I think it was Churchill who once said, ‘The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.’
And a perfect example of that just recently reared its ugly head at me as a result of an offhand comment I’d made on Facebook, proving that there is something irrevocably broken in this country. As a rule, I tend to avoid political debate or discussion in part because my own personal belief is that this ‘experiment in democracy,’ as it has often been called, has failed. And done so quite spectacularly. Insanity, explains a quote misattributed to both Albert Einstein and Ben Franklin, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. And yet we continue to do the same thing in this country during every election cycle, expecting different results every time, and then seem surprised and irritated that nothing has changed.
Again, just my opinion.
Musical prophet Neil Peart wisely stated, ‘If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.’ So I think choosing not to choose, when the time comes, would send a much louder signal to Washington than simply being a sheep and blindly following the best clinically enhanced smile with the least offensive rhetoric.
If only by the strictest ideological definition, I imagine I would have to be labelled a Democrat, ‘a person who believes in the political or social equality of all people,’ and not a Republican, though the general idea of a republic isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it’s handled in the correct manner.
Because I’m also a ‘liberal,’ I am, in the dim view of the ‘conservative Christian right'’ and, more to the point, the ‘Tea Party’ (that burgeoning neo-Nazi movement of the new millennium), essentially a heretic and blasphemer. I greatly fear the bigoted, myopic, bible-wielding zealotry which espouses ignorance, intolerance, homophobia, ethnic hatred, and whose delusional, twisted notions of ‘patriotism’ lead someone to create this hilarious and yet disturbingly bang-on meme…
And so my personal views often put me at tremendous odds with that sickening and backwards We Got Ah-selves An Uppity Negra in The White House mentality which seems to permeate so much of the Tea Party (and, by extension, some Republican) rhetoric.
Anyway, back in the latter part of December, 2011, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry was at a pizza party at Chuck E Cheese’s or something – I don’t know and I frankly don’t care – where he called the bail-out of Wall Street ‘The single biggest act of theft in American history,’ and took his fellow Republicans Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney to task for having supported it.
Some while later – I don’t recall exactly when – this story made minor headlines once again when some Tea Partiers, like angry villagers in a 1930s horror film, and Perry himself referenced this statement and used it, not specifically but certainly indirectly, to imply that the bail-out was somehow the fault, and a commentary on the ‘failure,’ of the current administration. Because I abhor ignorance and deceit, I posted on Facebook that:
both the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and the Troubled Asset Relief Program were conceived and executed during the tail end of the Bush administration. It's great to get all pissy about how this country is circling the drain like a giant turd, but learn your history before you point fingers...
That comment got a few responses and then vanished beneath the deluge of feel-good inspirational memes, requests for help in games, and all the other usual Facebookery going on. So it came as a bit of a surprise to me when, ages later, this reply popped up in my ‘private’ messages:
Yeah, those 99%er's are just shitheads that live in their parents basements and are mad because the government won' pay off their school loans. And by the way good old Obama Jomama wants them to stay on their parents insurance until they are 26 years old. Thats because his plan to help people find jobs in not working! Those are the facts.
This came from someone I’ve known for about 20 years who, rather eerily and sadly, has forsworn grammar and punctuation and been indoctrinated into and brainwashed by the Tea Party into believing that people like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are brilliant orators and tacticians, that George ‘Dubya’ Bush was The Great Saviour of the Nation, and that ‘It’s called the White House for a reason.’ Though he’d just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, hence the delayed response, I still felt it necessary to point out:
Your argument isn’t even relevant to the topic. My comment was nothing to do with the 99% v 1% issue. However, let me clarify that my interest isn't in defending the President. My interest is in the truth. People conveniently blame Obama for bailing out Wall Street and putting up more than $700 billion of our money - yours and mine - to pay for bad mortgages when it was Bush who did that. And *those* are the facts. Obama bailed out the auto industry, and they have paid back that loan with interest and emerged better for it. Or at least so far. Everyone can hate on whomever they choose – I don't care – but stop blaming the wrong person for the financial troubles.
Within minutes, the response was:
Eventually he is going to run out of other people's money to be giving to those that don't deserve it or have the desire or work ethic to go out and earn it on their own!!!
The ‘conversation,’ such as it was, went backwards and forwards like this for while, and I was reminded very much of my early days at Dribble & Whizz when I’d worked with an elderly woman called Ruth who simply loved to chat. Only thing was, her chatting almost exclusively centred on a string of non sequiturs. I would remark, ‘It’s been a slow day today’ to which her response would be:
‘They painted those chairs blue.’
‘What? What chairs?’
‘Down to Jack & Johnny’s.’
‘They used to be regular but now they’re blue.’
‘Jack & Johnny’s closed years ago.’
‘Yeah… those vegetables need watering…’
And so I was beginning to have flashbacks of visiting Planet Ruth as my friend pointed out that the ‘Obama health plan sucks!!!’ or that participants in the Occupy Wall Street movement need to ‘get a JOB and stop crying!!’ or that ‘i have a birth certificate. it says i was born in pennsylvania, u.s.a. does he have one??????’
In point of fact, no, President Obama does not have such a document. He was born in Hawaii.
Finally it came down to:
I want my country back. I fought for it he did not!
No offence, I wrote, but I’ve heard this nonsense before. No-one took your country. Obama is not some maniacal dictator. And who do you think is ultimately responsible for the fact that you had to do a tour in Afghanistan? Who put us in that shithole of a country in October of 2001? It wasn’t this president.
Obama is a muslim that is hijacking the constitution and turning us into socialists!! This country was founded on the constitution and the bill of rights. They are the law!!!
He’s not ‘hijacking’ *anything.* Yes, the health care bill is seriously flawed and needs revision, and I’m sure it will be struck down – as it ought to be – but no-one is going to take The Constitution or The Bill of Rights away.
And, by the way, one of the primary tenants of the First Amendment to The Constitution – which you say you have fought to uphold because it’s the law – says ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ Or does that only apply to all the straight white Christians in this country? And even if Obama *was* a Muslim, he would be perfectly within his Constitutional rights to practise Islam in whichever way he saw fit to do. Because it’s the law.
We are also granted the freedom of speech by The First Amendment, so you are also perfectly within *your* rights to voice your opinion – right or wrong – but you have absolutely *GOT* to know your facts. As I said before, my only interest is in the truth.
I received no reply to this rebuttal. However yesterday I got an invitation off him to his wife’s upcoming birthday party…