“The Contempt for Democracy” on Counterpunch

Check out my article in this weekend’s edition of Counterpunch.

  On Facebook, one of my friends made a good point:

When I read an article with prescriptive language like “hatred,” and “sycophantic,” I tune out. I think that’s emotional rhetoric. Emotional rhetoric, divisive emotional rhetoric, is part of the problem with our political landscape. I’m not telling you how to write, merely providing insight on how to retain readers like me.

Another friend made an equally good point:

I find that people often deploy critiques of ’emotional rhetoric’ as a way to avoid dealing with the substance of the rhetoric while portraying the speaker/writer as unhinged, shrill or irrational – typically i see this deployed against working and poor people, feminists, victims of sexual violence, black lives matter…all sorts of groups who have incredibly legitimate greviences. I’m not saying thats whats going on here, but its certainly something to think about.

Some readers might find criticism of style, besides the point.  I don’t think this is so.  How we word things, how a subject is framed and what kind of language is used to describe phenomena and prescribe solutions to a social problem is important.  Different writing styles can shape the attitude and mindset of the reader and even influence what the reader takes away, even if the factual information in an article is the same. So I thank both of my friends for bringing this to my attention.  I’ll likely experiment with different writing styles as I figure out what works best for me and my goals.

Another point of self-criticism:  I should have included more information about America’s professed support for democracy promotion.  This is probably the most visible contradiction between what elites claim they support and what their actions truly say.  Leaving that out, I think was a weakness on my part and I noticed it as soon as I sent it to Counterpunch to be published (oh well!).  But over all, I encourage my readers to take a look at the article and I’d be pleased to hear your thoughts.  If you aren’t familiar with Counterpunch, definitely bookmark that page.  There are lots of excellent articles posted daily on there.

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