I’m intrigued by much of the political debate that goes on in these pages but one of the things that has always baffled me is that the way in which these debates often degenerate into name-calling of the strangest kind.
You and me both, friend.
If this forum is in any way representative of American society (and I have no clue if it is) people seem so clearly defined by whether they are a democrat or republican, or whether they are a bleeding-heart liberal or a redneck neo-conservative etc…
To some degree, I think people have staked out a side. In a winner-take-all system, each party represents a pretty big tent. But I think people have a mix of views generally and are not hardcore platform ideologues - at least that is not my experience.
Just because I might vote for someone I don’t necessarily have any loyalty to them - I just think that they will fuck up slightly less than the other candidates. Also, I certainly don’t agree with the ALL the policies of any major political party.
True, and interestingly enough, we Americans may bicker like crazy about politics, but in reality, we are arguing at the margins mostly. Most Americans are a version of liberal in the old sense of the word. Only rarely do we acknowledge this, but Democrats and Republicans have a great deal in common.
Now I wonder if this phenomenon is unique to web forums or whether it is prevalent in US society as a whole and whether such a thing as political segregation actually exists over there.
Without question. There are some pretty heated words exchanged in real life, but it gets magnified by the anonymity of the web. Web forums attract people who are opinionated on this given topic, and that adds to it. Most sane people can get along with people of different politics. Most of my friends do not share my political views, and we have some great debates, but we don’t actually think each other is acting in bad faith. But that may depend on the individual - some people just don’t have the confidence to have their viewpoints challenged and they reflexively become defensive. It’s a shame.
If so, is there any reason for this, or is it just on sites like this because its so easy to be petty from the relative safety of your PC?
As I said earlier - without question. The tough talk - or attempts to talk tough, better stated - you see around here would rarely happen to anyone’s face, I suspect. There is a lot of wannabeism here and in other sites I have visited: like the computer dork who gets to play a big brave hero in his role-playing fantasy game online, sites like this attract folks who talk tough and try and give off the impression of toughness, all behind the comfort of the internet persona.
It stinks, because some really good people of varying viewpoints can show up and engage in thoughtful and robust exchanges from time to time. That is the exception rather than the rule anymore.[/quote]
Thanks for replying. I’ve spent time in the US as I have family out there but I have been informed over and over that Chicago is not representative of the US as a whole so thought I’d ask for a broader picture.
Like you, my friends all have various political leanings but as a group I like to think that makes us stronger than the sum of our parts.
Kewl… So it’s just your typical everyday run of the mill household internet banter then? Excellent. It just makes me laugh how people manage to type the word liberal or republican as though they are spitting the word onto the screen.
Right, I’m off to start my ‘Why Islam is the best religion’ thread. Surely no-one can flame me there…lol