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Americans remaining ill-informed is inexcusable
Americans remaining ill-informed is inexcusable
Lately, partisan politics in America has been running amok. The two-party system seems more antagonistic than usual. The Republicans and Democrats have never been soul mates, but they’re not usually this contentious.
Saturday, May 1,2010 15:25
by By Paul J. Balles resetdoc.org



Lately, partisan politics in America has been running amok. The two-party system seems more antagonistic than usual. The Republicans and Democrats have never been soul mates, but they’re not usually this contentious.

My father, a staunch conservative and I, a rebellious liberal, discussed and debated the issues that defined American politics until we both knew where we would stand firm and where we could compromise.

As a follower of congressional efforts to legislate and avoid legislating when one party wants to scuttle a bill, I have never seen so much total failure to compromise as witnessed in the current Congress.

In family arguments, we never experienced such absolute rejection of the opponents' position that the US Senate in particular has experienced recently. They seem unable to resolve any of their conflicts.

Judging from the attention given to the congressional melees by the media, one would think that the public cares about what their representatives are up to.

Not so, says columnist Joe Bageant. "As I see it, there is no 'will of the people' mandate. Hell, the people want more cable channels, fried chicken buckets and someone to tell them there really is a free lunch."

"As I see it, there is no 'will of the people' mandate. Hell, the people want more cable channels, fried chicken buckets and someone to tell them there really is a free lunch."

Joe Bageant

All one needs to do is listen to a few of the comments made by some of the more vocal congress people to understand why the general public use their remotes to change channels.

There's no such thing in American politics or the US media as balanced reporting and commentary. That's not necessarily bad. Media ownership in the hands of biased owners is bound to hire biased anchors.

The conservative extremism of Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity is enough to drive all but the bigoted Obama haters away from Rupert Murdoch's right wingnuts.

Then there are fans for the ultimate conservative lunatic, Rush Limbaugh, who spreads disinformation. FAIR, the organization that challenges media bias and censorship, has established that "...sloppiness, ignorance and/or fabrication is run of the mill in Limbaugh's commentary."

On the other side of the aisle, liberal commentators Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and Rachael Maddow tend to go into attack mode against conservative members of Congress and the media.

The same is true of major Western newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. They have extremists who placate both conservatives and liberals.

Someone once accused me of being unfair and not as balanced in my columns as the New York Times and the Washington Post. That writer hadn't read much commentary in either publication.

Why did I say that the one-sidedness of commentators isn't necessarily bad? Since they make no pretence to being even-handed, the only sensible solution is for readers and viewers to strike the balance.

I'm more critical of conservatives, especially among the extremists who would let banks go wild as they did to create the recent financial crisis, who oppose any government regulation, do the bidding of big business and would eliminate civil rights.

On the other hand, the conservative influence of my father allows me to have a sincere appreciation for Congressman Ron Paul who would be delighted to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service and income taxes.

At the same time, my liberal orientation strongly favoured Dennis Kucinich as the best Democratic presidential candidate. Unfortunately, he's nowhere near the politician or public speaker that Barack Obama is.

That's particularly sad since Kucinich would have America out of Iraq and Afghanistan by now. He would have pressured Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians. He would have closed Guantanamo and had a strong public option in the health care bill.

The ironic misfortune in all this is that we have the technology to be informed, but Americans remain a generally ignorant public.

Source: Redress Information & Analysis (http://www.redress.cc). Material published on Redress may be republished with full attribution to Redress Information & Analysis (http://www.redress.cc)

tags: Americans / Partisan Politics / Democrats / liberal / Republicans
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