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Another Political Post: An Addendum

[This was in response to comments on the original post at 1UP.com.]

Dear anyone who attacked my original post because Stewart and Colbert aren’t “real journalists”: that was EXACTLY MY POINT. See: “Comedians. Jesus.” The fact of the matter is that our national newsmedia is, as a whole, a bunch of quivering, empty suits jumping onto the latest ratings spike. For anyone in the newsmedia — and I say ANYone, on either side of this fake political dichotomy we’ve convinced ourselves we’re in — to actually stand up and make a well-reasoned, challenging argument is so novel as to be almost shocking. This instance was Olbermann, but had it been someone on Fox News making a similarly strong, well-defended argument, I’d be all over that too. (Please, please don’t say O’Reilly. He’s an excellent entertainer — much like Limbaugh, Stewart, Colbert — but much like the vast majority of the talking heads in the newsmedia, there’s not an ounce of honesty there.)

Dear anyone who interpreted my post as saying “My only heroes are Olbermann, Stewart, and Colbert”: Read again. If you still believe this after a second reading, please go away. For those who remain, allow me to elaborate a bit: What impresses me the most these days with regard to the newsmedia are the few talented people who step beyond the rhetoric and the platitudes and the dogma and the talking points to ask real, legitimate questions. To raise honest issues. This is why I enjoy John Stewart — if you didn’t see his appearance on CNN’s Crossfire, go watch it. Here’s a guy who can walk into an interview and say, “I don’t agree with what you’re doing, and here’s why,” and not let things devolve into the content-free shouting matches that drive the ratings on the news channels. The irony, of course, is that he’s a comedian, which says an awful lot about the state of the newsmedia in our country. To see politicians getting their toughest grilling on a freakin’ satirical news show? I mean, what the fuck?

Dear anyone who says “But Clinton…!”: Go die. I didn’t have a blog when Clinton was running things, and I don’t recall mentioning him here, ever, so you have absolutely no freaking idea what I think about Bill Clinton. For the record, though, I think Clinton the man was a slightly creepy, slightly sleazy type. But Clinton the president? Seems to me he did a fairly good job. He seemed to have a legitimate majority of the country behind him for most of his term. And that, I think, was his biggest strength as a president: He understood that the job of the president is to represent everyone in the country. People accused him of being too “moderate,” and I’m like, “Uh, yeah. He’s not president of half the country, he’s president of the whole country. Seems like a no-brainer to me.”

Having said that, allow me to say that the idea of his wife actually attempting to run for president in ’08 scares the living bejeezus out of me. She seems to be everything Clinton wasn’t, and Bush is: Fanatical, divisive, dogmatic, and hungry for power. And if she ends up on the ballot I fear that there will be so many who will vote Democrat just to get away from Bush that they’ve vote his mirror image right into office. If you put a ballot in front of me today, and it had HR Clinton vs. John McCain — I’m voting McCain without a second thought. That chick scares me nearly as much as Bush does.

Dear anyone who says I shouldn’t be posting political stuff on my 1UP blog: I’d like to introduce you to the incumbent Senator from the District of I Don’t Give a Fuck. Welcome to the real world, where the convenient lines of black and white your pet pundits try to convince you of don’t exist. Politics permeates life; life permeates videogames; videogames permeate culture; culture permeates politics.

Dear anyone who throws down labels like “liberal” “conservative” “democrat” “republican” (or, much, much worse: “libs,” “neocons,” “dems,” “repubs”) as though they’re racial epithets: Pay attention, now, because this is important. Ready?

YOU DON’T HAVE TO PICK SIDES.

It’s entirely possible — nay, admirable — to decide what you believe and say, “Well, I agree with the Republicans on this, but the Democrats on that.” Here, I’ll show you how easy it is:

I agree with the Republicans — or at least, the Republican ideal — on the role of government. Ideally, government should protect citizens from outside influence, and each other. Government legislating things like sex or smoking or, oh dear god, the amount of trans-fats we’re allowed to have in our food is a waste of time, energy, and taxpayer money. I also agree with the Republicans on the importance of national defense, that we need to be well prepared for situations where other nations or groups may wish to do us harm.

On the other hand, I agree with the Democrats — or at least, the Democrat ideal — that the government also has a responsibility to offer assistance to its disadvantaged citizens. I also agree with the Democrats on the importance of civil rights, and that even the pursuit of national security is not worth sacrificing those civil rights which are an integral part of what is good about America.

These do not encompass my political or social beliefs. These are just examples of how it’s possible to actually think for yourself when it comes to national politics. Because believe me when I say that any time we refuse to enter discourse because the other party is a member of this fictional “other side,” America dies, just a little, inside.