Super Tuesday Open Thread

It’s election day around the great state of Georgia once again and you know what that means!  Open thread on a Tuesday!!  Wacky.

Let us know about lines at your polling station (don’t know the location of your polling station?  Well it looks like the State’s website has crashed so you’ll have to dig through your files and find your precinct card.)

Discuss that and/or any hilarious antidotes about Sunday Sales you’ve been sitting on for a few weeks now.  It’s a magical day of madcap of voting madness!

114 thoughts on “Super Tuesday Open Thread”

  1. No other voters in front of me at the Lutheran at a few minutes before 8 am; about 3 came in after. In and out in a skinny minute! Downside: nothing hilarious happened.

  2. Thanks for the reminder. Heading out right now to cast my vote for the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter. I love this country!

      1. Hmmm, can’t tell if this is a threat…or a proposition 😉

        In all seriousness, if voting for Santorum is still an option in November, I’m pretty sure that my head will have exploded from the absurdity of it all. If it hasn’t, I’ll be happy to meet you – in my new hometown of Toronto!

            1. Oh what an even more wonderful country this would be if everyone who threatened this for the second Bush term would have actually done it.

              1. We hid out in Seoul from 2006 through 2009, seriously. Our reasons for moving were mostly unrelated to Bush II p2, but the timing was perfect.

    1. Hooray for open primaries!

      I’m fine with how the process has been used, but as far out to the right as the Republican party has swung, I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if somehow he got nominated. They exalt the most extreme figures of the group to stardom, Palin//Gingrich/Brewer/Limbaugh, and anyone who isn’t hateful and vitriolic to the President and Dems, or deemed Christian enough, just gets publicly trounced.

      What’s the matter with white people?

      1. Rebeccab, the same is true for the Democrats, and those in power now in all branches are far more liberal than their predecessors. Plus, all candidates shift to the left or right, as the case may be, during primaries and they try to portray themselves as more moderate after they have wrapped up the party nomination. But, I am not arguing with your comments about (some, but not all) Republicans. This will probably shock the hell out of you, but I wish all of the GOP candidates would stop pandering to the religious right.

        And to try to dispel some fears posted by several of you about conservaties and alcohol, although I will not tell you who I am voting for in the primary, I will be voting for Sunday sales.

        1. We may never agree anything ever again in a political thread, so I feel the need to giant fist bump this entire comment!

          [And if anyone is looking for some diversional entertainment, do yourself a favor and check out the wikipedia entry for “fist bump” – – it amuses that there even is an entry but the two photos demonstrating it make it sublime]

          1. :). We agree more than you think. I just don’t always feel as compelled to speak up when there is a consensus.

        2. I certainly agree w/ getting more ideological than predecessors, but there seems to be something going on with the fervor of Republicans that I really don’t recall seeing, with this level of anger and intensity before. They wanted rid of Clinton, but the way they have gone after Obama, and even Republicans who dare to compromise on anything, has just been a spectacle to watch.

          1. “but there seems to be something going on with the fervor of Republicans that I really don’t recall seeing, with this level of anger and intensity before.”

            In 2008, McCain’s largest margin of victory, by far, was among white males without a college education. Read into that what you will, but I think Santorum knew exactly what he was doing when he called Obama a “snob” for suggesting everyone should pursue more education.

        3. Re: “and those in power now in all branches are far more liberal than their predecessors”

          Despite the negative propaganda, Obama is actually the most right-leaning Democrat since Reconstruction. While the Right loves to pander fear based upon what they think is in his head, nearly everything he’s actually *done* has been to the right of Nixon, Bob Dole, and Bush Sr..

          Specifically, the person who best channels Reagan is not any GOP member, but Obama. go ahead and laugh, but please prove me wrong with facts.

  3. Has anyone polled Sunday sales with today’s likely voters?

    Sunday sales is not a party line issue, but the Georgia GOP primary electorate skews more socially conservative than the GOP as a whole. I’m not up on my DeKalb GOP demographics, but I have a hard time imagining die-hard Gingrich and Santorum fans saying yes to Sunday sales today.

    For the sake of the many worthy businesses in unincorporated DeKalb that would be negatively effected by a no vote, I hope my worry is unfounded

    1. Any higher incidence of anti-Sunday sales votes among Republican primary voters will probably be cancelled out by the lack of anti-Sunday sales votes among South Dekalb African American voters.

      In Dekalb County, Sunday sales would pass even among just Republicans, I think.

    2. Any higher incidence of anti-Sunday sales votes among Republican primary voters will probably be cancelled out by the lack of anti-Sunday sales votes among South Dekalb African American voters who will not be voting in the Democratic Primary today, because there is no contest.

      In Dekalb County, Sunday sales would pass even among just Republicans, I think.

  4. I will be curious to see how many locals are voting in the Republican primary versus the percentage that are registered Republican or Democrat, especially given that there’s no real reason to vote the Democratic ticket.

    I think there are going to be a lot of people crossing party lines in Decatur/DeKalb to disrupt things as much as they can.

    I’m not saying I’m an advocate of such shenanigans, but obviously we should expect some kind of trouble from idle liberals.

    1. I voted in the Republican primary today. I’ve voted in the Democratic primary in the past. I’m not registered either D or R (they’re the same wolf in different sheeps’ clothing anyway…).

      Though I understand the political strategy of crossing over to vote for an unelectable candidate, I also think it’s puerile and cheapens the political process. I yearn (perhaps in vain) for an adult conversation on the state or national level like we seem to be able to have in Decatur.

      1. Maybe I’m just a little cranky from all the political talk surrounding me today, but I really don’t think that calling people employing a completely legal and valid political strategy “puerile” is going to help lead to a more civilized conversation. I wouldn’t say that I love the current state of the Democratic Party but I am appalled and horrified by the wackos on the fringe right who have recently been successful in dictating the Republican Party’s direction. As long as they set rules that allow me to assist in their death march, you can bet your a$$ that I will…

        1. Read again – I didn’t call anyone puerile, it was the behavior I was referring to (and, yes, adults – including myself – can occasionally engage in childish behavior).

          I’d love to see a general election where there were at least two (ideally three+) candidates who held well-reasoned positions on issues & could present compelling alternatives to solving the many tricky problems we’re facing as a country.

          As it is, I agree with you re. the direction of the Republican Party. It saddens me that pragmatic conservative approaches can’t break through the echo chamber of zaniness that’s enveloped the GOP.

      2. KC-

        I get what you’re saying, insofar as it smacks of weaselly gaming of the system (mmmmmm… gamey weasels) to cross-party vote in primaries.

        But allow me to submit that the system is so comically rigged for the status quo — two parties led by those more interested in self-perpetuation, red-herring issues and calls to battle rather than solving problems — that to game a rigged game is OK in this case.

        As for turnout, as of 11 this morning, 86 people had voted at Oakhurst Baptist.

        1. Agreed! The system is very, very broken. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a hankering for some gamey weasel.

          1. Let me know how it is. I expect it’s not much different from the roadkill possum we used to eat in Santorum’s home state.

        2. It may depend on which side is doing the gaming. It was essentially Republicans who removed the embarrasment known as Cynthia McKinney from office. No Republican could win the general election, so they helped take her down in the primary.

          Personally, I think it is a flawed system as the strategy can generally only be successfully used by the incumbent party. Until changed, if you are voting to further your ideals about what is best for your community or country, why does it matter if you are voting for your candidate or against an opponentt? It doesn’t pass the smell test IMO, but ultimately, you are legally trying to achieve a desired outcome.

          1. I don’t think that is completely true. I know plenty of Dems who went for the ABC vote when she was ousted.

            1. ABC = “Anyone but Cynthia”?

              I didn’t mean to imply that Republicans were the sole reason. But, there was a large crossover turnout in that election.

          2. Cynthia was somewhat of an embarrassment, but many people, including me, agreed with her positions. if you really want to talk about an embarrassment, how about our previous 4th district Repub. congressman Pat Swindle. Is he still in jail?

      3. You had me at ‘puerile.’
        If that doesn’t describe the state of politics today, don’t know what does —

    2. I don’t think it’s fair to characterize voting across party lines in an open primary as shenanigans. If the rules say it’s open, it’s open.

      Even so, the number of people who do it it is very small. Michigan just had a competitive, open GOP primary where one GOP campaign (Santorum’s) and one national progressive web site (DailyKos) urged Democrats to vote. Despite that, less than 10% of Michigan GOP primary voters were Democrats.

      Today’s primary in Georgia is open, but it isn’t competitive. Gingrich is running away with it. The candidates aren’t expending a lot of effort here. Less effort = less interest = fewer crossover voters.

      See this:

    3. Revenue-Negative Household (a.k.a., My unruly brood is here to clog your sidewalks and erode your tax base.) says:

      I totally want to change my moniker to “Idle Liberals” now …

    4. “I think there are going to be a lot of people crossing party lines in Decatur/DeKalb to disrupt things as much as they can.”

      Except there really wasn’t anything to disrupt. Gingrich was expected to win Georgia fairly easily, and he is by far the least electable of the four in a general election. I suppose giving Santorum a win here and delaying Romney’s nomination would be “disruptive,” but only marginally so.

  5. I’m more of a D than an R and will likely vote for Obama again in Nov. However, I voted in the R primary at First Baptist this morning. Why shouldn’t I express my opinion about the slate of R candidates? It’s legal. I voted for Huntsman. He’s no longer in the race but was a thoughtful moderate candidate who worked across party lines and departed with class. Though my vote will make no difference in the outcome of the R primary, it was my personal referendum on the Race to the Bottom that the 2012 Republican primary has become.

  6. I held my nose and voted for Ron Paul. Let’s keep the clown car running! The more the GOP campaigns, the fewer people agree with their ridiculous positions.
    Of course, I voted for Sunday booze!

  7. I went to vote for Sunday Alcohol Sales in the county. I’m tired of Publix, Decatur Package, and Fiesta Package not being open for my last minute desires. (By the way, why doesnt the city annex these tax revenue generating machines instead of abandoned third rate technical school property that no one will apparently touch with a 50 foot pole?) This is a just in time country darn it. We must have our wants filled immediately. How dare they force me to plan at 10 PM on Saturday what I will want to drink on Sunday. I may be in an IPA mood or a Gin funk or Jack rock n roll groove. Vote for your right as an American to not have to plan in advance!

    Who cares which weirdo the Republicans pick? He/She/It can concern me in November along with whichever weirdo the Democrats pick. And yes, I know they’ve already picked their weirdo.

      1. I love that band, Junderscore T and the Destroyers.
        WREK (91.1) played your song this afternoon.

  8. Lest we forget about the dangers of cross-over voting…. Lester Maddox was ‘elected’ governor (by the Ga. legislature) in 1966 with the help of Republicans who voted for him, thinking he was easier to beat than the more moderate Dem candiates (Ellis Arnall & Jimmy Carter). Not the same as voting in a presidential primary, but still…..

  9. Voting was heavy (relatively speaking) at the church on North Decatur just now. Lots of republican sign in sheets were on the stack. Based on prior years, crossover voting appears to be high.

    1. “Lots of republican sign-in sheets were on the stack.” — What does that mean? (as in, what is it that you are saying)

      1. Yes, I would like to understand that more myself. All this talk about registered democrats and republicans doesn’t make sense to me. Is anyone in Georgia registered as anything? I don’t think so. You can give yourself the label, but the state doesn’t.

      2. I think it refers to the form a voter fills out upon entering a polling place. They are sorted into piles (or stacks) based on which primary ballot (Democrat or Republican) is requested. Just as an aside, I think there may also be a third stack of those who choose not to vote in either primary but still want to vote on issues such as Sunday alcohol sales.

        1. Of course, doh, you’re absolutely right. It just never occurred to me to even notice how the poll worker was stacking the paperwork.

          1. I had to check which box I wanted, so you must be talking about the pile they put my specific ballot paperwork in once I filled it out. I guess that makes some sense.

      3. Sorry for being vague. Yes, the sign in sheets had a box to check whether you wanted a democratic or republican primary ballot. They were being sorted by which you chose so i compared the size of the stack to what I’ve observed in the past.

  10. Still feel need to confirm that if you are in City of Decatur there is nothing to vote for besides the Republican primary? I think the systems is a bit weird and I understand the “it’s legal” arguments but it seems like you need to go vote FOR someone or don’t vote. Although I was walking around surprised to see so many “I voted” stickers and thinking ..gosh there are more republicans here than I thought…now I don’t know if they were dems trying to mix things up or actual republicans!

    1. I voted in the Democratic Primary even though there were no choices, so don’t assume that just because someone went to vote that they voted in the Republican Primary. Some people just like to register their vote even when there is no opposition.

      There is also the Sunday sales question for Dekalb County. City of Decatur voters also get to vote for that.

    2. I exercise my right to vote no matter what’s on the ballot. Now I’m wondering how many people think I’m a Republican 🙂

  11. In my view, voting for candidates for public office is, by necessity, a strategic and often pragmatic exercise that happens only every couple of years. It’s what we do as citizens to impact how policies are formed and carried out in the days between such votes that *really* counts.

    So, I’ll be casting a strategic vote for Santorum today, voting for Obama in November, and working every day to make sure my voice is heard on important state and federal legislation and local ordinances.

    1. The presidents press conference yesterday destroyed with facts every position taken by the current crop of republicans. I encorage you to watch it on-lne.

  12. For the first time IN MY LIFE, I voted in the Republican Primary. I couldn’t resist voting for Ron Paul, if only for this one reason: a group of Ron Paul supporters “Spray Vinegar at the Sky to Fight ‘Chemtrails'”

    Oh yeah, the real reason I was voting was to vote YES to Sunday alcohol sales, of course! Gingrich is gonna win GA anyway, so it’s not like I did any good/harm by voting for Paul anyway.

  13. Just came home from polls and now I’m going to sit in a dark room and cry regarding how uninspiring the choices are and that they’re all still better than what we have now. Nobody of any true presidential material will ever run again. They’ll stay in the background and pull the strings of whatever puppet gets elected. And, regardless of who the Republicans pick, this election will have nothing at all to to do with anything except what the economy is doing and what the number on the gas pump is when October rolls around. Absolutely nothing else will matter because as a voting whole, we are that shallow. Sob.

  14. There are two ways of looking at the idea behind voting in the other party’s primary. One is to try and nominate the least electable candidate. On the other hand is what I think is the more sensible thing to do: vote for the least objectionable candidate. Among Gingrich,Romney and Santorum (Paul has no shot at ever being nominated ), I find Romney the least objectionable. No matter what he is saying now, Romney is a moderate and will govern as such if he wins in November.

    1. I believe it was Jerry Garcia who said that choosing the lesser of two evils is still evil…

  15. I’m interested in seeing what the national turnout is today. My guess is it will be down significantly from 2008.

  16. It’s very sad that Decatur has become such a bastion of liberalism, don’t think it will be that long till you rue the day.

    1. My guess is that many (most?) Decaturites would describe themselves as more moderate leaning than true liberals. But just a guess. I’m less uncertain that many moderate-to-conservative Republicans can’t stomach what emanates from their party leaders today and is passed off as political discourse.

      1. That’s what I think whenever I read these kinds of comments. Of course, the man who’s largely responsible for the incivility in public political discourse these days has won the day in Georgia, so I suppose the idealogical apples don’t fall far from the poisonous tree.

        1. Brianc and Cubalibre: Do you really hold that misconception of an anti-liberal? That’s pretty incredible and revealing. I’m a little surprised that comment wasn’t moderated.

          1. Just seeing this back and forth.

            Which comment are you surprised wasn’t moderated. I believe that oldnintheway started it. Rue the day? Geez. If only I was so sure of anything in life.

            1. I edited my comment but for some reason it didn’t take. Here’s the edited version:

              Brianc and Cubalibre: Do you really hold that misconception of an anti-liberal? That’s pretty incredible and revealing. Talk about incivility in pubic discourse. I’m a little surprised that brianc’s comment wasn’t moderated.

              Rue vs. lynching. Hmmmm?

            2. I’m a yellow dog Democrat and even I thought that was an over reaction. Not being liberal doesn’t mean a return to the bad old racist days.
              Decatur is more tolerant than liberal anyway.

          2. Not all “anti-liberals” (interesting choice of word there, yourself!), just those who seem to believe that the good old days were good for everyone. I also don’t believe for a second that there isn’t a strong undercurrent of racism in much of the vitriol directed at President Obama, and is behind much of this “take our country back” sentiment that seems to be the rallying cry for the right wing. The current slate of GOP candidates has played on that undercurrent to whip its base into a frenzy of fear, hatred, and bile that blinds them to anything except returning their world to what they believe should be the status quo. New Gingrich started it back in his “Contract With America” in ’94, and fanned the flames until there is barely any room for both sides to find any common ground, lest they be accused of betraying their party. However, it’s nowhere near evenly perpetuated, regardless of the right’s insistence that both parties are equally culpable for the incivility of public discourse. The rhetoric on the Republican side has become so overwrought, I find it disengenuous that some of the people who ID as conservative on this board would find brianc’s response over the top. I’m neither a Democrat or a Republican; I have some downright conservative views on some subjects, and some downright liberal views on others, on most, I’m pretty much live & let live. Full disclosure: I used to be a Republican, but they lost me back in 1992 when they gave the idiot idealogue Pat Robertson a national platform from which to declare a jihad on feminists (I realized then that there was no way I could trust them to value my civil rights as a woman, much less as an ethnic minority). I feel sorry for people who use “liberal” as a 4-letter word, because it just shows they’re lazy thinkers. You can’t reason with a lazy thinker, because they’re too content to let others think for them, and there’s no lazy thinker like a crazed idealogue. I realize that much of what I’m hearing from the right is the death rattle for a way of life and a prima facie “top of the ladder” status that is soon to be gone forever, I can even empathize with it to a degree. What I cannot stomach is the constant barrage of lies, hatred, and poisonous diatribe streaming from the right (whether it be from Tea Partiers, GOP leaders, evangelicals, talking heads, or whomever) that exists in a bubble, impervious to facts, convinced that if they just keep repeating them, their propaganda will take on the veneer of truth until enough people will believe it IS the truth. It’s enough to make me want never to vote again.

            1. I tend not to tolerate intolerance. Deploring Decatur’s liberal bent and warning people they will rue the day sounds pretty intolerant to me. Seems the definition of tolerance for conservatives
              goes something like this: They “tolerate ” homosexuals, meaning they don’t want to
              jail them (though some would like to send them to rehab.)

            2. Just wow, Cuba. At the risk of sounding mushy/gushy which is not my style at all, I’m just all kinds of impressed with you here.

              1. Thanks, Becs (& you, too, Junderscore)– I try not to get too het up about these things, but sometimes, the lunacy reaches critical mass, and I reach my limit. I ‘preciate knowing someone’s got my back.

      2. brianc, I have gotten this or similar comments from my liberal friends (and probably a couple of ex-acquantenances) before, and it just reinforces the fact that so many liberals are incredibly intolerant people. If someone doesn’t share your views, in your mind, they are nothing short of pure evil. Why is it that if I disagree with your liberal views, it basically means I want to reeanact slavery? Disagreeing with you does not make anyone a racist or segregationist. Do you not see the irony that the group that preaches tolerance and acceptance loathes anyone whose beliefs differ from their own? Did it not occur to you that maybe he just didn’t want to live in a place, for example, where “educated” people will, with a straight face, defend a tree’s right to life? There is a middle ground, and the vast majority of us reside there. I know that Republican bashing is a favorite pastime here, but your comments are a little out of line.

        1. I regret jumping to the generalization and assumption based on oldandntheways clear disdain for present-day Decatur.
          Of course, I’ve know many conservatives who are not rascists….but I’ve personally never known a racist who was not also a conservative.

          1. Is your definition of racism limited to the hatred of minorities by whites? Based on your last post, it certainly seems that way.

            1. I didnt offer a definition of racism, just an observation on my personal experience with racists, all of whom are self-identified conservatives.

              1. Oh, and I have had conservatives tell me with a straight face that John McCain was brainwashed in Vietnam and is actually a communist who threw the election. I will take the zany tree lovers.

                1. I think it is fair to say that there are conspiracy nuts located at all points on the political spectrum. I assume you haven’t let that individual shape your opinion of all conservatives.

        2. I regret jumping to a generalization and assumption based on oldandntheways clear disdain for present-day Decatur.
          Of course, I’ve known many conservatives who are not racists….but I’ve personally
          never known a racist who was not also a
          conservative. As for the tree huggers, they may go overboard sometimes but we’d be better off with more of them. Funny how the bastions of liberalism are often nicer places to live.

    2. “bastion of liberalism”? That’s me, dude. I’ll let you know when I start ruing (rueing?) it. Until then, you wanna debate any particular issue, I’m right here…

        1. I just love when people consider “democrat” and “trial lawyer” to be pejorative terms.

          1. Oh come on J_T, just a little good natured ribbing. You democrat trial lawyers sure are touchy… 😉

            1. Not touchy at all. I said I “love” it!

              Now just hope that you don’t get stuck behind me in the McDonald’s drive thru when I spill my coffee and dial 911 😉

              1. Dang, Junderscore– I know you were just joking, but did you ever see that documentary on the famous “McDonalds” case? I used to jeer about that verdict, too, until I saw it. That poor woman (who’s dead now, BTW) had some of the most horrific burns I’ve ever seen– her flesh was actually melted to her pants!!! I literally recoiled in horror when I saw the pix of her injuries. Turns out Micky D’s was keeping its coffee at scalding temperatures, so high that no one could even begin to safely drink liquids kept at those levels. AND THIS WAS IN ITS POLICY MANUAL AT THE TIME!!! All she started out asking for was for McDonalds to pay her medical expenses, and they absolutely refused. It’s a good thing she sued them, because it made them reform their practices. It was a pyrrhic victory, though. because McDonald’s used its vast fortune to paint her as an opportunist, and was so successful that the case was a launch pad for tort reform (which, incidentally, tends to benefit big business more than it does actual people).

                Sorry for that little segueway off into legal history, but every time I hear a joke about that case now, I feel like I gotta strike a blow for Ms. Liebeck…

                1. You just made my day, Cuba! The movie is called “Hot Coffee”. It should be required reading for anyone who advocates for “tort reform” to prevent “frivolous lawsuits”.

                  I just hope the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association didn’t see my comment and miss the sarcasm!

                2. thank you, thank you, thank you. I did not know about the documentary. I happened to learn about that case in the course of a work assignment several years ago, and have been appalled at how effectively the whole thing was spun and the details buried. The tort reform advocates have done their work well. It’s appalling how few people understand the reasons behind the way our civil justice system is designed.

                  1. “It’s appalling how few people understand the reasons behind the way our civil justice system is designed.”

                    What’s even more appalling is how few people want to understand those reasons– they’d rather believe that “tort reform” is about stickin’ it to the greedy trial lawyers. Just try to open a bank account, credit card, buy a car, get utilities, or just about any major purchase today without mandatory arbitration agreements in your contracts. Then, if you ever have the misfortune to have things go south on you in anything stemming from those transactions, see how well you fare without being able to have your day in court. Yep–it’s every bit as skewed toward the business as you might think. But hey– they’re the “job creators”, right? So they should be given as many breaks at our expense as possible!

                    1. And how many people would have access to their day in court if they couldn’t find an attorney to represent them on a contingency basis? Not very darned many, thank you very much.

      1. Bastion. Rue the day. It’s Victorian Novel Florid Language Day on DM. (You did mean to declare 24 hours of flowery language, didn’t you, DM?)

  17. There was very little evidence of massive crossover voting in Dekalb County as a whole.

    In the 2008 Presidential preference primary 36,581 people in Dekalb voted in the Republican Primary. Given that we can assume very few Democrats voted in the Republican primary in 2008, and the Republican primary was still very competitive at the time (Huckabee actually won with 34% over McCain (32%) and Romney (30%)), this is probably a pretty good baseline number for Republican primary voters in Dekalb.

    In the 2012 Presidential preference primary 35,689 people in Dekalb voted in the Republican Primary. So, Republican turnout was actually down 2-3% over 2008.

    No numbers for Decatur specifically, yet. And statewide, turnout for the Republican presidential primary was down about 6.5% over 2008’s Republican primary.

    1. Republican turn-out numbers are down everywhere so far this year. Why? Because all the S.A. candidates can appeal to is the small and declining base of scared old white people (some exceptions in Decatur, Ga.).

  18. “Fed by antagonism toward President Obama, resentment toward changing racial demographics and the economic rift between rich and poor, the number of so-called hate groups and antigovernment organizations in the nation has continued to grow, according to a report released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center…” —

    “Of the many roles Pat Robertson has assumed over his five-decade-long career as an evangelical leader — including presidential candidate and provocative voice of the right wing — his newest guise may perhaps surprise his followers the most: marijuana legalization advocate…” —

    Hate is fertilized by divisive rhetoric and intellectual laziness. Even here at DM, where we love to pat ourselves on teh back for maintaining high standards of civility, the laziness creeps in. It’s not infrequent that a discussion of some current event rapidly devolves in to label-tossing and from there into quibbling about who’s really conservative and who’s really liberal, who’s tolerant and who’s not, and what any of those terms really mean (somewhat pointless, since any label means whatever the speaker/writer wants it to mean — if you don’t believe that, try arguing with them). (And then sometimes, as yesterday, there is even time and energy spent arguing about which crackpots are the most cracked. Can’t we stipulate that the lunatic fringes in all directions are just that, and leave them out of it?) Yes, it’s all done politely and when it’s not, somebody gets a rap on the knuckles. But posturing is not the same as discussing.

    IMO, our biggest danger as a nation and as a society is not the deficit or the recession or Iran or Al Qaeda or global warming. It’s the ideological warfare that’s taken over our political system and our government. The gridlock it creates plays out in our statehouses and in DC. But it starts with us, when we buy into the over-simplifications and glib generalizations that make up so much of our public discourse (and so-called “news reporting”).

    I’ve long considered Pat Robertson to be one of the most divisive and destructive public figures of our time, and as recently as last week was deeply disgusted by his pronouncement that storm victims could blame themselves for not praying enough. And yet, this morning I find myself in strong agreement with him about what should be done and why, with respect to legalizing marijuana. To me, that’s incontrovertible proof that even somebody whose values have always seemed as opposite as possible to my own, can surprise me. Our system of government is based on the premise that we will continually seek, and sometimes find, even tiny shreds of common ground that enable us to struggle forward together on specific issues. But we can only do that if we set aside labels, and the assumptions they encourage, and think about what we are saying and what we are hearing from the other person.

    So I’m suggesting we challenge ourselves here on DM by declaring a one-month moratorium on a specific list of labels. It should include liberal, conservative, progressive, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and probably some other terms. I think it would be interesting to see what kinds of conversations we generate about whatever comes up, if we make some of these code words off-limits. Any time we use any of the proscribed terms, we have to stop and use other language to express what we really mean to say. No scolding, just reminding.

    1. Thank you for the links to those two articles. I am pleasantly surprised about Pat Robertson’s position. It seems like he has really thought about the consequences of prohibition and come to the right conclusion. BTW: it seems all the governments south of the USA are coming to the same conclusion.

      I also am going to personally try to implement your proposal.

    2. D/accord, stg– well-spoken & thoughtful, as always. I’m not denying that I can sometimes let it fly, but it’s usually only when I’ve ingested all of the ridiculous rhetoric I can stomach. I, too, will try to implement your proposal.

      In re: Robertson’s position on marijuana – I was pleasantly shocked!

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