My concluding post in the five-part series at The Big Con, "The Politics of the Personal: Where We Stand," is now up for public consumption. The opening:
- How is any kind of normative political discourse possible in the environment created by right-wing eliminationist rhetoric? How is it possible to be civil to people who constantly are placing you under threat of assault, verbal and otherwise? How can there be dialogue when the normative rules of give and take and fair play have not only been flushed down the drain, but chopped into bits and swept out with the tide? Do the advocates of civility place any onus on the nonstop verbal abuse, and absolutely ruthless, win-at-all-costs politics emanating from the conservative quadrant? And do they really expect liberals to refuse to defend themselves, even realizing that doing so gets them accused of further incivility?
Ironically, the mainstream right has largely managed to avoid much discussion of its venom-by-the-bucket role in poisoning the well of public discourse by, somewhat predictably, accusing liberals of being unconscionably nasty and vile in how they respond. It’s become a common theme not just from the usual quarters (Malkin devoted an entire book, titled Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild, to the subject) but a common talking point among the hoi-polloi “centrists” of the Beltway Village media, “wise men” like David Broder and Howard Kurtz: “decent” Democrats must eschew the very kind of ugly hardball politics Republicans have spent the past decade mastering, and must ignore the loud voices of their increasingly angry base.
It’s a neat trick. Not only has the village lunatic gained their permission to continue wandering the town square poking everyone he dislikes in the eye with a sharp stick, he gets to claim victimhood when they respond angrily.
Hope you've enjoyed the series -- and if you've missed it, here are Parts 1, 2, 3, and and 4. An explanatory note is here.