25 May 2005

From the Senate to the Drug Den...

These idiots are sitting around congratulating themselves about their senate compromise allowing Bush the Second's wacked out right wing judges to get hearings. The Democrats apparently have lost even the pretense that they're an opposition party. For weeks the Democrats all but allowed the Republican machine and the right-wing drug addicts on talk radio to cast this senate fight as unprecedented obstructionism on the part of the Democrats. Never mind that the right wingers never complained a lick when the Republicans denied even more of Clinton's appointees.

Court appointments are extremely important, since the judges generally serve until they decide to retire. However, the problem isn't really in the extremist candidates that the Bush administration has sent to the Senate for confirmation; the problem really lies in the fact that the American people are complacent enough that more of them don't see these appointees as mean-spirited partisan hacks.

Why are so many Americans uninterested in the details of the issues? Do they not care that Priscilla Owen consistently rules against the interests of the majority of Americans? Or that even her colleagues on the right consider her -- shudder -- an activist judge?

These are questions that nag at me, because they're really the tips of the icebergs of the larger questions: Why is the majority so disengaged from the workings of the government? Why do half the people (roughly) decide not to vote?

In part I blame the media -- the network and cable news channels have so stripped their broadcasts of content that viewers are left knowing that something happened but having little in-depth information to understand it, a fact especially ironic given that 24 hour cable newschannels should have all the time in the world to explore an issue. Unfortunately, CNN and Fox have the idea that exploring an issue means having four different shows in which opposing sides sit down and yell at one another. Talk radio, the juggernaut that arose in the late 80's and early 90's, provides almost no information but plenty of opinion. The creaky leader, Rush Limbaugh, daily spews forth half-truths and outright lies (which when caught he shrugs off by claiming to be "an entertainer"), and there's a very large market for this filth. Obviously, Rush and his imitators continue to vomit bile because there's money to be made (i.e. there are plenty of listeners for the advertisers). The question is why there's such a large market for hate...

If anyone has answers, I'd like to hear them.

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