The longtime chief executive of Intel, Andy Grove, used to refer to “inflection points” as the “time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change.”
Inflection points can apply to other things as well, including politics. In our county, we are in a political transition— going from red to “purple,” I would argue.
Some examples: The county voted for Obama and Charlie Brown in the last election; it elected a liberal, Tom Anderson, as a judge in our county; and a community-wide grassroots uprising nixed plans to privatize our county library system. The number of registered Republicans has been declining, too.
The “reds” — now manifested as the Tea Party Patriots and wearing red T-shirts, no less — are fighting to hang on to their political power in our county as the voting patterns change. They are getting a “free ride” in the local press, many people are observing.
In fact, some readers here note that The Union is being called “Tea Party Gazette” around town for its own obvious political bias, as it embraces the status quo — a not-too-bright strategy when it comes to inflection points, as I’ve written before.
The Internet has paved the way for change: It is providing new online voices, once monopolized by radio and print. Just check out the growth of NCVoices — our community’s “de facto” blog, news and commentary aggregation site.
Nowhere is the pain of change more apparent than on the community blogs.
I’ve been interested to note that the Tea Party Patriot supporters often are unwilling to sign their names — more so than the “blue” commenters here.
“This voter is MAD AS HELL! http://tinyurl.com/teadoff,” a guy named “Tea Party Jim” wrote on this blog on the weekend.
“It seems that to make pariahs of the Tea Party group in the way this it is being done is well neigh trying to deny them freedom of speech,” wrote another, who would only identify himself by the name of an animal in the forest. “Would you be doing such a diligent effort to discredit Greenpeace if they had any affiliation with business or labor groups? This is assuming, of course, that you still agreed with their stances.”
Turns out, I recognized the email address, and asked him to post his real name — absent some personal attacks that were included in the post. But he declined, preferring to remain, well, an animal.
Besides being nameless, the “reds” are getting nasty — all a sign of struggling with our political inflection point, AKA change.
Over on his blog, ultra-conservative blogger Russ Steele has called some commenters here — who do sign their real names — “mentally ill.”
In fact, in this case, many of them were making astute observations about Aaron Klein’s endorsement of a county-clerk recorder candidate (Barry Pruett) in a county he didn’t even live in. Klein, a trustee at Sierra College, hadn’t met the incumbent, either.
Despite Aaron’s protests, many people — including some community leaders — saw it as the same old partisan politics and were disappointed.
To his credit, this blog seems to have helped open Aaron’s eyes. He has had coffee with some “blues” and “purples” in our community — Anna Haynes, Greg Zaller and Michael Anderson, among others — to discuss things. That’s a benefit of requesting that people sign their names.
Meanwhile, Steele and George Rebane — who angered some people when he used the derogatory term “raghead” on his blog — are so infuriating some of The Union’s readers that they are calling for a “boycott” on comments there, suggesting that they occur in some other forum
The Union’s commenters still include people with names like “Redneck Farmer” and “Dirtmover,” hardly a way to encourage civil discourse.
This June’s elections will no doubt bring out more online rancor, but I suspect the outcome will reconfirm our “purple-ness.” Stay tuned.
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