Thursday, January 28, 2010

All Things In Moderation

I confess I did not watch the State of the Union address last night, primarily because I could have written it myself.
SOTU speeches are usually full of vigorous promises and hopeful solutions which later get bogged down in the idiocy of groupthink. As someone famous once said, "A person is smart. People. Are. Dumb." That character when on to point out that people are terrified when in large groups.
It's true. It's something both sides of the political spectrum exploit, too, altho the Republicans seem to be past masters of it, while Democrats tend to be more obvious in their bloviating.
How we perceive something initially on our own becomes a very different story when we've shared that experience with a group of people. Alone, most of us get the facts straight right away, and keep them fairly straight in our heads because we haven't discussed them (this is why jurors are instructed not to discuss the facts of a case until they are in deliberations, by the way). Perception is an individual thing, and how I see something will be very different than how you see it.
We compare notes, and what usually ends up happening is, absent a convincing argument by the smarter party (usually involving his or her authority or experience), both sides end up tailoring the story to fit the lower common denominator.
Now multiply that by hundreds, thousands, millions.
Or Congress.
The general perception of last night's speech, while scanning the opinions of people on the Internet, is the left feels Obama has sold them out, throwing a crumb here or there, while the right is touting Obama as some wild-eyed angry savage (Yup. Subtle racism is still rampant on the right!)
It doesn't matter. What does matter is whether the follow through on the promises made is effective or not. You see, Americans are not opposed to left wing OR right wing solutions...that work. The only way they will work is if they are enacted which requirtes Congress to put aside the rancor, drub the minority as deep in the shit as possible, and start passing bills (or as with Bill Clinton, they can be enacted by fiat, but after eight years of George Bush, I can't imagine the American people will sit still for yet another childish cowboy throwing tantrums).
Read the promises. Read the speech. Then pick one topic, one promise, and get your Congresscritters attention on it.
It couldn't hurt, and activism may actually help save our democracy.