I just plain cannot stomach news shows. When I was a kid, I watched Huntley and Brinkley with my grandfather. Though most of the content escaped me, I remember the opening classical music and the elegance and dignity of the news every evening at 6:00. Compared to that, today’s shouting heads are a disgrace.
One wonders how we got to a political and social climate where outrageous claims and vicious ad hominem attacks are the norm. Whether it’s Charlie Sheen accusing Bush of being complicit in the World Trade Center attacks or Glenn Beck claiming that a group of people worship Obama, the tone and tenor of today’s political commentary is worthy of animals, not human beings.
Clearly, there are reasons to be angry today, whether one comes from the left or the right. Both sides have forfeited any claim to the moral high ground. Both sides have squandered any credibility they once had, and both have descended into a cesspool of pay-to-play politics. Any freedom-loving American jolly well should be outraged.
An expression of anger, though, is not an argument. An argument requires maturity and the application of reason. Amid the shouting and name-calling, where are the voices of the thoughtful? Where are the grownups?
We are facing the most momentous decisions about the role of government in our lives in decades. The battle for health care rages on, but there is little of substance on either side. Advocates refuse to acknowledge that it will break the economy, yet few opponents offer a viable alternative. We are about to see cap-and-trade enacted, again with little thought to its consequences or to whether science supports it. Yet opponents consistently fail to explain WHY it is a bad idea, preferring to raise the volume rather than the level of discussion.
It is as if a strange alien race had silently stolen into our culture, placed some energetic ranters in our midst, and then stepped back to observe how fast we would devolve into a pack of pit bulls. If they can stop laughing long enough to take notes, you can bet they won’t be flattering of the human race.
By all means, state your case. Please, be authentically angry when you see injustice. And, if the day ever comes when the brown shirts and the marxists actually are making door-to-door arrests, fight viciously for your freedom. In the meantime, turn off the TV, sit quietly, and think through what you advocate.