Monday, May 4, 2015

Week of 05/04/2015

Open Challenge To Cons & Neo-Cons: Own Your Faults
I have an open challenge to all conservatives, neo-conservatives, Fox News devotees, conservative columnists, talk radio people, the so-called “Tea Party” people, and anyone else considering themselves aligned with the GOP.
I challenge you as a former card-carrying member of the GOP. I challenge you as someone who once thought himself to be a conservative before realizing he was a functional libertarian.  As someone who used to listen to talk radio for a long time before realizing its destructive nature.  As someone who has wanted the status quo to change long before it was “politically popular”.  As someone who actually practices what he preaches when it comes to voting for those third parties you guys all whine about. 
In other words, I challenge you as someone that you only give lip service being and wanting.
I openly challenge you all to put up or shut up when it comes to doing what is right in politics.
Remember when we were kids and we got caught doing something that we’d see everyone else doing without consequence?  Maybe it was cheating on a test.  Maybe it was cutting some corners somewhere.  Maybe it was taking something we shouldn’t take.
What would we do when questioned?  We wouldn’t own up to it, would we?  Not completely.  We’d say “everyone does it”.  Or we’d come up with something else that someone else did that might be just as bad or even worse and wonder why they aren’t being punished.  Why single us out when there are so many “other things” going on, we’d ask.
These are attempts at diverting blame.  They use false equivalence fallacies or false balance fallacies to try to negate accountability.
Imagine getting caught speeding and going to traffic court to fight your ticket.  Supposing the ticketing officer actually shows up to trial, you don’t refute the claim that you were going over the posted speed limit or that you were doing so at a rate of speed faster than anyone else around you. You simply say that “everyone else was doing it”.  You talk about a BMW that was going faster than you, and a guy on a motorcycle passing you up before you got pulled over.  And you were “only” doing 20 MPH over the posted speed limit, while all those other people were doing far worse than you.  Why weren’t they stopped, you ask?  Why weren’t they in traffic court instead of you?
You think the judge will buy that excuse?
How about if you got caught drunk-driving?  You go before the judge and you don’t refute the charge.  Instead, you try to negate it.
Hey, you were in a bar.  Everyone there had to get there somehow, and they all had to get home somehow, and “you know” that there were people even drunker than you!  Why did you get singled out when there were so many other people that were “even worse” than you?
Think that will fly?
There’s a scene in the cable series “Shameless” where a young man suffering from bi-polar disorder is being told he has to be hospitalized for a certain period of time.  One of the things that he did when he was in his “manic” state was he left a baby locked in a hot car, and when he got the baby out, he raced with it into a local store and crouched in a fetal position trying to “protect” it.  When he was told that he needed to be kept in the hospital for further evaluation, he says “well, my sister almost let our baby brother die from a drug overdose, so why am I being singled out?”
That’s a false balance.  Never mind, of course, that his sister was arrested and was tried and did plead guilty to what she did and did do time behind bars.  That’s considered “irrelevant” in his mind.
Having shown you this, having pointed all of this out, I now have to ask you...
Why is this tactic of diversion – of saying “everyone does it” – why is this considered totally acceptable when it comes to politics?
Why is “everyone does it” – the very failed argument that we uttered as kids – used and paraded about as a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card when it concerns politics?
Case in point: have you ever heard of “trickle-down liberalism”?
Oh I’m sure you’ve heard about “trickle-down economics”.  That’s the economic policy that says if you make the rich richer, then it all just “trickles down” to the rest of society.  It’s been around since at least the 19th century, but I’m sure many people attribute it to the policies of Ronald Reagan.
Well what happens when you show that the policies of “trickle-down economics” are failing the American people?
You get people like failed Presidential contender and bible-thumping Texas Governor Rick Perry whining about how “Trickle-down liberalism” has failed the middle class just as much.  This is followed by GOP apologist and former Congressman Joe Scarborough whining about how both “trickle-down economics” and “trickle-down liberalism” have failed the American people and that somehow we need “middle ground”.
So again, I ask if you have ever heard of “trickle-down liberalism”.  Have you ever heard any Democrat or any progressive or any liberal ever in their lives tout anything called “trickle-down liberalism”?
Be honest, cons and neo-cons.  Be honest for at least once in your damnably hypocritical lives and answer the question!  Have you ever heard anyone from the progressive side champion anything they would proudly call “trickle-down liberalism” in the same way that you would tout “trickle-down economics”?
The answer is no.  No, you have never heard a liberal or a progressive ever try to tout anything that they would name “trickle-down liberalism”.  Because there is no such idea.  You conservatives and neo-conservatives manufactured the term to deflect the failings of your own championed programs.
Some progressive comes up with a government program to help those that need it.  You deem that “trickle-down liberalism” so you can deflect the fact that your own economic theory has failed the American people.  You don’t offer any kind of alternative, so you just whine that “our side sucks, but the other side sucks just as bad”.
That’s a false equivalence fallacy, and you damn well know it!
Here’s another example: some conservative or neo-conservative or so-called “Tea Party” person says something really stupid.  Maybe they let loose with an insult or something that shows their bigotry or their hatred.  As soon as that comment shows up on social media, some rabid apologist immediately jumps down the poster’s throat with “Yeah, but so-and-so on the other side said the same thing years ago!  Why aren’t you going after that?  Why aren’t you condemning that?  Why are you being bigoted and persecuting my side for something your side has been doing for years?”
Let’s get brutally honest here... for all of the whining the conservatives and neo-conservatives make about a need for change, for a need to shake up the status quo, for a need of alternatives, they can never make any of those changes real as long as they refuse to do the right thing and own up to their own failing without trying to negate them with false and fraudulent comparisons. 
And, yes, there is a reason why I’m singling out only one political faction and not “all sides”.  Because the cons and neo-cons are the ones that pretend to be on the side of the angels.  They are the ones that claim to stand for decency and values and standards and reform.  They’re the ones making the claims of being the “better side”.
Well guess what?  You can’t be those things and stand for those things if you’re playing the same game as the liberals and progressives and anyone else on the side of the Democrats.  You can’t claim to champion decency if you continue to be indecent.  You cannot claim to champion reform if you’re playing the same games that perpetuates the status quo and then excusing it by saying “everyone does it”.
That’s not just hypocrisy.  That’s fraud.
That’s why I’m challenging the cons and neo-cons to own up to their faults without comparisons.  You can’t make changes if you’re not willing to change yourself first.  And you can’t change things for the better if you cannot find it within yourself to own up to your faults first.
Understand that I’m far from perfect from this either.  I used to do the same thing.  I used to try to look back and find that false equivalence.  But then I realized something.  I started asking myself if it still made things right.  And guess what I discovered?  It didn’t make it right.  It didn’t justify what was going on.  It didn’t validate what was being done.  It just perpetuated very the problems we all say need to be fixed.
“Everyone does it” still does not make it right.  It’s not acceptable in a court of law.  It wasn’t acceptable when we were kids.  And it sure as hell should not be acceptable anyplace else, including politics.
Now don’t just whine about needing a change.  Be that change.  I dare you!

No comments: