jump to conclusions mats for everyone!!

FOXNews reviews Fahrenheit 911. Here's an example quote from the review. "It turns out to be a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail."

This review is interesting to me, kudos to FoxNews for being unbiased enough to give the film a good review despite all the partisan rhetoric that they are normally accused of spreading. For the last few weeks, but especially in the last few days, I have heard a litany of people either praising or trashing Michael Moore. They have had very strong opinions, one person even called him, in a room full of people at a party, a "piece of shit." Others have said things like, "I'm proud of him for standing up to the administration." The interesting thing about these people, and the difference between them and Fox, is that Roger Friedman actually saw the film before having an opinion about it. Everyone else seems to have purchased a "Jump to Conclusions" mat.

I have not seen the film. I may go see it in the theater, I will probably at least make an attempt to go see it. For all I know, I might walk out not so happy with Moore. However, one thing you will not read on bump.net tonight or any night until I see the film will be a review of a movie based on a guess.

To me, the troubling thing about this is that it is not an isolated incident in a sea of healthy politics. Things have gotten downright vitriolic in political discourse in this country right now. People from both the left and the right seem hellbent on winning this year, and, at times, they seem like they wish to do it at all costs. The victim of this type of attitude is debate. Disagreement and discussion are healthy, they allow people to see both sides of an issue, to rethink their position and to come to a stronger, more informed position. I just don't see this today. It may be that the people I am surrounded by happen to be a particular type of person, with their minds already made up about November, but I doubt it. I see the same sorts of things, the kind of burnt turf mentality, on the various Internet discussion forums that I read regularly.

The times in my life when I have had this "win at all costs" approach to an argument or issue, I may have won the argument more times than not. In every single one of these cases, without exception, I have paid the price for that approach. I could enumerate these mistakes here, but there is no point in exposing a litany of personal failures to make my point. We need to get to a healthier discourse. I would be interested in hearing others opinions about this, be they from the left, right, or moderates like myself.

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