Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Political scientists love to use the word “pendulum” to describe shifts in national sentiment. Not until last night did I realize how completely outdated and/or incorrect the terminology is. The image of a pendulum is one of effortless oscillation between two poles with only gradual change in intensity. Perhaps in days past, decades ago, this was an apt description. However, the longer I live the more I suspect that the pendulum view of political movements has never been particularly apt.

I think that the image of a scale, with hands furiously adding and removing weight from each side is a far more accurate description, each side working feverishly to counteract the efforts of others and push momentum decidedly in their favor. One of the things the blogosphere demonstrates very clearly is that there are voices on both sides of every issue adding critically to the effort to tip the balance in favor of the desired result.

Rather than dwell on the rancor and division that some are displaying in the blogosphere or engage revel in self congratulations, I think it is most important to appreciate the nature of the process.


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