I read this editorial:
The more relevant passage (the one that I want to discuss):
It seems to me that the columnist believes the Left is too “smart” for ordinary Americans.
Personally, I don’t agree 100% with his argument, at least not as it relates to the war. Other typically “Left” movements–like environmental protection and anti-globalism (WTO demonstrations, etc.)–seem driven by a relatively homogenous group of people. For lack of a better word, the “Neo-Hippie” is attached to both of these movements. College kids and their radical professors. “Alternative” types who get their vegetables from co-ops and listen to progressive talk radio.
But the anti-war sentiment is being expressed by what seems like a pretty broad spectrum of people. Folks who laughed at the kids in Geneva and Washington are now joining them in protest rallies. Many folks who are far removed from the college classroom and pedantic terms like “disconnect” and “discourse” have no problem saying that this talk of war is a bunch of BS (or at least admitting feelings of unease and discomfort). It’s not unusual to find preachers and ministers expressing anti-war sentiments during church services. When my dear mother explains why she’s against the war, she doesn’t go into an intellectual spiel, full of vague concepts and obscure references. She’s passionate and emotional, her arguments quite practical and easy to grasp. I don’t see a whole bunch of intellectualism in the stance against war (though I’m sure it exists). I see the complete opposite.
I don’t think Americans’ anti-intellectualism has anything to do with their support for war, though it’s much easier on the brain to say “Saddam is an evil man” than to come up with more solid reasons. I think the real reason is much simpler: Americans have a dangerous level of trust in their leaders right now. For some reason, it’s okay to call the mayor of a town a bozo, but it’s a no-no to say the same about our President. The other night I was watching Donohue and caller after caller kept admonishing us anti-war people for “not supporting our President”. As if it’s our duty to agree with him even if we don’t! Because you know if we don’t support our president, the terrorists have won! Basically that’s what one caller said.
You gotta love that Armstrong Williams too, who said we have to have faith that the Adminstration knows what it’s doing. Faith! This was his argument. Oh yes, and Saddam Hussein is an evil, wicked man who gassed his own people. If “ordinary” Americans have the same level of loyalty and trust that Williams has, it’s my feeling that no matter how much the opposition changed it’s image, it would still wouldn’t gain much of a foothold on most Americans’ feelings towards war with Iraq. I say this because I think that if roles were reversed–if we had a heavy Leftie in the White House right now trying to egg us on to war–“ordinary” folks would still be onboard. Who knows? Maybe I would also rationalize the position and defend it against attack.
Do you agree with Taibbi? Do you agree with me? Do you have your own hypothesis for why it seems like the nation is divided the way it is?