Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Be Nice!

Be Nice! -  they know not what they do.

typically irreverent, sorry.

I am, of course, referring to those rural 'fly over' people. Here in THE city, everyone (almost) reads. Ergo, we are much better informed than those who rely on talk radio, or worse, for their information. We are engaged in politics and world affairs because we know it impacts our lives. As we commute back and forth, the construction workers are clutching the free am paper, the Financial clones are perusing their Wall Street Journal, the literary types are hunched over their tablets. We are (quite literarily - new word!) what we read.
It was no shock to learn that Fox news viewers are worse informed than people who watch no news at all, that's probably deliberate. There are lots of politicians out there who are misleading folks instead of leading them.
BUT that doesn't mean we should deride these un-brights as lazy or not knowing what they're talking about. Quite the opposite. We need to show them compassion and understanding. Less Keith Olbermann, more Elizabeth Warren.
The typical citizen doesn't have time to spend an hour or more boning up on world events (although making it a bit more of a priority might help). They are busy raising children and earning a living. They can't be expected to understand the bond market, or the implications of trade treaties, or this country's shift of focus to the Pacific region, if they don't even know about it.  We should not be condescending in our tone (I'm trying to avoid that, really). It's not their fault that they live in red states, surrounded by influences so different from ours. We should be patient and understanding if we want to have any chance to win their hearts & minds and trust.
I just recently 'got' why so many ordinary people think global warming isn't 'real' or caused by human activity. It puzzled me -  why would they throw their lot in with corporations who don't want to pay to clean up after themselves? Like, who wants more severe weather and coastal flooding? Answer: they associate the global warming 'controversy' (which of course is myth in the serious scientific community) with - Al Gore. They've been indoctrinated not to like him, so that issue became a Republican/Democratic divide.
It seems the 2 parties are polarizing ever more obviously into one party that personifies masculine traits - the strict, authoritative parent; and another with the more feminine attributes of human nature - nurturing and compassionate. Seems like that scientist is right who claims Republicans lack the empathy wiring in the brain. (See: the Republican Brain by Chris Mooney, ex). Some people apparently really don't feel horrified by the suffering of others, and assume that those who express that are being hypocritical or cynical or devious.
When Cheney says he thinks Obama has been an 'unmitigated disaster', I don't know what the heck he means, and it makes me wonder if he really did get a heart transplant. Is he disappointed that O has been in office 3 years without starting any new war? His disappointment couldn't be: saving us from the brink of economic disaster, improving America's image and 'soft' strength around the world, supporting Europe through their debt crisis, using just the right touch with China, bringing home troops from Iraq & Afghanistan, walking that tightrope with Pakistan, supplying health care to our citizens, etc etc.  Obviously Cheney is not reading James Fallows as I am. It's like he's in some alien parallel universe.  (curse you Quantum multiverse!)
One party wants to preserve us in the status quo, like insects in amber, while the other tries to move us forward, dealing with the issues of our modern age.
It would be nice if the Dem leaders would refrain from rhetorical overreach - 'war on women' sounds so harsh, but we all know the value of framing and sound bites. Incidentally, that term: "Republican War on Women" was first applied by Tanya Melich in her book, subtitled "an insider's report from behind the lines", published in 1995.
Every comment that seems even a bit harsh gets reacted to with increased nastiness, like the observation that Romney's wife has never worked a day in her life. You'd think the commentator was calling her a communist. The effort to point out that perhaps Romney should look to more qualified sources for advice about the economy,  was twisted into the implication that being a full time mother isn't hard work. Any time you have 5 million women in a category, you have to go after their votes with all the ammunition you can muster. I myself would prefer the insight of a woman who has to face the pressure of performing in a career, budgeting the paycheck and taking care of a household and raising the children.  Stay at home moms should spend their time studying child psychology and behavior, investigating edutainment software and researching education options, not economic theory.
We have to be better than 'them'. We have to, because that's who we are.
Before you call out someone, imagine them stroking a puppy, before you formulate a response. If that doesn't soften you up, try kittens. Let's call it political puppy love. No wonder they all kiss babies.