Friday, February 20, 2009
What's In It For ME?
The frankly ugly spectacle of CNBC's Rick Santelli on the Today show this morning, calling for debate on the government's mortgage crisis intervention while screaming down anything anyone else had to say was a chilling reminder of the power of the outraged voice of personal grievance in this country. If you shout ME! ME! ME! loud enough and often enough you expect to get your way. This is the bully tactic of those radio talk show hosts (and, I have to say, fellow bloggers: this was "the most emailed moment in the blogosphere") who have managed to amplify Santelli's me-first voice to fever pitch. It's a call that resounds in the United States Congress, in the halls of the state capital in Sacramento, and elsewhere. My great fear is that we have lost all sense of mutual, civic responsibility in America, and that Obama's efforts to revive it may come too late. The fabric of our civility has worn very thin indeed, and if we allow it to shred further, it will not be only our economy that falls apart. We'll all be headed for the cliff's edge. I hope I'm wrong.