For a blogger who's been posting about everything under the political sun in 2010, this year brings with it a particular challenge embodied in the question: Can I write anything else that is both useful and non-repetitive? The answer to that may well be no. But I don't really care anymore if I "move" the conversation along or not. Writing is the only antidote I have to the near constant state of being appalled in the face of those who call themselves Christian and yet would deny healthcare for all, who see The American Dream as being deserved only by those who have already achieved it.
There are a few right-wingers who troll the Huffington Post, leaving comments as frustrated and hostile as I would leave on their sites if I had the arrogance to imagine they would possibly respond to my reasoning. They won't, as I don't to theirs. We see the world differently. I think concepts like American exceptionalism are absurd and offensive. I see myself as a citizen of the world way before I'm a citizen of the United States. I don't see the government as a foreign entity but as an expression of the collective will of myself and my tax-paying and voting neighbors. I think high taxes on rich people are good, and I think paying them is far more patriotic than occupying a foreign country. None of these ideas would be considered radical anywhere but America.
What drives me nuts about the opposition is the jaw-dropping ignorance that "informs" their political stances. I got caught in a comment war on the thread of a friend's update on Facebook with a woman who took umbrage at my contention that the Tea Party was full of racists. All the Obama-as-a-Witch-Doctor posters somehow were irrelevant--her insistence was the Tea Party was solely about low taxes.
It makes no difference to point out that Obama lowered taxes. First, they deny it, then, caught by the facts, shift their objection to high spending and big government. So I agree, pointing out there is no bigger segment of the budget than defense spending, the epitome of wasteful expenditure, riven by bloated bureaucracy.
Somehow a magical redefinition then occurs in their mind: defense spending is not government spending That's because, don't you know, government is made up of regulators who plot ways to take money away from entrepreneurs and hand it out to the undeserving? The military, on the other hand, is where warriors defend America against mean swarthy people who have nothing better to do then hate our freedom for no conceivable reason. I guess they were just bored one day at the mosque, cause Lord knows America could never do anything unseemly in the world. (We don't torture btw, we "kick ass.")
I haven't met one Republican who bangs the drum for a strong defense who can tell me how many languages they speak in Afghanistan, who can correctly identify 2 of the 5 countries it borders, who can tell me whether Saddam was Sunni or Shia, what the difference between the two sects are, and which sect dominates neighbor Iran. A few know what nationality Osama Bin Laden is. Fewer can cite within a billion how much is still unaccounted for in Iraq, and within 20 how many American bases there are in foreign countries around the world. None seem to be aware of what resource is scarce now and about to cause far more wars than oil. (That would be water.) I would wonder how many could even give a ballpark estimate of the ratio of Iraqi and Afghan civilians to American soldiers killed since 2003?
My biggest issue with the "false equivalency" between left and right is that we Birkenstock-wearing, Volvo-driving, chardonnay-sipping, PBS-watching, NPR-addicted lefties actually KNOW something. We do not hold being informed in contempt, we do not consider book-learning elitist. In fact, we like the idea of our leaders being smarter than we are. This is a good thing. The Bible, on the other hand, is very, very bad place to get your news.
My New Year's resolution? I'm not arguing with these boobs anymore, and I'm calling them boobs. And I'm not doing the politically correct thing of being respectful of their "anger" or catering in any way to a pox-on-both-their-houses narrative that denounces left and right "extremes" in the same breath. Yes, Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh are both opinionated. But one derives her ideology from the facts, the other his facts from his ideology. That's not a minor point, it is the point.
Facts matter. Informing yourself matters. Reading, historical context, and research matter. The side that doesn't respect this will get no respect from me.
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