Subscribe to
NSLog(); Header Image

Political Zealotry: Doing More Harm than Good

I don't care for this sort of take on things:

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. "Can I interest you in the chicken?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?"

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

As I said in my last post on this election, I am undecided. That's saying a lot consider I tend to align with what have historically been more "Republican" ideals. Since that post some 17 or 18 days ago, I've been swayed slightly towards one side, but not a bunch, and not with any finality.

More so in this election than in any I can recall, Obama's more fervent supporters have done away with simply alluding to the fact that they think they're intellectually superior - they've taken it to heart and are beating everyone who comes within reach repeatedly about the head with their "You're the biggest moron I've ever met if you can't see why you shouldn't vote for Obama" sticks.

It's this sort of disgusting behavior that sours me to politics in general, and it's not helping Obama's cause when people act like that. I tried to watch Keith Olbermann's show the other day and turned it off part-way through - for the same reasons I can't stomach Rush Limbaugh.

This sort of behavior divides people and, for those who truly remain undecided or those who only lightly support one side or the other, pushes them away. I don't exhibit or identify with every stereotype typically assigned to a (usual) Republican supporter - "zealously religious," for one - but that doesn't mean I want to identify with people who flaunt a self-assigned superiority either.

It's one thing to attack the opposition: it's another thing entirely to attack someone who is trying to decide whether to join your team.

P.S. In case you can't tell, this was a pretty extemporaneous post based on a gut reaction. I've still not made up my mind. I'm currently leaning one way (against the way I've usually leaned), but this crap ain't helpin'.

16 Responses to "Political Zealotry: Doing More Harm than Good"

  1. I agree completely on Olbermann. That used to be a show I watched every night. I even liked when he started doing his "special commentary" editorials on Bush, because I thought they came at a time when they said things that needed to be said. But now his show is just as out there as Fox News.

    In Journalism 101 (actually JRN 108 at Michigan State, for some funky numerical reason) you learn that objectivity is impossible, BUT YOU SHOULD ALWAYS STRIVE FOR IT unless you're doing an op-ed piece. Once you cross that line, you're no longer reporting. You're just telling us what you think.

    On the other side, it does no good for the republican ticket to endlessly blast the "liberal, elite media." But it is in line with the general fear-mongering they've decided to pursue of late. As my mom said the other day (as she prepares to vote democratic in a presidential election for the first time since the 1960s), she's looking forward to the republicans retooling and getting back to admitting that it's OK to be intellectual.

  2. [quote comment="50296"]On the other side, it does no good for the republican ticket to endlessly blast the "liberal, elite media." But it is in line with the general fear-mongering they've decided to pursue of late.[/quote]

    Quite honestly, I don't even watch any political TV anymore because I long ago realized both sides were nuts. It's sad, pathetic, and disgusting that it's evolved into this state and may be a big part of the reason why I've yet to leap behind one guy or the other - there's just too much noise and garbage to cut through. It takes a lot of effort.

  3. That needed to be said, and you did it well, even extemporaneously. Thank you.

  4. While that particular quote is amusing, it is somewhat extreme. Perhaps something like this would be better: "Can I interest you in the filet mignon?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the dry tasteless meatballs?"


  5. Agreed, Olbermann is an ass; Sedaris an exaggerator.

    Here's a good anti-snob piece by an Obama supporter:

  6. To be honest, the zeolatry turns me off as well. Six months ago, I was honestly hoping McCain would reform the republican party, moving it more centrist and somewhat less tied to the evangelical right, but that did not end up happening.

    Instead, I see more division happening. My sampling has been showing more tedium coming from the McCain supporters than the Obama supporters around here, but zeolots are zeolots.

    Sad, because at the end of the day, we need a functioning, bipartisan government, and that is not a popular point of view.

  7. Is it mainly Obama's supporters who are behaving this way? I'm curious. From what I've seen, Obama himself has been relatively restrained. Then again, I'm viewing your drawn-out election from Canada, where our federal government was dissolved, an election called, and then held, between the Republican National Convention, and the second Presidential Debate. I would appreciate being corrected if I've missed something.

    That said, I'm also concerned about the perceived anti-intellectualism expressed by the Republican candidates.

    In the debates, McCain seemed to indicate that Obama's support for equipment at the Adler Planetarium should be seen as wasted money.

    Fundamental science funding has been lacking in America during the Bush administration, and from what I can tell, a McCain administration would not address this shortfall.

  8. Agreed. It bothers me when people write off half the country as "stupid", for lack of a more eloquent characterization. I'm a Democrat, but I don't think personally attacking the supporters of any candidate is useful.

    Good luck.

  9. I tell ya, I am not looking forward to the next few months and 4 years.

    Democrats are going to be (and in many cases already are) insufferable. If they win, they're going to gloat - as some have already been doing. If they lose, they're going to whine and complain as they did in 2000 and 2004. They just have no class.

    Contrast that to how Republicans acted in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. In 1992 and 1996 there was no whining and complaining, and in 2000 and 2004 there was no gloating.

    I used to be a Republican, but haven't voted -R since 1992 or so, at least not in a presidential election. Republicans have just gotten too liberal for me. But Democrats have gotten downright nasty in the last decade or so. (Interesting that the Democrat mascot is the donkey.)

    And, yes, I'm speaking in generalities here - there are Republican asses, and there are pleasant Democrats. But on the whole, those generalities certainly fit.

  10. And, no, I'm not voting for Obama either. I'm voting 3rd party.

    Just in case there was any confusion.

  11. I'm glad I'm not the only one insulted by the crap that Sedaris writes. There is only one thing that I've learned through this utterly disappointing election cycle: I'm neither and I'm definitely far from both. Pigs at the trough - whether for power or money. They don't even try to pretend to hide it any more... and that is what is so completely disappointing.

  12. I think the issue here is not that you haven't chosen our guy, it's that you haven't chosen at all. John McCain has been around for like 30 years, and Obama has been campaigning for 2 years now. Their policies are radically different. McCain wants to drop taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals, Obama wants to drop taxes on the rest of us. Choosing which of those you prefer is a political decision, but it seems strange not to be able to pick.
    I think Sedaris' point can be seen both ways. If you are pro choice, favor the environment, favor getting out of Iraq, and other traditionally Democratic choices, then the other guy does look like a shit sandwich, and vice-versa.
    It seems like the election in this country always comes down to the 10-20% in the middle who aren't truly paying attention (not saying this applies to you) and are looking for some emotional connection to the President rather than looking at policy. It's frustrating.

  13. [quote comment="50316"]Their policies are radically different. McCain wants to drop taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals, Obama wants to drop taxes on the rest of us.[/quote]
    Steve, their policies really aren't all that different, but if you're going to discuss their tax policies, at least present it correctly: Obama wants to hike taxes in a major way, for those in top income percentiles, while at the same time lowering them for everyone else. McCain, on the other hand, proposes lowering taxes for everyone.


  14. Olbermann has always been on my **** list. From an outsider looking in, it appears Republicans now know what the Democrats have been feeling ever since O'Reilly got in front of a camera.

    Stick to PBS and NPR. Food for the mind.

  15. The Huffington Post (yes, you may not like them) just ran a piece on republicans who are voting for Obama.

    Check out the video of them explaining in their own words why they are.

  16. [...] just as I was disgusted by the superior attitude of Obama's supporters before the election, I'm disgusted by their incessant "we" stuff now. Where was that same "we" [...]