Monday, August 22, 2011

Governors of Mean

I had coffee this morning with a longtime employee of the Albuquerque Journal, now retired.  We lamented the state of things at the Journal where cartoon strips are censored and right wing letters to the editor are shopped as opeds.  This morning the Journal had another kook oped from a member of the extreme right wing Rio Grande Foundation.  But they said it was written as a personal piece.  What BS.

This morning we  mostly talked about politics in modern America.

I have pretty much decided that we now have politicians who are mean.  In the past we had ego maniacs, corrupt souls, self serving greedy bastards with a few honest folks thrown in.  Now we have the politics of mean people.  Give me the egos and ethically challenged any day in comparison to these folks.  At least they knew they had to treat their constituents with some dignity and compassion.  Now that mean people are organized on the internet they can do more harm than ever.  As my companion said this morning, 'its no longer just listening to the kook relative at Thanksgiving Dinner.  Now they have the technology and tools to band together."

Yeah, this sounds pretty arrogant.  But I think it is true.  But I also see the glimmers of a back lash coming.  It can't be soon enough.

Finally, my friend asked, "Is Jay McCleskey really running both state and city government?"  That guy is the right wing political operative for the GOP.  I responded that it appears that way.


Anonymous said...

No more Journal for me! I cancelled it!!

Bubba Muntzer said...

That's a very interesting post. I think you put your finger on something: as bad as greed and corruption are they don't compare to what is coming together now with regard to their effect on society. And this multiplying effect of technology. That's something to think about.

One thing I have thought about is how meanness gets diffused through society. I drive all the time and I've noticed that on a short term basis, drivers become more aggressive after a few cloudy says. And society-wise, and longer term, there is this ebb and flow depending on who is in power. Reagan/Bush, then Clinton, then Bush II. Obama has not been a leader in this regard, with his fetish for compromise and pandering to the rich, and we are left with the Bush hangover, and the economic crisis and climate change.

George W Bush always spoke with a sneer and a mean tinge in his voice, as he was leading us into war, a violent act, and demonizing the Other, but he spoke that way almost all the time. It spews out of Republicans and their accomplices on radio and TV. Fox has a pretty large audience now.

And as Democrats and Republicans continue on this Neoliberal path and living standards and wages decline and more people live in insecurity, that can't help. Millions being displaced by climate change and flooding into urban areas won't help.

But like you allude to, humans have the capacity to react in one of two ways. Lash out and attack each other, or pull together and cooperate. Both those things are in all of us. Considering what faces us, it's an interesting time to be living, to say the least.

Vicki said...

Meanness seems to have translated into a successful attribute for politicians in these times where sports fans are beaten into comas or shot and killed because they wear the opponents jersey. Rick Perry is a really Mean Politician who will win out over Mean Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination (because even Mean females lose to Mean males). Fox News has the "mean" image down pat and they are quite successful in propagandizing, making "mean-minded" voters. All one has to do is look at what Adolph Hitler successfully did in the 1930's to make Christians and educated Germans into haters and mean-minded so as to kill millions of Jewish people,trade unionists, socialists, and people of color. German-people were devastated economically from WW I and reparations and were ripe fodder for politicians who preached meanness.