Greg Knauss on the Political Divide

Waxy has published an entry by Greg Knauss on the political divide in the United States of America.

Our culture has been swept along in a tide of emotionally-resonant, steadfastly anti-rational entertainment, and politics is at the head of the wave. The course of our country, the future of our people, is being determined by lizard-brain responses to images designed to trigger sub-rational responses.

I, as a Bush voter, have been called a “fucking idiot” more than once or twice today by proxy by angry Bush-hating Webloggers. I’ve been painted with a broad brush. I don’t like that. I had my reasons in voting for his re-election—you might not like them, but I think that you have to admit that I did at least think about it. You can’t say that for the preponderance of voters who voted in this election: it was either BUSH GOOD!!! or BUSH SUX0R5!1!!11!. The old saw about 40% voting for one party and 40% for another and the pols fighting for the 20% that actually think about it a little still holds true … but damn, the reactionaries on both sides are quite distasteful.

We’ve gotta raise the bar here, people. That’s only going to happen in the 20%. If you’re really, really pissed off at how yesterday went—and also if you’re disgustingly happy with how it went—you need to sit down and check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Update: I want to link to Jason Kotte’s thoughts on this same subject. I realized this morning that I’d excised a good point from Knauss but should have quoted other bits. If you didn’t go read what he had to say, you really should.

“Half the country is not stupid. We’re all stupid.” –Jason Kottke

17 thoughts on “Greg Knauss on the Political Divide”

  1. Jeremy, and I can’t think of a single reason anyone should vote for Kerry. But I’m not gonna call you an idiot or accuse you of desiring slaughter of innocents because you could think of some that I don’t agree with. Why can’t you have the same respect?

  2. I think expressing total confusion over how you could vote for Bush isn’t a sign of disrespect. It’s a sign of serious, deep concern, that EVERYONE in this country is going to have to deal with over the next four years.

  3. My concern is that Bush took his election last time as a mandate, when it was closely contested. This year, when it wasn’t close? They’re already talking about it as a mandate, from Bill Bennett ( all the way to Cheney (, You might not have bought into the idea that voting is a mandate; this administration clearly has. I expect to see Bush et. al. take this as a clear sign that all of their policies are correct and good, and that they should push more of the same.

  4. Hmm. I’m not recalling where I read it (maybe the Volokh Conspiracy), but someone made a good point that the reason why we’re so “divided” into red and blue states is because neither party is putting forth a good candidate. Popular presidents are popular in spite of their party, but when both parties nominate people that are… eh, so-so, then people start polarizing. If the dems or republicans were to nominate someone decent, you wouldn’t see this “red vs. blue” nonsense.

    Not all that many people voted for Bush because they like him, and I don’t think anyone voted for Kerry because they liked him. People voted how they did because of *issues*; neither candidate was really likable or inspiring. Some people can’t imagine voting for anyone who is anti-abortion, others are the opposite. If you “can’t see why anyone could vote for so and so”, chances are, you’re on the opposite side of someone else’s trigger issue. And I can’t see the south side of a mountain when I’m scaling the north face.

    It’s like that old lady on NPR the other day who said she was voting for ZZ Top. “I don’t like the war and I don’t support killing babies,” she said. “I can’t vote for either of them, so I’m writing in Z.Z. Top.”

  5. Sarah (slyflame): No, but I never was convinced that voting for Kerry would fix the mistakes either. Isn’t the lesson of Iraq that regime change has lots of unintended consequences? 😉

    But seriously … the guy could’ve given me reasons to support him, and he didn’t. I had just enough reason to support Bush that I did. If he screws up some more, well, maybe I move to another Congressional district so I can vote for another Democrat to oppose him. [That thought did occur to me around 0515 this morning.]

  6. Oh, and I absolutely agree with John. If the Democrats had found someone worthy of voting for, I would have done it. Put a 1992-era Clinton against Bush, and I’d defintely vote for the guy.

    [Wow, I think I just ensured that I can’t go home at Thanksgiving. ;)]

    As for the mandate thing … it wouldn’t be so much Bush’s re-election as the mandate as how Congress shook out in 2002 and 2004. Those results are what tell the GOP, “You guys are doing the right thing,” whether they really are or not. [And honestly, they’re not. If you think the Christian Right scares you, you should see how much it scares me.]

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