Ahhh, Thanksgiving. A long weekend of eating and family and shopping and football–and invariably, a time when we see people we otherwise wouldn’t see. People with different political beliefs, many of whom are probably locked in an echo chamber where all they see is Fox News and all they hear is right wing nonsense.
Now look, it’s probably easier, upon hearing some horrible Republican talking point eke from out of a relative’s mouth, to ignore it, change the subject, and/or avoid the issue. But that’s not how politics works. People don’t change their minds, nor do they become politically active, without information or reason.
For the truth about Americans?
A) A lot of people don’t pay attention to politics until it comes time to vote–if at all, B) another huge swath is only exposed to what they hear on conservative talk radio, Fox News, and from the mouths of their mostly Republican communities, and C) while you’ll probably never convince your staunchly right-wing uncle that he shouldn’t vote Republican, many of those from groups A and B will listen. That’s why you have the argument–because others are listening, and whether it’s those mentioned above, or even your kinda kooky but awesome Grandma who’s voting for Bernie, it makes a difference. That’s how politics works.
Look at it this way: it’s like Luke Skywalker confronting Vader–it wasn’t just that he knew there was still some good, something of Anakin left in him. It was the fact that the Rebel cause depended on rooting out the evil of the Sith; Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader were far too in touch with the Dark Side to be destroyed via Rebel attack, and at the same time, too powerful to overcome without being destroyed.
The real kicker, however, is that Yoda and Obi Wan knew, ultimately, that Luke couldn’t destroy Palpatine–only Vader could–but that would never happen unless what little was left of Anakin saw Palpatine destroying his son; the son that had offered himself up, relying on nothing but guts and righteousness as protection.
Likewise, the inevitable truth is that liberal, sane Americans must confront the insanity that has taken over the modern Republican Party–we must confront those who have fallen under their sway. And though we’ll never convert the Palpatines, they’re powerless without the support of the Vaders–those who still have some good in them.
Keep in mind, it’s not about winning every little argument on policy positions–it’s simply pointing out how absurd and extreme the Republican Party has become, how depraved their followers.
So without further adieu–here’s how you do it…
Talking Point #1: the Republican Party is a racist party.
Can this any longer be doubted? From #BlackLivesMatter to Syrian refugees to the horrific comments Trump and other GOP Presidential Candidates have made about Hispanic immigrants, Republican leaders, their media apparatus, and much of their base have made it quite clear: if you aren’t a white Christian conservative, you’re a bad person who threatens the social order.
Now the first objection I’ve seen to this from Republicans is to suggest that this accusation in itself is extreme or absurd. But it isn’t.
Donald Trump said recently that a #BlackLiverMatter protester deserved to be roughed up at one of his campaign events. Bill O’Reilly and Chris Christie have called them a hate group. And many other conservatives have accused the group of starting a war on police (there isn’t one–it’s never been safer, statistically, to be a police officer).
But it’s all a smokescreen: how many black Americans have been killed in just the last few months under police custody? The latest, Laquan McDonald, was shot 16 times by a police officer now charged with first degree murder. And of course, conservatives always say well, he wasn’t following directions, he was a criminal, etc.
BUT THAT DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER.
Unless the suspect is actively endangering the safety of other people–including the police officers–there’s no reason they should be killed. They should be taken into custody, charged with a crime, and tried in court. That’s how the American justice system works. Period. End of story.
#BlackLivesMatter is an important movement with a completely legitimate position. African Americans are far more likely to be stopped, pulled over, and killed by police, than white Americans. They are more likely to be killed when unarmed and in police custody. These are facts–not the perspective of the liberal media. Facts.
So that Republican leaders and those in conservative media consistently seek to devalue and denigrate the movement–and that it works with Republican voters and conservatives… that’s racism. It’s a prejudiced, negative belief about a group of people based on their race. That’s racism.
But it’s not just with black people. It’s everyone who’s not white. Look at what Donald Trump has said about Hispanic immigrants. He’s winning, in case people haven’t noticed, and he’s winning because nearly half of all Republican voters agree with him: we should round up and deport all 11-12 million undocumented immigrants and ship them back to Mexico (which, btw, is not where all of them came from in the first place).
This is not only impractical, it’s un-American. Because other than African Americans, who were brought here against their will, and Native Americans, every single person living in this country is either an immigrant, or descended from immigrants.
Not surprisingly, they don’t want to let anymore brown people in either. Syrian refugees? No sir. Not only are they brown–many are Muslim. Again, there’s the smokescreen of terrorism to hide their racism, but no one from Syria was involved in the Paris attacks, and there’s a rigorous screening process to ensure we’re not letting violent people into the country.
So basically, Republicans are on the wrong side of all of these issues–the only link, being of course, that they all involve people who aren’t white.
Talking Point #2: Republicans are hypocrites–on almost every issue.
Let’s stay on that whole terrorist thing. From denying Syrian refugees to Ben Carson and others wanting boots on the ground fighting ISIS, the Paris attacks made Republicans go absolutely ape-shit.
And you know, I’m all for keeping us safe–I don’t think any American thinks we shouldn’t do everything within reason to prevent a terrorist attack…
Oh wait. Actually, House Republicans don’t.
In the wake of the Paris attacks, Democrats have called for banning those on the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list from buying guns, but Speaker Paul Ryan refuses to bring it up in the House. And why? Because: “The National Rifle Association signaled this week it will oppose Feinstein’s bill, as it did those before it.”
So terrorism’s a really big deal–unless it cuts into the NRA’s business.
But that’s just the beginning. Why is it Republicans care so much about terrorism and not reducing the 30,000 gun deaths per year in this country? Indeed, given their absolute refusal to do anything on guns, the Republican position on abortion seems a little silly–we’re prolife guys, I swear–except people killed with guns. We’re OK with that.
And, apparently, OK with cutting off health care services for women if they can make political hay by screaming about Planned Parenthood. And OK with using big government to infringe on freedom when it comes to abortion.
Then there’s the debt and the deficit–as soon as President Obama was elected, that’s all we heard about: he’s spending so much, tax and spend liberal, socialist, communist, etc. But in point of fact, Obama has actually been pretty conservative when it comes to government spending.
Know who’s not? EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT! They’ve all proposed tax plans with massive tax cuts for rich people and corporations, which even by conservative estimates, would blow a massive hole in the federal budget. But for some reason, the Tea Party patriots and Republicans don’t care.
Not sure if it’s because Obama’s a Democrat or black. Probably both.
Regardless, the point is: there’s no rhyme or reason to what Republicans believe–it’s all just a bunch of positions cobbled together to appeal to billionaire campaign donors and single issue voters.
Talking Point #3: Republicans lie about everything–and then blame the “liberal” media.
Just go to mediamatters.org. Just go.
Or look at Seth Meyers take apart Trump’s lies.
Did you know that when it comes to science, Ted Cruz, “understands less about science (and climate change) than the average kindergartner.”
In fact, it’s unlikely there’s ever been a pack of more chronic liars running for President from one party in the history of this country than today’s Republicans.
But they get away with it: “because liberal media.”
An asinine excuse. The crazy thing is, it works. Republicans really believe it. But if anyone thinks about it for more than a few seconds, it’s beyond ridiculous. As Admiral Ackbar would say, “IT’S A TRAP!”
Basically, Republicans now believe that anything they don’t like–anything that doesn’t jive with their views–is wrong: a deliberate conspiracy by the evil “liberal” media to bring down conservatives.
Really? So if my butcher, who’s lied to my face multiple times, tells me every other meat counter in the city is selling bad product I should just… believe him?
No–I should go to another butcher. Look, even if the media was biased (which they’re not), reality still exists. News departments don’t have the time or money to get scientists and academics to just make shit up so that they can push some sort of liberal agenda. That’s completely absurd.
“Because liberal media” is basically an excuse to disregard reality–to be a bigoted idiot; the kind of asshole who believes he’s right about everything; the kind of fool who’s so insecure, he’ll turn on family members or close friends to avoid admitting he’s wrong.
In other words, a Tea Party Patriot.
And where did they get that line from? Oh right: Fox News, conservative talk, Rush Limbaugh–the very people who depend on lying to make a living.
The truth: the lies are just what they seem to be–lies. The “liberal” media can’t obscure reality. And frankly, it’s pathetic that Republicans would rather pretend everything wrong with their world view (like racism, for instance) is all the fault of the “liberal” media. I thought they were the party of personal responsibility?
And for those who really believe it?
Low IQ is the only explanation.
Talking Point #4: Republicans believe that corporations are people and money is speech.
It’s just the truth… look at any of their policy positions. Name one Republican Presidential Candidate who’s said the Citizen’s United ruling was wrong. Name one who’s said we should look into a Constitutional Amendment to remedy the matter.
Ask around the room at Thanksgiving–who agrees with them? Who thinks that money in politics isn’t a problem?
Republicans are OK with legalized bribery. As we say here on ChuckingRocks: that’s bad.
Talking Point #5: Republicans don’t solve the problems we face.
You might start by asking this of your right-wing relatives: in the last 30 years, what legislation have Republicans passed to help ordinary Americans?
So far, I haven’t had anyone answer that question.
But the larger point here is what are Republicans doing to address the issues we face as a nation: wage and wealth inequality, education reform, infrastructure investment, college affordability, student loan debt, climate change, etc?
The answer is nothing. All Republicans have proposed to do is cut taxes for rich people and regulations for multinational corporations. That might help their billionaire campaign donors, but it won’t help anyone else–and that’s perhaps the most powerful talking point of all: Republicans don’t care about ordinary Americans. They just don’t. If they did, they’d be talking about the issues aboves, explaining what they’ll do to drive wage growth for employees, to make college more affordable, to mitigate climate change.
But they aren’t.
Instead, they carry out witch hunts against Planned Parenthood and Hillary Clinton on Benghazi, threaten to shut down government when they don’t get their way, hold 50 votes to repeal Obamacare without ever proposing an actual replacement. Republicans filibuster, grandstand, refuse to compromise, do everything possible to ensure government doesn’t work–and in the states where they control the government? They leave massive holes in the budget, attack state workers, restrict voting, and block access to health care–especially for poor people and women.
That’s pretty dastardly for the party claiming to represent Christianity.
Oh and then there’s that.
Talking Point #6: Republicans think the U.S. is a Christian nation. It’s not.
Here’s the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
See that first part–it means that the United States of America is NOT a Christian nation, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
If founders meant that to be interpreted as only the Christian religion, they would’ve said so–but in point of fact, the founders themselves weren’t all that gung-ho about religion; Thomas Jefferson is famous for having made a Bible with all the miracles removed because he didn’t believe in them.
Regardless, the First Amendment is clear. The U.S. is not a Christian nation. We do not make law based on religious values, nor do we discriminate against people based on their religious beliefs.
The fact that Republicans have forgotten this is rather frightening.
Now please understand, I’m not asking you to get into a physical fight or ruin Thanksgiving. Just be willing to push back. Many Republicans don’t hear anything other than what exists in the conservative echo chamber, and a little cognitive dissonance is good for everyone–especially conservatives.
Another approach? Have them take the quiz in my recent post, “What Democrats and Republicans Actually Believe.” That way, they can find out for themselves where they stand.
So confront them, like Luke did with Vader. And hey, if your uncle freaks out–Palpatines–it’ll only make your positions more righteous.
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