Saturday, January 16, 2010

Political Beliefs vs. Lies

Before I begin discussing the latest in politics here, I want to make something clear from the start: I don't give a shit what your political beliefs are.

By that, I mean it doesn't matter. Whatever your ideology is, if you want to discuss and debate, I'm ready to have at it. Many of my friends are in very different places on the political spectrum from me, and I've enjoyed many a debate with someone that has an opposite opinion but knows his or her stuff. For instance, you might believe that America is best served by leaving health insurance to be provided by private companies only, rather than by the federal or state governments. I might counter by pointing out the great success other countries have had in providing their people health coverage, and you might counter me by saying that society in the U.S. is different from those others and might not be able to handle their system, and so on. Both sides are presenting a legitimate political opinion, based in reality, ready to back it up with facts, and I'm fine with that.

What I have NO patience for is falsehood. During the presidential campaign of 2008, from the primaries on, I did volunteer work for Barack Obama. I did data entry, made phone calls and donations, and wrote letters to newspapers. At times, there was good political discussion and debate involved. Unfortunately, all too often the bulk of the work was simply to tell the truth in the face of the continuous waves of lies being spread. I can't tell you how many times I had to explain that Senator Obama was a Christian, not a Muslim; that he was born in Hawaii, and having lived in the state where he had served as a State Senator for 8 years, I could safely say that he wasn't a Socialist. Again and again and again.

So today, I don't waste my time with people that vomit lies like a Freshman at his first keg party. To paraphrase Mike Singletary, I can not not play with 'em. Can not debate with 'em. Can not win with 'em. Can't do it.

Whether the person is spreading a lie intentionally with malice, or through sheer ignorance repeating what he's heard without checking the facts or judging the source, the fact is that life's too short to waste on people that don't value the truth. An honest difference in political opinion is often engaging and even fun for me to debate, but I'd rather not even talk to someone that claims that Neil Armstrong never set foot on the moon, or that President Bush schemed and ordered the 9/11 acts of terrorism, or that President Obama was born in Timbuktu.

In other words, I could probably have a decent discussion with, say, a George Will. I wouldn't even bother trying with a Sarah Palin.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I have a hard time grasping that anyone could believe any of those things. A difference of opinion can be a good thing, but ignorance is scary.