This weekend, at a panel on the U.S./Mexico border in Marfa, Texas,
GRITv friend, reporter Mark Danner discussed the "thinning out" and
hardening of politics.
When there's insecurity, violence and threat, he noted, people flock
to those who promise to deliver security and stability even at the cost
of their personal liberties. Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico--whomever offers
protection attracts popular support.
But that's not only true in visibly war-torn countries. It's true
here too. Don't you think? The economy hasn't recovered, no matter how
many reports proclaim that the recession ended and millions cast about
for answers, for someone to blame, someone who promises to help.
The middle of the spectrum, Danner noted, thins out while the
extremes thicken and grow more powerful. Funny how here in the U.S.
we've only heard about one extreme: the Tea Party movement, the angry,
anti-government, pro-gun, far white. The money media loves their rallies
and their politicians. Wacky views make great cable news.
So what about other views? Views that might be considered the other
end of the "extreme" spectrum remain unspeakable. Suggest that Obama is a
socialist Kenyan Nazi Muslim and you might end up winning a primary
campaign. Suggest that Bush and Cheney ought to be prosecuted for
torture and other war crimes, and you're ostracized. Why is that?
Perhaps the reason that we've only heard from one extreme in this
time of crisis is that those in the money media fear that the other,
leftist sort might actually gain traction. As Americans feel the ground
shifting beneath them, nothing's more critical than controlling what's
out there, on offer, on which to hold tight.