Thursday, October 09, 2008

this is a little disheartening...

Non-journalistic but nonetheless interesting video of ppl after a McCain/Palin rally.

And yes, you can find non-thinkers on either side.

But I'm struck by the tone of the rallies I've seen. Obama's people seem on average so much more positive, so much more about ideas and hope for better things. McCain's people seem less thoughtful, more negative, strident, aggressive, fearful (famously shouting "terrorist!" "kill him!" etc.)

Thinking takes effort. Analyzing both sides of an issue often takes us out of our comfort zone. We don't like thinking about new things when we've got something to believe already that makes us feel comfortable and safe. (What if I'm wrong? What if my friends & family are wrong? What if my familiar world gets shaken up and I have to face something scary about life or about myself?)

No one's immune to believing what we want to believe, but FWIW, here it is for me on this election:

Obama seems to be extremely intelligent & articulate, my positions align with his on most major issues, the rest of the world appears to be hoping desperately that he wins, he appears to know how to engage and enlist bright people, he is positive, and his presidency would be powerfully symbolic and (one hopes) healing.

McCain seems negative, militaristic, well past his prime mentally, much like GWB policy-wise, and is by many accounts a man with a serious temper.
His campaign focuses on making people scared of Obama rather than on what he would do to improve Americans' lives. His people mock good ideas in an anti-intellectual stance that is both scary and sad.
By virtue of his age alone, he stands a 1:3 chance of dying in office [citation needed]; I think his chances of croaking are even better if you consider how much being president ages everyone who has done it. And old men nearing the end of their run aren't famous for wielding their power in a reserved way -- humans with nothing left to lose tend to opt for being remembered rather than just fading away.
Even if Mr "there will be more wars" manages not to bomb Iran, his dying would leave us with the cute hockey mom who eschews nuance, can't pronounce "nuclear", subsitutes conviction for thought, and is dramatically out of her depth but appears not to be aware of it.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a no-brainer.

23 Comments:

At Thu Oct 09, 07:10:00 PM PDT, Blogger si said...

you're trying to break the record for most comments back, aren't you? ;-)

you know where i stand -- i'll leave it at that.

 
At Thu Oct 09, 10:28:00 PM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

Bryan, I thought we were not going to play the youtube game?? Come on you know how this works “both sides” its like “Hey look everybody (after hours of editing) I just found some people that represent all of the people at this rally” You know that, and I know that.

I don’t have time right now to comment on the other stuff, but come on dude just play fair. Like I said before, I could counter your youtube clip with another junky youtube clip but that doesn’t really resolve or prove anything. And I agree with si’s comment

 
At Fri Oct 10, 07:13:00 AM PDT, Blogger unca said...

I find it interesting (and revealing?) that someone who can't stand "grammar nazis" places so much emphasis on correct pronunication.

 
At Fri Oct 10, 11:08:00 AM PDT, Blogger Alan said...

I think my link to Moments of Adequacy is broken. It keeps going to the MoveOn.org website.

 
At Fri Oct 10, 02:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger anya said...

I don't understand the comment "the youtube game." Youtube is just a site that has videos. Videos are actual evidence of something happening, unless the video itself is faked. What is wrong with that? How is it not worthwhile evidence/fodder for comment?

 
At Fri Oct 10, 03:10:00 PM PDT, Blogger jay are said...

anya, I've been confused about that myself and even emailed Bryan because I was wondering if there was something I'm missing---YouTube is a medium. The things on the video were still said. Those are real people saying real things, and it's not like it's all spliced together or something. Yeah, sometimes things are but not in this case and not in most cases that I've seen. I've been confused as to why it's relevent whether the clip is on a news site or it's on YouTube. But then, it doesn't take much to confuse me, so I figured it was just me.

 
At Fri Oct 10, 10:47:00 PM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

Thanks for comments.

Si: no, I’m not going for volume, but I do appreciate feedback -- that’s how we learn and refine our positions.

BB, I’m not feeling you either on “the youtube game” – if people said it, they said it. I’m not sure what difference it makes where one sees a quote, especially if it’s originally from a mainstream news source, which the majority of mine were.

If we’re talking about slanting things (“hours of editing”), why not talk about Fox news’ response to the last debate? Rather than show the results of actual surveys, which consistently showed that the majority of Americans saw Obama as the winner, Fox held a pointless phone-in poll among their viewership (results: something like 85% McCain, 5% Obama, surprise!). This is journalism? Is it better than youtube, which at least shows real footage of actual people?

When I posted the original clips of Sarah P, I felt like you suggested an equivalence between what she said and other slip-of-the-tongue video clips of Obama or Biden that you could find if you wanted, and therefore the clips were meaningless. I say not so: SP’s poor responses were not “gaffes” – she plain & simply didn’t have the answers. If you can find similar footage of Obama/Biden displaying their ignorance and utterly failing to answer important questions, then you should post them, or reference them. I would want to know that as I consider who to vote for.

Similarly, on the post-rally footage: according to the blogger who took it, there were plenty of other people who felt the same. And the quotes (“…one-man terror cell”, etc) are actually mild compared to what people (conservatives) I know personally are saying and emailing. I know people who don’t listen to anything but Fox news, and think that’s a balanced view. Who listen to Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, etc, and think they’re beacons of truth in a world full of confused liberals.

I’m not suggesting the whole rally was made up of people as ignorant as the folks in the video, but I *am* suggesting that lots of McCain/Palin supporters *are*, and that the GOP ticket has often resorted to fearmongering and capitalizing on ignorance rather than addressing issues.
I’m further suggesting that there is a marked difference in the tone between the rallies of the two parties: grossly over-simplified, it’s Hope vs Fear.

Some of the arguments of the right on this are getting downright ridiculous (one recent suggestion is that we vote for McCain because it will cost the country less money in presidential pension.) That is some silly-ass s***, that to me suggests desperation and a lack of reasoning power or perspective.

As to Grammar Nazis: unca, you’re being disingenuous. I never implied that pronunciation of Pakistan is an important issue to me, and it’s silly to suggest I did; I’m saying that making fun of Obama’s pronunciation appears anti-intellectual, ridiculous, and desperate.

I should also say the following:
1) I know I owe a response on Jay Aitch’s list of Obama concerns; just been too busy to get to it.
2) I agree that many on the left seem to have an unrealistic view of Obama (as evidenced by the list of quotes unca posted.) You don’t get to the top of Chicago politics by being a straight-arrow. Obama is a politician thru and thru; he has the hubris to want to be president on a fairly thin resume; and I’m sure he is as pragmatic as most politicians when it comes to dealing with people, some of whom have unsavory pasts.

But I’m not going to vote for the other guy just because some people worship Obama – what’s he going to do, appoint himself High Chancellor and take away all our civil liberties? (Oh, wait, we already have an administration blowing their noses on the constitution…)
Is he a closet muslim? What would that mean if he really were – that he’d hesitate to bomb a Muslim country? Well GOOD. About time we hesitated before bombing the s*** out of people.
BTW, I heard that we’re developing something called “usable nukes” – that coupled with the Bush Doctrine means McCain could decide to take out Tehran. As one guy said (paraphrased) “once it’s out, that genie’s not going back in the bottle; you can guarantee it will lead to the nuking of an American city.”

Another factor: I believe that there is no possible way for *anyone* to provide real “homeland security” given the openness of our society and our addiction to personal freedom. To truly guarantee security would require billions of dollars and a vastly different society (ie, one in which we surrender of most of our civil liberties.)
So AFAIC, intelligence and diplomacy should be our main tools to protect ourselves; I see virtually no effective anti-terrorist application for traditional warfare and traditional military force, which is what McCain is steeped in.
With respect to his military service (don’t think I don’t appreciate our servicepeople), I don’t want a bellicose old POW managing our security; I want an intelligent, articulate, pragmatic, and open-minded president.

Oh, PS. I don’t hate grammar Nazis – some of them are people I love – I merely hate grammar naziISM.

Alan: :-D

 
At Sat Oct 11, 01:27:00 AM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

“I'm struck by the tone of the rallies I've seen, Obama's people seem on average so much more positive, so much more about ideas and hope for better things”

bryan torre

Bryan, don’t you think that sounds just a little naïve?

Here are just a few comments from that video you posted.

•Sarah Palin: Even GOD thinks she's stupid

•McCain is the ancestor of Cain, the evil one! No wonder McCain, the minion of the devil is using the same wicked tactics as Cain did to bring harm to Barack (the blessed one). Barack means BLESSED!If any harm comes to Barack Obama, McCain should be held accountable for inciting violence against him.

•Palin: Dirty whore of Babylon murdered a moose and abused her power. Dirty, dirty girl. Now we know why McInsane chose her: he likes dirty girls.

Bryan, isn’t it likely that some of the people that commented on that clip could attend Obama rallies?

Remember what Obama supporters bloged about when Tony Snow died?
Stuff like “Another piece of s**t who’s made a lot of money for executive level criminals. We should be rejoicing every time one dies”
and on and on

 
At Sat Oct 11, 08:24:00 PM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

you're certainly right that there are bound to be lots of idiots on both sides of any issue.
didn't mean to suggest that i thot that all obama's supporters are thoughtful and wise, and that mccain's are all cretins.
but obama supporters (as far as i know) are not on record shouting things like "terrorist" "kill him" etc about mccain.
watch cindy mccain at a rally talking about a cold chill going thru her body because obama voted against a war budget bill, suggesting that obama didn't want to support the troops, when it's established that that's not the issue.
then watch michelle obama on Larry King. maybe it's just politicall savvy, but michell obama appears graceful and intelligent, cindy mccain comes off shrill.
when mccain finally spoke up for obama at one of his rallies, he was booed, for pete's sake.
i stand by my statement that the tone of the both the rallies and the campaigns in general are different.

 
At Sat Oct 11, 10:42:00 PM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

Bryan, I admit too that both sides can be pretty disgusting. My point is where was your voice before? If you ask anyone, even the folks on the left they will admit that the move on dot org people along with the other left wing web sites were sometimes a total embarrassment. I know this because most of my friends are democrats. You must have seen some of these blogs along with the comments too. Maybe you just shrugged and laughed them off., I don’t know. There are just a couple of weeks to go and things get heated and yes McCain is behind and people get emotional and things are said. I guess the dems can play nicey nice now. Yes you are right the rally is different with the McCain crowd coming off as rowdier and cruder but come on Bryan, where was your political correctness before?

 
At Sun Oct 12, 02:26:00 AM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

dunno where i was before, bb. this election is the first time in my life i felt arsed to be involved and like the outcome mattered. and i really didn't start paying attention until palin's selection as mccain's running mate. that's my bad.
i have always thot much of the rhetoric on the left (equating bush to hitler, etc) was an embarrassment; i just never blogged about any of that until now, and what i'm seeing now is all the things i stated.
PS. forgot to mention: it's not just my imagination about the tone of the rallies; mainstream news has carried this stuff too, and some pretty sober people have called it noteworthy and even dangerous...

 
At Sun Oct 12, 06:03:00 AM PDT, Blogger unca said...

Bryan-
I wasn't referring to the Pakistan thing at all but rather to your statement, "Even if Mr "there will be more wars" manages not to bomb Iran, his dying would leave us with the cute hockey mom who eschews nuance, can't pronounce "nuclear"......
Are you or are you not drawing attention to the fact that SP can't prounounce "nuclear?"

 
At Sun Oct 12, 11:08:00 AM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

unca,
oops, sorry, i take it back. i totally missed your point. my bad.
my position on grammar & pronunciation rules is basically this: if it facilitates communication, it's a good rule; otherwise, we don't need it.
so "should have went", while it grates, is perfectly understandable and should be allowed.
similarly "lemme ax you a question", but not "i axed him", since the first is clear and the second ambiguous.
and by my rule "nucular", since it's not going to be confused with anything else, should be an accepted pronunciation of "nuclear".
but i also hold ppl who want to be world leaders to a *much* higher standard than i would myself or other commoners.
i don't judge (much) someone who doesn't understand "burden of proof" unless they want to be my lawyer. similarly someone who wants to represent me in the world ought to know how to speak their own language with precision.

 
At Sun Oct 12, 11:13:00 AM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

and to be totally honest, i think i would probably forgive SP for how she says "nuclear" if she dazzled me in other ways. but since she annoys me in general, i don't.

Our friend can spill his plate in our lap and we don't mind; our enemy annoys us by the way he holds his fork...

 
At Sun Oct 12, 11:21:00 AM PDT, Blogger Alan said...

Let's all go back to "atomic".

 
At Sun Oct 12, 02:11:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

Yes, Alan. Whatever became of "atomic"? I like it better too.

 
At Sun Oct 12, 06:59:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

And speaking of videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQalRPQ8stI

 
At Sun Oct 12, 07:09:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

I have to add that this video would have been much more effective and convincing WITHOUT the captions many of which are unsupported and unjustified.

 
At Mon Oct 13, 08:54:00 AM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

Thx for the video link, unca.
I agree that intolerance is everywhere -- one of the things that annoys me no end about the left is how they never seem to recognize intolerance when it's them that's doin it. Perhaps you've noticed this in academia.
;-)
That said, i see nothing wrong with booing, or giving the thumbs-down sign (which seemed to be about half the video). The middle-finger-seig-heil also seems to me a legitimate form of political expression -- it's not threatening, and makes a specific point.
Giving the marchers the finger directly is over *my* line, certainly. Not sure if it makes a difference that it's New York, where ppl use the f-word when ordering at Starbucks... (just kidding, NYers)
I have to say that if it were reversed (a group of Obama supporters getting the finger from a crowd of conservatives) it would feel more threatening. Maybe that's irrational (or maybe not), but I would feel much more in danger from a bunch of good ole boys who were flipping me off than i would from a bunch of croissant-eating latte-sipping new york liberals.
This video is different from the post-mccain-rally one in that there's no interviews -- so we can't tell if the obama supporters were as ignorant and confused on the facts as the mccain folks were. I'd guess not, but I could be wrong.
Certainly many were just as rude. But at least they weren't saying "off with his head"...

 
At Mon Oct 13, 02:51:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

"Ten thousand people all shouting the same thing, makes it false, even if it happens to be true." -- Kierkegaard

 
At Tue Oct 14, 07:02:00 AM PDT, Blogger Crystal said...

i am scared of politics so i am not going to comment on this post. i think being from texas and liking obama a little more makes me guarded because i feel like everybody's gonna kick my ass if i verbalize it.

i do have question for you.
what do you do that you get to travel all over the place? new york? dallas? must be nice. i'm going to corpus christi this weekend so we will actually be like 9 hours from each other!

 
At Wed Oct 15, 09:28:00 AM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

i do IT consulting. it is not interesting. if i tell you about it you will go into a coma.
but i do get to travel.
have fun in CC...

 
At Wed Oct 15, 10:36:00 AM PDT, Blogger Crystal said...

sounds like my job.

have fun in the big D!

 

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