I understand people having different political opinions. I'm not only fine with that, but even like political debate. It's interesting, can be informative, and is healthy. If people don't like Barack Obama -- or George W. Bush, or whoever -- great, fine. Let's hear the reasons and discuss it.
Different opinions and different reality, however, are two separate things. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, "You are entitled to your own opinion, you are not entitled to your own facts." And sometimes, discord can transcend mere wrong facts, and reach a completely different level of reality. That's when a person doesn't just have incorrect facts, but is living in a universe of their own making where actual facts have no place and can't even exist.
This came to mind bluntly yesterday afternoon when I came across the following Tweet, which expressed something I've begun to hear some on the far right trying to push out into the world --
Now, I'm not anxious to get into Twitter snits, which responding to this would risk, but some things can't be left without comment. I won't debate this person -- because there's nothing to debate. Two plus two equals four, and to think that it's a matter for debate is a losing battle being sucked down a wormhole.
I did therefore reply, and bluntly. And am ready to reply again -- bluntly. And then will leave the discourse behind because this is not open for debate. If you don't like how Barack Obama has handled the economy, swell, explain why -- but to have this as your starting point will not fly.
Basically my response was (though in 140 characters and spread over a couple replies...) --
"This is NOT even remotely true. The economy crashed under George W. Bush, period. Don't even think of suggesting otherwise. John McCain suspended his presidential campaign specifically because the economy collapsed. Remember??!! Since Barack Obama took office, unemployment dropped from 8.1% to 5.4%, and there were 18 consecutive months of jobs growth. Under Mr. Bush, the stock market had plummeted from 14,253 to 7,949 the day that President Obama took office. It is now near an all-time high of 18,076. If you are, in fact, a 'market analyst,' you are in the wrong profession."
Saying that you don't like how any president is handling the economy is fair game for discussion. People have different economic philosophies. But to say that the economy crashed under Barack Obama is not debating -- it's the Big Lie, attempting to subvert reality by repeating a blatant untruth. And saying that the growth has been the "slowest in History" -- when of course it actually collapsed during the previous Administration, which is about as slow as an economy can get... -- isn't just laughably, monumentally and demonstrably false, but put all together is either profoundly sad in its total, empty blindness, or an intentional, linguistic form of ruthless political extremism attempting to corrupt our perception of reality.
Sorry, you don't get to play that game.
The economy collapsed under George W. Bush. If you want to still support him for any number of reasons, swell. If you want to criticize Barack Obama just because, swell.
But the economy collapsed under George W. Bush. That's your starting point.
There is one comforting thing when reading something as otherwise head-exploding as this. It's the knowledge that when people are forced to rewrite reality to defend their ground and hide behind it, it's because they have no argument to defend with Otherwise, you use that.
The economy collapsed under George W. Bush.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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