Did you catch Miley Cyrus triumphant comeback last weekend on Saturday Night Live?
By CINDY HOEDEL
The Kansas City Star
Me neither. I saw one more disturbing display of a 20-year-old swinging her half-bare derriere at the camera and sticking her tongue out suggestively. The performance is no less lewd if the 20-year-old is pretending to be Michele Bachmann.
And lewdness isnt even my main objection to the skit, in which Cyrus and SNL cast member Taran Killam portrayed Michele Bachmann and John Boehner doing a trashy rap dance to celebrate shutting down the government.
Handed a major political storyline, SNL responded with third-grade underwear humor instead of the barbed, smart satires they used to traffic in.
When did political discourse in this country devolve into personal attacks and insults?
When Tina Fey and Amy Poehler skewered Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, they didnt have to strip and twerk to score wicked-funny points.
Neither did Will Ferrell and Darrell Hammonds classic send-ups of the presidential debates between George W. Bush and Al Gore sink to tired shock-value stunts.
Of course, liberals arent the only guilty party. At last weekends California GOP convention, one vendor, who apparently failed to get the memo that Republicans are sinking faster than the Titanic among women voters, was selling a crude sexist button making fun of Hillary Clintons body shape.
The San Francisco Chronicles senior political correspondent, Carla Marinucci, snapped a photo of the pins. That set off a Twitter storm of protest that sailed around the world and back before damage-control workers could find the offensive pins and get rid of them. (Heres a tip: Patrol the merch before you open the doors.)
The responses on Twitter and Facebook included plenty of insults flung in the opposite direction.
Liberals and conservatives both traffic in disrespect, but they use different vernaculars.
Liberals put lipstick on their insults, tarting them as compassion for the obvious and lamentable ignorance of anyone who disagrees with them: If you were just smarter, better-informed, not so easily brainwashed, you would see the wisdom of our position.
Conservatives like it a little more rough-and-tumble and direct: OBAMACARE! is a versatile response to most any statement with which they disagree.
Both sides are quick to draw personal insults out of the holster: Hillary Clinton is ugly, Sarah Palin is stupid. John Boehner is evil, Barack Obama is a dictator.
When did we get so scared of different opinions? When did we become so needy for consensus?
Our Founding Fathers didnt come unglued in the face of dissent. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison had major philosophical differences about democracy and government, and they didnt question one anothers intelligence or patriotism.
No matter what the issue abortion, gun control, the Keystone XL pipeline our country will be much better off if we all start from a baseline assumption that we all love our country and we all have a right to any opinion.
Or, to quote a really bad pop song by Dave Mason: There aint no good guy, there aint no bad guy/Its only you and me and we just disagree.
Heres a selfish reason to embrace the whole spectrum of opinions and political beliefs instead of telling off people who dont agree with you: You learn a lot more from people who see the world differently than from people who agree with you.
Conversely, you miss out on so much by insulating yourself from different perspectives. The funnest people at your next party might be the ones with views opposite yours on guns or windmills.
Trust me, I speak from experience on that one.