Wednesday, October 31, 2012

As Dead as an Old Flame

Happy Halloween, boys and ghouls.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The "Truth" Hurts

This ad is currently running in Iowa.  It echos a refrain of many Republican candidates all over the country, including Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan last night at the VP debate.  

Yet NPR reports: writes that "Ryan says Obama turned Medicare into a 'piggy bank.' Not so." It has previously written that "Republicans claim the president's $716 billion 'cuts' to Medicare hurt the program's finances. But the opposite is true. These cuts in the future growth of spending prolong the life of the Medicare trust fund, stretching the program's finances out longer than they would last otherwise."

Biden stated that the consulate in Libya didn't need more security before it was attacked on September 11.  

But The Washington Post's Fact Checker responded quickly to that assertion. It pointed out that that Biden's claim had already been "contradicted by State Department officials just the day before, in testimony before a congressional panel and in unclassified cables released by a congressional committee." (also from NPR)

This illustrates how politics can not only reframe facts to fit ideologies, but willfully and blatantly ignore them to further their agendas.  In normal, everyday life, people call this behavior lying

Whether Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or any other political party (or non-party), it's important to admonish these behaviors from our representatives and leaders.  It's easier, to be sure, to recognize the lies when they're coming from a politician you don't agree with.  However, no one can claim the moral high ground of an argument without, in good-faith, representing the facts to the best of their ability.  Therefore, it is in everybody's best interest to press their own political affiliates to represent the truth as best they can, and not just frame them in a way that advances our own ideology and bias.  

We allow our politicians to stretch, bend, exaggerate, or ignore the truth, in order to make short-term gains.  Yet, the long-term effects from accepting this behavior will only hurt all of us.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Defending definitions

In this New York Times article, Frank Schubert discusses his role as an opponent of gay marriage. Schubert is dangerously effective when he appeals to people's fear of coming off as a bigot if they oppose gay marriage.  Schubert helps move the argument away from the position that gay marriage is wrong, but that you can't call it "marriage" when two gay people decide to dedicate their lives to one another.  

The divorce rate in this country has been hovering around 50% for a while now, making the "defense of marriage" argument sound thin, presumably even to opponents of gay marriage.  One would suspect that if there was  any real interest in defending marriage, people would start attempting to regulate divorce.

Schubert has helped reframe the argument to appear more palatable to both supporters and opponents.  The New York Times article ran this quote:

'“Everyone has a right to love who they choose,” says an ad now running in Minnesota, “but nobody has a right to redefine marriage.”'

Of course, it's inaccurate to submit that someone doesn't have the right to redefine a word or the act that a word represents.  Your state might have reduced the legal limit of blood-alcohol content when you're operating your car from .10 to .08, effectively redefining "drunk driving".  

And if nobody as a right to redefine marriage, then somebody needs to call the definition police, because Merriam-Webster is in violation.  

It turns out that the definition of marriage has already been changed. So what are people actually going to be voting on this November?  In states that are directly voting to allow or reject gay marriage, regardless of their position, voters will be faced with a moral choice.  

I wonder and worry what it will say about our supposedly great country if couples are denied the right to marry each other.  I wonder what it will mean not only for my friends who are gay, but any of my friends that ever want to get married.