Alito and a Diplomatic Blogosphere

Alito and a Diplomatic Blogosphere November 3, 2005

Alexandra at All Things Beautiful, one of the most unique spots in the blogosphere, is experimenting with a rather unique idea: Discussing the SCOTUS nomination of Judge Samuel Alito, within the blogosphere, both left and right, without name-calling, hysterical rants or invective. A brave idea!

The revival of communication between the right and the middle of the Blogosphere surely needs to start with the establishment of mutual respect, then mutual understanding of what each other’s issues are, then one can identify the issues on which one can make common cause.

The immediate cease-fire on insults is imperative. The insults in principal wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that we suspect the other side really means them — if there is a solid base of mutual respect, then one can tease each other, which is very healthy, but the base has to be there first.

Next on the agenda would be to see what points we do agree on and link each other when discussing those. That should thoroughly confuse the left, and get them wandering if nothing else. Then we need to deal with issues that we don’t agree on, and see which ones we can concede and which ones we simply cannot. And after all that commotion back and forth, we will no doubt end up where we started, namely the almighty abortion issue.

I think this is a very noble idea.

I don’t know if it will work, mostly because I think many on both sides – running on emotion – will not accept basic frameworks of either the questions proffered, or even the whole notion that such dialogue is possible. The extremists and zealots on both sides will find it all problematic, and they – being zealots – will insist that nothing of value could possibly be uttered by those on the other side.

In a perfect world, we should be able to agree on some bare rules:

1)Human beings of differing opinions are still deserving of mutual respect.

2)Ideas may not be agreed with, but one should be able to air them clearly before the ideas – not the people, themselves – are attacked.

These should be the ordinary rules of discourse, and it says something unsavory about the state of public discourse that they are now considered extraordinary.

Alexandra saw the nomination of The Alito as The Coming of the Apocalypse for the Left – perhaps it is – but I don’t think so.

I think the fact that the left yesterday made a swift turn away from Alito’s nomination to continue working on their ultimate scheme to Impeach George Bush for whatever reason they can find (they’re hoping it’s because “he lied about WMD!”) indicates to me that the left is only half-hearted about smearing Alito and destroying his nomination.

Today, Dana Milbank, in a stunning display of self-unawareness, called him a nerd. The left is also calling him a “draft dodger” but that’s a charge that resonates with no one, since our 42nd president was one. And Alito, didn’t actually dodge the draft, he merely, like JOHN KERRY, enlisted in the RESERVES.

If all the left is going to do is call The Alito a nerdy draft-dodger, (even if both charges are patently untrue; a man in a baseball uniforn cannot be a nerd, and a man who enlists in the reserves cannot – as John Kerry proved – be a “draft dodger”) then their hearts are clearly not even in the game. They are looking to fry a bigger fish, and he’s just bait.

Can the blogosphere engage in useful, constructive discourse regarding Sam Alito? Or, for that matter, George W. Bush?

Maybe. If everyone is willing to stop spinning (which just distorts the world) and treat true facts as true facts and not as malleable possibilities, or as dismissively unimportant asides.

I don’t know if it is do-able, but I applaud Alexandra on the right and her co-horts (Michael Sticklings at The Reaction and Moderate Voicers Joe Gandelman and David Schraub, from the left) for even scoping out the possibility and taking it all on.

I will say, it is a very hopeful sign for the blogosphere – for all of the blogosphere – when a blogger is able to pull himself or herself back from an edge and say, maybe I am going overboard, as The Political Therapist just did. It makes me think that there is a glimmer of possibility – that what Alexandra, and Joe, David and Michael may actually be able to pull off this experiment in internet diplomacy. All it takes is, first, the barest glimmer of humility – within everyone involved.

I will be watching with keen interest. I haven’t yet decided whether or not I can participate. Mostly because I do not yet know what I could add. Check out Alexandra’s musings, and see what you think.

Redneck Peril admits he is struggling with it As I say, this is going to be very interesting, and possibly, very useful and constructive.


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