One of my friends on facebook always posts an “ain’t it awful” post from the leftwing blogosphere. Usually it’s about some unknown preacher who said some ridiculous thing, and it is in for her and her friends to use this to bash all Christians, even those of us on the liberal side of Christianity. I usually shrug and point out that a religion with 2 million members that is 2000 years old has enough sinners and nincompoops to fill a stadium (or hell, if one reads Dante, we have quite a few folks there too), but the real modern wars and genocides have been economic (Japan’s justification of the second world war against SEAsia was economic) or political (Mao made Hitler look like an amateur), not religious.

At the same time, some of my friends on the right tend to write “ain’t it awful” posts on the President, who can do nothing right.

Uh, wait a second. Yes, some of his rhetoric is so tin eared that I wince (didn’t he learn any anthropology from his moms?) but he is a well meaning person, and given globalization and worldwide economic trends over the last 30 years, I’m not sure what McCain, or Bush or even Palin would have done differently on many of these issues.

Yes, I said Palin. No one except Mother Jones seems to be noticing that the big oil interests are funding a Republican Senator  as a write in candidate in Alaska. Why the silence? Because Sarah Palin helped a “teaparty” candidate eliminate her in the primaries, and that has a lot of mainstream Republicans angry at her. Hasn’t anyone with a long memory figured out that it was the cronyism of the Republican establishment in Alaska with big oil which made Sarah Palin oppose the Murkowski clan? (No wonder Rove and the Republican establishment doesn’t like her, but that’s another story).

In other words, things are much more nuanced than the sound bites would have you imagine, and if you get your news from only blogs, you will end up with your blood pressure high and a frown on your face.

One of the problems, however, is that those of us who get their news from the print media also tend to see a cluelessness about ordinary Americans, how they feel, how they cope, and where they go to church, and why they believe. Reporters, who used to be hard headed journeymen, working their way up into print, now are too often with little experience outside of journalism classes, or maybe even given jobs because of family ties. Yes, there are many valuable reporters, but when comedians and analysts overlap with hard reporting, it tends to get confusing.

Doesn’t anyone study anthropology or sociology anymore?As a physician, I have to understand people, and this includes a familiarity with culture, whether it be the Bantu cultures in southern Africa or the Chippewa culture of Minnesota.

In America, there are many subcultures too. But in more recent years, the culture wars have morphed into a monster. Those who write often prefer to demonize a difference of opinion as evil rather than check out it might be a nuanced understanding based on a cultural or philosophical differences.

This lack of nuance goes right to the top. Bush went out of his way to instruct people that Islam was a peaceful religion, and everyone knew he was a practicing Christian. On the other hand, President Obama, another “born again Christian”, seems clueless to others within his religion, to the point he went out of his way to insult them with his “they cling to religion and guns”, speaking of the white working class.

The President’s mother was an anthropologist, and he lived in several cultures, but his ability to understand a culture outside of progressive academia is limited, and the real winner might not be the Republicans (who I expect will over do things and quickly become hated). The real winner is Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton might be an upper middle class Ivy league lawyer, but she is a quick learner. That is why Hillary (with Bill at her side) could very well be a popular candidate in 2016 or even in 2012. Hillary’s secret weapon is Bill, a good old boy who can also mix with academics. He could keep her from saying ackward things against the blue dog Democratic base, whereas Obama’s smart advisors from academia probably don’t even know anyone who eats at the local McDonalds.

Alas, nuance is hard to do, and it’s so much fun to let off steam on one’s blog.

As for the media, well, it sells papers/air time, doesn’t it?

So if the American experiment is to survive, we need more nuance, and more understanding, and alas the blogosphere is not exactly making things better in this regard.


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