posted on August 17, 2012 12:55
When Carter and I were beating up on Jim Hunt and Jesse Helms, respectively, in 1984, we said some tough things. But we always stuck to some semblance of the truth. Not that we were all that noble; we feared the backlash from the media and the voters if we went too far.
Something has happened since. This year we see a breathtaking flood of ads and attacks that are either totally baseless or demonstrably untrue – from both sides.
It’s not just that consultants today are more dishonest than we were, although there inevitably is a race to be the meanest SOB in the valley. And it’s not just the oceans of information and misinformation easily available in a wired world.
It’s just one more sign of how divided we are.
Take the birther and “Obama is a Muslim” phenomena. Both allegations have been proven false. Yet, a significant percentage of the population still believes they are true.
Take Harry Reid’s much-publicized charge that Romney didn’t pay any taxes. Reid offered no proof. Yet I’ll wager that a significant percentage of voters believe it’s true.
Why? Simple: Obama-haters believe anything about Obama. Romney-haters believe anything about Romney.
It has nothing to do with facts. It’s all about faith – or hate.
We are deeply divided. We live in red states and blue states. We have red communities and blue communities. We have red churches and blue churches. Now we even have red and blue fast-food restaurants.
Maybe it’s a function of hard times. Maybe it’s a result of our media-online information world. Maybe, as Carter blogged the other day (“Worlds Colliding”) it stems from wrenching change and the resulting tension.
You wonder: Does it go on and on like this? Or is there a breaking point?