Two good old friends, both, like me, retired, both card-toting Republicans, recently posted things on Facebook I couldn't help link.
One of them praised a Washington Post op-ed which suggested that unless Republicans dumped Trump, they'd crash and burn in 2016. Wasn't written by some leftie but someone who cared about the Republican party, as well as the future of the nation.
This friend of mine got flamed. Incinerated.
The other old friend claimed he was departing political chats on FB because getting barbecued was a pleasure he'd gladly forgo.
Political partisanship on FB -- whether yellow dog Democrat or red dog Republican -- is, again, ruining participation in this forum for me. Truly, I walk away from my computer more sour and cynical than when I sat down. So, for peace in my house and in my bed, I am going to start defriending or at least cease following my crazed friends and family who think that their noisy opinions are going to change anyone's mind.Today, that's the way it goes. Title a website "Civil Discourse," ask for dialogue, and soon enough the tumbleweed will be rolling right down Main. Today, we're all Trumps--or nothing at all.
Last week a man from White Plains, NY, stood up at a New Hampshire Trump rally. He said we've Muslim training camps all over, and the FBI even knows about them.
All over where? All over this country? I've been to backwater Nebraska and Kansas this year. I live in backwater Iowa. One of the last books I wrote was about the high desert plains of western New Mexico. I suppose I drove right past those camps and didn't notice. One of them must be in White Plains, a place I've never visited. Maybe I should. I've got ex-students in the FBI. Maybe I ought to ask them.
Where do real people get this nonsense anyway? And why on earth do they choose to believe it?
ISIS training camps on American soil don't scare me. What does is this:
When the World Values Survey asked Americans how important it was for them to live in a democracy, citizens born before World War II were the most adamant. On a scale of one to ten, 72 percent assigned living in a democracy a ten, the highest possible value. Among many of their children and grandchildren, however, democracy no longer commands the same devotion. A little over half of Americans born in the postwar boom gave maximum importance to living in a democracy. Among those born since the 1980s, less than 30 percent did.
We're souring on democracy. That scares me. We can't be civil. We're not interested in doing the kinds of things that have to be done by citizens of a republic. We simply don't believe in each other. Respect has left the building.
Throughout the world people are wondering about democracy say a couple of young researchers from Harvard, one of them a principal investigator for World Survey.
More and more of us believe a military junta would improve government efficiency. We don't believe in our own institutions--from the Supreme Court to the President to Congress. More and more of us believe nothing's working.
Muslim training camps don't scare me. What scares me is that here and elsewhere democracy could well be in trouble. We're bulldogs on unwarranted fear. We're losing the ability to talk to each other. Only the bullies survive.