I've written in the past that there has been a conservative tactic I've noticed for the last decade that's become prevalent. Perhaps it's gone on longer, but it seems more recent. That's attempting to co-opt the arguments and charges of the other side, and try to make it seem like it's your own.
For instance, I had a very far-right friend, who eventually began claiming that he was actually the "real" liberal, because he believed in the individual and individual rights and yammer yammer yammer. I mean, this fellow was so far to the right he risked falling off the edge of the flat earth. But "he" was the liberal in the room.
Or we've seen Republicans attempt to say that liberals are the real racists because unemployment of blacks under a Democratic president was so high. Or that it's really liberals who have a War on Women because...well, sorry, I never really figured that one out.
The last few days I've been in a Twitter snit fit with a Donald Trump supporter. Most of the snit has been on his side, generally sending about six tweets for each one of mine. And I don't say much in mine, other than things like, "No, you're wrong, Donald Trump did say he wanted to register all Muslims. Here's the video." And my most common reply is simply, "Donald Trump is running a racist & fascist campaign that his supporters defend. I don’t debate racism & fascism." (Thankfully bluntness works here, because there's a limit to what one can say in 140-characters, of course.)
Finally, this brought about what might be the quintessential example of this conservative effort to co-opt their opponent's position. He wrote back --
"You are defending racism and facism .... because you're supporting the media's bullshit."
O there was SO much to say. But I kept it simple. And explained, "Sorry, that tactic doesn't work." And repeated the point about Donald Trump.
While there's something galling and egregious about such an effort to subvert reality and serious conversation and discussion, there's also something whimsical about the pure childishness of a viewpoint that is limited to a debating point of "I'm rubber, you're glue. Anything you say sticks to you." That and, "No, you are."
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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