Sunday, September 26, 2010

Polarization: Is it fear or hatred?

Polarization on political and social issues has been around with us forever, but it seems increasingly intense in recent years. A lot of that is raw, naked opportunism, typically for political, social, and economic advantage (e.g., to sell books or other media), but so much of it recently seems based on outright hatred or fear. The question I have is whether it is simply fear or if there is something special that derives from a deeper and darker hatred. Or maybe hared is simply derived from fear and gains its intensity from the level of fear itself. The infamous so-called Ground Zero Mosque and talk of Koran burning in Florida are merely the latest in a long river of fear or hatred of all things Islam by Americans. And the same can be said for various other political, social, environmental, and economic "conflicts."

A lot of the fear stems simply from outright ignorance and can be "corrected" though education and outreach. To the extent that hatred is directly traceable back to fear, education and outreach can help on the hatred front as well. But to the extent that hatred of Islam, et al is based on anything other than simple fear, education and outreach are likely to have little positive impact.

These issues run deep and can be very tangled and even interrelated, so it may not be easy to get to the bottom of any of them, but they are worthy of some deeper thought nonetheless.

-- Jack Krupansky

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The party of no vs. the party of fear

The congressional election in November is shaping up to be simply a battle between the party of "no" and the party of fear. Sure, the Republicans are saying "no" to most of the Democratic agenda, but when the Republicans came out with a more positive Pledge to America, the Democrats responded with negativity. The NY Times tells us how a spokesperson for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded:

"Congressional Republicans are pledging to ship jobs overseas; blow a $700 billion hole in the deficit to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires; turn Social Security from a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble; once again, subject American families to the recklessness of Wall Street; and take away patients' rights," the spokesman, Nadeam Elshami said in a statement. "Republicans want to return to the same failed economic policies that hurt millions of American and threatened our economy."

I do wish the Democrats would try to take the high road and tell average Americans (as opposed to the elite and the "Professional Left") what they intend to do for them rather than engage in such crass partisan fear-mongering. I am sure Nancy's statement played well with card-carrying Democrats and the rest of her choir, but what about the rest of America?

-- Jack Krupansky

Monday, September 20, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Don't Ask, Don't Tell... that's the official GOP policy on witchcraft, right?

-- Jack Krupansky

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Citizen-Based Social Contract by Michael Lind

This is simply a bookmark to remind me (and others) to read this whitepaper by Michael Lind of The New America Foundation from 2007 entitled "A Citizen-Based Social Contract." In principle, it sounds like a great idea. As usual, the devil is probably in the details. In any case, clearly there are a lot of people in angst and anxiety and outright despair waiting desperately for a revised social contract for America.

-- Jack Krupansky