Now, the title of this post. What jerks do is drown out decent, civil argument. Jerks hate Sarah Palin for what she is, and what she does (or hasn't done) is a means to fuel their hatred.
Non-jerks, on the other hand, can discuss the whole thing civilly. But that's getting more and more difficult. Because you don't want to give ammo to the jerks. You know what I mean?
In the past eight to 10 years, the intense partisanship that has so characterized our culture has gotten more and more malevolent. Most people in the 80s and throughout the 90s could care less about politics -- at least that was my experience. Sure, there were a few who were interested.
But in the past 10 years, it seems that more and more people are talking about politics and have passionate feelings about politics one way or the other. It's really been a change in our culture, and not one for the better. And there's been a lot of shouting and a lot of hatred. Most people used to dismiss politics -- "Hey, they're all crooks" -- or "I'm independent, I vote for the candidate, not the party." But we've seen a deep fault line in our culture.
That's one thing that will beneficial if Obama wins. Since 2006, partisanship has dropped a little bit. Democrats, in general, scream louder when out of power, and it makes it difficult to hear. Since they took control of Congress, the Dems have been a little less agitated. With Congress and the presidency, they should calm down even more. Unfortunately, it's a little like getting demons to shut up by giving in to temptation ...