I have a two part theory: 1. Squirrels on water skies are funny. Especially if you put them in little tiny bikinis. Demeaning? Sure, but still funny as hell. 2. The political debate process is broken. Severely. Every political debate quickly looses any validity and the issues are forgotten, factoids are thrown about and eventually, no matter what side you are on, you are labeled a traitor whose sole intent is to destroy American and eat babies covered in honey barbecue sauce because that stuff is freaking good.
Papa Scrum and I talk about this. He is more hopeful than I am and also doesn't think that squirrels on skies are funny. But he concedes the point: politics in this country is brutal. Rarely is any truth really thrown out there. It's the politics of fear--believe what I believe or you will be the entire reason that this country is destroyed. Blah, blah, blah, tip the river man on your way to hell.
I wanted to further illustrate this point, a rare political commentary from Hossman. But I needed an issue. Something hot with lots of controversy.
Hello healthcare, come over and sit in Santa Hoss's lap. Tell me what you want for Christmas. What's that? A completely unscientific scientific study into the debate process and the breakdown of civility. Why sure, I think we can make that happen.
Here is my hypothesis: People think that squirrels on skies are funny and that in a political debate someone will be called an unpatriotic goat rapist without any supporting documentation, supporting facts or alleged goat.
Method: There is no method. No statistics will be tallied, no journals kept and no questionnaires will be filled out. In fact, there will be no way to replicate my results what so ever. I will attempt to step into the debate on health care and argue both the liberal and conservative sides in an attempt to be called either a baby killing god hating anti-Christ or a war mongering free enterprise anarchist. It will be completely based on my observations and since I am a handsome and trustworthy dude, my results should be taken as fact, which they are. Sort of. Not really. The purpose of this study is so that I can blog about it and not about my children who are on a very short leash with me as Hossmom has been out on a business trip for several days and the minions are starting to question my authority. Now, let's proceed with the study. To the Internet Robin!
Ah, the Internet, guaranteed to provide you with proof ow anything you want. UFO's, Bigfoot, and in my case--the lack of reasoned debate in American politics. I began by hitting every news site message boards that had anything to do with health care. I read them all. CNBC, Fox and some guy doing a show from his basement. I wanted the people's voice to be heard. I wanted to read what actual Americans were saying, not what political pundits were saying. I wanted to see Joe Six pack in front of his computer ranting.
Let's highlight what I found:
**A school teacher was the subject of an online petition to get him fired because he disagreed with a poster. That's what I'm talking about!
**The word "ignorant" and "Stupid" were used so many times that I lost count. Mainly because I didn't keep count. I do believe I said in my method that I would be doing no statistical analysis.
**"Nazi" was thrown in there to quite a few times because you just can't have a political debate without the word Nazi.
**Of course God made an appearance. He always makes an appearance in American political discussion, he's very fashionable as an A lister. He gets invited to the best parties. And as near as I can figure out, based on what I read, he simultaneously believes that everyone is wrong and everyone is right at the same time.
**Revolution! Revolution!! My brother Revolution showed up in a lot of posts. Send out good old Paul with his lantern, it's time to start a revolution. Pick up your guns and put grandma in the storm cellar! My good friend Revolution, I haven't seen you since Crawford.
**But there was also a lot of compassion as well, as in "I'm sorry you are so stupid" and "I'm sorry you are a douche." My personal favorite "You'll be sorry." It appears that your best debate skills are learned in Jr. High.
I love the Internet, I just love it. It doesn't matter which party people belonged to or what they thought about the health care debate, that's what they wrote. Republican, Democrat, Independents. Thus proving my point on a grand scale. Political debating follows the rules of Thunderdome. 2 walk in, 1 walk out. I couldn't wait to call Papa Scrum.
But I also wanted a more personal experience, per my method as stated before. I needed a cleaner statistical sample (that I would not be tabulating). Something that I could follow from the start, participate in, and then get called either a Liberal Fuckwad or a Conservative Twatwaffle. Then my point would really be made. I would declared a genius with unusual insight into society and quite possibly Ms. America would send me dirty pictures.
So I waited until it was confirmed that the house bill was passed on health care. I jumped on facebook faster than a fat man on a free buffet.
Nothing. Nada. Shit.
What the hell man? I have work to do here. I'm trying to prove a random point so I can write about it. Somebody write something. This is historic. Somebody's pissed, somebody's gloating so somebody say something about it. It's late and I've got to get up and work tomorrow morning. Wait, no I don't. I'm a stay at home dad.
Tired of waiting I mailed a little note to Mr. Texas, one of the most conservative guys that I know. When he posts something on politics he gets a lot of responses. He's the one I really wanted to post something. That would give me my ball field to play in. I suggested to Mr. Texas, gently, WTF? They passed the bill. Are you going to take that? Post something for Christ's sake! Finally he did. It's go time boys. Grab your jock straps and wave to your girlfriend in the stands, let's get it on.
Except that what he posted was calm. It was well though out and made a good point.
You know a Representative called another House member a "baby killer" during the debate, right? Actually on the House floor. You would think that I could get at least that amount of corporation in my little study here, but noooooooooooooooo. What I got was a reasoned response.
So I joined his thread. "I approve of this bill!" Stick that in your pipe and smoke it America.
By this time a lot more conservative posters starting popping up through out my facebook page in different threads. So I went to each of them and did the same thing. I was going to get my debate tonight one way or another. I was making comments on everyone's status updates. My family, my wife's family, extended family, people who I haven't seen in 25 years, Mafia Wars facebook friends. Everyone. I think I even made a liberal comment on a guy's post that was talking about March Madness and not the health care bill. I had to go back and apologize.
But I wanted Mr. Texas' thread. And when I checked back, the comments were coming in. And boom, there was another liberal there too! Jackpot. If one Liberal pisses off Conservatives then two ought to make them go apeshit. Oh yes, someone would be accusing me of being a member of Al Queda by the end of the night. They are ripe. They want vengeance. They want to vent. They want to start name calling. Come to the dark side, embrace your hatred.
But they didn't. It was, dare I say, even respectful. Again, God dammit. So I got more active.
I had studied the bill and the possible debating questions for 3 days. The taxes of it, big government, state's rights vs. Federal rights, 10th amendment violations, Supreme Court rulings and even the stupid Auto insurance argument. I had it all right in front of me. I came to play. Name an argument either liberal or conservative and I could tell you the counter argument. So I started posting, I started throwing out talking points, I threw out everything I had. Nothing. I got nothing back. No name calling, no hatred, no calls for insurrection, not even a goat rapist accusation. What is wrong with these people. They were talking about taxes and expressing concerns about quality of care. They were reasonably explaining the increased government intrusion into our lives and the lack of personal responsibility. All valid points, all valid concerns. There wasn't even a random factoid like "98% of liberals are Satan Worshipers and love to hit the ganja." I just made that up. See how easy that was? But every different post I went to showed a calm debate without anything that I expected to find. Good reasoning, even passionate reasoning, but nothing out of line and no name calling. They were good arguments, plain and simple.
What do I have to do here? Do I have to scream I love abortions? Fucking Republicans, can't count on them to find weapons of mass destruction and can't count on them to cooperate in my little study and act like I thought they would. And the worst part, beside the reasoned debate that was screwing up my hypothesis, is that I gained 4 facebook friends in a debate where we were arguing ideologically different points of view. One person even found out that she knew my cousin. Fantastic. Finally I got fed up and begged, actually asked that someone call me a name. Someone did but he was joking and friendly. Well, that was just a slap in the face. And that's the worst insult I got all night. That was it. Will you be my friend.
But Liberals, you can count on those whack jobs. Oh yes, those hippie pot smokers that love to give my money away, you can count on them. But not tonight, apparently because none of them posted. Probably at a drum circle celebrating with mother earth and humanity. But they did post the next day and I was all over that.
To be continued on Friday. ........................