A lot of you know me through my alter-ego, “Cletus T. Cousinhumper”. Cletus is a parody page – satire, if you will. The effectiveness of the imagery and some of his language is that we all know somebody kind of like him in real life. Cletus is what the Internet community would refer to as a “troll” in the sense that he often engages people with different opinions and educates them (sometimes not very politely) as to the facts of a particular position or argument.
Political discourse is vital to our democracy. Cletus, this column, and my Politics Without The Crazy Pills page were all born from a desire to engage people with different opinions. I think that it is of paramount importance to not only try to understand opposing viewpoints, but to find common ground and if possible – sway them to my way of thinking. Bill Maher talks about life “Inside the Bubble” where essentially people are only sharing ideas with people who think the exact same way that they do. There isn’t a lot of room to grow, adapt, evolve, or change if that is the case. Maybe that’s part of what I WANT people to disagree with me. I don’t understand political pages on Facebook that ban people simply for expressing a different opinion. If you feel confident in your message – shouldn’t you WANT to bring it to people who aren’t just going to smile and nod? Can’t you win the argument based on merit?
I bring this up because I feel a responsibility to our Democracy to represent my views truthfully, passionately, and with honor. As somebody who is often labeled as progressive (mostly because I don’t think gay marriage causes hurricanes) I’m often disappointed with the rhetoric on the Right. We’ve heard the basics: Obama is a Muslim, Kenyan, Socialist, Marxist, Communist, etc. The fake Benghazi outrage. The manufactured “coming for your guns” propaganda. We hear it all of the time and we (those of us with fully functional brains, anyway) shake our heads in collective disappointment that we aren’t talking about meaningful issues.
But it goes both ways with both parities, and it can be just as destructive to the overall Republic that we enjoy here in America. Recently, a popular Liberal Facebook Page shared a “survey” (and it’s in quotes for a reason) that says that “Recent polls suggest the majority of Americans consider being called “Republican” insulting.” The “survey” from The Allegiant runs with “data” that claims that 87% of Americans consider the word “Republican” to be synonymous with greed, racism, and violence. Yes, 87% of Americans. That’s not a typo.
Also if you clicked on the link, you’ll see that the poll conducted by NSON used a sample size of 250,000 randomly selected American voters. Again, that’s not a typo. 250,000. Sure, that’s a solid 250 times what the most reputable polls in the nation use, but this is a REALLY ACCURATE AND SERIOUS POLL so you know… Screw those amateurs like Gallup who only use a measly 1,000 people for their sample size!
Now the common sense questions start to roll in like, “Hey, didn’t around 47% of the country vote for the Republican nominee for president in 2012?” Well yes, but they were mostly self-hating Republicans, apparently.
This is “Breaking News” according to the article and since there is no actual sourcing, dating, or methodology used for the polling I guess we’ll just have to trust the author in this case because if it’s on the Internet, it must be true!
I do admit to actually laughing at the “more as the story unfolds” tagline to the piece. What story? It’s a completed poll, right? Isn’t the story done? Don’t you HAVE the information? What developments in the finished study do you expect to “unfold?”
I’m sorry, my liberal friends. I know we aren’t supposed to eat our own but this type of “reporting” is completely irresponsible, and there is no place for it anywhere near a credible organization. Some writers come up with brilliant satire pieces like this where for a second… you wonder if it’s really true. After that, you wonder for another second if you are going to have some friends who are fooled by the satire. After that, you are sad for a second when you realize that there are going to be some people who don’t realize that it’s meant to be a joke.
But articles like the one linked by Americans Against The Tea Party are no joke. They are passed off as “legitimate” stories and the majority of people are too busy, too lazy, or too stupid to fact-check these things. All of the sudden, people are spreading complete nonsense like Friends of Hamas as credible news. When you are a fringe lunatic who thinks that Ted Nugent should run for President, it’s not a big deal because 18 people are listening to your drivel. When you have hundreds of thousands of people who you can reach with your words – You need to be a bit more careful. You need to be more responsible.
Otherwise, you might as well start calling Obama a Nazi, because you aren’t any better than that.
–Sean Kemmerer is a freelance writer, administrator of Politics Without The Crazy Pills, can be followed @Walkofshameband, and is reporting BREAKING NEWS that Sean Kemmerer and Kate Upton have started a torrid sex affair. You should all report that, too.