Obama stood impassive at the first campaign debate and was declared guilty of looking down at his notes on the lectern and failing to challenge Romney's contentions. Therefore, he lost the debate. Miserably. Joe Biden responded to every remark Ryan made with his grin, his incredulous looks, and interruptions. He was declared condescending and supercilious. Therefore, he lost the debate. Noisily. Biden was faulted for doing what Obama was faulted for not doing.
|The script for American politics|
The movie Mean Girls with Lindsay Lohan defines what American political culture has become. Like the contending factions for dominance in a super-bourgeois high school, Americans choose up sides over who won the debates based upon whatever inclinations their hormones and social ambitions tell them. The dismaying aspect of the debate is to see the citizens of the most powerful country in the world reduced to a bunch of excitable, vengeful juveniles declaring war against each other.
The symptom of this puerile small-mindedness is put on display in the tweets and comments sections of the social media forums. These forums give people an easy means to express their opinions. What people are too ignorant to understand is that their comments do not contribute to any significant dialogue; they reveal the pettiness petulance of their mentalities. The are not opinions based upon a careful collection and examination of facts. They are pure emotive expressions. much of America has never graduated from its high school factions and cliques that operate on such superficial mentalities that are trained only to gain status among the pack.
The political dialogue registered on our electronic media flies in the face of every concept between a successful free society and necessity of an educated populace. Jefferson laid out the relationship at our nation's outset:
- "Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree."
- "Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty."
- "If a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was & never will be."
- "The qualifications for self-government in society are not innate. They are the result of habit and long training."
What effuses from the comments is not informed and intelligent opinions, but the adolescent notions of what attitudes will make their authors popular with their chosen peer groups. As a consequence, we get such intelligent, incisive, and uplifting exchanges of the kind that produce this gem: "Lies are politics Jerry, get over it."
Even a blog operated by a couple of professors immerses itself in girly-boy quibbling, abandoning even the pretense of their pseudo-scientific profession, political science. But we look for the failures of education in the massive application of standardized tests after which we engage in rituals of blame-placing on the teachers. You want to look at educational failures? Look at the blog comments, twitters, and social media.
So far, Joe Biden is the only one who has consciously confronted the fact that we are not really in an election campaign. We're in the midst of an open, raging class war. He commented that Romney-Ryan operate a campaign to malign America. Romney's declaration that 47 percent of the people only want government handouts and Ryan's statement that 30 percent of the people are takers, not makers is a slanderous misrepresentation of a huge portion of the American people. Romney-Ryan have declared open war on the unemployed, those who are needy but work hard not to be, those who have been beset by misfortune, some of which comes from serving their country.
Hell, yes, we are in a class war, but it is one of the GOP's making.
That is the most significant observation to come out of the debate. That and the fact that Romney-Ryan will not own up to what they really think and what they tell their inside supporters and loyalists. They want a class war.
One must ponder how happy it will make them when they fully get one. That is what the Biden-Ryan debate left as its most salient thought.