Jewish World Review August 5, 2009 / 15 Menachem-Av 5769
Faces have changed, but vitriol remains
By Michael Smerconish
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Six months into the Obama administration, one form of change has indeed come.
The level of divisiveness that so dogged the Bush administration has already engulfed his successor. The viciousness that characterized so many of
For years, Bush endured the unquenchable bitterness of many opponents. Former Congresswoman
Eventually, the constant ridiculing of Bush and Cheney created a climate of political paralysis in
The presidential campaign that fostered Internet lore about President Obama — that he once attended a madrasa and wouldn't place his hand over his heart during the national anthem — has given way to an administration plagued by questions about the president's birth certificate and allegations of racism.
Typical is the now-infamous
"I don't want this flag to change!" she yelped over the frenzy she'd whipped up. "I want my country back!"
That the same woman had elsewhere predicted that humans would soon make contact with aliens hasn't caught on as swiftly as her YouTube moment. Nor has the fact that she once admitted to talking with an angel that had taken on human form.
Why? Because for an emerging segment of Americans, the messenger's credibility or lack thereof is irrelevant to the end goal: Demonize the president.
Forget that candidate Obama released what has been independently deemed an authentic certification of birth. Or that
The facts will always fail to assuage a minority in the electorate that traffic in hate and vitriol. What Olbermann did to Bush,
This pundit polarization accomplishes one thing — ratings. In July, nine of the top 10 cable news shows were on
The constant cross talk of cheap shots represents a startling decline in decorum. Gone in some quarters is a basic level of respect for the office of the presidency. Remember when Bush was booed and derisively serenaded ("Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye!") at Obama's inauguration?
None of this is intended to argue for watering down legitimate political debate and disagreement. It's perfectly appropriate to disagree in a substantive way with the president, to object to his policies, and even to use ridicule to make a political point.
But there's a line, and labeling the president a racist is crossing it. The name-calling, disrespect for the office, and constant antagonism cheapen the country's level of discourse.
Unfortunately, the spin cycle we've worked ourselves into shows no sign of slowing down. That's not change. It's more of the same.
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