It Ain’t Beanbag
Bryan has sworn off of political posting until the election season is over because there’s a lot of idiocy on Daily Kos and “No minds are being changed by the crap that is being posted all over the blogosphere these days.” Steven Taylor sympathizes but will simply refrain from reading the most vitriolic sites, a policy I’ve more-or-less adopted as well.
Paul hits on something as well:
When I find the rare lefty that can argue their side without being delusional, I enjoy it. I spent 2 hours at a cocktail party last week arguing politics with a state Senator’s wife. We agreed on nothing but at the end we agreed to have lunch and argue some more. She gave me a kiss on the cheek on the way out.
Perhaps the internet makes the tone more harsh than it would be if we were standing around with drinks in our hands. Or perhaps it is the election drawing near that is putting people on edge. One of my pet theories is that it is the evolution of blogging.
The power of alcohol!
One of the things I’ve tried to do on OTB is remember that people who blog are actually, well, people. I’ve had opportunity of late to actually meet and, yes, consume alcoholic beverages, with a couple dozen bloggers of various persuasions and found everyone perfectly pleasant. We managed to have conversations on even very contentious issues without cursing one another or resorting to fisticuffs.
Even when the relationship remains virtual, blogging is, in many ways, a communitarian activity. Within blogging circles, or at least political blogging circles, Glenn Reynolds, Andrew Sullivan, Kevin Drum, Matthew Yglessias, Michele Catalano, Steven Den Beste, Stephen Green, Meryl Yourish and a dozen or so others are widely known and, indeed, there’s an amazing amount of cross-referencing amoung the group of bigger-name blogs. And the discourse between them is more-or-less civil. There are really only three or four even semi-major blogs that have gone the vitriolic route.
I pretty much avoid sites that take the constant position that the opposition is evil. If words like asshat, idiotarian, wingnut, Dimocrap, and “is Hitler” are the normal order of the day, it doesn’t take long for me to lose interest in the site and move on. It’s seldom even worth engaging in cross-blog discussion of what’s on those sites, frankly. If you honestly think George W. Bush or John Kerry are akin to Adolf Hitler, there’s not much point in trying to persuade you otherwise.
Aside from the civility issue, I’m not sure that we’re changing a lot of minds out here in the blogosphere, anyway. People tend to read mainly sites that agree with their preexisting notions and the type of folks who read political blogs are more likely than most to have strong political beliefs, anyway. We can, however, at least flesh out and clarify the debate.
Update: Dean Esmay has some thoughts as well.