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Republican Debate #6 Oh My

January 14, 2016

I didn’t expect new images, stories, or conversations in this debate; the candidates have stated their positions and ideas many times. But it did seem to me that I was hearing something “further” or “beyond.” (Sometimes almost beyond belief, in release of mean-spiritedness.)

With the exception of Kasich, Bush, and sometimes Carson, all three of whom present themselves as consistently civil and moderate in tone, even as being “compassionate conservatives,” the candidates went to extremes of tone and imagery.

For instance, the story remains the same, of Obama’s ruining America; but this time they had to counter his SOTU story of a strong and principled, compassionate society that is well on its way to economic recovery. The result was that they constructed what seemed to be an apocalyptic image of what will become of us if we elect another Democratic president. Not apocalyptic in the sense of God’s plan for an End Times and His final act of justice, but in the more general sense of the America that we have known and loved ceasing to exist. They raised the fear alert to Red.

I have, myself, suggested that the election of a Republican president could bring the end of American democracy, because self-interested people such as the Koch Bros (NLC) could control the party and use it to institute fascism (American style)—by which I mean, in a nutshell, monopoly corporate “ownership” and control of government, so as to use government as a means of creating profits. I think that such a governance could not long tolerate democracy. But I try to make a rational, logical argument about that.

In contrast, it seems to me that there was something of a violent auditory image in the stridency of most of the Republican candidates, in tone and word choice. Listening to them was visceral, as well as emotional. They raised the anger alert to Red.

If, indeed, conversation is an archetypal pattern in our personal and public imaginations, our discourse, as I suggest on the page about the SOTU address, then we owe it to ourselves to keep it healthy, and certainly not to cut it off. Much of the conversation in this debate, among the candidates, between the candidates and their “primary” audience of Republican voters, between the candidates and Democratic voters, and between the candidates and Americans in general, seemed unhealthy, or even destructive of opportunities for conversation.

Healthy conversation requires, at the least, mutual respect, openness, attentiveness, honesty, humility, and civility.

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  1. Dem Debate 3 Sounds Hopeful | tomkoontz

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