The first hint that someone doesn't have a clue what they're talking about is when they contradict themselves. Saying everything, anything, in hopes that something will stick. It's like a punch-drunk boxer flailing his arms like a windmill, desperate to hit whatever he can.
This is what we see when the Far Right and members of the "Tea Party" corporations swing at Barack Obama. It's not that the arguments are bizarre -- but impossible. Further, contradicting yourself removes the very argument itself.
Yet their contradictions mount, because in reality Barack Obama isn't evil incarnate any more than George W. Bush was -- and Mr. Bush got America involved in two wars (one on a lie); collapsed the economy, turned a budget surplus into a $480 billion deficit, and ignored warnings before an "imminent" attack hit U.S. soil. So, the "accusations" can't possibly merit the hyperbole -- and the proof is the contradictions:
When Barack Obama's pastor ranted on an old videotape, Republicans demanded how could Mr. Obama, as a member of that Trinity United Church of Christ sit there in church as a good Christian?! And the same mouths cry that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Raised a Muslim, schooled in a madrassa as a Muslim, bringing Muslim ideals to America.
Of course, Barack Obama can't be a Catholic and a Muslim. Not possible. Polar opposites. Raging enemies. Killed each other for centuries during the Crusades. To charge both refutes the argument of either. Which demonstrably shows that the Far Right doesn't have the vaguest notion what it's talking about.
And another windmill: "Barack Obama is a Nazi." And "Barack Obama is a Socialist." Once more, Barack Obama can't be a Nazi and a Socialist of the kind this second argument refers to. Not possible. Polar opposites. Raging enemies. Killed each other during World War II. Nazis murdered 30 million Russians!! That the Far Right thinks anyone could be both a Nazi and a Socialist shows again their total cluelessness. And in contradicting themselves, prove to refute both their arguments.
The contradictions continue (like the fiscal conservative call to eliminate budget deficits and cut taxes). But there's a much larger issue. It can best be demonstrated by an exchange I had with a friend. It not only shows how contradictions undermine one's own standards, but more how people self-delude themselves.
My friend is a wonderful fellow. And once upon a time was liberal. About 15 years ago, he started becoming conservative. A few months back, he wrote me:
"I am no policy wonk, I merely read these articles, get so angry with the Far Left that is destroying the country I love, that I immediately forward them. But I am no writer and debater of all the details. I just know my basic JFK (my political hero) mantra: 'Smaller Government, Strong Military, Lower Taxes.' The Far Left," he wrote, "... now stands for everything I detest." Later adding, "I voted for Bill Clinton twice and would not change that vote today."
He wrote on other subjects -- blasting President Obama, of course -- but it is this above which is of note. Because riddled with contradiction, it demonstrates the underlying fallacy of all his issues.
If JFK is indeed your personal hero, I wrote back, don't think for a single second that Kennedy would be anything but aghast at what the Republican Party and Far Right has been doing for the last decade. If you think that your personal hero would say, like you, that he detests the Far Left because it is destroying America, you are seriously mistaken. Kennedy pushed to start Medicare, created Food Stamps, eased immigration for Latin America, and began the Peace Corps. If you actually support what John Kennedy stood for, then you are bulldozing those very beliefs by your own entrenched support of the Far Right. In today's America, Dwight Eisenhower would likely be drummed out of the GOP -- he wrote diatribes against the military-industrial complex and against Republicans who fought Social Security. Even Richard Nixon might have a hard time getting nominated by Republicans today. Heavens, he began diplomacy with Red China and started the EPA. So, to continue to hero worship JFK while embracing the Far Right is a contradiction in terms. If John Kennedy had a chance to speak with you, I'm sure that he'd make quite clear that his philosophy is far, FAR different than "Smaller Government, Strong Military, Lower Taxes."
And there we have the problem. This comforting, but delusional belief that one's hero can be John Kennedy, yet detest Barack Obama - the man most equated to Kennedy, even by JFK's own brother and daughter. That you can proudly support Bill Clinton - a man so reviled by the Far Right they impeached him - yet decry "the Far Left" because it is destroying America. (My friend considers Republican senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to be Democrats - so, "Far Left" to him is basically anyone to the left of...well, him.)
When you spout diametrically opposed contradictions, you can't have a supportable foundation to your beliefs. And that's what comes when one writes, "I am no policy wonk, I merely read these articles and get so angry."
You know "these articles" well. They rail how Barack Obama is a Socialist-Nazi-Christian-Muslim terrorist. He reads them and gets angry. Angry? I'm shocked his head doesn't explode.
Having no supportable foundation to your beliefs is the problem the Far Right has created for itself. With only thin air to grasp, what breeds is fear and anger. Fear of another party leading the nation, led by a black man as president. Anger at losing what you believed yourself entitled to. And anger and fear at an economy that collapsed under George Bush, at America attacked under George Bush, at two wars started by George Bush. And fear and anger at knowing all this, but unwilling to blame George Bush as the central cause of your greatest anger and fear.
And so you lash out, throw around vitriol that contradicts itself and cannot be supported, which only makes one angrier. And anger -- getting "so angry" -- feeds on itself. And the anger builds and spins far out of control.
But there's nothing there. Except contradictions that refute themselves. And in the end, it leaves one empty and howling at the moon.
Editor's Note: This post has been updated. President Obama is a member of Trinity United Church of Christ, which is a Protestant denomination, not a Catholic one.
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