Muscular Moderation

15 Apr

2012-03-21T033614Z_01_ORL024_RTRIDSP_3_USA-FLORIDA-SHOOTING.jpg I like heated arguments that stay informative. I don’t knock people for passion. It’s generally best not to litter the streets, or protest without punctilious observance of the local ordinances and local red lines. But sometimes a heated argument becomes an alley fight. Case in point

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This is probably the most contentious an argument on Chris Hayes’ show has become, and it only increases the value of the show for me. Picket’s “tit-for-tat”, partisan baiting looked desperate, which subsequent guest Gary Younge exposed.

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Picket’s nastiness indicates as much an in-group, out-group mentality as racism. Racism is only the veneer of the former. It’s not a matter of facts, but of ridiculing another group whose interests are perceived to be detrimental to one’s own. Racial division is just one fault line in American society, which overlaps with party identification and corporate interests. It’s always easier to point out where an opponent s wrong, instead of find common ground.

Which is why this debate sparked by Trayvon Martin’s death is surprising. Surely, violence is undesirable. Injustice is undesirable. Demagoguery is odious. Yet, two people, Martin and Zimmerman, had a lethal quarrel on a public street, the police response to which was to dither until rival national media and pundits protested. Expressing condolences for Trayvon Martin’s death is the bare minimum. But, what about consternation for the collapse of the third branch of American government, the courts, and the tarnished reputation of law enforcement?

Why can’t conservatives be so aggressive about the common ground, the great middle, the public arena, and not their partisan spite?

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