Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sometimes the High Road is a Dead End

Trying to find a good radio station while driving through Chicago, I came across someone that sounded like Rush Limbaugh. He was calling someone un-American, not for being a Kenyan socialist, but for wanting to cut spending. I was intrigued. Who is this guy? It turns out that it was Ed Shultz. I had heard of the Ed Show on CNN, but I didn't know he also did radio. He is one of many talk show hosts on a progressive radio network that we heard in Chicago and again in Madison.

I have mixed feelings about what I heard. I have long complained about Democrats tying their own hands behind their backs, so I like the idea of having a progressive radio network to counteract Fox and Clear Channel. At the same time, it irritated me that Shultz was labeling some American citizens as un-American. Another host used the term "Republicon" so frequently you'd think he was earning royalties each time he said it. It's easy to make a strong progressive argument without resorting to these juvenile tactics, so what's the deal? Is there really a market for left wing values wrapped up in the rhetoric of the right? If so, I'm not sure I want those people on my team--either the hosts or their listeners. Then again, that's just the attitude the right wants me to have. It's a classic ends versus means dilemma. Hmmm...

If the choice is between manipulating people to get them to support policies that ultimately benefit them versus manipulating people to get them to support policies that ultimately hurt them, I'd obviously prefer the former. However, I worry that I am presenting a false dichotomy. I would certainly prefer a third option--an option where people demand solid arguments and respond rationally, but then I think about Iraq, the health care debate, and the focus on the national debt instead of unemployment. Sadly, it seems there really are only two choices. Sometimes the high road is a dead end.

No comments:

Post a Comment