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Opening Arguments

Greetings from the Balkans

I've been victimized, and I've been scandalized. I've been traumatized, and I've been terrorized. I've been vandalized, and I've been trivialized. Now I've also been Balkanized:

“Our politics are dysfunctional,” said the president, and we should heed the terrible divisions in the Middle East as a “warning to us: societies don’t work if political factions take maximalist positions. And the more diverse the country is, the less it can afford to take maximalist positions.”

While he blamed the rise of the Republican far right for extinguishing so many potential compromises, Obama also acknowledged that gerrymandering, the Balkanization of the news media and uncontrolled money in politics — the guts of our political system today — are sapping our ability to face big challenges together, more than any foreign enemy. “Increasingly politicians are rewarded for taking the most extreme maximalist positions,” he said, “and sooner or later, that catches up with you.”

Wow. Doesn't he realize that by complaining of "maximalist positions" from both sides, then blaming it all on the "Republican far right," he's a seriously part of the problem he's describing? "Those other guys are so extreme" is just another way of saying, "they don't agree with me."

And the "Balkinization of the news media" is just the latest clever way to say "these guys aren't all with the program" the way they used to be, i.e. spreading the gospel of a center-left vision of the world. There are actually media outlets today that scrutinize and criticize and offer an alternative vision of the world.

You know, dissent, brothers and sisters, a patriotic duty when people are on the outside, but near-treasonous behavior once they're in power.


Tue, 08/12/2014 - 1:30pm

We've always been somewhat 'balkanized'.  I believe our Civil War didn't actually end until the 1960s.  That was only after the highway interstate system allowed an easier freedom of movement between the north and south.  My dad told some stories of dirty looks he received from southerners while visiting war buddies in the 1950s.

If the President wishes to reduce gerrymandering maybe he should call for the removal of the racist question on the census information.  What is your race? 

If the President has a problem with the radical right known as the Tea Party, maybe he should evaluate how much he and the other Democrats are responsible for its birth after the ACA.

I would expect nothing less than the same opposition from Democrats if the Republicans forced garbage down their throats.