Conservatives and rhetoric
Hard line conservatives make a lot of claims against liberals: They promote class warfare, they’re trying to keep you poor, they’re the more racist party. These are all well and good, if you’re only looking at rhetoric. Surely, if tax cuts are evenly spread among all payers, saying it’s a cut for the rich is tax warfare. Saying they’re trying keep you poor by saying it’s impossible to get out of poverty without gov’t help could be true if it wasn’t hard to get out of poverty. Saying Democrats are racist by promoting affirmative action could be true if corporations aren’t racist in their hiring practices. These all sound reasonable if you believe the underlying “everything is wonderful; Democrats are all doom and gloom just to get elected” philosophy. And that’s what people want to believe. It’s not so bad, the liberals are just there to scare you into voting for them. They benefit by telling people what they want to believe, the Democrats don’t for the most part, and people claim there are no differences between the two parties.
All it takes is a quick look behind the rhetoric to see Republican dishonesty. So, do the rich really get the same amount of a tax cut as the rest? Well, no, in Bush’s first cut, the taxpayers who pay the top 20% of taxes get 40% of the cut. Are the Democrats really trying to keep you poor? Well, they wouldn’t be for welfare then, would they? Is it really as hard as they say to get out of debt and poverty? Well, you could read Nickel and Dimed and see. Is there really still racism in hiring practices? Well, a recent survey noted that you’re more likely to get hired as a white ex-con than as a black man. All it takes is a quick look a little deeper to see these things. There’s always room for disagreement, but the rhetoric doesn’t stand up.
So what is to be done? I don’t know. TV news is a lost cause. Sound bites aren’t compatible with progressive politics. Print media is falling away, as it is being cowed by “liberal media” claims. The internet is still not thought of as a credible source by the public. And that’s probably the best option. Blogs, and sites like Buzzflash. We’re growing, and we can’t be controlled by corporate influences. That leads nicely into this post on Cup O’ Joe, member of the League of Liberals. His letter stressing the importance of blogs to the Center for American Progress. I’ll get to writing a letter later, hopefully, but he’s right on:
Look at the blogosphere. Look at all the talent we have, the well-written commentaries by those who are considered to be rank amateurs, that is going to waste because these people (myself included) are denied a greater organ with which to get their message out, or are shackled by poverty from doing even more and better work. I cannot speak for all of them, but I speak for myself: help us. Find ways to put as to work, as researchers, as journalists, as columnists. Gather us up, train us, give us a sense of focus, and most of all, get us on a payroll. There is no reason we should be expected to starve to death while the right wing makes sure their people are paid enough to be able to focus like a laser beam on the issues they think are important.