Redemption

“You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.” — Roger Waters

In all of the talk about deplorables, racists, xenophobes, and homophobes there appears to be something missing. A number of pundits and talking heads have talked about it though. There’s just a ton of hate out there. Sometimes it gets difficult to differentiate between bad people and people that are misled by bad people.

Alex Jones has been covered all over the interwebs. His attorneys forwarded all of his emails and text messages to opposing counsel. Whoops. As it turned out, there is now proof that he knew full well that Sandy Hook wasn’t a false flag. He’s already been caught in multiple lies during these proceedings alone. Now, the January 6th committee and his ex-wife are circling for the kill.

These are all facts and stuff you have heard elsewhere. Then, there’s the commentary that I’m sure you all have heard and seen. I’m not breaking any new ground here. In point of fact, I rarely ever do. They just don’t pay me enough to do that.

What I can do is ask two very important rhetorical questions. One of them is easy enough to answer academically, but it is a lot harder to grapple with on a philosophical/personal level. Simply put, how can someone like this prey on people like this for their own personal gain. It was said that he made as much as $800,000 a day when he was calling Sandy Hook a false flag. He rallied his “troops” so that they would harass the families. He did all this knowing full well that it was not a lie and that he was hurting people.

This is when “well actually guy/gal” comes rolling in with the DSM-V and pointing out the definitions for psychopathy and sociopathy. Yup, I took abnormal psychology and the graduate course version too. I know exactly what it is. The philosophical question is more about the inhumanity of it all. How could someone do this?

The second question is a lot more difficult. How do we tell the difference between someone that can be redeemed and someone who can’t? From there we have another series of questions. If someone is redeemable then what exactly does that road to redemption look like? If they can’t then what should happen to them?

Alex Jones is an easy and extreme case. Most examples are not. Let’s say someone participated in January 6th. I know someone who did. We may all know someone that fits that description. They were misled. They were willfully misled, but they were still misled. Are they redeemable?

Let’s say you have someone that has spouted off racist, homophobic, transphobic, or xenophobic comments. Some know exactly what they are doing (Tucker Carlson). Others may have deep seeded beliefs or been subject to a ton of propaganda and really believe what they are saying. Does that make it any better or worse?

At some point, we need to acknowledge that there has to be a road back. Certainly the people in question have to admit they are wrong and pledge to do better, but given that there has to be a road back. If there isn’t one then we are simply stuck where we are. There are others that have preyed on those folks who don’t deserve a road back. Alex Jones doesn’t get a road back. Tucker Carlson doesn’t get a road back. Donald Trump doesn’t get a road back.

Beyond that it gets difficult. Henchmen can sometimes get a road back. We see occasionally in the James Bond series. The henchmen realizes the archvillain is actually an asshole. It happens. They get a road back. Life isn’t a James Bond movie. The Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuliani’s of the world are tough to call. They know right from wrong and they do wrong. So, ultimately we have to choose and be as consistent as possible moving forward.

Watered Down

The teacher don’t know about how to deal with the student body
And the underclassmen are flashing hot and cool
All your girlfriends care about the watch you wear and talkin’ about it
Believe it or not there’s life after high school.” — Darryl Hall

Yesterday we talked about term limits and the fate of certain legislation. At least I was doing the proverbial talking. For some reason my mind went to the stories we are hearing from Florida and Arizona. Obviously, there is a connection there that some people cannot see.

The connection is pretty direct in my mind. The pundits even have an official term for morons that vote. They call them “low information voters“. It’s quite the euphemism. Of course, a not inconsiderable amount of Americans will not know what a euphemism is. So, let’s just say a growing number of voters are idiots.

A Facebook friend released a meme (the lowest common denominator) which said we should give veterans the care they need before anyone gets a sex change operation. The problem is two-fold. One is an elective procedure that is covered by private insurance or paid for out of pocket. The other we would hope would be covered by the government. Put together they are non-sensical. One has nothing to do with the other. You might as well say that I can’t get my cavity filled until every soldier has their necessary care taken care of.

Strong public education does two things. First and foremost, we arm students with critical thinking skills. So, hopefully when one sees such a thing they stop and ask how those things are related instead of just grunting and saying, “damn straight!” Secondly, you’d hope they would learn enough about how government works to know when someone is full of crap.

We would not water down the requirements for being a medical doctor. We wouldn’t do that for engineers. We wouldn’t do that for pilots, lawyers, or dentists. Why we would do it in education? Sadly, it is either because they don’t care about the quality of teachers or they actively are trying to tank the quality of educators. After all, it becomes easier to take advantage of the low information voter when you provide them with even less information.

Naturally, there are some teachers that are subject area experts without college degrees. They teach are trades at our campus. However, this is a different story entirely. If we are teaching people how to read, perform complex math problems. and write you would hope the people teaching them are experts at teaching those subjects.

This is why many of us do what we do. We want the next generation to have some basic knowledge to make decisions on. We want them to move beyond memes and YouTube posts. It’s hard to get a complex and comprehensive view of the world on TikTok. We want them to have a sixth sense when someone is trying to pull a fast one on them.

Limitless Cruelty

“And when they’ve given you their all
Some stagger and fall after all it’s not easy
Banging your heart against some mad buggers wall.” — Roger Waters

I was discussing the Pact Act with some folks on social media. Everyone has probably seen it because John Stewart attached whatever fame he has left to defending the veterans. He got into a pissing match with Ted Cruz and Pat Toomey and even took it to conservative media to burst through the conservative media bubble. Cruz and Toomey ultimately lost that game.

It was a fairly quick conversation in my world as well. Bullshit talking points were thrown out in the same way Cruz and Toomey did. It was a “Democrat budgeting trick” and it was snuck in to introduce “pork barrel spending unrelated to the veterans.” Nope and nope. So, the last thing my conservative classmate dove to was the need for term limits. That’s the problem, these bastards are just there too long.

The answer I gave him still stands. I don’t know if he or other conservatives ever read these, but this is just a more lengthy response to a common suggestion we sometimes hear from both sides . I told him we have term limits. They are called elections.

Of course, there are two problems that my answer fails to address. The first problem is that incumbents in general have a built in advantage. The second problem is it means that citizens have to do some work. The two party system is baked into our politics and there’s no going back now. Yet, the two party system is also easier for most people to navigate. It’s my team versus the opposing team. When I see the R and D by their name I know how to vote.

The procedural stuff is easy enough to fix. I’ve suggested it here before, but there are two basic fixes that would level the playing field. First, computers would draw congressional districts instead of the two parties. Current trends indicate that only about half of the 435 seats came from contested races. Those who advocate for the change define contested as within ten points on elections day. They estimate that over 350 races would become competitive (inside ten points) if they were moved to computer generated congressional districts.

The second fix is to publicly fund all general elections. Both parties get the same amount of money. So, you can be as dirty and slimy as you want to win your party’s nomination, but once you are the candidate you are on the same playing field.

Term limits sound wonderful. Hell, the Democrats are trying to propose term limits for the Supreme Court. So, it isn’t purely a conservative or liberal point of view. Yet, it is something I hear more from conservatives these days than liberals. That could be a function of where we live. A Democrat hasn’t help statewide office since Ann Richards was governor. The two senators representing the state have both been Republican since Lloyd Bentson stepped down to run for vice president. So, there haven’t been a ton of Democrats to rail against in Texas.

I suppose it is certainly possible that more blue states would have people that identify as Democrats advocating for term limits. I wouldn’t know because I’ve never voted in an election where Republicans didn’t have the upper hand. Assholes come in different genders, sizes, and political affiliations. This can be just as simple as reaching the realization that you are represented by an asshole and voting for someone else.

This of course launches us headlong into our second problem. People need to do their homework. It is a lot easier to simply take what a Ted Cruz or Pat Toomey does and digest it whole than to do the work necessary to pick it apart. In this case, the bill never changed, it doesn’t have pork in it, and there were no budgeting tricks introduced at the last minute. It quite literally was the same bill with one line removed. Yet, this is just one is just one relatively minor bill. It’s an overall symptom of a disease that has infected our body politic.

Even if we separate ourselves into our respective camps, we know very well that there are those within our own ranks that just assholes. We know this. Greg Abbott is a great example. Very few people really like him. Even fewer think he has done a good job. Yet, he will likely win because he has an R next to his name.

Somewhere in a blue state there is an asshole that has held statewide office far too long. What term limits do is free you from the responsibility of dealing with the assholes in your own flock. However, they also prevent a good public servant from continuing to serve even when a majority deems them as effective. The ballot box is still the most effective tool to limit the amount of time assholes can represent us. If you don’t like Ted Cruz then vote for someone else. If you don’t like Sheila Jackson Lee then vote for someone else.

What’s Next?

“A change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that’s all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed
‘Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war.”– Pete Townsend

If you are a regular reader of this thing I hope you are following a string of thought that has been going on this week. Sometimes things die. Sometimes they need to. We saw it with OAN and we see it with ourselves. We can be as cold and unfeeling as we want or we can rend our garments in some sort of dramatic casting away of spirits.

The cycle of life affects movements and groups just as much as it effects individuals. We are witnessing something that has really only been seen once in our nation’s history. Ironically or not, it happened to coincide with the Civil War. We are witnessing an existential crisis of sorts just like we did with the Civil War. We are seeing either the death of a party or the death of a nation. It is hard to determine which one is which yet.

The irony of ironies is that the Republicans will be destroyed either way and they allowed this to happen by allowing in a man that wasn’t even one of them. He was a Democrat as recently as 2000. His espoused beliefs shunned traditional Republican beliefs, but since he promised to own the liberals they didn’t particularly care one way or the other. Suddenly, the party became the man and the man became the party.

The two party system has its issues and problems but it is also a fascinating thing to watch from afar. It is like plate tectonics. The world is constantly changing and shifting under our feet. Each party survives by constantly campaigning to an audience of 50% plus one. They cater to groups in the hopes that those groups will someone coalesce into a voting bloc big enough to win national elections.

That is until they don’t. That’s when either the whole system comes crashing down or a new party emerges to take its place. Republicans are no longer going for 50 percent plus one. They can’t without shunning the man. So, they craft ways to circumvent the majority. It includes stacking the courts. It includes suppressing the vote. It includes outright stealing of the vote. Even without the man they have done this for decades. They did this knowing a demographic wave was coming. They did this rather than shift with the shifting plate tectonics to try to appeal to these changing demographics.

The American public is constantly changing. I’ve said this once and I’ve said this a thousand times. Conservatism is not dying. Conservatism is alive and well. Republicans are dying. They are dying because they are not conservative anymore. They are no longer about keeping the government out of our lives and keeping our taxes low. That’s always been a winning message. That message has been bastardized into low taxes for the rich and culture wars for everyone else.

What the Andrew Yang’s of the world need to understand is that we live in a two party ecosystem. His “Forward” party/movement sounds lovely, but it is premature. It threatens to destroy America. It doesn’t threaten us because of anything inherently wrong with itself. It threatens us because it divides our attention from destroying the last vestiges of a party that will devour all of us if we let it.

Once Republicans are dead then there will be a mass race to get to 50 percent plus one. There will be a mass race to determine who exactly Democrats will appeal to and who the new party will appeal to. Someone will appeal to conservative people that aren’t crazy, racist, or sexist. They will just be conservative. Maybe that will be Andrew Yang or maybe the Democrats take that shift and a more progressive party takes that spot. Maybe it will be the Forward party. Maybe it will be someone else. Republicans have to die first. It’s the circle of life and it has to happen.

Life Moves On

“Yes, we’re different, worlds apart
We’re not the same
We laughed it away
At the start, like in a game.”– Elvis Presley

Occasionally, something happens that makes you rearrange your thinking. Sometimes, it’s completely innocuous and sometimes it quite literally knocks you on your ass. I’ve had both happen from time to time and both have happened recently.

I just happened to go back to the homecoming game for my college last year. It just happened to be the 25th anniversary as well. This wasn’t planned. It was a happy accident. So, they were honoring distinguished alumni on the field and they came to our graduating class. I looked down on the field and openly asked who all those old people were. I know, I know, it took me a second.

It happened again when one of my many doctors told me there was something up with how iron was not getting into my blood. So, they are referring me to an oncologist/hematologist to check it out. I’ve had four or five different doctors for different things for the last few years, so I didn’t think anything of it and the nurse on the phone didn’t seem to make a big deal of it. Then, I decided to look up what those doctors actually do. Cancer.

Of course, there are numerous other conditions that came up as well. Crohn’s disease is just one of those. Anything sounds better than cancer or leukemia. Of course, this could go in any number of directions in terms of my health and I could take any number of lessons from this experience and likely will before all is said and done. The combination of the two stories is the gross realization that time flies by and we aren’t guaranteed anything.

That hit me when someone I know (a lot closer but keeping them anonymous) had a family member who died. They put someone in charge of writing the obituary. They couldn’t think of anything. The deceased had no children. They were not currently married. They really hadn’t worked at all and really hadn’t done anything with their life. So, they looked up an obituary on Pinterest and filled in the blanks. The whole exercise seemed like a Mad Libs obituary. Make sure it says they loved God and whatever family they did have and just kind of futz the rest.

I decided that was a minimal goal for myself. When I’m gone hopefully someone doesn’t have to go to Pinterest to spruce up a generic obituary to fill in the blanks of my life. Hopefully, someone won’t have to deliver the eulogy and focus on good hygiene or excellent punctuality. Hopefully I would have done something meaningful with my life and left something behind that others can latch onto.

The question is how we do that. I certainly don’t think hanging out in information silos and echo chambers is going to do the trick. I certainly don’t think enough good insults of the other side will make that happen either. Ultimately, we must give of ourselves and take some risks when reaching out to others. Sometimes these efforts turn out well and sometimes they turn out badly.

Who knows how long these realizations last. They could be as fleeting as life itself. You go to your appointment and they give you good news. You forget about the promises made and the realizations made. Life returns to normal. That is until it doesn’t. We don’t know how much time we have so maybe the urgency is a good thing.

And then there’s this

“I’ve been looking all over the place for a place for me. But it ain’t anywhere. It just ain’t anywhere.” — Syd Barrett

Sometimes somebody does something that makes them so vulnerable that you don’t know how to react. Pink Floyd did not officially release the above song until the last few years. They said it felt like releasing pictures of an aging actress in the buff. They were deeply personal songs from Barrett during one of the darkest times in his life. Someone so vulnerable induces more pity than anything else.

We’ve seen her before. She’s fairly prolific and if you do a quick Google search, you will see a lower quality video of Ms. Steinberg going nuts on June 22nd when she saw a pride flag in her hometown of Huntington Beach. So, when one is faced with something like this they have to decide whether to go down the sarcasm road or the serious road. I’ve decided to play it straight for today.

She talks about us losing rights. I’m not sure who us is or what rights we are all losing, but I can only imagine she is referring to freedom of speech and expression. This one is easy to dispense of. No one has a right to a platform. The only thing the first amendment says is that Congress shall make no law. It doesn’t say anything about Verizon dropping them or that they have an absolute right to broadcast garbage. That’s literally not how any of this works.

Interestingly enough, many in this crowd are calling for the wall between church and state to be broken down. So, we want the freedom of the press and freedom of speech to be expanded, but we also want freedom of religion (and freedom from religion) to be eroded. I’m going to have to pass on this opportunity to help.

There is far too much hatred in this world. I don’t hate Alison Steinberg. I really don’t know her at all outside of the extreme persona she has crafted for herself. It would be interesting for her to elaborate on who the powers that be are. We hear frequent mention of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. So, wouldn’t that be us?

It’s hard to reconcile a few things. The marketplace of ideas is a delicate ecosystem. When you exile a part of that ecosystem it never quite goes away. However, if you artificially prop up a group of people peddling lies, hate, and conspiracy theories you are propping up those that would poison their own so they can have their steak and lobster tonight.

It is hard to objectively say the world is a better place with Fox, Newsmax, and OAN in it. I suppose others would say the same about MSNBC, CNN, and the like. If forced to choose between all or none I would probably choose none. Yet, this where we start getting into talk about proportionality and equivalency. I’m just not seeing it. Maybe that’s my failing. I just don’t know.

In the span of nine years we have lost three cats when they went outside. We can’t say for absolute fact that one of the wild animals that live in our neighborhood got them, but I think it’s a fairly good bet. These animals have a right to exist. They are acting on instinct and can’t be blamed or called immoral. I also don’t have to invite them into our backyard. They are wild animals. They aren’t going to suddenly become civilized because I was nice to them. OAN will always do what it does. It’s its nature. Being nice to them is not going to change that.

A Lesson in Nihilism

“We don’t need no education. We don’t know thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teachers leave them kids alone.” — Roger Waters

The former president and his children have done their part to attack public education and those that work in the industry. Everyone knows I’m one of those people. His son called us losers and the former guy said no one should let us watch their children for 20 minutes much less teach them anything.

We’ve heard all this before and the important thing is understanding why. It is also important to understand exactly why U.S. public schools don’t outperform their counterparts in Europe and Asia and why most private schools outperform their public counterparts.

See, that’s the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to make public schools so unpalatable that most people won’t have a choice but to go private. So, we allow pay to lag for teachers, we insult them and belittle them, and then when there’s a teacher shortage we begin to water down the qualifications teachers must have. Both Arizona and Florida have announced that teachers don’t have to have a Bachelor’s degree.

Most red states are not far behind. Our very own governor threw a commission together to see why there’s a teacher shortage and initially included only one teacher. We could have saved him the money. All of this is by design. They know very well what they are doing. They can offer vouchers and school choice, but that will end up being a band-aid for a gun shot wound. Of course, given the recent mass shootings in our schools, such an euphemism is a little on the nose.

Private schools work for one reason and one reason only. The schools get to choose who goes to school there. It’s the same reason that schools in Europe and Asia outperform our public schools. When you get to choose who takes the test it is remarkable how well they will perform collectively. Imagine an English class where the teacher can pick 20 percent of his or her class to be exempt from the test. We’d have nearly 100 percent passing rate. Boy would we look great.

Simply put, the minute you tell a private school who they have to take is the minute you negate their primary advantage. Plus, a 5000 dollar voucher does little when the average tuition in Texas is over 10,000. Many of the top parochial and Catholic schools can cost more than twice that amount. A lower middle class family can’t afford to send even one child to such a school much less multiple children.

Even if you subsidized the entire tuition costs, the child still has to meet the admission requirements. What happens if they have intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, or physical disabilities? What happens if they have behavioral problems? A private school can simply say no. As a former private school teacher, I can attest to this. Some of their margins are so thin that they can’t afford to pay specialists. If your kid needs extra help he or she will need to go to public school.

Yet, we will be stripping those same public schools of crucial resources. We will be flooding their classrooms with only those students that were too poor or somehow not fit enough to be accepted to one of those schools. They can’t explain what happens to them and they don’t particularly care. I’ve also been in schools that were the last choice in a school choice district. Someone has to care about these kids.

God Without Borders

“That’s actually a good thing. There’s nothing wrong with leading with your faith…If we do not live our lives and vote like we are nationalists—caring about our country, and putting our country first and wanting that to be the focus of our federal government—if we do not lead that way, then we will not be able to fix it.” — Marjorie Taylor Greene

So, the Georgia representative wants Christian nationalism. To understand the implications we should probably define our terms. Nationalism can be defined as the “identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.

So, let’s break down what this means for the United States. Essentially, if you take it to its logical conclusion it would be mean being out of most alliances. It would mean an end to the United Nations and NATO. It would mean an end to foreign aid. It would mean only being involved with other nations exclusively when it benefits us somehow. We’ve done this before. It didn’t work out well the first time, but it ignores something huge.

I know everyone is shocked to hear this, but I’m guessing the notorious MTG and her compadres haven’t done any heavy reading of the New Testament. Those who know the text know there is an important transformation that occurs. Yahweh (the God of the Jews) was a nationalistic God for the Hebrew people. We enter the New Testament under the same understanding. Jesus is the King of the Jews.

Yet, something funny happens along the way. When Jesus speaks to the woman at the well in the book of John he reaches a realization. He is here for everyone and not just the Jews. The way the story is written, it makes it look like the woman teaches him this. Yet, we know that isn’t the case. What we know is that this is another outward sign that Christianity is going to be different. This is where the Evangelicals get their whole mission from. It’s the whole ballgame.

So, if you bother to let those brain cells fire you have to come to the realization that there is nothing Christian about nationalism. This is particularly true for those folks that call themselves Evangelicals (as MTG does). You cannot pledge to evangelize the world and wrap yourself in a nationalist flag.

Moreover, nationalism can’t be Christian. Nationalism calls for denying outsiders. These are the folks that are clamoring for a wall. These are the folks that are for tighter limits on refugees. These are the folks that want to cut off aid to our allies. These are the folks that are okay with Russia invading Ukraine. It’s hard to imagine any of that being Christian.

It certainly doesn’t jive with the fact that Jesus was in fact a refugee. It certainly doesn’t jive with the fact that he helped the helpless, cured the sick, and prayed with sinners. It doesn’t jive with any of that. So, either they are committed to Christianity or they are committed to nationalism. They cannot be committed to both because the term “Christian Nationalist” is an oxymoron.

Of course, that leaves the rest of us a choice. We have to ask ourselves what we are most committed to. There are times when we all want America to be more selfish and to solve our own problems first. There are times when we think we can’t accommodate more people here. There are times where we wish those people that seem to mooch off of the government tit would pick themselves by their own bootstraps. We may think all of these things from time to time, but none of them make us better Christians. They hardly make us Christian at all.

So, we have to make a choice between the better angels of our nature and the demons that make us the worst. Christian nationalism sounds wonderful before you stop to think about what you are actually talking about. We can be Christian. We can be nationalists. We cannot be both.

A Maddening Conversation

“Forget about you baby ‘Cause I’m leaving to stay.” — Linda Ronstadt

There are always those moments when you want to pull your hair out. These things never seemed to happen before the days of social media. You had conversations with people you know and when you could hear the inflection of their voice or see the look on their face you could tell what you were dealing with. Sadly, that doesn’t happen with social media.

As I pointed out yesterday, I saw an entire Twitter dialogue between a group of conservatives that just kind of made you wonder if humanity could be saved. The whole thing was about how conservatives were being nice to Brandon and hoping he would pull through his battle with COVID. Certainly, the liberal media didn’t do that in 2020 when the former guy had COVID.

Let’s immediately dispense with a couple of things. The fact that many of these folks refer to Biden as Brandon is already a sign of disrespect. We know what that’s code for and it is just too clever by half. It’s hard to consider yourself an adult in the room while simultaneously speaking in code about the current president. However, we can ignore that for now as we know damn well that many of us had our own nicknames for the former president. So, I’m not attacking on this level.

I decided to engage anyway. I don’t know why I do these things because I know how they will end. I pointed out the specific right wing talking heads that were not wishing Biden well, so I pointed out that it was hard for conservatives to collectively consider themselves an adult in the room. Of course, I also pointed out that holding all conservatives accountable for the statements of some was irresponsible. Naturally, the reverse should also be true.

The response was breathtaking. That individual told me that they don’t watch conservative or liberal news. So, they weren’t aware of OAN or necessarily all of the shenanigans on Fox or Newsmax. However, they “knew” that the ratio was about “100 to 1”. I can only guess that refers to the fact that 100 times as many liberal media members were trashing and wishing ill will on Trump as conservatives with Biden.

I asked for receipts, but that is when the conversation ended. It usually ends there. You press someone for details or to back up their wild assertions and you get radio silence. She couldn’t produce any examples of liberals trashing Trump. Hell, I almost did the work for her because I looked up critical articles at the time and found a few. What those articles did is question why the liberal media was still on the attack when he was sick. It’s hard to ignore the context. Trump denied the virus and put us behind the eight ball. Then, he gets sick and continues his public schedule knowingly putting hundreds in danger.

He shows up to the first debate and purposefully shows up late so he can’t be tested. He then is within ten feet of Joe Biden the entire night. We can credibly prove he knew he had tested positive before that debate. We can’t necessarily prove he purposely intended to infect Joe Biden. At least we can’t in a court of law (I suppose one could charge him with attempted assault or attempted manslaughter) but a preponderance of the evidence suggests he knowingly had COVID and knowingly endangered the current president and hundreds of others.

That is what we call context. That is what we call nuance. It is not simply a case of both having COVID and one being treated kinder than the other. Sure, maybe that’s true if you ignore the context and nuance. The important thing is what those people did while they had COVID. It is also important to note how each has treated the virus while president. Those things matter. To ignore those details is to ignore the whole reason why the former guy was criticized.

Of course, the other fun tidbit was the notion of the liberal media outnumbering the conservative media 100 to 1. This notion is hilarious on its face. Since the Fairness Doctrine was struck down, talk radio has been proliferated with conservatives. It’s not even close. Many markets(including Houston and Dallas) don’t have any progressive voices. Obviously, radio isn’t as dominant a medium as television, but the numbers don’t lie.

Television is admittedly more mixed depending on who you ask. One thing that is fascinating from a propaganda standpoint is the effect of conservative media on conservatives. As we can see, when you take radio and television together we could reasonably say there are at least just as many conservative voices as liberal voices. Yet, conservatives are told that liberals dominate the media. So, mainstream media sources like the major networks become liberal. We get the simultaneous effect of conservatives believing the ratio is 100 to 1 while they are subjected to a bombardment of media in the other direction. It’s a powerful effect.

So, the upshot here is that when we are having a discussion with a conservative we must speak in specifics and demand that they do the same. They have succumbed to the propaganda that “people are saying” and other such nonsense that doesn’t really mean anything. What people? What exactly are they saying? How many people are we really talking about here.? The biggest question is whether we are talking about random people or actual prominent politicians and talking heads. That’s another point of distinction we need them to make.

More Double Standards

“What’s good for the goose is also good for the gander.” — A pearl of wisdom

I don’t know who said the quote above and it really doesn’t matter. We all have heard it before and we all know what it means. I teach teenagers and they are able to root out a hypocrite quicker than just about anyone. However, hypocrisy also is often without nuance. Nuance is a chalk outline at this point and most people can’t even identify the victim.

In another clip off the air (but on Twitter), Steinberg of OANN asks her followers gleefully if they think Joe Biden will die. This is usually when someone will point out that hundreds of thousands of liberals were rooting for Donald Trump to die when he had COVID and were overly gleeful when prominent conservatives actually died.

As per usual, there are a couple of problems with this point. The first is that it has that all too familiar ring of “people are saying” and other non-specifics. So, we are forced to somehow react to and answer for the unsubstantiated barbs of a faceless people. I’m not going to sit here and deny that there were people out there making such statements, but it is certainly instructive to know exactly who they are.

Were they in media? Were any of them in public office? Did we see a bunch of MSNBC anchors gleefully say they hoped Trump would die? Did we even see anyone from the Young Turks (maybe the closest mirror image to OAN) say anything like this? I honestly don’t spend hours a day watching either one, so I couldn’t tell you with 100 percent certainty. However, I am 99 percent sure that neither has an online reporter currently working for them that did anything close to that.

Therein lies the difference. I admit that it’s a subtle difference and it requires that nasty nuance thing again. There is a difference between random citizens with no clout making jokes and being crass at Trump’s expense and people in government and in mass media doing the same with Biden. So, that is just one key difference.

The other key difference is that Trump and many conservatives spent so long denying COVID and blocking common sense protocols that there was bound to be some anger on the other side. It’s also what English teachers call irony. That’s kind of hard to ignore in these situations and so hard to calculate. How much are a million lives worth?

Maybe that’s just where we are at these days. People are so angry with Brandon and the reasons seem so trivial in comparison. Gas prices are too high. Things costs too much. Certain items are harder to find. Even if we were to assume that all of this was his fault and had nothing to do with anything the former guy did, is anyone really going to try to argue that an extra 1.50 a gallon for gas is worth a human life? Is it worth our dignity? Is it worth our freedom or our sacred honor? Should I be willing to give all that up just so I can find some rawhide bones for my dog?

All that being said, this is not to excuse those that wish death upon anyone. It is wrong no matter who does it. No one should ever be happy when someone dies. They certainly shouldn’t be out loud. However, I’m not answering for some random yahoo on Twitter that posts occasionally and does whatever during their day. They may be a liberal or progressive, but I can’t answer for 80 million random people. I wouldn’t expect conservatives to either. What you can do is explain why meanness and pettiness seems to be a feature for those in conservative media and within the halls of Congress, state legislatures, and local governments. That’s the difference. Random voices in the wilderness are one thing. When they are in government or established conservative media that is something else.