We all know that I’m not a fan of immunity for telecommunications companies that helped the government in its (at best) legally-questionable warrantless wiretapping program. (Which, thankfully, the House grew some backbone and stopped on Thursday! :) ) Today, Facebook and ABC News asked about telecom immunity in its latest poll question, and I jumped in a bit. I like talking about this topic; it’s gone fairly unnoticed with all the election hubris, and it’s a pretty pivotal deal in terms of rule of law in America.
At first, the debate was level-headed, a quiet discussion of the facts in the situation and a respectful exchange on both sides.
Then enter M, who clearly takes a cue from Sean Hannity or other hate radio purveyors, with gems like this, a happy wish for those who oppose warrantless wiretapping:
To those of you who believe that it’s wrong of the government to be doing this, it’s my every wish that a terror attack affects your family.
Thanks, M. I’ll be sure to pass your wishes along to my family, who also read my blog.
After another post by him telling me that he didn’t want to “die for my stupidity,” I pretty much let him have his soapbox. He then mentioned that he didn’t know what good things Truman did as President and that there should be a separate country for liberals. He was then fed to the virtual equivalent of rabid lions.
I love the Internet(s), and I love this country, because despite how nasty it may be, he has the right to state that opinion. There’s nothing in the Constitution about decorum in free speech, after all. However, it’s unfortunate that we still have to deal with the poison in our public discourse, particularly over the Internet. It’s not about calmly bringing issues to the table and debating their merits anymore; it’s about shouting, name-calling, ad hominem garbage that drives traffic and ad revenue. Both sides do it. It’s plainly obvious where our divisions come from; the fringes have mobilized very well on the Internet and began their shouting, which is so loud that the moderates are largely drowned out (Joe Gandelman & co. being an exception). And I think, despite what the fringes want you to think, that a majority of America is still moderate and understands the value in a calm debate of the issues.
Or maybe I’m just being idealistic, young, and foolish again.