In the heat of the Democratic primary, the netroots were on the leading edge of the extreme left. Predominantly young, white, and male these kings of the internet could be accurately described as progressive in most ways other than their ugly sexism and misogyny, which they unleashed on Hillary Clinton, and their equally cruel and abusive ageism targeting John McCain.
I soon concluded there was little difference between the extreme left and the extreme right, as they obviously mirror each other in their fascist behavior.
Charles M. Blow’s op-ed in today’s NY Times concurs with my conclusion. He begins:
“Can you hear that? I can. It’s the sound of political action committees and party extremists sharpening their wedge issues and setting the timers on their bombshells. The fall’s battle is looming. It’s going to get ugly.”
Here’s the picture, Blow explains:
“Once again they’ll cast the opposition as binary caricatures to rally their bases, swing the independents and capture the defectors.
“The left will be reduced to fist-bumping blacks and intellectual elites with gun aversions and gay agendas. An amoral, tale-tucking lot that coddles criminals, raises taxes and has gone Chicken Little over global warming.
“The right will be lambasted as ultra-conservative cretins who want to conflate the Constitution and the Bible, are pro-life before birth and pro-death after trial and blindly follow war-hungry fear-mongers who obsess over “terrorists” like a Tootsie Roll commercial.
“And, never the twain shall meet. Left or right? That narrow view is just wrong. Americans are much more complex. Sadly, battle cries drown out nuance in campaigns.”
Blow guides us to a deeper understanding of the major issues our country is facing:
“So, in these relative calm days of summer, with Barack Obama on his way back from a rock-star tour of the other side of the pond and John McCain shadowboxing the media stateside, let’s pause and recognize that Americans overwhelmingly agree on many of the big issues and are changing their minds on others. It’s just that those shifting views, when taken as a whole, don’t neatly line up with either party’s platform.
“Here are a few examples, according to Gallup polls taken over the last eight years:
“• Six in 10 Americans believe that conservation should be emphasized to solve the energy problem, 7 in 10 favor the death penalty for murder and don’t want to ban the sale of handguns, and 8 in 10 believe in God but also believe that abortion should be legal, at least under certain circumstances.
“• Nearly half now believe that we are unlikely to win the war in Iraq and that the war has made us less safe from terrorism.
“• An increasing number of people believe that religion as a whole is losing its influence on American life and an increasing number want it to have less influence.
“• While more bemoan the worsening state of moral values in the country, we are increasingly shifting our opinion on what is morally acceptable. Now most believe that getting divorced, engaging in premarital sex and having babies outside of marriage are morally acceptable. Nearly half also say that gay relationships are morally acceptable.”
In effect, as Blow explains, the middle ground is the higher ground to which we are called:
“Remember this when the attack ads start up and the divisive rhetoric starts to bore into our brains. Remember that campaigns are not just about the people on the placards but about parties and power, and that the wizards behind the curtains specialize in amplifying differences that stoke our fears. Remember, and resist.”
I suggest we do more than resist. It is especially important for Americans to stand up and let our political leaders and the media know that discrimination and hate mongering against any group of people - whether it’s based on religion, race, gender, age, sexual preference, or national origin – will no longer be tolerated.
It’s past time for members of the netroots to grow up.