Every couple of days, I will have a person complain to me that I’m too aggressive or mean. I’m told, “You catch more flies with honey.” “Why do you belittle conservatives?” “You won’t change their minds that way.”
Here’s an example (emphasis mine):
FLS, why would anyone with a healthy self esteem want to be humiliated? I’m sure it feels good to score points, but what about changing minds? It can happen to even the most entrenched racist, sexist, homophobic, religious bigot. But it’s not likely to happen in a contentious conversation. At some point we have to be able to speak reasonably with people who see the world differently. If we only treat people with civility, dignity, and respect when they agree with us, how is our behavior any better?
When progressives and liberals call people who think differently an “idiot” how are we being any different than the conservatives we’re calling out? If conservatism is code for small-minded bigot, is progression code for smug elitist? What are the ways that we’re like our ideological opponents? What are the ways that we’re different? What are our common goals?
If a conservative gets all their “talking points” from Fox News and conservative media that only bashes liberals and progressives how is that any different than a progressive or liberal who gets all their “talking points” from MSNBC, which only bashes conservatives? Ever notice that MSNBC never critiques liberals and progressives? Is it a media source or a source of propaganda?
Let’s dispel one misconception from the get go. MSNBC is not the “liberal Fox.” As the Fat Smug Bastard never tires of pointing out, MSNBC has THREE HOURS in the morning hosted by Joe Scarborough, a four term Republican congressman. Let me know when Fox gives even a 30 minute spot to a liberal and we’ll talk. Until then, THERE IS NO EQUIVALENCE.
A second misconception that needs to be dispelled: If you are a liberal, you cannot change the mind of a Fox News conservative. Period. Can’t be done. You are the enemy. You are a liar. You are a treasonous villain out to destroy America and enslave all the “makers.” You are a lazy thief stealing money from the good, God fearing real Americans.
This is how they view you. This is the product Fox sells that is eagerly consumed by millions of conservatives. I’ve spent many an hour perusing conservative pages where they feel free to vent their hatred and this is exactly what they say. A lot.
Therefor, I have no interest in changing these people’s minds. They are not living in the same world as the rest of us. They live in a world populated by demonstrably false “facts” that they cling to like the word of God. Evolution is false. Liberals are out to destroy Christianity. Obama is a secret Muslim. His birth certificate is fake.
And no, this is not a “vocal minority.” That’s a fairy tale some liberals like to tell themselves when they’re trying to be “reasonable” with people who are convinced that taxes are at an all time high. Stop it. Listen to their representatives in Congress and in the right wing media; this is who they are and worse, it’s who they WANT to be. You’re not helping, you’re only enabling these delusional “people in the bubble” by trying to meet them halfway.
What I do, and will continue to do, is expose them to the light of day. There are millions, millions, of people in this country who utter insipid statements like, “If a conservative gets all their “talking points” from Fox News and conservative media that only bashes liberals and progressives how is that any different than a progressive or liberal who gets all their “talking points” from MSNBC, which only bashes conservatives?” Are you f**king kidding me?
The difference for anyone looking past superficial similarities is that liberals getting their “talking points” from MSNBC have the burden of being able to prove what they say while conservatives have the luxury of just making shit up and insisting their beliefs are the same as actual, real-world evidence. Suggesting liberal and conservative “talking points” are the same is the WORST kind of false equivalence because it’s being used to justify capitulating to the psychosis the right wing has allowed itself to fall into. When a liberal says “Creationism does not belong in schools because of the First Amendment,” that is a talking point from MSNBC. When a conservative says, “Evolution is just an unproven theory and we should teach alternatives like Intelligent Design,” that, too, is a talking point, but from Fox. The former is 100% true, the latter is 100% absolute utter bullshit. Now, tell me again how “talking points” from MSNBC are the same as the ones from Fox.
My job is to engage these “true patriots” from the right and get them to just be who they are. I goad them, I belittle them and I mock them because an angry conservative forgets to speak in code. They won’t talk about “lazy poor people,” they’ll talk about “lazy blacks.” They’ll forget they’re supposed to be “pro-life” and instead denounce women as “whores who couldn’t keep their legs closed.” They won’t talk about how they work harder, they’ll talk about how they’re entitled to everything because they’re “real” Americans and liberals aren’t.
At the same time, I present my arguments clearly and concisely. I provide indisputable evidence in the form of quotes, videos, arithmetic (a weak point for conservatives), science and, my favorite, their own words in context. I take conservative arguments and lay them out bare for everyone to see. The result is that anyone not living within the Fox News bubble can only stare, incredulous, at the nonsensical nature of right wing ideology.
We didn’t win the 2012 election by being nice and trying to compromise. We won by making sure the country knew what it is that Republicans truly believe:
Rape is not rape if the woman gets pregnant. Or if she didn’t fight hard enough. Or if she was wearing sexy clothes.
Women who use birth control are sluts and whores.
Black people on food stamps are lazy.
Muslims are all terrorists.
Homosexuals are just like pedophiles.
Evolution is lies from the pit of hell.
This is who they’ve allowed themselves to become and we should try and reason with these people? I don’t think so. Rather, we should hold them up for the public to see and ridicule. Moderate conservatives should be shamed for their continued support of the GOP. Independents should be horrified by the bile that spews forth from the right. And just to reiterate: THERE IS NO EQUIVALENT ON THE LEFT. Liberals do not actually say, “we love abortion!” or that Christianity should be banned and Sharia law instituted. The craziest fringe of the left says that we shouldn’t eat meat and all guns should be outlawed. When was the last time a liberal lawmaker even jokingly tried to pass a bill like that? For God’s sake, one Republican suggested that the law should be changed so abortion doctors could be legally murdered! These are disturbed people trapped in an echo chamber that only drives them further to the fringes of the right. They just lost an election that they had every opportunity to win. Why? Because they opened their mouths and the public heard what they stand for. The public recoiled from their extremism. What has the GOP and the right wing media decided to do? Double down on the extremism.
So, no, I won’t be catching more flies with honey. I will continue to show others the intellectual and moral vacuum that exists in the Fox News bubble. I will continue to heap scorn on them and treat them like the sick joke they are. I will arm other liberals with the knowledge of how to tear conservative “facts” apart like wet tissue paper. I will show independents and moderates the ugliness that underlies the modern conservative movement. Being polite and “taking the higher road” got us George W. Bush and 8 years of global bloodshed and economic ruin. If you think I’m only “sinking to their level” and I should be more accommodating maybe conservatives aren’t the only ones incapable of learning from their mistakes.