Michael Totten

Things Could Be a Lot Worse...

In response to some of the obnoxious kvetching in the comments yesterday beneath what was perhaps my only domestic politics post in all of 2006, Double-Plus-Ungood (a Canadian) wrote in the comments:

To a foreigner, [Democrats and Republicans are] practically identical to begin with. Most nation’s political landscapes are diverse, from fascists to marxists on the ballot.

Heh, no kidding.
If you sincerely believe American politics is extreme or even diverse, just look at Lebanon’s ballot. That thing is all kinds of crazy. You get Baath-aligned Christians, socialist Druze, libertarian Sunni, terrorist Shia, and literally everything under the sun in between ranging from eminently reasonable democratic liberals to totally unhinged political maniacs. The American system is a Borg cube by comparison.
Think we live in a total surveillance police state? Go to Libya! Ask someone in a crowded room what he or she thinks of Colonel Qaddafi. Watch him or her twitch. Then ask the same person in private. Listen to what they say about being hauled off to prison at midnight. Compare and contrast with America.
If you think Birkenstock-clad leftists in the cafés of Berkeley are soft on the terrorists, try listening to what gets said in the cafés of Cairo.
These are some of my points of reference. How could it be otherwise? I’ve spent more time in the Middle East in the past twelve months than I’ve spent in America.
American politics is just so bizarre to me now. The general consensus excluding the far-left and the far-right is almost total. Makes me think of the Leave it to Beaver era. But if you read the comment threads on LGF or Kos it looks like we’re heading toward civil war.
This is the fifth reason (I cited four yesterday) why I prefer to write about other things.
Up next, a far less acrimonious subject — storm chasing in Arizona (with photos, of course).