FALSE PREMISES AND BULLIES

21 Jan

FALSE PREMISES and BULLIES

Louise Annarino

January 21, 2012

Begin with a false premise and one must reach a false conclusion. That is logic; not partisan thinking. Below is a list of false premises currently being used unchallenged:

  1. People prefer unemployment benefits over wages.
  2. People prefer being unemployed over wage earning.
  3. People prefer using food stamps and food pantries to over paying cash for groceries.
  4. People enjoy being “on the dole”.
  5. People on public benefits are lazy.
  6. African-Americans prefer #1-5 more than white Americans.
  7. Latinos prefer  #1-5 more than white Americans.
  8. Immigrants prefer #1-5 more that white Americans.
  9. Poor white Americans prefer #1-5 more than wealthy white Americans.
  10. Wealth earned from investments is of higher quality and more productive than wealth earned from labor.
  11. Those using English as a second language are dumber, and less educated, than those speaking English as a native language.
  12. Women are selfish; and, cannot make decisions regarding the health and well-being of others entrusted to their care.
  13. Women are stupid and cannot know their own minds, nor trust their own decisions.
  14. Emergency workers and first responders, and teachers have an easy life and are overpaid.

15.A White president is always better than an African-american president, who is doomed to failure        (one way or another,wink-wink)

16.Going green means losing jobs.

17.Going green means higher costs.

18.Going green means a lower standard of living.

19.There are companies willing to hire and then train workers in the new technology

they employ.

20.Obamacare means higher health care costs and poorer outcomes for patients.

These are the latent premises, hidden within suggested policy positions, and talked about in the code of ethnocentrism, sexism and racism. They are not factually based, but attitude based. They seem difficult to challenge as a result; since, we Americans like to pretend every man is entitled to his opinion.  However, If one examines the facts underlying each assumption, it becomes clear the assumptions are simply biased. How can we challenge this bias? Isn’t everyone entitled to their own prejudices? No, not if such biased assumptions affect the good of the country, and the safety and security of its citizens. We who have siblings have each heard in our childhood “keep your hands to yourself!” We were allowed to have hands, and use them as we liked so long as we did not use them to disturb the peace of the family, nor hurt another member of the family. The same boundaries of behavior apply here. One is entitled to an opinion so long as it does not harm a fellow citizen, nor threaten the safety and survival of our country. Keep that opinion to yourself, or we will challenge it. It is our right as fellow citizens. Reporters who challenge candidates on their biases, false premises, hypocrisies and outright lies are speaking for all of us. they must be bold, direct and persistent. They must not allow themselves to be bullied .

How do we challenge the many false premises? By showing the facts which underly, or more appropriately underlie, them.  The attacks, we must realize, are not just against President Obama, but against anyone who supports him: workers, women, people of color, immigrants, the poor and the middle class, even the wealthy Warren Buffet. The labels are flying: socialist (applied to capitalist money-makers), job-stealers (applied to immigrants, paperless or not), murderers (applied to women who want control over their sexuality and health care); and, most dangerous given our past history, dangerous buffoon (applied to President Obama and his supporters). This is not new. The only way a bully can succeed is by discouraging those who would rush to assist the prime victim of their bullying. At the South Carolina debate, for example, attack the reporter who asks the challenging question.

The reason it seems new to us, is because we have turned away for centuries from the issue of slavery. We turn our heads and thoughts away from the issue of racism. we hate ourselves for what we have allowed, telling ourselves we are not to be blamed  because we did not do it ourselves. We reluctantly acknowledge the bully on the playground hurt a few kids, but we did not hurt them. No, but did we stop them? Or were we afraid to try, thus drawing the bully’s attention to ourselves? We are, after all, simply human. No one likes to get hurt.

We have an African-American president supported by rich and poor, Black and white, workers and investors, insurance companies and bankers, health care workers, the middle class, independents, Democrats and Republicans. So, what is a bully to do when it seems everyone on the playground is moving beyond his control? Make everyone afraid to support President Obama. Tell them he has failed them. Don’t let him succeed in any way. Impede every program and policy he attempts to enact. And, while you try to destroy him, make an example of his supporters. Attack labor unions, public and private workers, women, immigrants, the middle class, the rich and the poor…anyone who supported the president and his efforts to turn America purple. A bully prefers a red and blue America where he can pit one side against the other.

The Tea Party Republicans are correct that a bully candidacy is the best way to beat President Obama. It is not an enthusiasm gap that could sink the Obama-Biden campaign; it is fear. If we allow the bullies to control the playground of the campaign and go unchallenged, we assist the bully’s spread of fear; fear of our Black president, fear of one another. For all our bluster we are a sorrowfully fearful lot. Is that why we think we all need to be armed and dangerous? Is that why we seem to admire bullies in our literature and cinema? Is that why we accept the dominance of bullies in our boardrooms? We are so afraid. So, if you want to win an election, make people afraid..very afraid. Lies work when we are afraid to challenge the liars. It is much easier to simply believe the lie.

I am not afraid. Hold hands, Obama supporters. Together, we can challenge any bully.President Obama is not the only candidate who can secure our country’s future. There are Independents, Democrats and Republicans in every race from school board on up the line who have much to offer. But, Republican candidates are not free to act with bullies dominating the political scene. We must join hands with everyone willing to challenge the bullies. Unfortunately, The Republican Party is now controlled by the bullies.

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