Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A Republican with kaleidoscope eyes.
Ugh. I feel kind of awful butchering that song, but don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with this. The last few days, I’ve been arguing with Republicans on Facebook (I know, I know, I ought to know better), and it occurred to me that not unlike what the Beatles did in the song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” they’ve created a completely alternate universe; a universe or reality, where indeed, if the Republican Party says that the skies are marmalade, they ARE, and anyone who argues otherwise is a bad person.
For example, I was told on one thread, by a public school teacher no less, that the government cannot create jobs. Then my head almost exploded. Obviously, I replied something like, “uh, but aren’t you a teacher—don’t you have a government job?” After that I challenged him to a public debate, for reasons I hope I don’t have to explain. But did he simply admit that he was wrong and move on? Nope. See, he explained, teaching or education, is a service provided by the government, but that doesn’t count as a job. So, if you make money by providing a service, like being a stockbroker, hairdresser, waiter, engineer, etc., you’ll be surprised to know that according to Republicans, what you do doesn’t count as a job…somehow. Or is it that only jobs the government provides that are services aren’t real jobs? It’s so confusing, but Republicans have decided, by God, that the government can’t create jobs, and so it goes that according to this Republican, he, a public school teacher, does not have a job. Ugh.
Also, during my engagement with the Cons, people publicly expressed that they were glad not to be my friend (darnit!), that I was an arrogant know-it-all who is a real bore (that one hurt), and I was told that my default setting was to call names, even though the only thing I said was that Mitt Romney was the etch-a-sketch politician, which I explained doesn’t count, because I was only repeating what one of his campaign workers said about him. Pure comic gold.
I learned a lot about the Republican universe: Keynes is a hack. Rush Limbaugh calling teachers “fat, stupid, overpaid baby sitters” was actually completely apt if taken in context. Also, teachers regularly engage in political indoctrination in public schools. Oh, and this is key: if someone, especially some pinko-liberal ever makes a really good point, like that people should be at least as angry at the bankers on Wall Street who crashed our economy and got bailed out by the government, as they are at the Occupy protesters who happen to be pointing this out and trampled some grass in a few parks on the way, then you should accuse them of being “intellectually dishonest.” Finally, if you can’t argue with someone on the facts, quickly change the subject to something like freedom or how awful Obamacare is, or just lie about your opponent and hope that no one notices.
This, again, is why the comparison to “Lucy” is so apt. The Republicans have become a party that isn’t moored to anything real, a group of people that agree in dogmatic lockstep on their propaganda, and then peddle it about, believing that if they repeat their nonsense enough, it will somehow become the truth. In other words, yes, they are in a boat on a river, eating marshmallow pies with rockinghorse people. Rockinghorse people that are REAL DAMNIT!
It would be more funny if it weren’t so scary. The part that is concerning is that when you have a party that almost exclusively controls talk radio and the mainstream media, and they repeat their talking points enough, it’s possible for people that aren’t thinking critically to buy into the B.S. This is why, even though it feels like arguing with three-year-olds, we have to engage the conservatives at every point possible. We won’t convince them, but we can make them look like idiots to everyone else (uh, oh, now that folks, really is some name calling), because, to anyone that’s somewhat tethered to reality, Republican arguments simply don’t make sense.
That is, unless you’re wearing a looking glass tie, or riding in a newspaper taxi.