Taking the coarse out of discourse

Despite whatever else I feel about being out of work, at least I no longer have to take dictation at one of the president’s press conferences. I mean, it’s easy, but it’s pointless.

I remember covering a press conference Bush had with former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar that was held at the ranch. I jockeyed for position with other reporters and placed my little tape recorder on top of a speaker. I also took notes. By the time I got back to the office in Waco, the White House had already put a transcript of the press conference on the White House Web site. Of course, I didn’t get to ask Bush a question — not a reporter from Waco among all the exalted members of the White House press corps! That’s okay. I asked him enough questions before and during the time he was governor of Texas.

The big political topic today is the roadside vigil being held on the road to the Bush ranch by Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq. A lot of words are being written about it in the blogosphere — both liberal and conservative.

No matter how you feel about the war in Iraq, you should have some respect and understanding for a grieving mother whose son was killed. I see instances where that isn’t happening among some of the right wing of the political spectrum.

I don’t know if these people see politics as blood sport or they are just so overmaxed with anger or whether they are just despicable human beings. Decency — as in treating your neighbor as you wish to be treated (I read something about that somewhere) — just seems to be thrown out the window among some of these people. And these same people often complain about the immorality of those who are their political opposites. Go figure.

I would say my political views are different from the vast majority of my friends. This has developed a number of great discussions and even arguments. But we take another drink and go on to the next topic. And guess what? We’re still friends.

It is dismaying what passes for political discourse in this country. It’s more coarse than discourse. On the left, right and down the middle, if you don’t march in lock step you are a moron, or an asshole, or a traitor, your feet stink and you don’t love Jesus.

I guess there’s always been a certain amount of intolerance among some for the political views are others. I know that it’s more pronounced because of today’s information technology. I would be willing to bet there is more intolerance than in the past. That’s just a guess.

Maybe my ideas about conducting civil political discussions are reflective of my upbringing. My parents were of the Depression era. I think being able to get along with one another was of great importance in those days because so many people were in the same boat and only had each other. I don’t know. I wish people were nicer. I wish I was nicer. Can’t we all just get along? Should I even ask?

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