Thursday, August 22, 2013

Polar Eclipse

Maybe if Facebook, Twitter et al had been around when John Kennedy ran for president as the first Roman Catholic candidate, I could properly compare.

Or when Dick Nixon was trying to serpentine around the Watergate investigation, and social media was all the rage at the time, that would be another base line study.

Hey, what if we had the Internet during the Civil War? That would be something.

I'm talking about polarization, and boy does it seem to be at a peak these days---the days where there is the Internet and everyone races to their keyboards to post the latest good stuff for their side and the bad stuff for the other folks'.

I am on Facebook often, and it seems like people are using it strictly as a propaganda tool.

I prefer to think of myself as a Facebooker with diversity. My stuff ranges from food to sports to humor to cute animals. And more.

But there are some folks whose timeline is filled with mostly political rhetoric and smarmy comments about what they're sharing. Both sides do it, lest you think I'm picking on the right (I lean to the left, as you probably know by now).

The funny thing is, no one's mind is being changed.

It would be like Coke posting a bunch of nasty stuff about Pepsi, or vice versa. None of it will convert the drinkers of either beverage. And the independents will continue to buy what's on sale. (That's what we do in our house).

This really isn't funny, or cute, by the way.

In fact, it got me to wondering whether we are, at this time, the most polarized we've ever been, politically.

Hence the references above to JFK, Nixon and the Civil War.

Had Facebook been around in those days, would we be as separated as we are now?

I know that's rhetorical, ironically.

But I find it hard to believe that at any time in our nation's history have we been further apart on the political and sometimes social spectrum, as we are currently.

You either like President Obama or you hate him. And it was like that when Bush II was in office, though Facebook (my primary barometer of the political landscape, for good or for bad) wasn't as widely used when the latter was president.

I am starting to believe that Obama is the most polarizing president we've ever had, though I can't truly make that statement factually, having only memories of the presidents from Nixon to now.

But I am confident that no president has elicited so much passion, on both sides of the political coin, as Barack Obama. Even Nixon, at the peak of his being a villain, didn't rankle as much as Obama bothers the right.




Obama comes with a lot to pick on, though much of it is baloney. His birth certificate, his upbringing, his race---it's a volatile place to start, if you lean away from him. And that's before you even get to his political views and policies---at least the ones he has been able to push through a stubborn Congress.

That's another thing. Has a political party been more vociferous and contrary against a president as the GOP has against Obama?

The outrage, and just pure rage, against this president is as palpable as I've ever seen. Almost daily you read of comments and actions and political events that border on criminal.

Look no further than social media to see how divided we are. I fear we are at the low point. Sensible dialogue is almost totally absent. That goes for TV networks, too. Thank God for "Meet the Press" on Sunday mornings.

Everyone is shouting and posting and hitting "send" with some of the most outrageous venom you'll ever see.

And nobody is changing their minds. Everyone is digging their heels in more firmly.

No wonder we can't get anything done.

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