Lies Versus Selective Truth?

Once upon a time you could at least count on the vast majority of politicians in either party telling the truth some of the time and there being at least a grain or shade of truth in the rest of their statements. Like everything else in politics the speaking habits of the majority of politicians in both parties have polarized.

The majority of the Republican Party, in its efforts to hang on to what it believes are its core supporters, has essentially decided that even a pretense at speaking something vaguely resembling the facts is not only unnecessary, but that the only way it can hold onto any power – and possibly even win the next election – is to spread lies and more lies. Lies, of course, that are more attractive to Republican rank-and-file than the truth.

Now, there’s always been a strain of this in politics, the most notable in recent eras being the Republican Senator Joe McCarthy, who invented the numbers of Communists he thought was plausible in whatever group he was targeting at that moment. There’s also been a strain of virulent anti-immigrant “nativist” politics throughout our entire history as a nation. The “anti-black” politics permeated the Democratic Party until Lyndon Johnson pushed for civil rights, and then those who opposed full civil rights [or sometimes any civil rights] migrated to the Republican Party.

For all that, the current lies pushed by Republicans pretty much take the cake. No other political party has ever tried to deny the results of any national election by force. Sometimes, they’ve manipulated the system, but having a sitting President incite a riot to deny the results of an election is unprecedented. When a Republican congressman says that the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol wasn’t much more than a normal tourist event, when the Republican leader in the House of Representatives continues to insist that the election was stolen, when the Republican Party strips one of the most conservative members of its conference of her post because she stood up against those lies, it’s not about political beliefs, and it’s certainly not about anything close to the truth.

Now… the Democrats aren’t saints, and they often are very “selective” about the truth, but at least there’s some truth somewhere. They do have facts and statistics about oppression and Republican voter suppression, about poverty, and about the inadequacy of the minimum wage. It’s a shame that they’re not nearly as strong about economics, but we can survive bad economics, partly because economics work, despite the politicians, but laws based on lies will destroy a democratic society long before bad economics will, and bad economics can be fixed without resorting to a civil war.

After all, the last time states decided that mandating oppression and denying the vote was a state’s right didn’t turn out all that well.

8 thoughts on “Lies Versus Selective Truth?”

  1. R. Hamilton says:

    So we should simply assume everyone here is entitled to vote, and remove every effective means of verifying their citizenship and place of residence (the latter determining the single district in which they vote)? That’s a problem. Maybe the election WAS stolen, given the rush to make it easy with mail-in voting AND bypass observers, set a low to nonexistent threshold for signature verification, etc. Maybe not. It doesn’t affect the outcome, since there’s no mechanism to overturn or appeal an election once Congress has certified the electoral votes; we’re stuck with Biden for the rest of his term, and many that voted for him will come to regret it. But the continuing treatment of inclusive election vs secure election as if they were mutually exclusive is just WRONG; illegitimate votes also suppress (or at any rate, dilute or cancel) legitimate ones, typically not to equal advantage of both parties. Both SHOULD be achievable, even if it requires usually objectionable additional spending, to assist the mobility/economically/socially/situationally challenged in obtaining suitable identification (if they don’t have that, they already can’t fly) and in following a minimum of necessary procedures to ensure integrity.

    As for “nativism”, what’s wrong with putting existing citizens first? Isn’t any government’s obligation to do just that, not that the rest of the world becomes expendable, but that meeting their needs, or the humanity of every human on the planet, is NOT a nation’s primary responsibility. Doesn’t mean no (or even necessarily reduced, depending on the needs of existing citizens) LEGAL immigration, it just means no ILLEGAL invasion (which despite what’s been said before CAN be stopped, if the will is there to do it).

    We are NOT one vast global village (which it doesn’t take!), and should NOT aspire to be; we’re ultimately not even a vast number of villages and communities, we’re a federal republic of still partly sovereign states, each containing individuals that have rights by default, not by fiat. The EU as an example is a sea of red tape, and the former USSR, despite pretensions of being a union of nations, was a highly centralized dictatorship. Yes, there MAY be global concerns, but they MUST be dealt with by voluntary cooperation of sovereign nations, not by nations surrendering sovereignty to a global structure. Anything broader risks either massively incompetent or corrupt or grandiose waste, or dictatorship on a scale not seen before.

    1. RCRRea says:

      You need to provide substantive evidence of illegitimate votes. Substantive, verifiable evidence. In this or prior elections. You also need to make sure that your information is delivered in a credible fashion, meaning you need to breakdown who cast those illegitimate votes and who they cast those votes for. Statistics is fine. We’ll wait on your submission. Until, you probably shouldn’t keep posting as you are, in fact, EXACTLY the problem being discussed.
      BTW. You can’t support your position with verifiable facts. You lose out of the gate. But, please… try. It will be amusing.

      1. R. Hamilton says:

        You’re setting a standard far beyond what a private citizen could obtain, unless thorough (and bipartisan!) investigations were conducted; and “I” am not a spokesman for Trump, the RNC, or anyone but myself, so it’s neither my authority, direct interest, or ability to pursue that, give or take writing letters to officials, etc. There have been LOTS of allegations of irregularities above and beyond the usual, and no, I don’t participate in any of the conspiracy theory groups; I’m talking mentions in regular (if admittedly right-wing, at least by comparison) news media.

        Once again, it’s NOT about tossing out Biden, at least not in the heads of anyone who bothered to read the Constitution; we would NOT get a do-over, and even if the election was stolen, we’re stuck with the results. But regardless of whether it was or wasn’t, the simple fact that such distrust exists means that the investigations should take place, and integrity precautions (yes, without excluding legitimate voters) should be increased, along with transparency.

        The standard to simply DISCUSS a subject you don’t agree with is not so high as to require courtroom grade proof. And no, I am NOT that problem, because I am quite clear that I DON’T _KNOW_ whether it was stolen or not, just that there were a lot of irregularities (and add to them state courts setting aside state laws requiring certain integrity procedures, and state or county executives overriding the laws too; crazy, neither “preventing voter suppression” nor COVID-19 was an excuse), and I do NOT expect even the answer to that question to change the current resident of the White House, but simply to improve the process so that a nearly 50% split in those who believe whether the election was valid won’t happen again.

  2. Chris says:

    “even if it requires usually objectionable additional spending, to assist the mobility/economically/socially/situationally challenged in obtaining suitable identification”

    The problem with the majority of the laws the Republicans are passing to require voter ID don’t do anything to help people get their required ID. I would personally have a lot fewer objections if the laws set a start date 2 years in the future, but immediately implemented mobile ID clinics that targeted the citizens in question (poor, mobility impaired, etc). Instead they impose the requirement as soon as they are legally allowed to and say “this isn’t hard, people can get their ID.”

    Also, your comment about “if they don’t have that, they already can’t fly” is either missing the point or shows your opinion of who should be allowed to vote. You are correct that a lot of the people in question can’t fly. But it’s not just because they don’t have the required ID. It’s also because they can’t afford to travel because they are making barely enough to get by, or they don’t have the time to travel because they are working multiple part-time jobs without benefits or paid time off to get by.

    Finally, practically ever study shows that the tragedy of the commons is a real thing, and non-binding commitments to deal with commons based ills just incentivize individual nations to cheat. But hey, we don’t need clean water, breathable air, temperatures in a habitable and growable range in 100 years, or avoiding massive expenses related to the destruction of coastal living areas, because we don’t be here. Let the grandkids deal with that problem.

    1. R. Hamilton says:

      What you suggest (widespread ID clinics two years before the requirement for ID) is a compromise I’d be quite happy with, and along the lines I’ve discussed for years when the false dichotomy is raised.

      I might not have worded that well, but there are other uses for ID beyond to fly or drive (or vote), that even the poor would benefit from (a bank account instead of the fees and vulnerabilities of alternative arrangements, for example).

      My opinion of ineffectiveness is indeed not high, but that has no bearing on someone’s right to vote.

      The flip side of your tragedy of the commons is that enough authority to compel the solution of big problems is enough authority that it will be abused severely. I will not condone trading liberty for some unproven greatest good of the greatest number. Or even a proven one.

      1. MRE says:

        Out of curiosity, how do you explain the concerted effort to shut down polling places? The voter ID and fear of widespread fraud that is being touted as the reason for all these changes ring hollow when they are accompanied by so many across the board voter suppression measures. Such as not being able to bring water or food to someone waiting in line to vote. How can that be anything but pure suppression of the vote?

        Add to that the hilarious failure of Republicans to find any evidence to prove voter fraud. If there was one scintilla of hard evidence, Kevin McCarthy would teleport it, and himself, in front of a judge in a burst of brimstone tinted smoke to present it. Instead? Laughed out of court…often by Trump’s own appointees. Doesn’t that suggest there is either very little or no voter fraud?

        So, the lack of ANY hard evidence, plus the overt voter suppression laws actually being passed, suggest that YOU might be concerned about fraud, but the people wielding power in Republicans’ name across state governments are actually disenfranchising voters. Doesn’t that make you mad? Lots of concern that Biden stole the election.

        So much concern.

        But the straight-up in your face laws making it tougher for poor voters to vote (that’s not code for black or brown, I just mean poor), that you don’t mind? I hope you can understand why it’s difficult to take the concerns about “just checking” for voter fraud seriously, while you are also holding your hands over your eyes and plugging your ears at the anti democratic behavior happening right in front of you.

        I have no gripe about voters and citizens bitching about possible stolen elections. Democrats did it when Bush beat Gore. But Gore didn’t do it. And Democratic leaders didn’t do it either. They accepted the loss because even if there were shenanigans it was way more important to keep the tradition of the peaceful transition of power intact. But the Republicans threw that away. Doesn’t that hypocrisy make it impossible to take them seriously as mature leaders? I mean, that’s the ballgame. Doesn’t that make you mad? As, I don’t know, a citizen in the world’s oldest democracy? You talk about wanting to avoid giving the federal government too much power..but if this election fraud thing keeps going, autocracy is only ever one political cycle away, and adding your voice to it gives the feckless leaders in the GOP the political cover to take everything away; money, power, and liberty, from all of us.

        But, maybe it was stolen. And only the internet neckbeards noticed, and no evidence was found by any election official observers (sent by both parties) with training and huge incentives to find and reveal fraud…well..sure…but if so, no amount of whining by any citizen will matter, because the Republic is already lost. But I doubt it. Parties alternating in power is actually considered a good sign in political science, it means the incumbent failed to corrupt the electoral system—which we have RECORDED hard evidence the former president tried to do…doesn’t any of that make you mad? No? Why not?

      2. Christopher Weuve says:

        “ What you suggest (widespread ID clinics two years before the requirement for ID) is a compromise I’d be quite happy with…” The fact that you view taking minimal steps to ensure voting access to legal voters as a “compromise” pretty much sums up how anti-democratic your entire position is.

  3. Christopher Weuve says:

    It’s worth pointing out that Republican economic understanding is pretty dismal too.

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