Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Why Arguing Politics On FB Is a Waste of Time

I couldn't resist: I let myself get sucked into a conversation with one of my very right-wing FB friends. After a ton of posts and one lengthy sign-off post from me eaten by the net at 2 AM, I wrote this and posted it today. You know they were just happy to see me check out.  I think you'll be able to get all of the context by my responses.

A few points before I leave this thread, not because I am afraid to continue or because I know I've lost or because I can't argue against the overwhelming truths set out by A--- and his ideology, but simply because I actually detest these conversations. I only join them once in a while because I had forgotten how awful they are, and then I am quickly reminded of that: they are awful and they are endless and they are often nasty.

It didn't take A--- long to get nasty. In the posts T--- deleted this morning, he denigrated the intelligence of liberals in general on several occasions, suggesting (and in fact stating more than once) that we obviously are uneducated "dolts" (I don't remember many of his exact words, but I recall that one) who have not read nor understood any economic principles and have no grasp of history or current politics or the way Washington actually works. He kindly walked us (me) through it, step by step, so that our poor little liberal brains could drink in the fruits of all of his incredible Libertarian learning, become blinded (I suppose) by the Power of the Light of Truth, and finally understand that we've never actually grown up! Or at least maybe we would recognize that the real world and our little fantasy universe are two different places. Or something.

The problem, A--- (and R---, and T--- too), is that we are grownups. We are educated. Quite educated. And we know what we are talking about. We happen to disagree with you, and (unlike you) we actually have the real world evidence to back up our claims. As I have already noted, conservative economics were attempted in the perfect cauldrons of Louisiana and Kansas, whereas liberal economics were attempted in the perfect cauldron of California. Guess which is now one of the strongest, most thriving economies in the world and which two are bankrupt? What the GOP loves to call the laboratories of the states has proved the point beautifully. 

And you can say–and you'd be accurate–that today's GOP has nothing to do with real conservativism. It is a party consisting of a bizarre salmagundi of ultra right wing anti-government idiots, religious fanatics, uneducated southern bigots, Wall Street executives, and a lot of in-betweeners who don't think they fit with the Democrats because Fox News has told them over and over for thirty years that the Democrats promote, I don't know, Satanism or something. It is a party that simply doesn't work anymore, which is why it is about to nominate Donald Trump. I am far from the first to say this, but it is a party whose patron saint, Ronald Reagan, would not stand a hope in hell of being nominated today because he could never pass its litmus tests. And Lincoln? Forgettaboudit! You say the party needs to nominate a true conservative, but such a candidate (even if he–because OF COURSE it would be a "he") could manage to win the nomination, would be *slaughtered* in the general. The closest to the ideal right now for the GOP is Cruz, and I think he'd lose worse than Trump.

Conservatives like to argue that this is a "center-right" nation with no evidence to support that claim. Maybe it was in Reagan's time, but this nation just elected a black man president twice by majorities. Sounds more center-LEFT to me. And, despite the bleating about Obamacare because of legitimate issues with it and the endless nastiness from the GOP and Fox, all surveys show that, when you divorce its provisions from the name "Obamacare," almost everyone wants them. "Center-right" my eye. But you are definitely correct about at least one thing: the majority of this country has at least this much in common with England (as witnessed in the Brexit vote): they are easily-led sheepul, on both sides.

As to why I am exiting (Kexiting?) this conversation:

Basically, it's pointless. You are all True Believers. Your arguments (at least at times) pretend to be based on truth, but in fact they are based on faith. Supply-side economics is a faith-based system at its core: we give the rich more money and of course they will create new jobs that will help the economy. Except...they DON'T. They just don't. No recession or depression in US history has ever been broken that way. The only way out has ever been through the Keynesian method of large influxes of money to stimulate the stagnant economy. Fortunately, after the Bush Economic Crisis, we elected a Keynesian. And perhaps, if Congress had allowed him the $1.3 trillion that he wanted, the stimulus would have been enough, with infrastructure job creation programs, etc., to make the deep and immediate impact he wanted and hoped for. But even half a trillion dollars shy of that, it was able to stop the recession, right the ship, and begin what is now over 75 straight months of job growth (which I think is a record, isn't it?)...without the help of any new government jobs at all. Unheard of. Not only that, but Wall Street is thriving and he has cut the deficit by far more than the stimulus package he asked for: a win-win-win for conservatives, if you ask me, not that, while they count their profits, they'll ever acknowledge it. 

Still,True Believers cannot be argued with. I can cite facts until the cows come home (and I really could: facts and reality do, as the meme holds, have an oddly liberal bias) but that would have no impact whatsoever on aTrue Believer. It's as useless as arguing about abortion or LGBT issues with a fundamentalist: no matter what you say, no matter how logical and scientific you can be, the answer will ultimately come down to something like "You just don't understand how to read the Bible as well as I do." And how does one argue with that?

So I sit here, honed by a lifetime of dealing with my conservative brothers, armed with facts, figures, history, current events, and reality, and much more just a click away. I fully acknowledge that none of what Liberals desire is perfect–whatever is? Everything comes with a price. I simply argue that the price of what we want is far more tolerable than the price of what you want. 

You guys have denigrated democratic socialism as an unworkable concept. T--- went so far as to opine about how hard it is right now for the people of Europe. Well I'd like to point out that this year's World's Happiest Countries list contains seven European nations–most of them to one degree or another socialist–in the Top 10 (the exceptions being Canada, New Zealand and Australia). Even though they have been hit by a recession, they are still feeling, overall, well taken care of and safe and happy with their lives. (We are #13–not bad at all, but shouldn't we be #1 if we are so "exceptional"?) Again, you make these blanket statements based on no evidence. I deal in facts, though I know that your immediate reactions, as True Believers, will be to see something totally wrong with these facts.

As to the implementation of the ACA: would Obama's giving in to any of the unpalatable suggestions brought to the table by the GOP have earned him even one single GOP vote? I think we know the answer to that. He gave moderate Susan Collins exactly what she wanted and *she* voted against it. Lockstep: it is how this congress has worked. In the end, he adopted a plan conceived in full in a right wing think tank and look what has happened. If Bush had decided to adopt it, they'd have loved it. If Romney or McCain had won and adopted it, they'd have loved it. But Obama won and adopted it, so it is anathema. And instead of trying to fix the things they found objectionable about it, they spent the next seven years on pointless bills to repeal it...again and again and again. I know, I know: this is the GOP, not the true conservatives. But be fair: they are the one party in this nation that speaks loudly for the nation's conservative interests. Libertarians, Greens, etc. are fringe parties. It would be nice to see them grow in their capability to challenge the bigger parties, but until that happens, if it ever does, they simply act as spoilers in tight elections. (Cf. Ralph Nader.)

So, OK, True Believers: sit there in your make believe ideologically pure world where you can pretend that the GOP has nothing to do with you and that someday a Perfect Conservative will arise from the depths into the light and right all of the wrongs of this our great nation. He won't be like Reagan, though. That's clear: the guy raised taxes, sold arms to our enemies, made secret deals, used tons of executive orders, and generally did lots of other stuff that disqualifies him as a "perfect" conservative. But he'll come. He has to. It is written...somewhere...isn't it?

Take care.

Addendum: I did check back, out of curiosity, to see what the first reaction to this would be. I was told that at least I was right about the conversation's being pointless because I would go on believing what I believe and "we will go on KNOWING what we know."
Point proved.

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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

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