Monday, May 04, 2009

New rules

Rule #101: Itchy Rich
The rich have sufficient clout in Washington without your constant coddling. The recent tea parties protested over-taxation, a curious development considering that President Obama has lowered taxes for everyone earning under $250,000 a year. Given the unlikely possibility that the protesters were anywhere near that income bracket, it can only mean one thing: ignorance.

OK, OK, it could also mean a second thing: that they're against higher taxes for the rich because they themselves hope to be that way someday. By that logic, shouldn't many rich people be advocating assistance to the poor, because they may have been there before? Well, most don't, because they don't care about you. They got theirs, so who cares? As much flack as Obama is getting for wanting to raise the top tax rate from 36 to 39 percent, that's still 11 fewer points than it was even under supply-side Reagan. Even in the era of Change, the rich are still doing fine. But they did appreciate your vote all these years.

Rule #102: Fair imbalance
"We report, you decide" is an unsuitable motto for Fox News, because it implies that the network is issuing facts from which decisions can be suitably obtained. It lets "you decide" in the same sense that a cult leader lets "you decide" between the compound and eternal hellfire. A news network's job is to inform without bias or, at the very least, not push a blatantly partisan agenda under the facade of cherry-picked "facts." And yes, I'm aware that MSNBC also does this to a degree, which brings me to:

Rule #103: Separate but equal time
Every example of conservative corruption does not need a liberal corollary to validate it. Especially when there isn't one. If, for example, I say Fox News is biased and lies about said bias, a conservative will ask me, "Well, what about MSNBC? Can't you admit they're biased too?" Well, yeah, but the point of this discussion is that Fox News presents hard-right perspectives as real news, and claims that they don't. MSNBC makes no such pretensions, so they don't belong in this particular discussion.

Another example was the lead-up to the Iraq War in 2003. Those favoring the invasion often asked critics, "Why can't you be as enraged over Saddam Hussein?" Well, because the protesters specifically opposed the U.S. invasion of a sovereign nation on shaky (and ever-changing) pretenses in a clearly oil-driven quest to "spread democracy." Saddam's tyrannical reign is an issue worthy of outrage as well, but it does not cancel out the other issue. Nice try at stifling debate, though.

It's simply impossible to address an issue if you're required to qualify it with every other issue that can be even weakly connected to it by some vague "liberal-conservative" dichotomy. In fact, it's a really good way not to address an issue. Perhaps that's the point.

Rule #104: Corrupt shun
The "both parties are corrupt" argument is played out. It's true that both the Democrats and the Republicans have skeletons in their closet, but to say they are exactly the same is essentially a cop-out, and one that suggests a lack of viable solutions on the speaker's part. The problems with our government deserve more nuanced discussion than, "We're all screwed." If you're going to argue this, have a solution. And no, it can't be something vague like, "A leader who respects the foundation on which America was built." I want to know how you will both revolutionize America's political system and get Suzy from Peoria on your side.

I'm not saying that to bait anyone. I'm genuinely curious.

Rules archive


twodiddle said...

ehm ... I agree with almost every thing you say ... in your last sentance.

twodiddle said...

By the way, I added you. Although we don't agree, I do appriciate your Bill Maher approach at life.