What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Note On Sore Winners

Cynthia Ruccia

                     

I read this lovely article by Katherine Goldstein on Slate of all places yesterday. It is about how the gloating of the "liberals" as she put it over President Obama winning a second term has gotten completely out of hand. I totally agree with her, and I'd like to add my voice to the mix.

I was shocked to see it on Slate because in my opinion, Slate is part of the problem. Slate is still one of the publications that gave not only lopsided reporting when it came to the presidential candidates (and it did it in 2008 as well), but also gives free reign to all of the bullies. Just read all of the snarky comments on Goldstein's piece.

Of course we have free speech, and of course Slate and everyone else (they are hardly alone nor are they the worst of perpetrators) has little choice but to put all of the nasty comments up. Some places moderate their comments and those sites have a little more comity in their interactive discussions. Even on my own little corner of the world, I've decided not to print bullying comments on this blog. It is just unnecessary while making an important point for others to be name calling, shaming and ridiculing if they have a different opinion. If you think differently, explain why!! We might all actually learn something in the process. Seems to me that the bullies are trying to take away our free speech by silencing us. Are we going to let them?

To the larger point here, I guess I will sound like an old fuddy duddy, but the coarsening of our social intercourse is just really sad, the passing of an era. My husband tells me that social interactions have always been coarse, and he's probably right. And I can't believe what I am saying, but my parent's generation would have never allowed us to speak to them or anyone else that way. We would have been severely punished for 1) not respecting not only our elders but anyone else and 2) for flaunting and disregarding the proper rules of dealing with other people.

You know, we thought that THEY were the fuddy duddies for saying such things, and we have spent our lives rebelling against their teachings. The down side of what they were teaching is that by not speaking about things (and to us it seemed like we were not allowed to speak about ANYTHING worth talking about) was to prolong and even encourage some really bad stuff like racism and sexism.

But as both the Hindus and Confucius have taught us, everything becomes its opposite, and right now our freedom to express ourselves has developed a really bad downside as well. It has so polarized our nation that we continue a race to the bottom to see how low we can go, how broke we can become, and how the meaning of being an American and what we stand for is a conversation between two groups ready to bayonet each other to death. You can't express any opinion whatsoever anymore without their being a slash and burn contest to define how horrendous and horrible that person is for saying such a thing. The writing and the commentary is often not even about a person's ideas but more a race to see who can do a better job defaming.

This cultural phenomenon is really weird when you think about it. On the one hand we are expending a huge effort in the schools right now to highlight and correct one of the scourges of our society, bullying. Bullying has always been there, but as a culture, we have finally decided to fix the problem and for good reason. Bullying can destroy lives. Bullies have committed murders. Bullying can leave emotions scars that last a lifetime and can stunt people's growth. You can google "why people bully" and get 54,300,000 entries on the subject if you'd like to read more about it. But getting back to the weirdness of it all, we are spending time trying to eliminate bullying while at the same time we have almost sanctioned a contest to see who can be the biggest bully of all in cyberspace.

In an evil sort of way, I have been in awe of some people's almost depraved talent for insult. It is astonishing how many ways you can find to debase someone. It has become a sadistic pleasure for many, and for awhile I thought that I should brush up my nonexistent skills in that department. But anymore I just see alot of very angry and no doubt unhappy people trying to bolster themselves by using their talent and creativity lashing out to pulverize anyone they can. Another irony here is that while people were enraged about the possibility of the U.S. using torture techniques, a form of that very same torture, verbal torture and abuse, was growing and thriving in the petri dish of cyberspace.

Which brings me to the whole sore winner thing. I am glad that Goldstein wrote her article. She is dead on right. There are alot of sore winners beating their chests and jumping up and down on the vanquished. To be honest, I thought the syndrome was much worse in 2008. But even though she is late to the party, Goldstein makes a fine point of at least trying to understand the anguish of the followers of the losing candidates this season. Much of the philosophical underpinning of western civilization goes back to the teaching of a simple but perennial concept, that of the Golden Rule which says do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The idea is that before you open your mouth, put yourself into the other person's shoes and think about how you would like to be treated in the same circumstances. I think even the atheists out there would give this viewpoint some serious thought.

I don't think that Obama has ever been really good at bringing people together. In my opinion, after such a contentious and almost equal primary in 2008, he would have been extremely wise to have put Hillary Clinton on the ticket as his VP to show he was serious about unity and bringing people together. Since he didn't, it has been the cause of endless speculation as to why he didn't, most of it putting him in a bad light. He hounded the Republicans mercilessly when he won. There was very little talk of bringing all of the American people together, and it backfired on him in 2010 when the Democrats lost big. I read an article in the Washington Post this morning with I think a GREAT idea written by a bipartisan duo suggesting that the solution to the looming "financial cliff" might be found by putting a group together headed by Bill Clinton and Mitt Romney, both of whom have great track records in this area. This gesture would go a long way in healing the wounds of the election and bringing people together.

Although an argument can be made that the president won a huge victory on Tuesday, I beg to differ. His campaign concentrated on winning the electoral vote, yes. But my guess is that with few exceptions, Americans voted their consciences and as a result the popular vote victory was decisive but slim. We are a divided country. It would be extremely helpful if the president would make some magnanimous gestures, a continuing series of them, to show that he takes seriously that he is president of ALL of us, not just of some of us. And it would also help if he issued a "no gloating" directive to his supporters the way that Bill Clinton did in 1996. I hope he can show he has that in him.

In the meantime, what can we do about our discourse? I know that the internet/social net bullies will just tell the likes of me/us to stop whining. That maybe it is all a joke---can't you take a joke? But it is they who have a few lessons to learn. What good does it do for our country if we keep demeaning one another for our beliefs? Why not try to find the common ground and move ahead? The fact of the matter is that just like in my childhood the niceties gave protection to the racists and sexists, our freewheeling discourse has given solace to the bullies among us who are taking us down an equally treacherous path. Where will it end up? Who knows. But those of us who think that the cheapening, coarsening discourse among us isn't a good thing need to speak up regardless of political ideology. And I have to give Katherine Goldstein some credit for piping up about it in a place where she knew it wouldn't be well received.








21 comments:

  1. voter participation was down across the board. Neither party's supporters were energized. Right now democrats are happy because they think they have elected the Obama who ran for president. Soon they will realize they will realize he is the same old DINO he has always been....son of the banksters. Let them bloat now, it will end soon enough.

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    1. I think "bloat" had a ring to it TeresainPa-----you might be starting a whole new thing. gloating causes bloating-----can be applied universally!!!! LOL!!!

      they say that some of the best things have been discovered by mistake---remember Ivory soap was as the result of a mistake too!!

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  2. Obama has been all about compromise from day one. His health plan was written by the American Enterprise Institute, and first implemented by his opponent in the Presidential race. He extended for 4 years the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, and even now only wants to raise them to that of the Clinton administration, where they were still remarkably low. He continued the Bush policy of bailing out large banks without asking for any control over the bailed out banks, making him more bank-friendly than George H. W. Bush.

    Obama is really a moderate Republican. Richard Nixon (!), who created the earned income tax credit, was more economically liberal than Obama.

    Romney's attacks on Obama were ugly, inflamatory and simultaneously completely baseless, while Romney refused to stick to a consistent position on anything. The Republicans deserved to be crushed, and were at least crushed electorally. The only reason they held the House was the incredible gerrymandering of House districts.

    Anyway, it doesn't matter. Obama's going to do what he's going to do. Hopefully he won't cave to the nonsense being spouted here about how he has to assuage the hurt feelings of a bunch of dishonest hacks who were justly handed their heads on a platter.

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    1. I can see that this post has attracted the bullies!! Like a red flag to a bull!! I've had to delete some bullies already.

      The only reason I'm not deleting YOU PghMike4 (is that PIG Mike?) is because at least you put some substance with your bullying insult.

      I agree with some of what you wrote. Really. However, how would you find reconciliation with what is today's division? That healthcare bill is history except for paying the bill and dealing with the realities it will put on Americans, the repercussions of which none of us knows. Some of my friends will kill me, but I actually hope that since this bill is the law of the land and beyond our control at the minute, I hope that the burden isn't as bad as some think, that the benefits are worth the negatives. I may be living in a dream world on that one, but we'll see.

      Obama's compromises have been bitterly received by the left, invisible to the right, and unspectacular to the middle. where do you fall on that? Sounds like you're on the bitter left on that score and you are entitled to your view on this blog without name calling.

      Hopever, you lost it at the end, and I'm am going to hold you up as an example of how our discourse has gone downhill. It was COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY to call me and others "dishonest hacks." What do you possibly have to gain by calling us that except to telegraph to us that you feel so uncertain about your stand on the issues that you can't stand on your POV and integrity alone. Honestly PghMike4, you sound like a smart guy. You don't need to go after people in that fashion in order to defend yourself. Your other opinions can stand on their own without turning into a bully. I made that shot at you (the "pig Mike") remark to make a point-----I bet you didn't like me calling you that!! Well, back to my Golden rule remark----put yourself in someone else's shoes. they don't like it either.

      however, if it was your intent to squelch another's right to free speech, well, you might want to do some serious soul searching on that part. That is unAmerican in the extreme....

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  3. This path of public discourse is creating something even worse then bad manners and disrespect. It is has gone so far that it is now creating untrue worlds that people live in. I have friends who because of Obama winning are actually gearing up for the end of civilization and before you make fun of them I know friends that would be doing the same thing if Romney had won. Reality has nothing to do with the set of truths, data and facts that control their very lives. They really cannot relate to the world in any other way because of their total acceptance of "their universe". This is called paranoia built on propaganda and it occurs on both the left & right. We need: come now let us reason together!

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    1. whew---I hadn't looked at it that way RRNUSA, but what you write is so true!!!!

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    2. I know what you mean about friends with their own separate world. I think maybe there is too much information in the world and some people can't filter a bunch of random facts so they sign up with either a liberal or conservative fact filter. Both sides are out there in their own reality and I hope there isn't violence when the realities collide with us regular people.

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  4. Look at this from the positive side. Obama's may have convinced voters but his policies will fail and when people hurt more and more will become disolutioned as many did this time around. He could signal the end of his version of the Democratic Party. Example,68 regulations per day have been sent through his admin on business. When unemployment, the stock market and the true indicators of our economic health ring aloud, the truth will reign. In the interim, there is much work to be done within our states. We have a group of people within my community that will push things state wide here in Virginia on state exchanges, outreach to DEMS and REPUBS (I still remain a Clinton DEM officially) and will begin within the next 2 weeks. Obama cannot run for President again so the opportunities for the truth about what women want, immigration, healthcare etc. are wide open! Look to the possibilities ladies as the Obama era has a limited life to his term and I suspect he will do much damage since American is a center right country.

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    1. yes, in everything there are opportunities!! Thanks for pointing that out....

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  5. Cynthia, I see in comments we got into ACA. In history the top 5 reasons people take one job over another, Job satisfaction, wages, work environment, retirement, health care benefit. At different times how they ranked the importance of these 5 things has changed. For the last 30 years what do you think is the number one reason..yep health care benefit. Just consider what it could mean if every business could offer this number one benefit, no matter how big or how small their business was. Would it make smaller business more or less competitive with larger business? Could this actually make a more open free market place, with more selections, better quality products, lower cost to consumers, and even raise wages by moving it back up to the top instead of the health care benefit? Retirement used to be high on that list but after the social security net was in place it dropped to next to last and has remained their. Wages would only drop when minimum wage was address and as it was neglected it would go back up the list. I know we are sold that ACA is not little business friend but the reality is that it is being sold to us by big business because it is not their friend because it is a monopoly buster. Just some thoughts.

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    1. well it will be interesting to see once implemented what the realities turn out to be, won't it. As I said, contrary to what alot of folks think, it would be nice if it turned out not to be as bad as some people fear. Time will tell....

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  6. I read an article about an increasing number of states are moving to one party rule -- this means political divisions are hardening. People used to think of divided government -- a president or governor from one party and one house of the legislature from the other party -- as a check-and-balance on government excess, but that system devolved into gridlock as the will to compromise and the skills to do so whithered from disuse. The handful of battleground states is shrinking, and the population is more-or-less divided equally between the parties. We are headed towards a civil war if people do not start treating each other and dissenting viewpoints with respect, and if we do not elect leaders to represent us to do the same. Joe Biden's "debate" with Paul Ryan is the the perfect illustration of how NOT to conduct political discourse.

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    1. The Stiletto----I always love hearing your take on things!! Agreed that the tone of the VP debate was atrocious. And funny, if you bring up how one side is acting, you always get "well the other side did it too." sounds like my kids when they were young. We've just got to find a way to rise above all of that. This presidential campaign doesn't give one much hope.

      Funny thing------here in Ohio Republicans run EVERYTHING!!! Our only statewide Democratic office holder got booted out on Tuesday. But Ohio went for Obama. Oh---and our lone Democratic Senator won. Can't say what that does to our politics. funny hopw the ems won decisively on Tuesday, but they can't muster up the same results statewide. lots of reasons and theories to posit for that, best left for another day.

      But we have to find a way to some together. It's imperative...

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    2. I live in Seattle and we don't see why we should live in a world run by people from the east coast who consider Ohio "out west". I am made to feel like my vote doesn't matter in the federal system. The Federal government and the blabbing heads who prop it up on TV just seem like a bunch of elitist imperious weirdos to me. Sort of like the people who ran the world in Hunger Games. And all of the gaming everyone and the system for power, none with a vision of greater good.

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  7. The great reality is that Obama squeaked by. We have not sunk low enough, but guaranteed, when the folk get their paychecks on Jan. 1, it will be like a giant jolt of caffeine, and that's the beginning. So gloat away--it's free, for now.

    By the way, stop subscribing to Wapo, the NYT, and mags. that are Pravda-like. And don't flip to BSNBC, giving them a hit (and therefore their advertisers). I get all my news feeds online and can flip to plenty of noxiousness on line. Peaceful with that TV off.

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  8. Us out here in Oregon and Washington; victims of the time zones!!

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  9. We always know who wins before we vote

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  10. Romney was LITERALLY a bully, the kind to physically abuse the weaker kids. Nominating someone like him was the culmination of years of promoting into positions of power people who loved shoving other people around and mocking them for their misfortunes. If Republicans want to know why Democrats no longer just disagree with them, but have come to really hate them, they need to look into the mirror.

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    1. Bob X---you sound a bit hysterical!!! There are people on both sides who feel this way about the other side. What good does it do us to devolve into this level of hate? I could point you to people like you who feel exactly the way you do-----about the Democrats and the President. Is it worth it having this rage going through you? Now that the election is over, and your side won, wouldn't it be better to just chill out and try to join hands with the other side? The country deserves as much.....

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    2. Pres. Obama was "literally" a bully too. He admitted it in his book Dreams... Am I the only one who has actually read the book?
      http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=t5oNUKLYgRE&

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