Because you start associating with folks like this:
"It's when opposing viewpoint crosses the line into disingenuous rhetoric or immature, rude behavior that things deteriorate. When that happens, the best thing to do is to disengage and simply ignore it. Or don't even start with them in the first place if it's clear that you simply disagree and nobody's going to change their mind. Instead, create a blog post with your opposing viewpoint and let the "marketplace of ideas" sort it out, similar to a point-counterpoint op-ed you might see in the newspaper. (Immature, off-topic, inflammatory, nonsensical one-liners that are obviously trolls or flame bait should simply be ignored.)"The new Knoxviews multi-blogger blog apparently has already attracted the wrong element. By the wrong element I mean those whose sole purpose in participating is to stir up trouble. And you don't typically get that when you're writing about Disney or kids or theatre - you know, interesting stuff.
When you get talking about politics the trolls come out from under the bridges and decide to start throwing rocks at all the little Billy Goats Gruff trip-trapping over their heads.
It happens in sports commentating as well - certain people can't help themselves but to boost their own egos and agendas at the expense of other people's feelings. Apparently it's a common occurance at another local polichat board, KnoxBlab, and I recall it happening with less frequency at k2k (another local politics/public affairs bulletin board).
Political discussion is a subject that, by definition these days, no longer allows much room for real debate. Those participating typically have too much pride to admit they're wrong, or even willing to seriously consider other viewpoints.
Michael Williams has more on Making Up Your Mind - a discussion on why political partisans should or should not have open minds.
If you don't have an open mind, you can't discuss issues. Discussion requires give and take - otherwise it's just a lecture. And anyone who recalls college understands that nobody wants to be lectured to.
In our world today, politics has morphed into a huge beast that stifles a lot of real progress that could be made. Hopefully someday people will realizes that ideas matter more than partisanship and drop the me/you - us/them - my team/your team competitition that drives what should be cooperation. We'll see, but I'm not holding my breath.
PS - This isn't a dig at R. Neal (aka South Knox Bubba) who runs Knoxviews.com - just the trolls that are trying to ruin what is a nice idea. So far, SKB has kept his nose clean and not made me want to throw a chair at the screen.
So far... ;)