Sunday, September 28, 2008

Why the Left Screams

I've been around far more than my fair share of leftist loons (quite a few of whom I truly cherish as close friends) - what working in Hollywood and being the hard core "Burner" that I am and it's always bothered me that I have to maintain a secret identity (not unlike a super hero) among many of my friends or colleagues for fear of losing them as friends or colleagues. I used to like to talk about politics and argue and really go to town, but out here, on the "left" coast you kind of take your life in your hands. Not just because people might stop talking to you, but because they might start screaming at you. I've had a heck of a lot of conversations that degenerated into my just being shouted down. No debate, no dialogue, just yelling. I don't like to live that way. But I don't like to keep quiet.

I have to admit, I haven't fully watched Friday night's debate. I have kids and while we watched the first 20 minutes or so, someone had to make the Mac and Cheese and then we just got the second season of "Dexter" on TV and I had a "Feasting On Waves" and THREE "Ghost Hunters" all lined up on the DVR and... what the was the point?

And yes, I'm going to tie this in to my first paragraph.

Look, I'm going to admit it right here and now, there's no way I'm going to change my opinion of Barack Obama (or John McCain) because of a debate. Presidential debates are probably useful for people who live in caves and come out once every four years to decide who they're going to vote for, but the truth is that anyone who's been paying attention has made their decision long ago and if you're undecided and you do make up your mind based on the debate - yeesh. All it is, is a grudge match. It's about is who got who or who made a better point, who scored, who looked strong or peeved or interrupted or rambled or who couldn't remember the name on his bracelet, but what the hell is that supposed to tell me about which one's better for president? What do I take away from the debates that I hadn't already known before?

"Uh, Mr. Putin, uh... you know, about that invasion of, uh.... Georgia... uh, I have, right here, the bracelet of a United Nations Security Council member who lives on Main Street and not Wall Street and is solidly middle class and is...uh... going to, uh, you know... have 95% of his taxes cut...uh... who's name is... uh.... uh.... hard to read upside down..."

(oops - please don't read that if you're in Missouri)

The point is I've already made up my mind and I've done enough reading and paying attention and trust my convictions enough to understand why. Which - in a roundabout way - brings me to my ultimate point.

As is painfully obvious, most of the main stream media is fully on board the Obama bus (that is until they get tossed under it (apparently it's pretty crowded under there)). There are a million problems with that, but one of them is that if you aren't really paying attention (don't read the papers, don't watch the news, don't read the blogs and the alternative blogs and seek out opposing points of view) and simply - like a lot of people, I suspect - absorb presidential politics by some kind of strange osmosis from the world and entertainment at large, all you're going to know is gosh, Obama is well, you know, COOL. It's like a kind of mass hypnosis experiment. You're sitting on the subway listening to the "Black Eyed Peas" on your iPod and across from you some old guy is reading the (your-city-name-here) Times and you catch a headline about how someone 20 years ago said McCain never fully answered the question of whether or not he still eats Twinkies. Or you're watching Letterman, who has to be smart, because he's, you know, on TV and he talks about how McCain is old and that has to be bad because, you know, he's OLD. Or you're watching Law and Order and they run one of those deep and subtle episodes where they ever so delicately riff on the absolute HORRORS of (insert-politically-correct-sacred cow-being-gored-conservatives-of-the-moment-here). In other words the media, from top to bottom is overwhelmingly leftist, so if all you do is pay attention to what you happen to run into throughout your day, all you're going to get is one side of the argument (or diatribe as the case may be).

But if you want to know more than what the "gate keepers" (cough) feel like telling you (or feel you ought to know) then you have to seek out other forums and news and blogs and then you wind up reading and listening and hearing things explained and thought out far more completely than a Top Ten list or a Tina Fey skit.

Which is why, I think, to finally get back around to my first paragraph, that lefties scream. Most conservatives I know tend to be far more informed and firm in their convictions because in order to have those convictions you have to get out there and read and research and that means seeking out conservative voices. So what happens is that you are already being exposed to the other side through whatever Sundance Channel (alright, that's not fair, no one actually watches Sundance Channel) happens to be showing, but you also go forth and seek out opposing viewpoints and after spending hours and hours in your car/shower/bathroom honing your arguments, you're ready to go. So when you do take the leap (or flirt with career suicide) and get into a political conversation with someone from the other team, you can easily parry, riposte and counter-riposte until a firm middle ground is reached at which point your opponent thinks you're a heartless tool of big industry who would not only prefer, but take pleasure in letting little kids go to bed hungry.