Here’s one of the major problems with the American political system. We measure a politician’s pre-election success primarily by his ability to whip his listeners into an ecstasy of high-flown patriotic sentiment, to the point that we seem to vote for the most exciting candidate rather than the most qualified, or the one with the best ideas.
This is frustrating to me. Do we not understand that (soundbytes that elicit cheers from huge crowds) < (intelligent ideas skillfully presented by a qualified person)?
And here’s where I love Jon Stewart, really: despite the fact that I largely don’t agree with him about politics, I love that he’s encouraging people to turn off the caps lock and stop trying to fit their entire political philosophy onto a t-shirt or a protest sign.
I think it’s a good word for pretty much everyone, honestly. I’m not saying that you should cherish your political opinions with less fervor. I’m not saying you need to become more politically moderate. I’m just saying that, if the people you get your political news from make your blood pressure rise more than they make you think deeply and critically, you probably need to shut the TV off and read some Rousseau or something.