Wednesday, November 02, 2005

With us or against us

Our public discourse has been poisoned by our leaders' insistence on all-or-nothing, either/or, with-us-or-against-us thinking. George Bush's application of this approach to the international response to Iraq reached new heights of shortsightedness, but was hardly unique.

In the upcoming special election in California, we are faced with a list of Hobson's choices. Perhaps the most tragic is the ballot measure which forces us to choose between eviscerating the teachers' unions, which perform a vital role in protecting the meager resources we allocate to education, and sanctioning their sclerotic, self-defeating insistence on preserving outdated and even harmful methodologies. Either way, our children lose.

There is a long list of issues on which we, the voters, have been backed into choosing between extreme viewpoints, without being given the opportunity to pick and choose the best planks from opposing platforms. This is one of the reasons a third party is so essential, and it is also one of the reasons that the coalitions that make up the two major parties are so terrified of the idea.

Do you have favourite examples of this kind of either/or thinking, which you think are obstructing our ability to reach productive solutions?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No favorite examples, but one favorite outcome. This either/or mentality goes a long way toward explaining why Bush's latest approval number is 35 percent. Thirty-five percent! George McGovern is laughing at him. Cheney, meanwhile, is at 19%. Nineteen percent!

Bush/Cheney played for polarization and now they have it. Nice work. What I'm thinking about is this: How low can Bush's numbers go? And at what point does Bush/Cheney become totally untenable because they have so completely lost anything close to a "mandate" to govern? More exactly: At what point do they become such pariahs that their own party turns on them and forces them to resign?

That's never happened before obviously, but a president was never impeached over a stained partydress before, either.

November 03, 2005 5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question is whether we can climb out of the hole we have dug ourselves, and return to civil discourse.

November 04, 2005 9:54 PM  

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