Book Trailer For Madam President

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Squeamishness of Our Discourse


We are squeamy. We don’t like to talk politics or religion. Maybe it is because I live in the Midwest but I think not. It seems people have lost the ablility to debate in the open. Before it was the election. It didn’t matter who you were for but all conversation would grind to a halt when politics was approached. A few brave souls will duel but wives or husbands or mothers or fathers will give the look and then like a candle extinguished by an ill wind, conversation will abrubtly stop. We don t like open debate, but this is what a democracy is founded on. WE are not content to watch people duel it out on television. They can tear each other apart but we must restrict our conversation to the inanities of middle class life. Was it always so? Maybe. But certainly we have lost our appetitie for the exchanging of ideas. True in the city there seems to be a class of people who love this discourse, but they are few and far and in between. We have become a nation of emailers and take our revenge that way. The carping email, the who do you thnk you are flows in over the transom of the cyber transom and then we become very bold. Insults, accusations, blatant attacks suddenly spill out of the gloom and we find these lead many times to a phony mailbox, a deadend street of the hidden ego that does nto like the light. Better to sit in our room and hurl our invectives. So it is now. You cant stop technology, but it is a one way fight. There is no reply to the mute voice. The emailer suddenly disappears and we are left sputtering in anger at the unfair polemic. We still have opinions but some where along the way we were told it is impolite to voice them. Better to not rock the boat. But a democracy has to have people who will speak their mind. We have all seen what the last eight years has brought us and this is our punishment for mutely acquiescing to the general mandate to never bring up what is controviersial, what is relevant, or what matters. Better we get over our squeamishness now and start talking again—email is a poor substitute for conviction.

Books by William Hazelgrove