Contemplating Right wing viewpoints - An essay
I consider myself something of an intellectual. I like reading non-fiction, I like keeping up with current events, I like being informed. That’s why I am willing to listen to almost any theory, any belief and any viewpoint on a variety of issues. Before accepting any viewpoint as fact, I examine them myself and see how much credence they have.
I haven’t dismissed a lot of the Right wing conspiracy theories off hand. I’m a logical thinker and I enjoy analyzing things. The problem is when it comes down it a lot of popular Republican/conservative claims about our President and our country in general simply aren’t true when held up to scrutiny.
Here are some of the most common and my responses to each one.
Claim: Barack Obama is a socialist monster with designs on being a dictator
The people who make this claim do not know what socialism is. They claim I come from a socialist country and I’m Canadian.
According to Wikipedia, socialism is: “an economic and political theory advocating public or common ownership and cooperative management of the means of production and allocation of resources. A socialist society is characterised by a free association, which is not based on wage labour. It is organized on the basis of relatively equal power relations, self-management, collective decision-making and adhocracy rather than hierarchical, bureaucratic forms of organization in the economic and political systems.”
Firstly, the U.S. economic system is, and has been based on wage labor for a long time. I highly doubt that will change anytime soon. Secondly, strict all out socialism is not beneficial to Republicans or Democrats or most Americans. The reason we have a two party system is so that multiple viewpoints are given a chance to be heard and no one side runs away with all the action. Of course in a large majority this happens anyway, but despite all of Obama’s reforms, the United States is a long way from becoming a true socialist country.
These folks who ramble on and on about Socialism may be surprised to learn that at no point in their recorded history have Britain, France or Japan ever been full socialist states. France in particular is often held up as an example of an extremely Liberal socialist country.
Claim: Every police officer/FBI agent/government employee is an agent of Obama’s socialist plot
This is one that truly baffles me. Suddenly everyone on the government payroll becomes one of Obama’s goons. There are so many problems with this I don’t even know where to begin. First there are thousands of government employees who have been on the federal payroll since long before Obama took office. Heck I’m sure some have been there since the Clinton era and even before that.
Secondly, Obama doesn’t appoint every single government employee in existence. He only has the power to appoint certain folks. The vast majority of government employees have almost nothing to do with Barack Obama.
Calling police officers or other law enforcement “Obama’s goons” is also stupid. Many of these “goons” have also been in their position since long before he became President. I wonder if those on the right thought these law officers were “goons” back when they were protecting George W Bush from Liberal minded Iraq war protesters?
And finally, most federal employees have never met Barack Obama and have absolutely nothing to do with him. To give the clerk at the local government office a hard time because you believe he or she is “one of them” is completely misguided and erroneous.
Claim: Obama has a private armed force/militia of more than 1 000 000 personnel
Setting aside the fact there is absolutely no reason for anyone to need a private armed force that large and setting aside the fact Obama already has a ton of military and law enforcement resources at his disposal I refuse to believe that a force this large could somehow be completely hidden and obscured from public view in this day and age. Where do these men live? Where do they train?
If they do exist why has not one single person come forward with any photo or video or written document supporting this? How do you hide 1 000 000 people?
Claim: Obama was solely responsible for all the bailouts and government takeovers that occurred during and following the economic collapse
Oh, how quickly we forget. The first TARP bailout that gave the United States controlling interest in a bunch of banks happened under George W Bush. The auto bailout, which gave the U.S. an interest in GM and Ford, was also courtesy of George W. Bush, but who cares about facts?
In just a few short years the Right has already rewritten history and pinned all blame and responsibility for every single bailout and stimulus package on Obama.
On top of that, he’s somehow also become responsible for the entire economic mess this country is in nevermind the fact he wasn’t in power when virtually all of it went down and the real cause was Republican policies combined with too little oversight of the banks.
Claim: The “Liberal media” are little more than mouthpieces for Obama and his Democratic cronies. They are deliberately misleading the good people of America.
This claim is pretty ironic coming from people who are huge proponents of Fox News, but I must admit, as a media student and writer myself, I’ve given this one a lot of thought.
Barack Obama and the Democratic party are not in the employ of any news or media organization. They have zero say over what editors decide to publish/print/put over the air.
Secondly, all media has an inherent bias depending on who is making the ultimate decisions. We’ve seen with the Fox News memos how easy it is to slant something to make it more favorable to the point of view you are supporting. I, as a reporter, can write a relatively fair and unbiased story, but once the editors get their hands on it and start changing words and phrasing here and there, a bias can easily be added in.
I don’t think all new outlets are Liberal propaganda, they may look that way compared to Fox which is pretty far right, but let’s not forget these so called “Liberal” media outlets had no problem chewing up Bill Clinton during his sex scandal, nor did they try and soften or spin the damage caused by the Rod Blagojevich scandal. They also do not demonize those on the Right the way Fox does those on the Left.
When I watch say, ABC news, I think they are presenting a newscast that’s more reflective of the overall attitudes of society (which are generally moderate if not Liberal leaning) than pushing the agenda of a political party.
I can make all these points to a conservative, yet they say that’s perfect evidence I am getting snowed by the “Liberal media” and thinking what they want me to think.
Let’s say there are twenty people outside. Of those, 19 are telling me the sky is blue. The last one though, tells me the sky is actually red and the others are telling me the sky is blue because that’s what they want me to think but he knows the sky is red. When I ask why he feels this way, he lays out some theories but has little concrete proof to back them up.
When I am done listening to him, I agree there is a slight possibility that what he is saying is true and the sky MAY in fact be red, but in the end what am I more likely to believe: This one guy is in fact right and the sky IS red or this one guy is off his rocker and the other 19 people who all agree the sky is blue are right?
Claim: Barack Obama is a secret Muslim
This one has really gained legs over the fact Obama doesn’t routinely attend church in Washington. I’ve checked my bible, there’s no commandment that says “Thou shalt go to Church every Sunday.” There is a commandment which states “Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy” but here’s the catch on that: You don’t need to be in a church to worship God.
I am a Christian and the majority of my worship does NOT occur in a church. Church services are maybe 90 minutes once a week. If you are truly a Christian, you’re expected to be with God a heck of a lot more than that. Just because Obama isn’t in the front row at church every Sunday doesn’t mean he’s a heathen.
Obama has spent time in a Muslim country and has muslim relatives, so yes he does have a connection to the religion of Islam, but to draw from this that he is a Muslim seems absurd.
If he really was, why would he practice so privately? Why would there not be one photograph or other evidence indicating as such. Most devout folks I know, regardless of their religion, are pretty outgoing about their beliefs. Christians aren’t supposed to hide the fact they love Jesus and Muslims aren’t supposed to hide the fact they love Allah.
Like the next claim, I just think way too much energy and money is being expended on this particular issue by any number of people and organizations.
Claim: Barack Obama was not born in this country
It’s funny that with all these issues, both social and economic, that are important to our country right now, the Right just can’t leave this one alone. They insist on investing time and energy into something I believe will be ultimately futile.
What irks me about birthers is this: This debate has been running almost three years now and despite the fact there are all these people who sincerely believe Obama was born in another country and have stood up so strongly for that belief, not one has produced a single shred of verifiable evidence that suggests this claim MIGHT be true.
Sure there is some circumstantial evidence, that, when interpreted in a certain way, might lead one to the possibility he could have been born somewhere else, but beyond that, there is nothing. For example, a recent news story talking about Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie’s new crusade against the birthers included this:
“Abercrombie, 72, has said he remembers seeing Obama as a child with his parents at social events, although he acknowledged that he didn’t see his parents with their newborn son at the hospital.”
So from this you can draw the conclusion that, because Abercrombie never saw Obama at the hospital that he (Obama) wasn’t actually ever there and thus was born somewhere else.
Of course by this logic we could also draw the conclusion that because Jim missed work today, he’s run off to Hong Kong with his Asian mistress. Possible? Yes, but highly unlikely.
But regardless of all of this, we’re past the point where this should be a major concern. The courts have already shot this case down numerous times and there are far more important and pressing issues to America than where our President was actually born.
And besides that, you can’t deny the fact Obama has been in the United States for most of his natural born life and has as much right to call himself American as anyone else who’s been here that long.
Like I stated in my introduction, I’ve carefully thought through a lot of common right wing positions and I just don’t see it as black and white as they do. I do think the Obama government has made some fiscally poor decisions and I do think we desperately need to get our national debt under control, so I’m definitely on the conservative side of those issues, but for the most part I just can’t buy the theory Obama is some kind of evil socialist tyrant out to get us all.
Perhaps coming from a country that is slightly more regulated and has universal health care has given me a different view on things. Canada is a very free nation and although we do allow government control in some areas, we don’t in any way feel like slaves to our leaders or otherwise imprisoned or restrained.
I came to this country just over two years ago and it’s finally started to feel like home to me, but there’s this tension in American politics right now that bothers me. I hate politically being put in a “with us or against us” position. Why am I not allowed to have conservative views on some things and more liberal views on others?
There’s no question America is facing some serious problems right now on any number of fronts: Health care, government spending, education and so on. I would just love to see a little more co-operation on things. Oftentimes that’s the only way to get something done.