Mr. Pitts writes a column for the Miami Herald which is syndicated all over the country. Today he said something important I think about the lamentable state of discourse in the USA, brought on by too much certainty over matters politicians have no right to be so certain about all the time.
Pandering to people's prejudices and just being angry that one half the electorate can't see things your way is not a substitute for leadership or telling people the plain truth. You don't except plain truth from radio talk loud mouths or think-tank mouth pieces who can't rally think outside the bounds of their sponsors biases. But somebody needs to see being argumentative fro what it frequently is---just a distraction from facing the problems at hand.
Our ability to rationalize our views to take a stand on one side of an issue--call it "selective cognition"---may be, according to science editor Sharon Begley of Newsweek, a evolutionary skill humankind developed to win others to our side in a dispute and improve our chances to band together to survive an outside threat. But the higher levels of our brain should tell us this can be a handicap when we are faced with difficult problems where we might have to compromise to get anything done.
And the plain truth is that our economy is in a mess and we are all--all 305 million of us, at least those who can't move to Monte Carlo or The Cayman Islands--all of us, in the same boat.
"So much of what purports to be political discourse these days is instead this primal scream of self righteousness and outrage. So much of it seems predicated upon the presumption that ideology is identity and reason, treason.
"How often have you heard a politician say something intellectually dishonest, and you knew it was intellectually dishonest and he knew it was intellectually dishonest and you knew he knew, and you knew he knew you knew -- but he went and said it anyway.
"Because he's not trying to convince anyone of the fitness of his ideas, nor persuade them to his point of view. No, his only object is to tick off his talking points, hit his applause lines, score for his side.
"Sometimes you wonder if anyone is still on the country's side. You couldn't prove it by most of what passes for leadership these days. Which is why we never seem to reach national consensus, never seem to find compromise, never do anything except boil with a free floating, self-perpetuating anger."
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/08/22/1787010/a-flagrantly-reasonable-conservative.html#ixzz0xSKozS8X