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11/23/2004

 

Homespun Bloggers: Symposium II


The Homespun Bloggers, an alliance I joined a while back, recently began conducting a weekly symposium, and I figured I ought to participate. Here are this week's questions:
Is the division in America important to you? What will be necessary to heal it? What part do you see Bloggers playing in that discussion and how will you personally contribute to it?
My response:

The division is America, though extant to its extent, unfortunately has been overhyped. To the extent that it exists now, it is a healthy part of our democracy. We tend to be a loud, demonstrative citizenry, and our dissent is always pronounced.

In the summer of 2001, our country was fractured, divided. The Senate had swung with while Jim Jeffords tilted at his personal windmills, President Bush could do no right and no wrong over the matter of medical experiments on human embryonic stem cells, and half the country was convinced that "Condit did it." The President had lost the popular vote in the previous November's election, and the opposition was convinced that if you counted all the chads, you'd find that their guy won.

September 11. When it was required, we dropped the divisions for a while and made it through. This proves for me that the divisions are essentially ephemeral, in some cases (ABB) a mere collection of causes to fill a vacuum.

To heal it temporarily, we must have another crisis to which to respond. Our political leaders, who might be amused by the emotionalism of some of our political convictions, seem to get along fine if one of them passes away (President Reagan) or opens a bridge (President Clinton).

To the extent that people pay attention, bloggers can inspire people to at least temporary anger, frustration, examination, or intellectual consideration. How will I contribute to healing? I have no idea. I hope it comes through in my prose that the opposition amuses me a lot more than they stoke my anger. Political discussion can be fascinating, enjoyable, and, yes, fun if you allow it to be.


To visit some of the other Homespun Bloggers, look at the blogroll on the right, scroll down. They're a thoughtful group.

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