I spend a little time each day moving from opinion site to opinion site on the Internet these days. It's not that I have a fantastic opinion on anything...I'm a social and fiscal conservative and am a fan of small government...but I like to see what's happening in the minds of others. I can honestly say that, after the past few months, it's not much.
The idea of "debate" in the USA meaning two sides coming together to rationally discuss a point on its merits, is dead. What passes for debate these days was known in the famous Monty Python sketch as "verbal abuse." A typical "debate" usually goes about one round before one side resorts to name-calling, profanity, vulgarity, or the trifecta of all three. Lincoln and Douglas were recently seen rolling in their respective graves.
I'm sorry to report that rational thought has been replaced by hatred. Honest opinion has been co-opted by partisan politics. Lively conversation...the Spaniards call it "la tertulia" where folks get together to talk about what's hot in the public eye...has been replaced by vitriol and ridiculous rhetoric.
I still need to get my news, but I'm seriously grateful for sports talk radio and ESPN these days.
Update: In order to properly illustrate my point from last year, I offer the loudmouthed-shout-down-conspiracy-nut Rosie O'Myword.