If the republicans want to live in a religiously run country move to Iran."
Frankly I think both republicans and Democrats along with their loudmouth sycophant news media outlets (I'm looking at you Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore) need a big dose of GROW THE F~*+ UP.


David,

Sorry for not replying sooner; I just found this post. I agree to some extent, but in the list of total B.S. sound-byte sources, I'd include such "news media" as conservative talk radio -- and not just confine your list to liberal TV sources like CNN, for example. Many of my co-workers delightedly share their "knowledge" of world affairs with me in the form of incorrect statements loyally parroted from the likes of Limbaugh or Savage. My favorite example from last week: "Did you know that Obama has made more executive orders than any other president in history?" (Hint: take a look at the Federal Register). I listen to these shows occasionally, look up the correct statistics vs. the numbers they invent, and then have to listen to my co-workers repeat the same incorrect statistics, made-up "facts," and outright falsehoods all day. They're just as bad as the people who believe Al Gore's puerile movie because they can't understand the (incorrect) graphs he's (mis-re-)presenting.

In short, it's not only the "liberal mainstream media" that are to blame (although they certainly get half of it). But the (just as mainstream) conservative media are equally and unashamedly as bad. And, yes, everyone -- believe it or not, radio IS a communication medium, just as TV is. And given the number of listeners of some of these shows, to claim they're not "mainstream" is disingenious at best.


I was part of the political system in the UK. I stood independent of any party poitics. In the short time I was there I got £150K spent on the playgrounds in the area, £125K for the local football club and help sort out adults with learning difficulties when the *ruling party* wanted to close the palce because the land was valuable. I even exposed incompitance in the finance section which lost the local tax payer £5000K.

I stood for re-election and lost to someone with a nice tie and whos father is an evangelical preacher and had done *NOTHING* but put his name next to a political party.

If you want to blame someone for the state their country is in, blame the public. They voted the morons in or sat at home on their a@@es to idle to exercise their right to vote. That is the real problem.

Sorry rant over!

And before anyone asks no I didn't get paid but got an allowance of £3K a year (which I paid tax on) and worked about 15 hours a week minimum extra.


America: Why I love Her!

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