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New research suggests that we’re making ourselves sick over politics (unl.edu)
123 points by elorant 19 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 222 comments

Just turn on most TV news networks.

It's the Apocalypse about everything all the time. Everything is tied together. You've got "experts" willing to make dramatic statements about anything at all. It's always "those people" causing something.

Nobody sets any context. No real information is presented. It's just paranoia and panic made to hook people into watching more.

I always have this fantasy where I start my own TV news network and it's "just news". If the topic is complex like something about the separation of powers, we do a little intro to that, then the news. I'm not sure it would be popular, but at the same time, i'm not convinced it wouldn't be considering the competition.

> It's the Apocalypse about everything all the time.

I just catch-up on the news once a week to avoid thinking about it too much. Yeah, there's madness, but a lot of it is beyond my reach. So, it's not really helpful for me to hear about what's going on more than once a week.

> I always have this fantasy where I start my own TV news network and it's "just news".

PBS News Hour tends to do this pretty well. The experts they bring on usually do a good job of just discussing facts and describing common stances on all sides.

Part of your complaint has to do with the deregulation of the news industry, historically. In 1987, the FCC fairness doctrine was eliminated: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCC_fairness_doctrine

It's no mistake that it gave rise to a massive number of pundits under the guise of proper news outlets.

> I just catch-up on the news once a week to avoid thinking about it too much.

For most people, you can probably stretch that. Catch up once a month, then catch up once every three months, then six, or twelve. Most people I've spoken too feel much better when they just quit "news".

I have mixed thoughts about it, myself. I like to keep up, but it is refreshing to turn everything off a while.

Also reminded me of this, a Lukas Nelson (of the red-headed stranger stock) song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2lild9nfps

Everybody likes to keep up, that's why drugs are addictive ;)

I found that "news" (as in non-local stuff) doesn't matter to me. I cannot do anything about the things that are happening, whether or not they happen changes my life very little (i.e. "whatever party is elected, my taxes are going to go up"), but they do weigh on my mental health. Just like with cigarettes, knowing that they're not good for you isn't enough to stop smoking though, and just because I've stopped before doesn't mean that it's easier to quit this time.

Even with the local news there is rarely any actionable information. So that isn't worth watching either.

If your city was hit with a terrorist attack or mass shooting is your boss going to let you have time off work because you don't feel safe? I doubt it, it's back to work as usual.

True, I meant superlocal news as in "there's going to be repairs on the street by the church" and what stores are closing down or opening up. I only get those from our local govt site and some private blogs, the local newspaper has changed hands a few times and is now just one outlet of a large corporation that runs the same articles in hundreds of local papers.

Oh wow. My local news (CityTV Toronto, disclaimer—have done some work for them before) covers hyper local stuff like street closures, transit closures, major construction, other incidents and success stories as well as overs a range of national and global topics. It’s not bad that way at all.

Sadly a lot of smaller town local papers across Canada have been bought up by National Post much like Sinclair Media did with small TV stations in the USA. Some independents still persist but the numbers grow fewer...

I've thrown out the TV years (it'll be decades soon!) ago, so I don't know whether the local TV channel in the metro area where I live is doing something, but from what I remember when I still had one, they did not. And I get it too, the costs to provide hyper local coverage would be immense. Maybe there's a chance for a mix of citizen journalism with more polished & professional distribution.

I've dropped it completely except for once every four years, on presidential election night, at a bar, with opposing networks on TVs right next to each other. Great entertainment!

> I just catch-up on the news once a week to avoid thinking about it too much.

How do you do that? We used to have a good selection of newsmagazines that summarized the week's news and utilized the ability to more deeply dive into issues to great effect. They've all devolved into gossip rags, AFAICT. The only exception I know of is The Economist; and they've got an unabashed bias they put into things. That's refreshing than the hidden bias everybody else has, but it makes them not a great sole source.

What I notice the most is that on 24-hour news stations, everyone is yelling. The correspondents, the pundits, even the anchors at times. Regardless of one's opinion of NPR's content, the tone of their news pieces is nearly perfect.

NPR does pretty well. They do tend to get whipped into a bit of a frenzy when interviewing Republicans about various Trump antics (most recently this Ukraine thing).


Specifically this interview [1]

[1] https://www.npr.org/2019/09/27/764969584/many-gop-lawmakers-...

Yes, they hardly ever are forced to talk about the existential crisis we face and instead take human interest angles on the people experiencing the early effects of it. It's a very effective way to pander to people's desire to feel engaged without letting on that they may be next.

And it's true, they hardly ever point out how unlawful the president is, but occasionally his reps come on to suggest that asking "a favor" of foreign leaders to try and manufacture smear stories about upcoming political opponents come on they get fussy.

>If the topic is complex like something about the separation of powers, we do a little intro to that, then the news. I'm not sure it would be popular, but at the same time, i'm not convinced it wouldn't be considering the competition.

I have a similar wish, where political news is mostly just civics class.

I tapped out on political news and conversations because it's become sports for people who don't like sports. Well, it's actually worse than that. At least people obsessed with sports know the ins and outs of the rules and can rattle off statistics. I was having an discussion with a couple news junkies that knew all the talking points and fashionable positions of their preferred team. Somehow it came up in conversation that nether of them knew the three branches of US government. WTF am I even doing with my time?

>it's become sports for people who don't like sports

I like this description. I think it really does capture the mentality of most politics type people.

I do wish it could somehow better communicate the intensity of the politics mentality. Because it's not just, say, Michigan wanting to beat Ohio State. Because in sports fans of both teams realize, deep down, that this has to be done on the field. By contrast, the political types don't have these sorts of limits. If you're perceived to not be on their side, they'll kill you while you're shopping at walmart or playing bingo at church or something.

For the politics type people, it's not just what happens "on the field", so to speak, it's a more all encompassing "sports" fanaticism.

re: 3 branches of goverment. harsh :(

I try to think about those "fashionable positions" within the context of what i know about the structure of my government (the USA), and perhaps what I'd like to see it be instead.

There is a lot of bad faith argument, which is exhausting.

It would be nicer to see more of the principle of charity; but at a certain level of feeling aggrieved I'm not sure it's a reasonable expectation.

You sort of already have this with NPR, right?

No really, NPR softballs most of the ridiculous things we're seeing in the US right now. Rather than focusing on the very real humanitarian crisis of US border detention camps, we instead hear human interest pieces about how difficult it is to be a lawyer there (as the lawyers desperately try and send a message for help that is calmly ignored).

News about the new reality of plastic-contaminated water? Nah, let's instead focus on the legal drama of the lawsuits.

Climate change is real, sure, but for NPR the real challenge is that it's tough being a climate change scientist and how mean people can be to you for just reporting the science.

And I haven't even gotten to the political stories or the foreign policy stories.

NPR is all about re-interpreting everything about the uncertainty of the next 40 years within a lens of urbane detachment and disinterested compassion. "Just the news," without any mention of the existential crisis that you call panic."

It's why I use the BBC as my primary news source. They actually have articles explaining complicated topics.

(Politics rant) I really got sick of CNN and Colbert in the first year after Trump was inaugurated. Everything was about Trump, Trump, Trump to the exclusion of other important news. It seemed like every other day some CNN reporter did a hatchet job trying to make Trump look like a moron instead of just reporting facts. Where's the real news? The hatchet jobs didn't change anyone's opinion of Trump, they just played to their audiences' biases. (/Politics rant)

I stopped paying any attention to politics years ago and I'm a person who coordinated and planned 2 campaigns in my local state.

It saddens me that a large amount of people are stressed and consumed by a process that they have very very little impact on. Unless you live in a select few states, your state probably gets 2 electoral votes for your senators and a few more based on your district size. If you live in Montana, Alaska, North or South Dakota then you're getting the minimum of 3 electoral votes.

It's really more about outrage culture at this point I think. I actually wonder how much harm is done by the election process in how it makes people think problems are being debated or solved when no legitimate debate is taking place and no real solutions are being implemented.

Also, it doesn't matter which political party you are on.

If you're a "left" leaning person who wants socialized healthcare, we never really got that. We got something that had some of the same words and ideas, but in the end nobody could actually go to a doctor without wealth being a large factor.

If you're a "right" leaning person you probably want a smaller government that spends less and we never get that. For every reduction in law hundreds are added. One step forward, 99 steps backwards.

It's actually the people in the small states whose votes are disproportionally powerful, since Wyoming voters elect the same number of senators as California voters and everyone's house district is within an order of magnitude size wise.

New Hampshire gets ridiculously outsized attention in election years, as a small state, early primary state, and a swing state. Truly the trifecta and probably the state where an individual's vote matters the most.

As for the last couple paragraphs, as someone who possesses an ideology I am disappointed I don't always get my way, and live in my utopia. But as someone who is aware others possess contrasting ideologies, I am glad I don't live in their dystopias.

We have a system that encourages compromises, including very ugly and unjust compromises, as a way to avoid one side winning entirely and establishing a totalitarian (or anarchist) state.

People seem to appreciate this less than they once did, but haven't done anything really to change it yet.

People forget the U.S is a democratic constitutional republic. The federal government is not the humans government. It's the governing body for the States. Hence the reason for the electoral college and the way States are represented. Each state [government] has an equal voice in the Senate (and were represented by the Senators prior to the 17th Amendment). The house had a proportionate representation because it is ultimately the humans who have to pay for the running of the federal government.

The president it the head of the day to day operations of the government. They are supposed to faithfully see that the laws passed by Congress are executed properly.

And this is why most policy should be relegated to the states. But try making that argument and you'll be branded a nutty conservative.

But really, the states have always had the authority to do what people nowadays want the feds to do. Universal healthcare? The states are allowed to provide that. universal basic income? The states can do that too. Lower the drinking age? Yup, states can do that.

No one needs to wait for the federal government to 'approve' or 'allow' your state to do something. The states have ultimate, pretty much absolute authority.

There is no consistency of political philosophy.

If you want to limit access to abortions at the state level you are a nutty republican.

If you want to limit access to firearms at the state level you are a nutty democrat.

Or replace nutty with heroic depending what single issue you support.

Just because they technically "can" doesn't mean they actually can.

Universal healthcare requires high buy-in and very different systems from what we have now.

Drinking age is tied to necessary federal highway funding, so states aren't going to lower the age.

>Drinking age is tied to necessary federal highway funding, so states aren't going to lower the age.

Federal mandates for funds exist because the 17th amendment took away State governments representation and handed to popular human vote. Few Senators faithfully representing their State would pass mandates telling their own government they must comply or not get money. They'd likely get removed or replaced with someone else by the state government that put them there.

> Universal healthcare requires high buy-in and very different systems from what we have now.

States can regulate all of them. They are under no requirement to follow federal policy. In fact, they can even erect pretty substantial border controls (like California does) and send armies to protect their borders, if they really want to (yes this has actually been done outside the civil war).

For example, California recently 'threatened' to start universal health care. I'm unsure why the news framed it this way given that it has always been california's right to provide free health care to its citizens, and no one can really legally stop it. Perhaps California cannot raise enough money to do so, but that is an issue of feasibility, not legality. It's not like the feds would magically be able to raise money that California couldn't.

> Drinking age is tied to necessary federal highway funding, so states aren't going to lower the age.

Um sure, but states are not required to take federal funding for highways. That's like saying 'Aunt Irma requires me to send her a Thank You note whenever I ask for her knit sweaters', while neglecting to mention that you actually do want the knit sweaters because they keep you warm and cozy.

>Lower the drinking age? Yup, states can do that.

The federal government passed a law in 1984 stripping states of their highway funding if they didn't put a floor under the drinking age at 21.

> The federal government passed a law in 1984 stripping states of their highway funding if they didn't put a floor under the drinking age at 21.

That doesn't actually change the fact that states have every right to change the drinking age. Obviously states do not have a right to federal government funds. However, if a state doesn't care for government funds, they are free to make their laws as they please. The feds have not made it illegal for states to do so (and they couldn't even if they tried).

I would really suggest responding to my comment as stated. I said:

> the states have always had the authority to do what people nowadays want the feds to do

Nothing about the contingency of federal highway funding takes away from the fact that states still retain the authority to set drinking ages as they see fit. The feds have the authority to spend their money how they see fit. That's how this whole thing works, believe it or not.

> People forget the U.S is a democratic constitutional republic.

Honestly I'm not sure who forgets this, considering how this point is brought up any time anybody wants to criticize the electoral college (as far as I see, anyways).

Regardless of why it is the way it is, in my opinion the electoral college is an absolute garbage implementation of a federal election.

Some states are vastly better represented than others because of "swing state" game theory. A third party is not viable except as a spoiler.

States are incentivized to implement first past the post voting from a game theory PoV because if you're a swing state you want to stay a swing state as it is financially and politically beneficial, and if you're not a swing state you don't want your solid blue/red state giving up even one delegate to the opposing party.

On top of that, the entire goal of the electoral college was that we would vote for electors we trust and those electors would handle voting in a President. Yet we don't even do that, we vote for a presidential candidate and an elector is chosen to carry that vote out to the national level! Presidential elections are poorly implemented direct democracy masquerading as federalism.

And of course you would get down voted.

I mean, you might have a philosophy that says that's what the US is.

In practice, none of those details are really true anymore.

> If you're a "right" leaning person you probably want a smaller government that spends less and we never get that. For every reduction in law hundreds are added.

Actually, under Trump government finally did get smaller. Maybe not cheaper just yet but we absolutely DO have fewer laws today - a LOT fewer. Trump promised to repeal two laws for every new one and he basically did do that.

One way to measure the amount of regulation is by counting the number of pages in the Federal Register. In 2016 that metric hit an all-time high of over 95,000. Under Trump, it dropped to and has remained below 70,000.




"Under Trump, there has also been a substantial reduction in the number of rules and regulations published within all those Federal Register pages.

The Federal Register closed out 2018 with 3,367 final rules in all. The only lower count was 3,281 under Trump a year ago, which was the lowest count since records began being kept in the mid-1970s."

One thing that I see making the situation worse is the lack of common cause and identity. There was always party division, but the other side was still seen as your fellow Americans. Today, not only is there an opposing side, they are seen as an enemy that must be totally annihilated. If we continue down this road it's going to be disastrous because it's going to leave no room for dissent inside or outside politics.

I'm not saying that Americans never disagreed, war'd with each other, etc. That's not the point. The point is that we're losing that belief in an American ideal that helps keep us together while we debate our issues. The more divided we are, the more we'll be ripe for the picking by those who never cared about America in the first place.

It's not just TV and social media, but a belief that America should be a hodge podge of cultures united by nothing but an empty consumerist culture. It's pretty hard for things like forgiveness, giving the benefit of the doubt, and seeing each other as human beings to actually work in such a place when there are political interests that benefit by having those principles eliminated. A hostile, low trust society clicks more ragebait and gobbles more food to combat depression.

> The point is that we're losing that belief in an American ideal that helps keep us together while we debate our issues. The more divided we are, the more we'll be ripe for the picking by those who never cared about America in the first place.

I'm not sure that either side cares about an America that includes "them". The right doesn't care about an America that includes people who want to change their genders or marry their same-sex partners. The left doesn't care about an America that includes people who want their religion to influence their politics, or who want to have guns be part of their culture.

I know people who married their same-sex partners and own guns. Not only can the two sides live together, they can live together in the same person. But for some reason, only the partisan bickering gets attention.

The idea that "gun ownership" is the actual axis of contention between the "left" and "right" is pretty wrongheaded, though? I feel like both of you are drawing a straw man of both centrists and conservatives.

Here's a better one: how many people do you know have a relationship that survives one partner wanting and abortion and one saying that abortion is murder?

That's a strong division, but if you're nitpicking, that's not "the actual axis" between left and right either. There are a lot of pro-life Democrats and pro-choice Republicans (almost 30%) [1], although once again the media makes it look strictly partisan.

Perhaps the problem is that the media presents a distorted view of the world, crafted to serve their agenda and their advertisers.

1: https://news.gallup.com/poll/170249/split-abortion-pro-choic...

There is absolutely no doubt that media portrayal of some issues is distorted. But this isn't what the example was focused on, it was focused on the notion that antipodal partisan couples exist around some of these issues, and I submit you're going to have a hard time finding any that do.

The idea that there aren't hard fault lines in the American political discourse is itself a media distortion as well, primarily driven by pro-State media.

And in fact, your view of the world is outdated. Faith as an intermarriage agreement point is down substantially as people care less about religion [0]. Partisan divides are rising as folks start feeling freer to express more opinions [1], we see that data suggests partisanship is rising.

Increasingly, women are not required to accept a politically opposite husband (a clear trend in the data prior). Without their forbearance, who is going to form these unions you're used to seeing?

I'd like to point out that the idea that, "Well the media distorts things therefore none of this is real" is an absurd premise that is largely used by privileged people to ignore the suffering and difficulty of others, using the excuse of ignorance without mentioning its self-inflicted.p

[0]: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/06/02/interfaith-...

[1]: https://www.people-press.org/2017/10/05/the-partisan-divide-...

I don't think that leereeves was saying that none of this is real. The point was, this isn't 100% (which you would likely conclude from the media). "This is not 100%" is not a claim that "this is 0%", though.

I think suggesting this is somewhat immaterial. The idea that outliers existing invalidates a trend shouldn't be compelling.

Is it even a trend, outside of partisan activists and journalists? For most people I know, "are you left or right wing?" isn't a priority when choosing dates or friends.

I linked a data source about this. Perhaps you should inspect it.

Perhaps you could point out the specific result you're talking about instead of asking me to search for it in 20 pages of unrelated questions.

Perhaps you should look at this very thread a few posts above where I linked it in footnotes.

I simply do not believe you cannot find it, as it is in this very thread and I know that HN is rendering it to you on the same screen.

Feigned helplessness is pretty obvious here. Please just walk away if you don't want to continue in good faith.

Partisanship has dramatically increased in our lifetimes. BusinessInsider released a nice little video of an graph overtime of who voted with who in the U.S. House of Representatives. There used to be lots of people who voted together despite being in different parties. That's basically stopped:


How much camaraderie should someone really be expected to show for an opposing party that actively opposes their human rights and remove regulations protecting the environment? A hostile low-trust society might be justified for the time being, and likely was previously too.

It can be justified, just as nearly anything can be justified under the right conditions. Whether present conditions, contrasting our current state with the state of the past, warrants such political lengths to divide people is questionable.

Considering that they, like you, think they're right, you can at least grant other human beings the same dignity you wish to receive. Obviously, everything is subject to the situation but, from a big picture perspective, viewing yourself and others as fallible, as opposed to a Hollywood-esque fight between Good and Evil, is a greater exercise in humility. Like pulling the trigger on a gun, hostility and rejection should be a weapon reserved until there isn't an alternative.

If you think there's no hope for a common understanding with Republicans(I think it's safe to assume that's whom you are referring to), then I guess all I have to say is that's kind of sad because I'm sure that you have family and friends who vote Republican(whether they tell you or not); why associate with them at all if you think a low-trust society is warranted?

Think of it this way. A Republican might say:

"How much comaraderie should one really be expected to show for an opposing party that actively opposes America as an individual nation, wants to impart an economic structure that's been disastrous in other parts of the world, embraces censorship, participated in proxy wars and knowingly murdered civilians with drones, uses minorities as political tools, hates white people, expanded the surveillance apparatus, and wants to take our guns away?"

I know some imbecile is probably going to take that hypothetical quote as being my own position and attempt to argue every one of those points. Save your breath, whomever you are, because that's not at all what I'm claiming to believe.

Whether they are actually right or wrong, they are Americans who, like you, care about the destiny of the country. That's where your camaraderie begins. If it ends there too, then too bad, but not having that common understanding is dangerous and useful to anyone who wants to control the masses.

Hear hear. One thing missing from our society is a venue where people are forced to defend the opposing viewpoint. Instead, we have polarized news and twitter tribalism. I have often thought about ways to disrupt this. For example, a podcast where the people involved switch between role playing right and left viewpoints (believably) every ten minutes. Crude, but demonstrates the point.

The healthiest and best immunization one can have in this kind of environment is to avoid internalizing their identity as belonging to one of the two “teams”. It’s nearly impossible to find commentary these days that is objective and not agenda-driven — currently those who are performing the daily mental exercises to avoid the trap of slipping into tribalism must do so internally and without expressing their views: anyone who is not a member of either tribe will be considered the enemy of both.

Oliver Cromwell said it best: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

> Considering that they, like you, think they're right, you can at least grant other human beings the same dignity you wish to receive.

I find it ironic to see this kind of shit peddled on Hacker News, containing the hive mind that will eat up anyone who disagrees on certain topics (such as anti-vax).

My response to your comment can probably be summed up by asking if you're familiar with the paradox of tolerance [1]. I can be civil to people actively working to remove the rights and safety of people like myself, but I do not accept that they have earned my camaraderie.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

John Rawls provides a vocabulary for talking about these issues. In Rawls view, society consists of "reasonable citizens" who want to live in a society built on cooperation and are willing to abide by rules if necessary to do so. Each reasonable citizen has, as a matter of course, a "comprehensive doctrine" which is the full set of beliefs and opinions they hold on all kinds of things: if aliens exist, which TV shows are good, when it's OK to lie. Reasonable citizens can (and usually do) disagree about many aspects of their respective comprehensive doctrines; however, they can acknowledge an "overlapping consensus" formed from just those ideas that almost everyone in the society agrees upon. For example, Americans generally agree that it should be legal to watch TV. Now, an reasonable citizen can believe something very strongly (such as a specific conception God) while acknowledging that since a large number of of citizens of the same society do not hold the same belief, it is not part of the "overlapping consensus" of their society. This overlap consensus must form the foundation for any agreement.

Rawls gives examples of things that should be part of the overlapping consensus for society to function, such as public standards of inquiry and public values. He proposes the following rule:

> Citizens engaged in certain political activities have a duty of civility to be able to justify their decisions on fundamental political issues by reference only to public values and public standards.

All of that is just background. You can read a summary of Rawls on SEP[1], or his book A Theory of Justice.[2]

Given all that, we can see how things might break down. In order:

1. A citizen may not be reasonable. Jeffery Dahmer would qualify. He does not want to live in a society with rules and justice: he wants to rape and eat people.

2. The citizens of a society may differ so much that their overlapping consensus is empty, or too small to serve as a foundation of anything. If all we agree on is that the sky is blue, but disagree on democracy vs. monarchy or which end of the egg to eat, then we will not be able to form a society.

3. We may agree on much, but not on those key topics like public standards of inquiry. If one person believes that matters of fact should be decided by a unanimous decision by a jury of peers, while the other believes that only confession under torture can be trusted, the two will have a difficult time agreeing on a legal system.

When things do breakdown for one of the above reasons, "civil discourse" is not really possible. Other kinds of discourse are still possible, but these will be more like hostage negotiations or the arguments that precede a divorce than any kind of idealized notion of civil discourse. Which is to say, the tools required for understanding these conflicts are rhetoric, game theory, and psychology, and not political theory or ethics.

[1]: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rawls/#ReaCit

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Theory_of_Justice

Since you seem highly educated, may I posit a question, and this isn't a challenge but a genuine exploration into your commentary. What happens when we enter with "identity politics"? For example, how does A and B engage in a topic about big vs little government if A is nonbinary and takes 'ze' pronouns, but B continually insists on referring to A as 'he' and believes that A is mistaking mental illness as gender identity?

Or, similarly, how do A and B discuss going green vs economic prosperity, when A is wearing a T-shirt espousing that black people were better off as slaves and B is a black person?

Classifying that situation is an interesting little puzzle with many judgement calls. The discussion can't take place because the two parties are using fundamentally different languages - A is asserting that in order to respect A the dialogue must take place in A-language. B is asserting that in order to respect B the dialogue must take place in B-language.

Making the language of communication a negotiating aspect strikes me as an almost rookie error; both sides surely have something that they care more about than wobbles of air that make up sound. The first person to compromise on language will probably have a slight advantage in any following negotiation, because they started with a respectful concession and can reasonably ask for something in return. Eye on the prize, and all that.

The usual issue with identity politics is that there is a move to compel a specific language without acknowledging that for some people that represents a compromise. Typically the compelling is to be done on behalf of people who look like power-seekers and likely authoritarian. Not the sort of people who it is a good idea to give power to; they aren't negotiating types.

In both your examples, the offense being given is orthogonal to the discussion at hand. If the offended party can look past the offense, the conversation can continue. Otherwise, it can't.

Actually, there's two ways this can go. One is where the offender is being a jerk; the other is where the offended is being a jerk. Civility and good faith go a long way, on both sides.

(How, in your first paragraph, would A be the jerk? I have literally never in my life encountered someone who wishes to use the pronoun ze, and when I do, I'm probably going to have a hard time remembering to use it for a while. That doesn't make me a bad person, toxic, or a jerk. It makes me a person with a lifetime of ingrained habits about how pronouns work, and it may not be easy to change that after being told once. If A regards that as hostility and offense - worse, if A is actively looking for offense - then we may have a hard time having a conversation. If A can recognize good faith in failure, and just smile at people who take a while to get it, then we're fine.)

(In my example, I specify that B refuses to use A's requested pronoun.)

My question then becomes what happens then civility has already broken down? Say, I think "cunt" is a terrible word to call someone, and my cohort in a discussion is from a region where it's a fairly normal word, like "jerk". As we discuss, my cohort uses that word as normal, and I take severe offense, causing the discussion to break down as my cohort also doesn't wish to "cater to" me. Now what, are we just doomed to never be able to discuss even random other stuff like chocolate vs vanilla ice cream?

I'd say that a reasonable person could say, "Where I come from, that's a really offensive term. Could you not keep saying that?"

If they just keep saying it, it's clear that they don't care. That tells you that they aren't a person interested in meeting you halfway. I don't need to discuss chocolate vs vanilla (or anything else) with someone who's willing to deliberately offend me.

But if they forget once or twice, and say it, not because they don't care that it offends you but just because it's become habit, and habits don't change instantly, then cut them some slack. Your words that you say by habit that offend others aren't easy to stop saying, either.

But if you're so busy "taking severe offense" that you can't respond like a reasonable person, then maybe you're the problem. You almost certainly are if you're enjoying taking severe offense. (I know, nobody ever admits to it. But I suspect that some people do, and if they were honest with themselves, they'd know it.)

[Edit: Missed your first paragraph. Refuses is different from forgets to. Again, though, it may not be that simple. If B forgets once, a hypersensitive A might label that "refuses". Or, B could really refuse, but claim "I keep forgetting" when called on it. Those two scenarios look fairly similar - you probably have to read tone of voice, facial expression, and body language to know.]

I see, so, pushing to the extremes here and I wholly acnkowledge I'm doing so- what do you do when A is in a position with B where B informs A that B does not care if A is offended, but also if A stops engaging, B proclaims that A isn't listening to them and therefore it's A's fault?

"With those who will not listen, it is useless to have a conversation." A should say something like "I deny your interpretation of the events of this conversation" and walk away. There's no point whatsoever in continuing the conversation. B isn't going to listen; B isn't going to argue in good faith; B is just there to score points.

Will B regard that as a "victory"? Sure, but there's nothing A can do to change that. Will B claim that A isn't listening? Sure, but there's nothing A can do to change that. The only thing A can change is how much aggravation and abuse A has to put up with. So A should just walk away.

The Paradox of Tolerance was penned in a work started in 1938 after the Nazis invaded Austria, and finished it in 1943. And it was written by Karl Popper who was of Jewish ancestry. This should get the setting (though not yet the context) to this, his entire quote:

"Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.—In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right to not tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal."

His words have been brutally twisted in contemporary times in part because many of the words connotations have changed over time. In particular Popper defined an open society as one "in which individuals are confronted with personal decisions" as opposed to a "magical or tribal or collectivist society." In an open society individuals debate and discuss among one another remaining critical, yet tolerant, of one another's views. In a closed society one believes what they're supposed to believe or what their collective believes. And running afoul of the collective is met with ostracism or other form of punishment.

And this is exactly what his quote is hitting on. It is speaking of philosophies that are intolerant of other philosophies. And where instead of meeting words with words, words may be met with violence. It is these sort of philosophies for which Popped espoused society has an obligation to remain intolerant for they end up becoming mutually exclusive to any other philosophy and trending towards violence and authoritarianism.

His words were not suggesting intolerance of anything except [insert political view]. Quite the opposite - they were suggesting intolerance of any view which starts to place itself about debate and skepticism; especially to those views which trend towards responding to such skepticism or debate with violence.

This comment is a walking caricature of the thing it's seeking to justify.

Lots. Don’t you have a racist uncle? While racist relatives are difficult to be around I think it teaches me to understand how I can love a person who has some really abhorrent beliefs.

Similarly growing up with lots of siblings teaches you to live with someone you really fight with.

So for me I can serve and love someone even if they want to remove regulations protecting the environment. I disagree strongly with them but still say hello in the grocery store and help them change a flat tire and buy popcorn when their kids go door to door.

Everyone needs to stop being so hypocritical. If we all started practicing what we preach more often it would go a long way. We need more objectivity and the ability to consider ideas that run contrary to our beliefs without feeling insecure.

from shortly after our first civil war until relatively recently, we could say to ourselves and say that our hodgepodge of cultures were not mutually exclusive. coexistence with these other cultures was a benign fact of life, something that added a bit of color to the american panorama. while contacts between these cultures were not always comfortable for everyone, at a minimum the presupposition of good will and the realized expectations for a favorable standard of living smoothed over any faultlines without much effort.

over time, however, the centrifugal forces holding america's cultures began to weaken. economic growth stagnated, and economic gains became concentrated. at the same time, social issues that may have enjoyed "agree to disagree" status became matters of moral imperative as a result of political stratagems seeking to generate firmer voting blocs. eventually, our cultures had little to distract themselves from the fact that coexistence meant the perpetuation of major injustices by their own standards.

and so, we arrive at the present. our divisions are not reconcilable, nor is coexistence an option moving forward because coexistence requires subjugation of each culture's primary socioeconomic and moral directives. i would prefer a peaceful separation of the two major blocs in the US because that would allow each of the blocs to realize their desires without being held back by the other half. even if there is a major set of reforms which can precipitate revitalization of the american spirit, reconciliation will probably be impossible.

> One thing that I see making the situation worse is the lack of common cause and identity. There was always party division, but the other side was still seen as your fellow Americans. Today, not only is there an opposing side, they are seen as an enemy that must be totally annihilated. If we continue down this road it's going to be disastrous because it's going to leave no room for dissent inside or outside politics.

This is just ignorance talking.

> I'm not saying that Americans never disagreed, war'd with each other, etc. That's not the point. The point is that we're losing that belief in an American ideal that helps keep us together while we debate our issues. The more divided we are, the more we'll be ripe for the picking by those who never cared about America in the first place.

Yes, the Whiskey Rebellion, the Civil War, Jim Crow laws, the ongoing South Revivalism, the Ludow Massacre, the failed Hearst Rebellion, the LA riots, and the Charlottestown demonstration kinda put a pin in the shiny red balloon of your idea.

But also, books like White House Burning go into detail on quite how intense historical political conflict has been in this country. It is not a "new" state of affairs. It's just that there was an incredible wave of prosperity from WW2 right up to the 90s that so much of our country grew complacent on, so that the only real arguments were on foreign policy.

I suppose also with the USSR disintegrating, America essentially never really recovered the idea of a true rival which it could convince itself justified political excess. Most of America is just not really able to accept the idea that China is that rival and the hypothetical Islamic Unified Super-Invasion never really happened.

> It's not just TV and social media, but a belief that America should be a hodge podge of cultures united by nothing but an empty consumerist culture.

People say this whole economic-and-trade-based-culture is empty and consumerist. And maybe it is. But the prior culture was essentially unchecked imperialism and a towering belief that freedom was only achievable at global scale via American intervention. Even if that meant short-term tyranny.

So maybe the "we build shared infrastructure for survival, comfort and prosperity" isn't so bad after all.

> It's pretty hard for things like forgiveness, giving the benefit of the doubt, and seeing each other as human beings to actually work in such a place when there are political interests that benefit by having those principles eliminated.

Well if you'd like to see who gets to experience that I'd suggest you read any recent story about a white man raping a young woman. They certainly experience this in spades. Maybe you can work out how the do it.

> A hostile, low trust society clicks more ragebait and gobbles more food to combat depression.

Millennials eat less though on average.

Snark aside, America has always been a land of thinly veiled violence in our rhetoric. You're not wrong that neoconservatism and neoliberalism have failed to establish a national identity, but that may be a sign of impending doom or a cause of real problems for real people. It may be because in an information society the entire concept of a national identity is dowdy and uncalled for.

We dumped the "land of opportunity" precisely because of the political climate. We both were on H1B visas, and our green card is already filed (for both of us), but the whole anxiety drove us nuts and we just moved north of the border where they welcomed us with a red carpet with permanent residency sent at our doorstep! My friends were saying we were crazy, to leave a great job, house and all but I couldn't think of myself being a slave to the whims and fancies of some American politicians. We are so much happier here :). I used to think I want to move south once there is a immigration friendly government but the more I live here the less I want to move back.

Exactly this. I have seen dozens of highly qualified, kind, intelligent people who wanted to contribute in the US leave in frustration because of asinine immigration rules.

At some point people need to wake up and realize they actually have very little control over what the government is doing.

How long have we been talking about fixing healthcare? 20 years now? Nothing changes. And Obamacare was not a fix, just a way to shut up the population.

How long have we been demanding an end to endless wars?

How long have we been demanding actual action on climate change?

What happened when crimes of the government are exposed by Assange and Snowden? We punish the whistleblowers!

What was the end result of the Panama papers? Nothing.

What about the elite being engaged in pedophilia on a massive scale? What’s that, Epstein committed suicide and the prison staff won’t cooperate in an investigation? Carry on fine citizen, nothing to see here.

None of these things will change because the elite are enjoying the status quo. Now proceed fighting amongst yourselves over <insert social wedge issue here>.

No, no, no, no. Most decisions that impact your life in the US start at the city level. You CAN get involved and make a difference. It all starts there. Don't check out.

That might have been true until state governments realized there's nothing to check their power on local governments, and started passing legislation to severely hinder what a city can actually do. And then use gerrymandering and veto-proof majorities to allow the desires and biases of conservative rural districts to ride roughshod over the desires of more liberal cities hundreds of miles away.

I live in North Carolina, home of the HB2 "Bathroom Bill" and restrictions on cities not being able to pass more comprehensive anti-discrimination laws than those that exist at the state level. And not being able to alter their voting systems (implement IRV or approval voting) even for city elections. And not being able to apply for certain federal housing or transportation grants without the state General Assembly's approval. And not being able to stand up municipal broadband. And...well, you get the idea.

The real tragedy here is how invested millions of people are in national-level politics, yet ignore city and county-level politics which actually has the biggest impact on their daily lives. And that's where the average person realistically has the power to actually make a difference.

It's really sad to think how much progress we could make if those same people who are so outraged about Trump or whatever on Twitter were just as passionate about their local government.

Actually, it's even more granular than that. Want to shape the future? Get on the school board. Then you get to affect what an entire generation learns.

>Then you get to affect what an entire generation learns

I don't think you've ever been on a school board.

In a lot of places, there are federal and state standards that effectively dictate what children have to know. So if that state test or whatever has no relativity theory on it, but lots of low end classical mechanics problems, then guess which one the high schools in your district will spend pretty much 100% of the time teaching? Everyone from the school board members, to the school teacher, to the high schools themselves will be evaluated, publicly, when the results of those tests are released. (Some schools may even be taken over by the state or shut down if the numbers are too poor.)

Most places they generally don't take chances on spending class time on topics outside those the tests focus on, it's just too risky the way most states have structured their laws. I wish I knew some kind of a way to push back against test centric thinking in education, but it's too ingrained and there's too much riding on it. At the end of the 12 years the kids have to take the ACT in most places, and heaven help you if little Jane or Johnny doesn't do well enough on it.

I always thought that if you really want to influence what the next generation learns, you should join the company that makes the tests, not the school board.

Actually there is a single school board in Texas that saw fit to mandate children's science textbook (for the entire country) to include "creationism and intelligent design" (i.e. God) together with evolutionary theory.

And like any other positions of real power, you need money, some campaigns for school board are multi-million dollar election campaigns.

Are you kidding me?! Here in Chicago we have enormous financial problems and every year that goes by brings us further away from even attempting to fix those problems. The streets are falling apart, crimes go unsolved, pollution goes unpunished. The candidates for mayor are always first chosen by the elite, then put on stage for the public to select. It’s a joke.

If anything, it’s even easier for the powerful elite to control local governments. Look at all the polluted water flowing through lead pipes across the country — what’s happening about that again? Excuse me, time to print some money and give it to the banks in another nightly “repo operation”.

You probably don't remember Chicago in the 90s if you think things are getting worse.

the financial numbers are clear: both chicago and illinois are done. they are losing people yet adding debt, and they are not sovereign so have limited means of dealing with it. .gov will probably need to step in (federally) but this sets a real nasty precedent for the rest of the US + economy. it's certainly not getting better from a fiscal point of view.

Chicago, and by extension Illinois, are too central to the regional economy to go under. But feel free to continue believing that.

The improvement in Chicago is due to people fleeing government subsidized suburbia.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think this is a good illustration of the news dynamic.

Everyone has their own opinion.

Everyone lives in a world where "everyone I know agrees with me on this!"

Everyone is stressed because maybe some others disagree.

And then we all fall into a pattern of engaging in almost meaningless arguments about these issues with each other. Causing even more stress.

I think what the above exchange demonstrates is that unfortunately, "politics", or whatever you want to call it, really is stressful and contentious to the point of being dangerous to society even at the local level. It's amazing how big this problem is.

In America, we all bitch about politics, give up, and wonder why things suck. Meanwhile people are protesting quite vigorously, in HK, Paris, all over the Middle East a few years ago, etc. If we want the change we're looking for, we need to get in the streets and disrupt daily life for everyone until we collectively get what we are demanding.

America is just way bigger than any of those countries/cities; and we also know that, historically, American protestors have had significant difficulties organising themselves in a manner that is representative of the interests of the people who they have managed to rally.

Watching you edit this, this went from a rant I thought it might be worth responding to, to flame bait.

I hate the defeatist attitude and rewriting history as if there hasn’t actually been incredible progress on so, so many fronts.

There are interesting and important discussions to be had here, but not from this starting point.

Perhaps you can start by naming some progress that has been made? I see very little.

Poverty is at an all-time low worldwide: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/19/world-bank-global-poverty-ra...

Crime is at an all-time low: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-02-12/pssst-...

There are fewer hungry people today than before: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/06/01/4112650....

In terms of warfare, the world is the most peaceful it's ever been (full-scale, high death count wars used to be fought every decade or so between major powers): https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/06/war-is-killing-fewer-...

While true that, cumulatively speaking, the United States has pumped out the most greenhouse gas of any conutry, it is improving faster than other countries. In the past decade, the United States has cut 11% of it's GHG emissions:



Just because things are better now does not mean that they are good. Ask the poor, hungry, and war-torn if they think things are fine, there are millions of them.


You are changing the goalposts. Please stop.

The comment did not ask me to cite statistics claiming that the world is perfect. It merely asked for citations to statistics indicating the world is making progress

I responded by offering solid data naming several metrics indicating that many outcomes that people find desirable (less poverty, less hunger, etc) are indeed closer to being achieved today than before.

By definition, if something is getting better, it was not perfect (which is what you are asking for), so nowhere in my claim did I say or imply anything about the world being 'good'.

On a separate note: We shouldn't use ill-defined terms like 'good'. There's no objective definition of what a 'good' world would look like. For example, many philosophers have argued the world is indeed good, despite the existence of all kinds of pestulences, plagues, and natural disasters. The key in understanding them would be understanding in what sense they use the word 'good'.

The realization by the masses that they have no control over their own lives is the progenitor of revolution. Do the beneficiaries of the status quo understand the resentment they are building? History has shown they seldom do until it is too late.

To accomplish those things, you'd need to elect people who want to do that. Good luck with how the Senate is elected, and the electoral college.

It's not "the elites", it's who people are voting for.

> Politics are impossible to escape

That's a bold claim to put in the title but I believe it's generally true unless you're in a position to not have to directly deal with paying taxes (homeless or so rich that someone else deals with it for you).

I would consider myself to be extremely unpolitical. Honestly speaking I don't even know who my state's mayor is, I never voted and I don't listen to the news. I simply don't care about any of that stuff because I know as an individual it's close to impossible to change anything due to how politics work in the first place (it follows money not popularity).

However, when it comes to paying taxes or health insurance penalties you can't avoid thinking about or dealing with it and it's stressful even in those short doses of having to deal with taxes a few times a year (quarterly taxes).

Or if you have kids in school/college, family/friends/colleagues burdened by the health system, stuck in immigration limbo, who can't afford housing, kids who want to live above 40 or not get shot at in school, etc :)

It's actually pretty easy to change things. A few think-tanks actively invest in propagating this idea that it's impossible to change things, because lower voter turnout works better for them. Local elections have even lower turnout, therefore giving a lot of power to those who can participate in the process.

Sure, federal politics are further away. If you feel alienated by that, start by your municipal politics, attend counsel meetings, join a local political party and their meetings (their nomination process might only have 20-50 people actually picking your next candidate).

I'm in Canada, which is a bit different, but I have participated in a lawsuit against our provincial government (regarding software purchases) and presented myself as a candidate in municipal elections. And trust me, I have little background for that, but it helped me get better acquainted in the processes and I'm pretty happy on how it nudged a few things forward.

> I know as an individual it’s close to impossible to change anything due to how politics works

A society that fails to participate in their representative democracy is destined to lose it.

Voter apathy is one of the greatest existential threats to our society, hands down. Voting is one of the easiest, smallest commitments you can make as a citizen.

Activism certainly isn’t for everyone, and many aspects of the American political system are designed to systematically discourage voting and participation, but that’s not a valid reason not to exercise your basic voting rights. Nothing in our system of government is guaranteed.

> as an individual it's close to impossible to change anything

This is actually not true at all. A small group of determined people is often able to affect large changes. Here's one thing I managed to do in Italy, a country where I'm not even a citizen:


The most effective way to never change anything is to cynically decide that it's impossible and not even get involved.

>I simply don't care about any of that stuff because I know as an individual it's close to impossible to change anything due to how politics work in the first place (it follows money not popularity).

Lori Lightfoot became the mayor of Chicago with 1/6 of the funding of the top fundraiser, and 7th most funding overall. You should participate in your local elections, your vote matters.

Bill Daley $8,741,434.81

Toni Preckwinkle $4,608,041.90

Gery Chico $3,024,652.09

Jerry Joyce $2,784,410.00

Susana Mendoza $2,748,365.91

Willie Wilson $1,612,681.16

Lori Lightfoot $1,537,456.53

Paying taxes is not politics. Being stressed about that is just the same as being stressed about any other personal administration task.

> Paying taxes is not politics. Being stressed about that is just the same as being stressed about any other personal administration task.

I think it's very much related because as soon as you talk or think about taxes you immediately correlate it to forcefully giving the government a large amount of your hard earned money.

And now it becomes political because you might not see directs benefits of that, so now you wonder why you pay so many hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxes over your life, but there's potholes in your neighborhood for years that could break a car's axle and thieves are breaking into houses with police who don't care enough to solve the mystery, all while you continue to pay some of the highest state tax in the US (percent wise).

And it snow balls from there. You begin to wonder why so much has to be spent on things you don't necessarily agree with and before you know it, you're ruminating on this stuff to the point where your heart is racing and you want to move to a private ungoverned island.

Thinking about stuff like that is super disappointing / demoralizing to me, so I try my best to avoid it as much as possible. I know avoiding bad things is usually terrible advice but this is one case where I'm more than happy to not play the game or only play the absolute bare minimum to enjoy my life the best I can.

It is politics in a literal defacto way of supporting it more than literal open rebellion of the "rather be in jail than support this". Said position is very radical and has seldom been taken much less effective. I think the closest example I heard of involved the Japanese Burakumin's simple request to not be called a euphemism after their excluded enclaves instead of a slur which translates roughly to "an abundance of filth/defilement" in exchange for paying taxes after they were previously shunned even from that. Ironically said outcast status was apparentlynonce a /privledge/ or blessing apparently.

Anyway It is so embedded into the norms that it is uncontentious and a divergence is considered "political". So objectively concretely true but perhaps not connotationally in the same way an uninduced miscarriage is technically an abortion and including all miscarriages in abortion rate statistics would be considered deliberately misleading without explicit characterization that the technical sense was meant such as tracking all pregnancy end conditions by percentage.

You may not be interested in politics but politics is interested in you...

The effect of the 24x7 news flow is to cause "learned helplessness" in the masses.

>"Learned helplessness occurs when an animal is repeatedly subjected to an aversive stimulus that it cannot escape. Eventually, the animal will stop trying to avoid the stimulus and behave as if it is utterly helpless to change the situation. Even when opportunities to escape are presented, this learned helplessness will prevent any action."


How did we get here? Is there any evidence that the consolation of old school media into a few companies is contributing to this problem? Over the last fews years we've gone from 50 companies owning 90% of the news companies, to only 6. I recently heard about this consolidation, and I can't help but think this may be contributing to the issue, but I haven't seen any evidence either way!

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_cross-ownership_in_the_U...

No kidding. This current situation goes beyond simple policy disagreements, but goes right to the heart of whether the US president is above the law or not. As a consequence, are there any checks on his interference in our elections? How's democracy going to work out if there aren't?

I'd like my kids to grow up in a democracy, and this deterioration is really f'ing stressful.

(If you're one of those "but it's a Republic, not a Democracy!" people - save it)

Take a deep breath. Despite what you may see on TV, it’s not the end of the world.

“whether the US president is above the law or not”

Think of the situation as a poorly defined edge case. The Constitution does not say that laws don’t apply to the president. However, the president has constitutional duties and powers that the other branches have no power to interfere with. So, in some situations the net result may be that the president IS effectively above the law.

But don’t get too upset yet. The real check on power is the ballot box. Presidents only get 4 year terms. And in emergency situations Congress can impeach.

Let the system work itself out, and don’t become overly emotional. It’s not something important like baseball or whether your kid can read, it’s just politics.

Even though you're getting downvoted it's worth expressing this over and over. But we're dealing with an entire cross-cutting section of society that magnifies every problem into a crisis, so it'll almost never be received well.

The constitutional checks and balances are definitely relevant and vital here, but it's worth noting how distorted they've become. Presidential power has been elevated in practice, but it's also been mythologized. Most people have idealized the role beyond it's traditional standing, and this lends itself to degrading the rules and scope of the role itself.

Congress is supposed to be a body of deliberation, but due to party politics has devolved into a purely political sphere of battle. So Congress is complicit with enabling the president to act beyond the circumscribed boundaries that are constitutionally defined.

But the same people complaining about the current abuses were very much complicit with elevating the presidency to demigod status (congress giving up war powers was the most important elevation of presidential power imo).

I feel like you didn't "read" the study, but were studied...


why Joe (by his own admission) extorted them into firing the prosecutor


Please reconcile your post with WaPo story. Or something. I'd quote something from the article, but it's right there in the slug!

(Biden can just go away for all I care, I just wonder where you are getting your analysis from…)

So how many other corrupt prosecutors did Biden get fired or even investigated if he was so worried about corruption among foreign governments prosecutorial staff? Actually, why was he so worried about it at all? shouldn’t it be Ukraine’s problem to solve? We know how much we didn’t like Russia interfering here

Like I implied above, I don't care about defending Biden.

My point is that the narrative that Biden personally got that particular prosecutor fired is false. Especially if you want to cast the firing as improper.

My point is that Biden said he personally did, so not sure why you’re choosing to dispute that. https://youtu.be/UXA--dj2-CY

Yes, he delivered the message. This is different than him having a stranglehold on US government policy.


No one can downvote replies to their posts.

You're not the only person who thinks the way you do.

Here’s the video of Joe saying exactly that:


Here’s one example from today;

> Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin [the fired Ukrainian Prosecutor] testified that when he was fired in March 2016, he was told the reason was that Biden was unhappy about the Burisma investigation. [1]

> “The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors,” Shokin testified... [2]

[1] - https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/463307-solomon-these-on...

[2] - https://www.scribd.com/document/427618359/Shokin-Statement

Okay, all that's left is establishing that Biden was setting US policy contrary to the views of the rest of the administration (because that's what it would take for his role in it to be improper).

It doesn't make Hunter Biden look very good to be selling his name to foreign entities like that, for sure.

Your position is that Biden, on tape, bragged about getting the investigation cancelled, but he was exaggerating how big his role was, because it was the Obama administration policy to get it cancelled? I find that laughable. It sounds like you're looking for any rationale, no matter how far-fetched, to make Biden not have done what he clearly said he did.

Mind you, I'm a "both/and" kind of guy here. If it was improper for Biden to use the threat of withholding US aid to get the investigation cancelled, it is also improper for Trump to use the threat of withholding US aid to get the investigation restarted.

What I need to see, though, is something on Trump that's closer to what Biden said. Biden outright said he did it. Trump... if you read the transcript through "Trump is a horrible person" glasses, of course he's implying that he'll withhold US aid if Ukraine doesn't do what he wants. If you don't read it that way, though, if you don't assume that's the subtext, it's less clear that he's actually threatening.

He was describing an action he took as the Vice President while in a foreign country. That really doesn't establish his role in setting the policy, as one purpose of the trip would be to deliver the message.

There can certainly be evidence that he argued strongly for the policy, that he delivered the message says very little.

Even if everything were as you say (which I don't believe), it still would speak volumes that nobody saw a problem either with the message being delivered, or with Biden being the one to deliver it. Surely someone in the Obama administration understood the concept of "conflict of interest"... didn't they?

Maybe both of these things are bad if true? It's just that hyper-partisanship and making the senior levels of the justice system into political appointments have made it impossible to hold the powerful to account.

Well I think it’s definitely questionable to go on a fishing expedition without any evidence.

But I don’t think it can be bad to ask someone to investigate if a known extortionate action was undertaken for a corrupt cause when we have direct evidence that there was a large personal financial benefit received.

I fail to see what about my response was what about ism.

The OP asked if the President is above the law. Democrats are currently trying to impeach the President for asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. I think we are talking about the exact topic at hand, not some unrelated “what about”.

You realize that Joe Biden got a Ukrainian prosecutor fired by threatening to revoke $1 billion in funding, right?

Did he? When? Why are we only hearing about this now?

Here's the video footage of Biden admitting it: https://youtu.be/UXA--dj2-CY

The prosecutor was investigating Biden's son.

Cynically, because the people yelling about Trump are the ones who have the microphone right now.

It's unfortunately very similar here in the UK: whilst most people are 'getting on with it', there's an increasing amount of division and stress due to the whole Brexit debacle.

Brexit related stress is very real, especially for residents who are EU citizens who may be very long time residents but haven't ever thought of the need to get official residency.

"Settled status" is of little comfort when they look and see a PM willing to act unlawfully.

Dunno the brits that live in Germany can just get a unlimited residency permit without any fuss.

Unconditionally? This is absolutely not the case for the UK "settled status" fiasco.

> Brexit related stress is very real

and also for those that feel that voting has been proven to be pointless, and democracy a sham.

Um, Brexit is a big deal. It's so big that there is talk that we might see a united Ireland in our time, that's how big it is.

I agree it's a big deal. However I think the stress/division is coming from political rows and ill-felling more than genuine discussions on the UK's future relationship with Europe (and/or Ireland).

As there should be, the outcome of the Brexit negotiations will effect every day of your life as a UK citizen.

I blame the internet media for using easy click baity titles to get clicks. That's where the money is and one of the reasons we are seeing extremism happening on both sides.

The internet is allowing long format discussions that are great but the "legacy press" is struggling to adapt to this. They want to provide simplified summaries at a premium and on a time without news they have to make them up.

While there may be a magnitude difference (I personally suspect not) we have had click-bait's ancestor just from headlines.

Hard times seem to be a more reliable prediction of extremism really. In the WW1 eras before, during, and after major nations were having literal radical element armed revolution attempts.

> 22.1% admit they care too much about who wins and who loses

Recommendation: Stop framing it as "winning" and "losing".

Looked at from a different angle, the folks that get put into office get to decide who "wins" and who "loses" among the citizenry.

That'd be enough to give me some anxiety. What if the person that gets into office has enough political power to bring back the Pre-existing condition nonsense? That would certainly decide that my wife and I deserve to "lose" for being born with certain chronic conditions.

For us, it would hurt, for some people they may just completely "lose" their livelihood.

Just a thought.

EDIT: Wanted to make sure I mentioned that I agree with your initial premise.

Unfortunately, getting people onto sides is part of candidates plans and execution. People are being lead into this mentality on purpose.

I’d just be grateful if pundits and especially politicians would start referring to “opponents” instead of “enemies”.

I looked up synonyms for opponents and my favorite is "fellow contestant"

I think that the term "politics" makes it very abstract what we're talking about. If you substitute in some salient issue, like "jailing children", then it kind of changes the tone.

It's just politics -> It's just jailing children

People are ending friendships over politics -> People are ending friendships over jailing children

"Team Red" and "Team Blue" -> Team jail children, Team do not jail children

Your desire to replace the meta-discussion of "politics" with reduction to a highly-emotional framing of a pet issue ("jailing children") is an excellent example of why the politicize-everything mindset is so corrosive.


You can do it with healthcare too.

Team "spent 4 years attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with nothing" vs Team "Universal Medical Care for Everyone"

Or tax cuts -

Team "Gave trillions away via a big corporate tax cut" vs Team "Proposal to fund higher education via Wealth Tax"

Or environmentalism -

Team "denying there's a problem while the permafrost melts" vs Team "Wants to do something before society literally falls around us"

Or Treason -

Team "Has president in White House that literally asked Ukraine for dirt on his political opponent" vs Team "Holy Fucking Shit!"

It seems super frustrating dealing with articles that say that "politics" is stressing me out when really it's that the right has literally driven the country into the ground. What in god's name are they doing? We have a president that is literally laughing about killing immigrants days before a national shooting in Texas, who commits high crimes via Twitter, and worse! What Republican is speaking out against him? And they own the senate, so we've had 4 years of deadlock.

And that's just the United States! In the UK you have crazy Boris Johnson literally doing everything he possibly can to crash the country out of the European Union because no one was willing to work with Theresa May. God knows why as the effects for the economy (and Ireland for God's sakes - they have a border between Northern Ireland and Ireland that would have to go back up - and it could cause the Troubles again!) would be horrific. Probably because he has money on it somehow. And he attempted to essentially dissolve parliament that then unprecedentedly got thrown out by their Supreme Court and the entire thing is just a shit show.

And then there's Modi, and Bolsonaro is burning down the rain forest. The thing is the entire planet looks like it's having an attack of conscience and we could be looking at a breakdown of the global order. Things have been ok bordering on decent in most parts of the world for the last 50 years, as compared to the last 500 that preceded them. But we paid for the prosperity by consuming more than we should, and, as "stuff" starts to run out perhaps people are just no longer interested in sharing with others or playing nice.

That's a really scary thought.

I am not entirely familiar with American politics, but let me try to demonstrate why simplifications like this are stupid. Imagine someone making the following points, do you think it would be fun to argue politics with them?

Pro murder babies vs pro life.

Pro crime vs pro justice.

Pro laziness vs pro work.

Pro racism/sexism vs pro merits.

This compulsion to steer every discussion into simplistic partisan campaign talking-points is not good for people's mental or physical health, as the linked study suggests.

I hope you learn to disengage before accumulating too much damage.

Personally, I think it's more damaging that positions like, "Let's not lock children in cages", or "Let's actually listen to the scientific consensus on climate change rather than people paid by the oil industry" or considered partisan viewpoints. I totally get political fatigue, I'm getting really tired of all the shit going on too, but when pointing out the president blatantly committed a crime is considered partisan, the issue isn't that people talk about politics too much.

To see the problem, let me use your exact words, but simply change the issue to one you presumably disagree with: "Personally, I think it's more damaging that positions like, "Let's not murder children" is considered a partisan viewpoint. I totally get political fatigue, I'm getting really tired of all the shit going on too, but when pointing out literally killing kids is considered partisan, the issue isn't that people talk about politics too much."

I'm sure you see the problem now. I'm obviously taking a horribly slanted view on abortion and then framing the discussion under that slant. It's not only partisan but rather radically so. In particular, is the underlying causal issue a desire to "lock children in cages", or is it something else? Is the underlying causal issue a desire to "murder babies", or is it something else?

Beyond the partisanship problem, I'd also add that this is in no way conducive to productive discussion. Imagine I opposed abortion and came at you with that murdering babies nonsense. What is your response going to be? It's likely to be a mixture of knee-jerk emotion alongside a near complete dismissal of me as somebody who's probably quite radicalized. In any case it certainly would not lead to a mutually enlightening and well tempered debate. Yet this sort of speech is now becoming seen as something normal, and I think it's playing a very key role in both a lack of progress as well as an increasingly antagonistically divided nation.

Except, in the first case the underlying casual issue to Republicans separating children from their parents is their hatred and racism of asylum seeking immigrants. In the second case, the underlying issue to people who don't believe in abortion are often religious groups that have a history of persecuting anyone different than them, including the mistreatment of women and children.

Trying to state there are radicals "on both sides" just isn't true in degree or kind. We don't have radicalized left wing socialists shooting up schools. We just don't.

Do you think it’s possible that someone doesnt have hatred toward and wasn’t racist against asylum seeking immigrants yet still supports immigration control that results in children locked in cages? Do you think all ICE employees are hateful racists? Are all proponents of a wall hateful racists?

I think it’s hard to understand someone’s position when they are lumped into caricatures. Maybe there are other reasons. But setting up a world where people who disagree with me are all racists is a world where the people I call racist don’t want to talk with me. Yet we live in a world where they vote the same as I. So if I want them to vote my way, I need to understand them. To understand them, I have to talk with them.

No. Yes, yes.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

That poem was penned in 1883. Do you know what the federal tax rate was? No need to bother with brackets, as it was 0%. And the state tax rate wasn't much different. How did we pay for our programs for migrants and ensure they were able to achieve a decent and humane life? We didn't. There were some independent 'poor houses' which were essentially farms where people could put in a hard day's work for a hot meal and little bit of cash, but beyond that people were on their own.

The reason this is relevant is because it radically reshapes migration. It means that each and every person who came to this country managed to contribute to society and start earning a living, or they left. As a result of this each and every migrant was, at worst, a non-negative on society. They integrated, they contributed, and society was all the better for it.

Today society is much more humane, and that is probably a good thing. But it also means that each and every person who lives, or comes, to within this country can now be a net negative on society. And so this rather radically changes the calculus. It means each and every person who comes to this nation, if incapable of providing for themselves, stretches our society's finite resources that much thinner. Consequently, there is need for judiciousness and restraint if you wish for these programs, and our generosity, to remain sustainable.

Critical theory can generally be refuted pretty easily with a bit of critical thinking. Abortion for instance is the lower hanging fruit here. It's something that has nothing inherently to do with religion. You can find discussions of the topic dating back literally thousands of years ago in contexts entirely free of religions that held the view one way or the other. For instance Aristotle discussed the topic in his phenomenal Politics series in what would have been about 2300 years ago. See section 16 [1] :

"As to the exposure and rearing of children, let there be a law that no deformed child shall live, but that on the ground of an excess in the number of children, if the established customs of the state forbid this (for in our state population has a limit), no child is to be exposed, but when couples have children in excess, let abortion be procured before sense and life have begun; what may or may not be lawfully done in these cases depends on the question of life and sensation."

He quite obviously was not being influenced by a religion that still had a few hundreds years to go before it would be invented.

This is one of the critical problems with critical theory. You can always attribute some social issue to everything because social issues and society are so deeply interweaved. Religion is again the obvious example because, not that long ago, religion was ubiquitous in society. Consequently every single aspect of our history and culture has been deeply touched by religion. Because of this you can attribute nearly any behaviors you like to religion with facile, but not necessarily sound, logic. This is why it's always important to try to refute your arguments, rather than simply indulging them. Otherwise you just end up as a slightly higher brow version of a racist who is quick to attribute every flaw in a society to whatever group they happen to not like.

[1] - http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.7.seven.html

No, religions love the idea of an abortion ban, because it makes sex scary and not fun which means they get control over who gets to live and form an intimate relationship with who. Which religions love. Same reason they hate condoms - if abortion were really about the life of an unborn child then condoms and sex education would seem like a good idea. But nope! That leads to sexy sex which can't be OK, and apparently is worse than abortion.

We could go back thousands of years, or I could just point out the southern baptists standing outside colleges with signs against homosexuality today.

Or we could go back like 5 years when the entire country lost it's mind that two people with penises could live together and be called "married" by the state.

Because orthodox religious people in my country are cruel and like power. And they're very against abortion because they want power over people because in their own lives they are weak. At heart it's the same kind of hatred that's against immigrants - a selfish peevish little feeling that rears its head in order to make one seem better at the expense of others.

It's not that deep or hard to understand. We don't need fucking Aristotle and the Mystery Machine.

Don't you see the problem? You are taking one group and attributing that to the source of an ideology when the ideology predates the group, literally by millennia in this case. It makes no sense. In any case it's rather clear that religion is not the fundamental source of opposition to abortion. And you engaged in a similar fallacy for the rest of your suppositions.

> To see the problem, let me use your exact words, but simply change the issue to one you presumably disagree with:

Wow, when you change a sentence from something that is happening to something that isn't happening, the meaning changes! What an amazing rhetorical device that is.

It's not a talking point to say I'm scared for my country because my president is literally asking a foreign power to get dirt on his enemies.

Like, I'm worried here. This is bad, right? This isn't a simplistic partisan campaign talking point - I mean it shouldn't right? We should all have some basic values we all subscribe to, like a president should keep his oath of office and not torture kids. I'm scared we as a country no longer share those basic values because there's a lot of people who are just angry. And that freaks me out. I mean that's pretty normal, right?

> This is bad, right?

Both of the last two republican presidents started wars killing and displacing way more than anything Trump did, this isn't so bad compared to that.

The only significant thing this administration did was to ignore climate science, which is huge yes, but it isn't something new it is just normal american corporate lobbying. USA has been a major polluter for a really long time and hasn't really done much about it under any presidency.

> crash the country out of the European Union because no one was willing to work with Theresa May.

The possible was agree Theresa May's deal untouched, drop some UK "red line issues", remain in the EU, or no deal Brexit (crash out). That's it.

Except many didn't think that good enough, or it wasn't in Britain's interests (no kidding) and we've spent 2 years trying to tolerate them all indulging in this political act of national self-harm. Our international status is "laughing stock". Surprisingly, the impossible has not yet become possible!

EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, published a single slide in 2017 that summarises the whole mess well. CGP Grey has a video on this:


Imagine this from another perspective. Let's say you saw somebody trying to suggest that the abortion debate was about murdering babies versus not murdering babies. What is your response going to be to them and to such a notion? Of course it's foolish, at best. It is taking an extremely complex topic with significant nuance and then trying to distill down into the most emotionally charged, and deeply misleading, one-liner.

And it does nothing except drive emotional responses. It's not like somebody is going to sit there pondering, 'Wow, you know - I never realized that murdering babies was wrong. I agree with you. Thanks so much!' Obviously nobody supports arbitrarily murdering babies, nor does anybody support arbitrarily imprisoning children. The emotional responses you're going to get are not going to be productive. You're going to get love or hate. No discussion, no progress, no nothing except an ever furthering chasm.

By contrast if we frame issues as they actually are we can rationally discuss them with one another and perhaps point of things or ideas one side or the other had not considered. And even if we disagree at the end of the day, perhaps we can at least have some degree of understanding of why those we disagree with think in the way that they do.

You're demonstrating why friendships are ending over politics.

You can have an opinion without ramming it down your friends' throats at every opportunity.

I'd love to disengage, but at the same time there's a horrifying addictiveness to the whole thing. It reminds me of the early days of the Iraq war and post 9/11, except with no originating disaster this time. It's not just an online phenonmenon, talks about Brexit happen daily in my office.

I even got a "prepare for Brexit" ad on Spotify this morning.

Certain aspects of the ongoing soap opera that is Brexit do feel like a two-minute hate.

I’ve never read 1984, but the Wikipedia page rather unfortunately matches my own subjective reactions to some of the stories: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Minutes_Hate

I know that you have been rather dismissive of the idea that it could lead to civil war, but given the rhetorical choices of various celebrities, public figures, and so on, and given the details of various reports of violent conduct recently, I think it’s going to be as bad as a population-adjusted version of the Troubles regardless of which option is ultimately taken.

This is not why I have left the UK, but it does make me glad that I have left the UK. Even though I’m having difficulty disconnecting, it is definitely easier than it would be if I was still on the island.

> I think it’s going to be as bad as a population-adjusted version of the Troubles regardless of which option is ultimately taken.

I'm not seeing it myself; it's not even as bad as the early 2000s days of anti-globalisation riots. There's only going to be violence if the government manage to successfully order it before they get removed, or if they somehow manage to defy the Benn act and achieve No Deal. It turns out there's even a limit to how much Farage can openly incite violence before the police finally agree to take a look: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nigel-farage-...

The key is realising how much Brexit is astroturf. And Farage himself provided a nice demonstration by quitting UKIP and transferring all the attention to the Brexit party, thereby proving that it's his personal movement (with the aid of the newspapers) rather than a broader-based one.

"Horrifying addictiveness": I think that may be a good choice of words. I think people are becoming addicted to anger and outrage. And even for those who aren't (and I hope you aren't, even if you're in the midst of the Brexit craziness), the constant "and then what happened?" urge is like an addiction. But "then what" hasn't actually happened yet, and so we sit here, frantically hitting refresh, waiting for the next thing to happen.

I can do the same with HN. "There must be something new and interesting on there - better check again now." I need to break that, and I think it is worth breaking. (I say as I post this on HN...)

I really hope that soon we can start looking at these media companies in the same way we look at cigarette companies.

CNN,NyTimes,FOX,Twitter etc. want you addicted to their product, are EXTREMELY powerful, and are willing to damn your health for it. It’s really sad.

I've pretty much stopped taking in "the news", TV, internet even my home page is just a relaxing picture. Honestly, I feel way better and have realized how little "news" I need to know. Even on HN, I avoid political posts. Any news that I actually need to know comes to me via friends and family.

Personally, since I started limiting social media to maybe a couple times a week, stopped watching the news shows, and trying to read long form investigative pieces of news I've become both much happier and more well informed. It's also easier to avoid unwittingly becoming part of mobs.

Where can I find long-form investigative pieces?

PBS Frontline is a series of long-form investigative pieces.

This is why I've been practicing "strategic disengagement." Mostly, reading the news is not informative. Modern news is full of talking points pushed by whichever special interests are the best funded. It does not need to represent reality or truth especially well. The most important thing is not to tick off advertisers, owners, and the tribe of people that identify with the outlet.

And even if you could be truthfully and accurately informed? In a country of tens or hundreds of millions, these decisions are made by an extremely select few with vast wealth or great influence. I have met a few of these people and I know how the sausage is made. The rest of us are grist for their mills.

For most people, paying attention to any of this nothing more than rooting for their favorite sports team.

Take all of that effort you're pouring into politics, and spend it all on yourself. Enjoy.

this is exactly the kind of shit i come to hn to avoid

HN is a board for things that are interesting. It is not against politics. Sometimes politics is interesting.

On the front page, each article is really small. You can just skip past them.

Clicking on it and leaving a comment is not how you ignore it.

Better than that, each article on the front page has a "hide" button so you can remove (from your view) any that bother you.

My observations having lived through Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, is that it's always the end of the world. You always have people saying they lied or committed some crime or another and each is always so much worse than the last.The current one is always the legit criminal and the past ones are always forgotten.

The only difference now is we're willingly engaging in it 24/7. If you can escape it or not is one question but your reaction to it is entirely on you. You can let it consume you or you can choose for it not to.

Having exposed myself to a small circle of people on the internet with particular viewpoints, i've noticed politics is all i can think about lately. I can only imagine what it must be like to follow social media and have reactionary news articles thrown at you daily, something i've managed to avoid. It only makes sense that you chip off bits of your sanity every time you box yourself in with certain crowds and information feeds.

Don't trap yourself in a bubble, people.

I've just recently discovered it, but I'm a big fan of the work that Better Angels are doing to reduce political polarization in our society and help us communicate peacefully: https://www.better-angels.org/our-story/

I think it has a lot of potential to help with this problem.


Both sides raise money by stoking emotions - usually fear. This leads to a LOT of exaggeration of conduct, risks, etc.

The largest demographic glued to news channels is easily motivated to donate based on emotion and fear - our aging population. By way of example, most phone scams have fear-driven messaging and are targeted at this cohort.

Want to reduce your stress AND keep informed? Understand and accept that politics is foremost about money and getting you to open your wallet. Discount messaging on both sides as you would advertising for soap, a new phone or medication.

I don't want to minimize the impact of foreign interference here. Many countries seek to manipulate messaging, yes. Nevertheless - its the billions required for elections that drives the ugliness.

Imagine how stressed Americans will be when they finally realize how dire the climate and ecological crises are due to our inaction.

I’m be been alive for six presidents and the only thing that has had a direct and substantial impact on my life was Obamacare (it cost me a lot of money).

I was glad when Trump got elected as I thought in might cause real change. Not because he’s competent but because he’s an outsider and prone to doing things the establishment would never do. He’s delivered a mixed bag on this theory but I think a lot of legacy corruption has been exposed (as well as his new corruption).

It all stinks, but if you don’t follow the mainstream outrage machine you can live a happy life that doesn’t feel like near apocalypse every day.

> It all stinks, but if you don’t follow the mainstream outrage machine you can live a happy life that doesn’t feel like near apocalypse every day.

Unfortunately this isn't the case for your peers. Queer folks, for instance, are suffering violence and a steady attack by their government. Latinos likewise. There are many people whose lives are massively impacted by politics, even if they never turn on a TV.

I’m Latino and strongly disagree with this. Many I know support Trump and actually are rather conservative.

Sure. I'm queer and have never personally dealt with violence because of who I am. But my community is definitely stressed by politics. You are saying that politics has no major impact on the broader Latinx community that could cause stress?

If I may ask two questions:

* How did Obamacare cost you a lot of money? (Not trying to challenge you - just curious. It saved me money, FWIW.)

* Does the fact that millions of people got access to healthcare who didn't otherwise have this access have any impact on your life at all? (I.e. do you not care, does it make you happy, does it make you sad, etc.)

I'm genuinely trying to understand folks, and I think you may be one of them, who see things primarily in terms of the financial impact to them (as opposed to social/societal impact at large). If I'm wrong in that assumption, please do correct/enlighten me.

My premiums shot up 3X. I’m healthy and never even go to the doctor but I pay so much in health insurance that it’s one of my top expenses and has a major impact on my life.

I don’t feel I should be subsidizing other people to this level.

I beat you with a little Ford, but couldn’t agree more. Everyone needs to turn off Facebook and take a deep breath. The sun will come out tomorrow.

People are losing sleep over political issues?

Unless your livelihood is directly tied to the issue, that's bizarre to me.

It's not bizarre if it's affecting their relationships.

What is the solution?

I posted a link elsewhere in the comments -- check out the Better Angels organization. I think they're really on to something. They teach people how to talk about politics in a way that leads to a respectful conversation and consideration of each others views rather than a screaming match.

"On a political sickbed a people is usually rejuvenated and rediscovers its spirit, after having gradually lost it in seeking and preserving power. Culture owes its peaks to politically weak ages.”

Anyone guess who?

Bob Woodward was right. Much of the left is simply “unhinged” over Trump. Some of the antiObama stuff was bad, but the last few years have been pretty incredible.

Thus far in my life I have always voted Democrat, and have not been a big fan of Trump at all. But the word "unhinged" is a perfect descriptor. The cycle of outrage and self-righteousness is counterproductive. Even worse is that we now have people defending outrage, saying that "civil discourse" has been used as a bludgeon in the past to silence minorities and other oppressed groups. I get it, it has the ring of logic to it. But what's happening on Twitter nowadays is not the same thing as the sit-in lunches or freedom riders in the 60s. Not at all.


As a Latino I can say that you should not speak for me or others. I in no way feel “hunted” and neither do any of my friends or relatives. Please do not politicize my race.

That was me speaking for Latino friends and what they have expressed to me. I realize that is not everyone maybe, but I am sharing what I have been told and how the stress is impacting them.

You can probably let them speak for themselves.

I am happy to share a little more nuance on the subject with this community to further understanding and the conversation. Thank you for sharing your point of view on it too.

I think you're missing the forest for the trees here. The OP was using Latino as an example, whether they are actually being targeted or not requires another discussion.

That being said, I think certain minorities are unfortunately always politicized

That's a stress and feel of terror caused by the media and not by the act of terror itself. Look at the crime statistic and look at the crimes reported by the media. I'm a black man, if i were to lisent to the media, than i would've to be extremly afraid of white people but if i look at the reality in form of the statistic then i know that i have a lot more reasons of people within my own race. Black people are 13% of the population in America and yet make out 50% of the murders and a big portion of that crime is black on black. Criminal Gangs are a much bigger problem than the basically non existant white nationalists.

I think you’re right. I think both are a problem. One is a daily existing problem and the other is smaller but we still need to be vigilant to ensure it doesn’t become a significant problem. It’s good for everyone, black and white and everyone else because it allows cohesion and better cooperation and commonality of goals. At the same time, we should also actively work to lessen existing problems via opportunity and fostering environments that gets our economically disadvantaged kids of all backgrounds into a paths that offer ways out of dead end opportunities.

You are trying to argue logically when the reasons are heavily emotional. It is like trying to stick a round block in a triangle slot. Humans are emotion and logic, sympathy and empathy of why people feel this way is crucial if you want to have a conversation around it. We wouldn't be human if we all just turned off emotions and operated via strict logical statistics...

Yup. The anti-trans campaign has been ramped up in the British press especially. The question of intemperate language is becoming important again - MPs, especially women, are receiving an increasing number of death threats. But the government is continuing to escalate the "surrender" and "betrayal" talk.

Interestingly at least among Hispanics he had more support than Romney and some pols are predicting the admin will do better in the next cycle.

Truth is lots of Hispanics coming from dictatorial regimes identify more with Repubs whereas economic migrants identify with Dems more. They are not a monolithic political bloc.


I can confirm. I'm Chinese-American and I have to soothe my mother regularly, because she's worried about being deported (she's a Chinese immigant from China). I have to talk with my LGBTQ friends working in/for the government/government contracts and this reall stresses them out too.

I live in one of the states hugely impacted by the SALT cap. So my taxes have gone up, as well. It's a lot of little things.

"Attacks, vulnerable, incite, hunted, forced."

This is exactly the kind of divisive, exaggerated language that is the problem.

Latino's are on the brink of becoming the majority ethnicity in America, enjoy record unemployment, are a key player in family values, and are increasingly represented at the top of the power structure in the US. Conflating the illegal immigration dispute with ethnicity causes the problem.

At no time in history have Trans had more rights and acceptance than now. It's not a simple issue to put it mildly and there's going to be a lot of back and forth on how the Trans community integrates before its a non-issue. Celebrate the success to-date and progress to come.

Most conservatives don't care what you are. You be you and let us be us. We really want to be left alone to do our own thing.

> At no time in history have Trans had more rights and acceptance than now.

Crimes against LGBT appear to be on the rise according to FBI figures https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/06/28/anti-gay-hate-...

The general figures https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/hate-crime-statistics don't seem to suggest that there's an increasing acceptance of anyone.

There are more (visible) LGBT people though, so statistics should adjust for that. Comparing also the type of crime reported today vs fifty years ago shows a very positive trend, I'd assume.

> Most conservatives don't care what you are. You be you and let us be us. We really want to be left alone to do our own thing.

How does one get progress if everyone's leaving everyone alone? How do you end up with gay marriage if you're all just minding your own business? You don't. Everybody just staying out of each-others way only serves to maintain the status quo.

To elaborate, I have never felt targetted or fear because of the color of my skin, sexual orientation, gender, or so on. It is a somewhat foreign concept for me.

> I have never felt targetted or fear because of [..] gender

You should have - 77.8% of murder victims in the US are male: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homicide_statistics_by_gender

I don't think that is the same thing :). And, none of my white hetero male friends have feelings of being targetted or fear based on what I said. There is a big difference between stats and feelings.

> There is a big difference between stats and feelings.

Couldn't agree more.

It's not politics that people are getting stressed out about. It's fake news.

Let's call it for what it is.


Fake news from ABC being called out by the kings of fake news: CNN.



One of these articles is fake news.

Washington Post also likes their fake news.

Clinton questions whether Sanders is qualified to be president


Sanders’s incorrect claim that Clinton called him ‘not qualified’ for the presidency


One of these articles is fake news. It doesn't matter which.

The media is attacking and posting fake news about all sides of politics. This is not a new. The media has been feeding us lies forever, what has changed is technology. We are now catching them in their lies. We are holding them to account for their fake news and this has resulted in the media crumbling.

Fix the fake news, stop giving fake news agencies like CNN or washington post any attention and your stress will greatly reduce.

>It became apparent, especially during the 2016 electoral season, that this was a polarized nation

This article is quite biased. What today's liberals are feeling is what conservatives felt for the entire Obama administration. It's not new.


According to the Pew Research Center there is evidence that America has become more more polarized since 2016.[1] This is part of a decades long trend.[2] This polarization is happening on both a rational[3] and emotional[4] level. According to some other researchers, political polarization is at its worst since the civil war.[5]

[1]: https://www.people-press.org/interactives/political-polariza...

[2]: https://www.people-press.org/2014/06/12/political-polarizati...

[3]: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/05/republicans...

[4]: https://www.people-press.org/2018/11/05/more-now-say-its-str...

[5]: https://news.usc.edu/110124/political-polarization-at-its-wo...

Yep, same thing. Listen to yourself. You expect me to believe a) there's an objective measurement of a well defined term "political polarization" and it has also been happening for more than 100 years or b) US liberals made up some totally arbitrary subjective standard, applied their bias to it, and came out with "Thanks Donald."

You simply can't see it because of personal bias.

A lot to unpack there, so I'll restrict myself to a single remark: your suggestion that the polarization metric used in the last paper was developed post hoc in response to Trump's election doesn't match the publication timeline.

The method[1] used in the last paper has been around since the 80's and has been used to study polarization since at least the 00's. It's a popular method used in many papers; you can even get the raw data and code as an R package if you'd like to hack on it.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NOMINATE_(scaling_method)

[2]: https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/wnominate/index.html

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