I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas. (A lot, but not all, of the following comes from Steve Benen.)
Yesterday, I asked the question about whether the Iraq war could happen again. Could we, the American people, be pushed into a war of convenience rather than a war of necessity? Simply put, I believe the answer to this question is yes. My answer is yes because we live in an Oppositional Society. This concept, the Oppositional Society, was first proposed by Rebecca Costa in her fabulous book The Watchman’s Rattle. (I’m not sure who first proposed the idea of an Oppositional Society. I first read about the idea in this fabulous book.) Basically, Ms. Costa’s argument is that we boil very complex topics down to yes or no, right versus left, for or against.
If we look at how we debate major issues, we can clearly see how nuance and complexity of argument have been lost in the whole issue and the issue is boiled down to a yes or no question. Gun control. In my opinion, this is an amazingly complex issue. Can the government regulate guns? Most constitutional scholars will tell you that every right that is granted in the Bill of Rights is not absolute. Yet, in this debate, we’ve seen almost every aspect of nuance and complexity boiled down to yes versus no. Assault weapons. There are simply two sides of this debate. Should an American be able to buy an unlimited quantity of assault weapons? Yes or no.
We can come up with theories as to why the United States has gravitated to this extremely simplistic way of examining any problem. Personally, I believe that the majority of Americans get their “information” from the television. Television is extremely good at presenting two sides to any story or topic. Television gets a little bit messier when you present a third or fourth opinion. That simply doesn’t make for good television. Even when you have four or five or even six guests discussing a single topic like on CNBC or Bloomberg TV, the guests conveniently can be categorized into two groups for or against whatever topic is being discussed. Interestingly, this fits very neatly into our political system. Democrats. Republicans. Notice how any third party which pops up is shunted to the side and is painted as being out of the mainstream, crackpots, just as any idea that doesn’t help frame a question in a yes or no answer is also pushed to the side. (more…)
Ops. I have gotten behind in posting my show. Here’s the podcast.
We have never been about staying the course. We are for changing language without really changing anything. Tony Snow only found eight times where the President said “stay the course.” Olbermann found 29 repetitions of “stay[ing] the course.” Google remains a tool that the White House can’t figure out how to use. (He even hears “stay the course” in Spanish.) 94 deaths in Iraq so far this month beg the question why did we go to Iraq?
My guests. I feel very lucky that I have had some great guests. I’m happy to say that I’m continuing the tradition. Bill Scher, the founder and editor of Liberal Oasis, is in the HOUSE. We discuss his new book – Wait! Don’t Move to Canada. Great book. He doesn’t just point out some of the problems in the US. He also puts forth a plan to take back the discussion and the government.
My second guest is really a hero of mine. I have heard him on the Diane Rhem Show tons of times. He doesn’t back down in the face of neo-con noise. He is very detail-oriented. I cited his previous book many times in my own book, A Letter to America. He is the Washington editor of The Nation, David Corn. His new book, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War, is written with Michael Isikoff. On the show, we discuss a few of the reasons that the Bush Administration told us that we needed to invade Iraq. This is one of the best books that I have read in the last couple of years. If you don’t have it, I highly recommend it.
Remember I’m on iTunes and several other podcasting sites.