"Do you think I turned into a different person who wants to hurt people or subvert their civil rights? Well, I didn't. You know how I used to completely agree with you about drones? Well, not any more. The reason is that I got into office and found out what is really going on."The things liberals and progressive people are complaining about are things that I complain about every day in meetings. Here's the thing: if you knew what I know, you would be very grateful we are able to mount the national security regime I have implemented. "It's been reported that I personally judge to whom we apply the rules of the battlefield. That's exactly true. You can rest assured that I am sickened every time I hear about a death, especially unintended victims on both sides. You can also trust that I sincerely try to figure out how to deal with things that can't be revealed. If a mistake is made, it's on my head alone and I take that seriously."In the end I hope you will realize that the difference between then and now is that I know a lot about what's really happening in the world. If you make me actually explain about that in a way that would allow the public to make an informed decision, it would be very bad. I would still act as I now do, even at risk of the destruction of my reputation, ife or career. "I ask for your support, and right now I am speaking especially to people on the left that have known me for a long time. You know I am not like George Bush. You can trust that I have managed this national security regime according to principle. The place where you need to trust me is when I say, Please, don't make it harder for me to do an already brutal job. It is necessary."
America is trying to come to grips with this election. There seems to be a more bitter, harsh divide between the partisans of the candidates than ever before. Each side is convinced that the world is going to end if their man loses. Of course, it's really something that's been going on for a long time.On Salon.com, a guy named Andrew O'Hehir addressed the problem. He thinks that it goes back to some fundamental visions of the role of the country and the loss of power by white people in a world where everyone is increasingly not-white. Everything the guy says, is true but it misses the point. (Check it out here: http://j.mp/S9uI3i ) He correctly emphasizes the intractability of these issues and the dangerous divide that results but I think he misses a deeper reason for our schism.
I think this divide is based on the fact that we actually have two kinds of human beings trying to coexist. By this I mean physical difference that enforces two different ways of processing reality. It is a neurological difference that I am increasingly convinced is as concrete and significant as schizophrenia.On the one side are people who have the power of conviction. Whatever lump of meat inside their brains that causes the sensation of faith is highly developed. Along with that faith is a reverence for ideals, of right and wrong, of economics, of social policy, and so on. These ideals are introduced into their lives at an early age and act as seed crystals to organize their observations into a worldview. On the other side are people in whom this lump of meat is diminutive. These are people who question everything and, based on their observations, make up stories to explain why things are as they are. From this imagination, ideals emerge. Conversations about them become observations to other people and those observations become the basis of other stories. Similarities in the stories are upheld as ideals but they are always provisional. New information is able to upset the worldview of these people at any time.The former, faithful, people resist changes to their worldview because 'ideal' is ideal. Once an ideal is included in the canon, subsequent information exists only to confirm the value of the ideal. Satisfaction and beauty are associated with things and ideas that fit closer to the ideals. This sensation is not subject to analysis and is adequate to establish the correct interpretation of new observations. It is what Stephen Colbert refers to as his "gut."Those other folks, let's stop being coy and call them liberals, are very successful in science and art, enterprises that depend on the ability to open-mindedly synthesize new realities in response to new observations. The other folks, hereafter known as conservatives, excel where consistency of purpose and the ability to prioritize are valuable. Business people tend to be conservative because they are able to ignore the complications they face because they are able to apply their highly developed skill at faith to themselves. This allows them to fearlessly assert authority, take risks and ignore secondary consequences of their actions.Both kinds of people are useful in various contexts. The challenge is that, as with the changing successfulness of women relative to men, reality is starting to make some preferences known. Just as society no longer really needs very many large, muscular, violent men (as it did in days of yore), it has less need for people who can go off into the wilderness armed with little more than their faith in their own rightness and the ability to ignore the fact that there are bears, or children at home that need care.I don't know how we reconcile these two but I do think it's a mistake to conceive the difference based on beliefs or insecurity. Sure, the white guys are feeling a little put upon as they realize that the brown guys are more numerous and that sheer whiteness doesn't really buy much once you are competing on an equal footing but, that's momentary. A hundred years from now, everyone will be coffee colored and gay and no one will care.What will not change is that, now that we can select our mates from the entire population (rather than just those within walking distance of our log cabin), people are choosing mates based on the similarity of their brain meat. Of course, they *think* it's because they share faith, or an interest in history, or curiosity or whatever, but increasingly, people choose mates who have an equal ability to have faith or to approach the world as a tabula rasa. That is, conservatives marry conservatives and engender purebred conservatives. Liberals do it, too.This is potentially a Neanderthal vs Homo Sapiens sort of conflict. I don't have any idea how we solve it but I do know it's not really about abortion, the environment or racism. It's about what kinds of people we are and it's very frightening.
I am listening to the ex-CEO of Acorn. She is describing the quality control process Acorn used. They reviewed the registrations and handed them in with an audit list. It flagged ones they thought were suspicious, eg, Mickey Mouse.They did it this way to avoid having themselves be involved in discarding registrations but also to make sure the secretaries of state were aware. The 'scandal' that forced them out of business was based on registrations that they flagged. It was utterly fictitious bullshit propagated by Republicans to hamper voter registration among the poor and black people served by Acorn.That's enough reason to hate Republicans but, it gets worse. This year the Republican National Committee wanted to do voter registration. They turned to their usual guy, Nathan Sproul, but, since he had long been known for cheating on registration, THEY ASKED HIM TO CHANGE HIS CORPORATE NAME so that no one would know it was the same guy who cheated last time.Then, he did it again. In several states his registrars turned away Democrats, registered people to fictitious addresses and threw away Democratic registrations. Unlike Acorn, this guy had no quality control process to flag bad registrations, nor did they take care to avoid throwing out registrations. Instead, it was left to the secretaries of state and outside activists to figure it out. Did the Republican National Committee know about this? Since they asked him to change his corporate name to avoid other recognizing him, you have to figure they knew about his propensity for cheating.Hypocrisy does not even begin to characterize the low moral character of Republicans. They cynically drove a virtuous organization out of business to interfere with the 25% of the new voter registrations they gathered. Even more cynically, they actively sought a company they knew would cheat. In the one case, they threw a national shit-fit. In the other, they quietly fired the guy - for this year.Fox News? They had 122 stories about Acorn. They have had three stories about this year's republican cheating.