Lay Down Among Swine (and An Immodest Proposal)

Writing in a blog at the Strib about the Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston breakup, DJ Leary is aghast at the depravity of his fellow citizens – or at least that segment that leaves comments with Strib stories- saying it  dishonors our democracy:

The reaction from anonymous online newspaper readers, including and others throughout the country, and in thousands of public comments everywhere on the internet, has been loathsome. These comments demand that I seek a word that will convey “toxic” in stronger terms to communicate my outrage, disappointment, and disillusionment. How about “pernicious,” or perhaps “septic,” or better yet “venomous.”

Yeah, Mr. Leary, people are stupid – and for whatever reason, it seems the Strib’s comment section is worse than most, competing with the comments cesspools at Democrat Underground and Daily Kos; people almost dumb enough to write for Minnesota Progressive Project.

I am truly aghast to see how we have dishonored ourselves as a society when it comes to the public discourse between people of contradictory opinions on politics and public issues.

I’m not one of those people who whinges about how “politics has never been dirtier than it is today”; that’s absurd (and usually brought up to try to squeedge us into parting with more free speech rights).

And yet I don’t recall in my lifetime a time when the rules of common decency were so quickly suspended, not only because people disagreed with someone’s politics, but because someone disagreed with someone’s parents’ politics.

I’ve never cautioned anybody about holding anything back in his or her communication with a person actually engaged in the public arena. After all, when you put yourself out there, you knowingly wear a huge sign labeling yourself as a target for public abuse. It comes with the territory and I’ve always thought of it as one of the strengths of our democracy. If people like me feel our opinions are so god-awfully important that we’re willing to force them on the general public by publishing and circulating them, then we have no right to expect a social barrier that would silence opposing opinion.

Leary’s right about that, of course – for
The debate about who’s public and who is private is a byzantine exercise, of course – but the more accessible debate is over the depravity of our public society.  Reading the comment section at the Strib or too many leftyblogs (and the Freep, sure) is like watching Idiocracy (a great movie, until that moment when you almost wonder if it’s a documentary rather than a comedy).  It’s funny – until you realize that these peoples’ votes count the same as yours do.

And you start to realize why “democracy” in the founding fathers’ time was a little more selective than it is today.  The founding fathers believed that democracy was too fragile and precious a thing to be trusted to the eighteenth-century anscestors of monster-truck rally fans, fight club members and contestants on “Shot At Love With Tila Tequila”.

And while the standards of the day excluded a lot of the wrong people – blacks, non-landowners and, Shakespeare’s Sister notwithstanding, women – for the wrong reasons, when you look at things like the Strib’s comment section, it’s tempting to wonder if some sort of test isn’t in order to be allowed to vote.

What kind of test, though?  Race, gender and property are out, and should be.  Even “intelligence” is a stupid measure; plenty of people with less-than-spectacular IQ scores are perfectly fine human beings who opinions deserve to be counted.

No, the real questions are a) how do you test for moral depravity, and b) while it’s wrong and illegal to actively exclude people from voting, how does society subtly convince them not to take part in our democracy?

I think instituting a national, three for one happy hour during polling hours on election day would actually serve a patriotic duty to democracy.  Let the bars toss in open ultimate fighting, free lap dances, wet t-shirt mud wrestling, and live talk-back to the Ed Schultz show, and you’d have a perfectly capable filter, not to keep the depraved out of the voting process, but to allow them to voluntarily keep themselves out of it.

Whaddya think?

12 thoughts on “Lay Down Among Swine (and An Immodest Proposal)

  1. The Strib is selective about which articles it allows comments. A story about the MCLU charging TIZA with using public dollars to promote Islam is apparently too sensitive to open for commentary, while anything Palin-related is happy hour. The Strib’s web platform is infinitely better than the Pioneer-Press’s version in terms of speed and ease of use, but at least the PP allows comments on everything. Most of that commentary is pretty reactionary as well (A recent article about the assaults around Lake Phalen inspired one commenter to offer to set up a sniper stand in the bushes; all he asked for was some sandbags, ammo – and a couple of cases of beer.) I don’t think the fringes on either side of the divide do themselves much credit when afforded the opportunity to vent, but I’m inclined to let them spew; it’s very instructive.

  2. Yeah, but that’d only lead to “bring in your I Voted sticker and get a free lap dance!

  3. that’d only lead to “bring in your I Voted sticker and get a free lap dance!

    So now we’re up to win/win/win/win/win!

  4. The Terry plan for keeping the idiots out of the polling place: When you go to vote you can get either a ten dollar bill or you can vote. If you apply thirty days ahead of time in writing you can get the ten bucks AND vote.
    The idea that more participation leads to a “better” democracy is nonsense. It just means that more people vote, and liberals and conservatives are dedicated to the idea that if fewer citizens on the other side voted the country would be better off.

  5. Those anonymous postings on the Strib web site first start out in a “super-secret” site:


    Yes. Those anonymous commentors are liberal journalists.
    And Peev. He probably has about twelve handles on the Strib site alone.

  6. The politico story describes opinion journalists, not hard news writers, as being the most recognizable members of journolist.
    This is political message-shaping, not news journalism. It is a ‘cabal’.

  7. You should read today’s article on Katholeen Soliah (and associated coments). I still do not understand why the Democrat establishment supports this bitch.

  8. Because, Chuck, she’s soooo good. She was in community theater… she supported all the right causes… because deep down they are militant totalitarians.

  9. I’m against the plan. I’ll miss hours of fun while standing in line to vote.

    Unless . . . can I vote absentee the day before so I can party all Election Day?

    Cool! Let’s do it!


  10. I think some of the people concerned about the comments regarding Bristol Palin are missing the larger problem. The larger problem IMO is that the MSM spent more time and effort looking into the pregnancy of the daughter of one of the party’s Vice Presidential nominee than they did looking into the background of the Presidential nominee of the other party.

  11. Yep, Thorleywinston. We all heard about what a brilliant legal scholar Obama was, but there was almost no commentary about the record of his legal thought being empty.
    Obama was, famously, first black president of Harvard Law Review (_not_ HLR’s first black editor). I don’t know why this is supposed to be an accomplishment on the part of Obama.
    I had to do the media’s job for them to find out the following info about the HLR & Obama position as its president:
    -The president of HLR is just an editor that wins the ‘presidency’ — really just chief editor — by getting the most votes from his fellow editors. Becoming president of HLR is a political accomplishment, not an academic accomplishment.
    -To be a candidate for president of HLR you have to be on its Board of Editors. Currently there are about 90 editors of HLR. Harvard has about 550 students in each year’s class. About half of the 90 editors are chosen by a combination of 1st year grades & a legal writing competition. The rest of the editors are appointed at their discretion. We do not know which category of editor Obama firs into. If I’m wrong in the details, it’s because this stuff is so very hard to find out — unlike the price of Sarah Palin’s tanning bed, the details of Cindy McCain’s drug rehab a quarter of a century ago, or George Bush’s National Guard record.
    -Obama supposedly won the election for HLR president by promising conservative editors that he would publish their papers while giving liberal editors a chance to vote for a black man.
    -HLR has been published since 1887. In all that time only one president of HLR has gone on to be elected president – Barack Obama.

  12. until that moment when you almost wonder if it’s a documentary rather than a comedy
    Why draw the distinction? Aren’t we way past that at this point?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.