Wednesday, June 25, 2008

McCain Proves Facts are Impolite

I’m going to bash McCain, so hang in there because I first have to bash conservatives generally, and then rag on some oversensitive liberals.

Political correctness is killing facts, folks.

I say this, not because I delight in giving ammunition to people who use "facts" for malicious purposes, but rather, because if anything should be sacred, it’s the idea that we know some things to be true, and we’ll admit to the same, whether it helps or hurts our position and whether it tells the whole story or not.

Conservatives frequently crow about how liberals distort the teaching of history by being part of a “blame America” crowd. Instead of talking about how great Columbus Day is, those silly, unpatriotic liberals focus on an indigenous people inflicted with unintentional disease and intentional genocide and subjected to rampant thievery. Sorry to rain on your Columbus Day liquidation sale, conservatives, but these are facts.

Native American immune systems were not capable of fending off European disease, and hundreds of thousands died. Native Americans were killed, often wantonly, by Europeans who wanted their land. And as for the thievery part, Native Americans lived here before Europeans, never sold the land to Europeans (except for a few deals that we ignored), and now Native Americans only “own” a handful of small reservations and some casinos. If you never bought the land, they never gave it to you voluntarily, and you live on it now, how do you THINK you got it?

Does that mean American is not the greatest country ever? I say it still is. But that’s an ARGUMENT I would make based on weighing or analyzing facts in a particular context. In my argument in defense of America, I would weigh the following positive “facts”:

(1) staggering prosperity (average income);

(2) overall health (low infant mortality rate and high life expectancy);

(3) unprecedented freedom (nobody gets killed by the government for speaking out in America…though you will sell fewer Dixie Chick CDs);

(4) Democratic government (see constitution); and

(5) Improvement in inclusiveness (see Obama, Clinton, gay marriage in California)

…against the following negative facts:

(1) America’s mass land grab;

(2) America’s obesity;

(3) American’s internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II;

(4) America’s hypocrisy of saying “all men are created equal” while enslaving a whole race;

(5) America’s creation of more pollution than most of the rest of the world combined; and

(6) America’s role in promulgating reality TV (What B-list American celeb DOESN’T have a reality show now!?!).

We set forth "facts," and based on the weight of those facts, we persuade. We don't act like people who state facts are evil.

Another “negative” fact is that we killed an estimated 220,000 people in Japan, including women and children, with our atomic bombs. I suppose the total number of deaths could be disputed, but it’s pretty easy to count those who were there and then were gone in a blinding flash or who died from radiation sickness in the months thereafter.

Or is it a positive fact? What if I say "all is fair in love and war" and that by dropping atomic bombs, we saved more American (and possibly Japanese) lives by making an island incursion unnecessary? That's subjective. But you can't argue with "the fact" itself. You’ll never hear me hide from THE FACT that America killed children, which is conduct that we call “terrorism” when it’s done by anybody but America.

You see, I take America, warts and all, and do my best to make it live up to ideals it espouses and tries to press upon the rest of the world. I’m sure some conservatives are going to say I hate America for not seeing just the good.

But it’s not just conservatives who run from truth. Try talking about crime and race. You’ll get liberal eyebrows raising before you start. Here’s a fact. In 2002, 63% of inmates were either black or Latino, even though they represented only 25% of the population combined. Liberals run from this “fact” because they think it plays into arguments that Latinos and blacks are “criminals.” But the incarceration “fact” can’t tell the story of massive racial discrepancies between the charging rates on drug crimes of blacks versus whites. Nor can it speak to the discriminatory sentencing that keeps blacks and Latinos in jail for longer periods than their white counterparts. These facts rebut the incarceration fact, but they don't make the incarceration rate no longer true.

….which brings me to Charlie Black and John McCain.

Good old Charlie said that a terrorist attack would help John McCain in the general election. Black apologized for his comment. McCain then came out and said it wasn’t true and even used Black’s gaffe as an opportunity to recount his work to prevent another terrorist attack.

You know whose comments I find more deplorable? McCain’s. Here’s why. What Charlie Black said is a fact. The polling data shows in compelling fashion that the only area McCain demolishes Obama is on dealing with terrorism. This is why McCain jumped all over Obama when Obama said we should actually try terrorists instead of just holding them forever without trials. McCain wants to direct as much attention as possible to terrorism.

Common sense tells us the more an issue can be put on the public’s mind, the more likely the public is to vote for the candidate who wins on that issue. The reason James Carville coined the phrase, “It’s the Economy, Stupid,” is because he knew Clinton couldn’t win talking about foreign relations.

As a Democrat, I have wondered periodically whether Charlie Black has a soul. But is there anybody in this country (except for Ron Paul supporters who think we blew up ourselves on 9-11) who seriously believe Charlie Black WANTS a terrorist attack? That’s an abhorrent insinuation.

(Having said this, it IS interesting that the coverage of Black’s gaffe in the story above shows a picture of ground zero wreckage, thereby putting it in the public's mind. Is Black that stupid, or that ingenious? I honestly can’t tell).

But not wishing for an attack doesn’t mean that such an attack wouldn’t benefit your candidate. And McCain KNOWS it would. And so do we, without question. But America won’t let him, or Charlie Black, say it...because we are too afraid of facts.



Chris Worden said...

Ipopa is not too tech-savvy, so I accidentally deleted a comment from Anon 7:07, which I'm reposting here:

Why not quote the whole sentance (sic) about men being created equal? Or the whole paragraph-whichever you can find?

The transmission of diseases might have been a two way street-I seem to recall various poxes brought back by the crews of Columbus, et al.

Quoting part of a sentance (sic) is really bad history and something only a liberal would do. No American ever thought or believed that all men were created equal unless they were really stupid.

Chris Worden said...

Anonymous 7:07:

First, give me a reference on the diseases. It is certainly plausible that diseases were two- way, but I think the weight of historical evidence shows the "exchange of diseases," if any, hurt one side more than the other. But because I don't fear facts...bring it.

Also, here you go:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Your point on this I take to be one of the following:

(1) The Founding Fathers whom conservatives worship are actually idiots;

(2) The Founding Fathers didn't literally mean "men are created equal" in terms of physical being or talents, but rather, they meant to convey only equality under law (in which case, America is still hypocritical because we built a legal code on discrimination of a people); OR

(3) The Founding Fathers were not even arguing for equal treament under law, but rather, were simply saying that God gave them certain rights that they were free to assert if they could use their majority status or superior martial skill to subjugate others based on their capricious whims. Wow. That's inspirational!

So which is it? Or is it something totally different?