These days “the media,” (pretty much across the entire spectrum) is a long haul from any kind of fair, balanced or objective reporting. Edward R Murrow must be turnng over in his grave. Enormous volumes of the simplest and most simple minded obfuscation (it cannot even remotely be called discourse or conversation) are being produced. Positions have been set and staked out, the political and ideological equivalent of trench warfare, and the viewpoints are becoming narrower, more rigid and less rational all the time.
What do Senators Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, John McCain and Lindsey Graham have in common? At one time, or currently, they have been called RINO’s – Republicans in name only. This political pejorative is thrown at any Republican that shows any sign of moderate stances, especially on social issues. I am sure Mr. Huntsman will ba called that in the very near future. The hope is that RINO’s can be made as rare (and eventually extinct) as, well, Rhino’s.
What do Senators Joseph Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln have in common? At one time, or currently, they have been called DINO’s – Democrats in name only. This particular political pejorative is the contra-positive of RINO and is thrown at various Democrats, usually ones that show any tendency towards fiscal responsibility, in hopes of making them as extinct as, well, dinosaurs.
These politicians, or their predecessors, used to be called independent or even centrist, now they are seen as disloyal traitors who are virtually ostracized from the mainstream of their respective political parties, unless they flip-flop and toe the line to proscribed positions.
What might Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Meg Whitman, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell have in common, besides Tea Party affiliation?
They can be called WINO’s – Women in name only; feminists they are not.
Health equality, such as reproductive choice or the ability of contraceptives to be covered by insurance (like Viagra is) doesn’t seem to matter to these WINO’s. Although Republicans removed the ERA from their platform in 1980 it is a certainty that these WINO’s would have gladly voted in favor of removing it now, if the vote were held today. In their minds gender equality seems to mean being more alpha-male than men.
Of course these anti-women positions are completely in sync with creationism and the heavily patriarchal (and increasing political) religious right, where women apparently should “graciously submit” to institutionalized and male-determined roles, beliefs and attitudes. Ms. Angles’ wish to get rid of the department of Education would certainly have a greater effect on women (that are attending secondary education schools at significantly greater numbers than men). Ms O’Donnell is in favor of Employer penalties for hiring illegal aliens, would she say that Ms. Whitman should be penalized? Even Ms. Whitman used to agree with that position, but don’t tell let her know that economic self determinism is a tenet of socialist feminism or she may also be called a RINO – or worse a socialist.
The anti-abortion stance of these WINO’s says that life is precious, unless one is unemployed, an illegal alien or on the receiving end of a gun, all determined as a result of issues put forth by the political cult, er party, to which they belong. All would like to see themselves as feminist warriors but are against legalizing, for example, prostitution. There are clear, anti-choice, anti-sex, anti-science and anti-education planks in the political platforms advocated by these WINO’s.
Another aspect of these issues is the media’s propensity towards labeling and pigeon-holing. People in the media and the public at large seem to want someone else to do their thinking for them and to distill issues and opinions down to an even smaller quantity than a sound bite – a label. Are you a Liberal? A Conservative? A socialist, feminist, leftist, rightist, Marxist, RINO, DINO, WINO? These labels make it easy for the media and pseudo-celebrity pundits to quickly and inaccurately hurl scatter-shot invective while they use words that are too general and undefined to mean much of anything. And the labels themselves are getting shorter, as if anything with more than 4 letters is difficult to understand.
The term elite or elitist is also frequently used as a pejorative these days, as in “We do not want any Ivy League elites or East Coast elites as President (POTUS) or on the Supreme court (SCOTUS).” I always wondered, why not? The first definition of Elite from dictionary.com is: the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons. Shouldn’t the country want the absolute elite, the best in the country to occupy the top positions of government? Isn’t being elite an essential appeal of The Marines? Business, at least on the surface, looks for the best and brightest (elites). Show me anyone that would be comfortable choosing Joe-the-plumber, instead instead of an elite doctor, to perform even a routine appendectomy on them.
What we have here, is failure to communicate. Of course all this blather has its consequences, a one-word label that means anything or nothing is used as if it does mean something, or even worse – used in a way that means the opposite of what it used to (and still should) mean.
It can be argued that a significant big part of the problems we have today are because we have not had the elite, the best and brightest running the country. So these WINO’s would have us do away with schools and the department of education, as learning and education clearly will not be needed much longer. There is almost a willful worship of ignorance in the country today, as if being dumb or ignorant gives one credibility to the masses, and these WINO’s are at the vanguard of that movement. Let’s hope they do not succeed.