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Another call to community

February 21, 2009

By way of Delaware Libertarian, I found my way to a post from Bryan Shields about a return to community. Now, I thought it would be a rallying cry for us DE bloggers to come a little bit closer together than we have in recent months. In that regard, I was disappointed though I’m certain the rest of the post had a merit of it’s own.

See, the thing is… I’ve gotten used to being disappointed when reading the local blogs. Bile, invective, and hubris: these are the new laws of the land. I fondly remember when DWA was the sherriff, and while you could bathe in the snark of one of Mike’s posts, you didn’t have to search hard to find real meaning in what he was saying. Commenting was rapid-fire, snotty, and intellectual. Even when someone disagreed with you, it was in a way that challenged you to think.

There were many DWA commenters that owe their inspiration to blog to Mike Matthew’s, me included. Mike inspired my passion and humor, Dana Garrett inspired my intellect, and Dave Burris inspired my willingness to listen to the enemy. There was a blogging explosion and for the most part, quality surpassed even the amazing quantity that 2006-2007 provided us.

One blog had a rocky start. I remember Jason Scott being a great commenter. His command of the issues was well tempered by his snark, and he was more well-suited then most to start his own blog, which quickly became a wonderful counter the the right-wing juggernaut of First State Politics. Then, Jason burned out, temporarily leaving the reigns to upstart Liberalgeek, and thus it came to pass that DE Lib became a multi-contributor bastion to the left.

Fast-forward to the 2008 elections, which began in early 2007. I think the furor of Hillary vs. Obama was where it started to go to shit. Democrats were so radically divided, and I don’t think anyone could have predicted the width of that divide. Poison normally meant for the right-wing talking heads was immediately aimed at other liberals. Our snark became ugliness, our intellect all but disappeared. I don’t know how it became so divisive, but the question of Clinton vs. Obama was the catalyst of more filth and blind sheepdom than anything I had ever seen in my life. And I went to Catholic church.

Then, Obama got the nom. The invective between the Obama and Clinton supporters did not wane, but more was added against McCain or Obama. Those suporting the other team were no longer just deluded, but they were evil that must be decried at all costs. McCain wanted to keep us in Iraq for a century and Obama wanted to give all our money away. Either way, it was the end of the ficking world, wasn’t it? And, just about every person in the DE blogosphere jumped in on that shit, fed it, strengthened it, and made it into a monster.

Now, we’re shitting where we eat. We’re so used to constantly attacking the other side, that we are confusing our allies for enemies. Anyone who states an opposing view becomes the avatar of the opposing side and must be dealt with quickly and harshly. We cannot give the benefit of the doubt EVER, because now the real war starts. And, in the middle of this, the Delaware blog community died with hardly a whimper.

We have a few fortresses connected by roads paved in eggshells, and woe betide the one who inflicts the slightest crack in a pure, white shell while visiting another fortress. The slightest hint or suspicion of a transgression elicits complete and fatal retaliation by blindfolded cannoneers.

Some jump into this fight, guns blazing and red or blue flags held high. The rest of us shake our heads in sad bewilderment and wonder where all of our friends have gone.

PS: This post inspired by the latest shittiness inflicted on the community.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. jason330 permalink
    February 21, 2009 3:44 pm

    Joe,

    I really get where you are coming from. the world is a lot brighter and blue birds do chirp when we can disagree without being disagreeable, but you are missing a big part of the picture and that is the fact that Republicans broke the internets.

    The idea of rational debate based on comity, reasonableness, and agreed upon standards depends on the ability of parties to allow that they might be wrong once in a while. When they don’t it just becomes a talking-point spitball contest.

    Discourse at DL was debased by certain parties failing to keep up their end of the bargain. I’m not sad about calling the wingnut’s bluff. Not at all. I know Liberals are supposed to be the bigger people in situations like this.

    We are supposed to be that sappy indian from he 70’s who weeps when he sees garbage floating down the stream.

    Sorry. Those days are gone. The modern Republicans killed them.

  2. February 21, 2009 3:54 pm

    No idea why your comment went to moderation, Jason. I’ll have to take a look at the settings.

  3. jason330 permalink
    February 21, 2009 4:11 pm

    No worries.

  4. February 21, 2009 4:19 pm

    Looks like that will happen to everyone’s first comment.

    I don’t think we can simply blame the Republicans on this. Arguments, and degeneration of discourse, has two sides and both are responsible when it decays.

    It’s done this in the past many times in our little community, but it always bounced back. I could even have an argument with someone that devolved into base vitriol and have a beer with them later on. I chalked that up to the progressive spirit of the community (on both sides, I might add) that favored discourse over harpie-like screeching.

    I don’t really participate anymore, but I do read, and it seems to me that the intolerance is coming from the liberal side. Anyone from the right who dares post in the DE Lib comments risks not rational argument anymore, but having his/her words twisted into something completely other than what they said, which they are then excoriated for.

    Now, it’s happening to fellow liberals like Mike.

    You may have a point about where the cancer came from, Jason, but you also have to look at where it’s thriving.

  5. February 21, 2009 4:57 pm

    Excellent post, Joe.

  6. February 21, 2009 5:18 pm

    Thank you, Dominique 🙂

  7. jason330 permalink
    February 21, 2009 5:45 pm

    Again. I see your point, but I contend that DL is not hostile to reasonable argument and debate – but it is very hostile to empty headed GOP talking points trying to be passed off as rational thought.

    For example, the notion that “tax cuts work” is laughable in light of the evidence of the past 15 years, and people who bring that weak shit to DL will be smacked down. They still come and try so what should we do? They have no data and no real case to make – only zombie ideology.

    I only started calling Dave an asswipe and a goatf*cker after he (on the radio) said (basically) that we are not all Americans and we are in this together – but we are warring tribes and being at war is what gives us an identity.

    That was hard for me to take right after the election and I admit that I kind of snapped. I was REALLY hoping that the election would allow everyone to turn the page on the bitterness and rancor of the past 15 years, so my disappointment of finding myself back in the trench being shot at by people who events had proved utterly and terribly wrong was great.

    As for Mike’s case – I think that is a bit of a different issue, and I see why Mike made the call that he made.

  8. jason330 permalink
    February 21, 2009 5:50 pm

    Here is another timely example of what I’m talking about.

    http://www.delawareliberal.net/2009/02/21/a-worrying-thought/comment-page-1/#comment-98113

    Why is it that DelawarePolitics.net NEVER condemns this kind of thing? It is because they know they are at war and Keyes (crazy as he is) is on their side.

  9. February 21, 2009 5:51 pm

    I don’t know man. I saw more attacks from the left immediately after the big win than from the right. I even made mention of it somewhere at the discord between Obamas message of unity and the attacks from the left, and I was told that if I thought that the left would let go the transgressions of the right under Bush, I was sorely mistaken.

    So, the champion of the left, when his message of togetherness came to fruition, I saw the left rejecting it. This was maddening.

    I still maintain, with the evidence of the links that MM posted in “Done”, that it is the left ignoring rational argument in favor of vitriol and demonization.

  10. jason330 permalink
    February 21, 2009 6:20 pm

    I guess we are all destine to view reality through the prism of our own limited experiences. For example, I see Rush Limbaugh saying “I hope he (President Obama) fails.” prior to the the swearing as a failure to turn the page. I see the RNC’s attempt to gain electoral advantage by voting en mass against the economic recovery package as a continuation of their war on the middle class.

    I know you see it differently, but I hope I’ve explained where I am coming from.

  11. February 21, 2009 6:25 pm

    I have, many times, seen the folks at DE politics come onto DE Lib to decry it when this kind of stupid comment inspires someone to violence. I have also seen the same thing from Hube, Shirley, Steve, etc.

    However, despite the fact that they, like you guys, mainly follow news that agrees with their point, they are reviled for not having a post about it on their blog. So, even though they still came out against it, they are attacked for putting their opinion on your blog, rather than their own.

    Face it, there’s enough strong wording from talking heads on the left to inspire someone to violence. Are you really on the lookout for that from your own side? Put another way, are you really on the lookout for it on from their side, or do you just catch it when another news source points it out?

  12. February 21, 2009 6:26 pm

    Jason, where you’re coming from has never been unclear.

    I’m questioning your method, not your motive.

  13. February 21, 2009 6:28 pm

    And, I failed to say that it’s not just yours, but anyone who indulges in the behavior that I’ve pointed out.

  14. John Feroce permalink
    February 21, 2009 8:49 pm

    Joe

    Thanks for not just skimming over the crux of the issue. The progression you laid is an undeniable reality. Good Post.

  15. February 21, 2009 9:05 pm

    It is an excellent post, Joe. I understand what Jason is saying (big surprise!) because, while I have a different blogging style, I am frustrated and angry. That said, I did expect a certain segment of the right to launch into attack/obstruction mode. What I didn’t expect was all of them to take this path while simultaneously absolving themselves of the last eight years.

    The situation between DWA and DL strikes me as a “joke” going too far – on both sides. IMO, there’s plenty of blame to go around.

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