[Cross-posted here: Daily Kos]
As Shakespeare once wrote “Facebook maketh for strange bedfellows”. OK, he probably didn’t say that, but I’m sure he thought it. Anyway, I have a friend who posted a facebook update bemoaning a new “war tax” proposal. My reaction to the latter caught the attention (and the ire) of my friend’s ultra-wingnut buddy. Below the fold is my annotated transcript of the ensuing bizarre conversation, which would be funny if it weren’t so scary.
My friend, whom I’ll call “Indy” due to his political non-affiliation, started the conversation with this facebook post:
Indy: What’s on my mind? Yet another tax being imposed on Americans, that’s what!
Rep. McCollum co-sponsors war tax
My immediate reaction was here’s a guy who is a) gainfully employed, b) makes a very comfortable living and c) has top notch health insurance and his biggest problem is that the Government *might* take an additional 1% of his pay. I responded thusly…
Me: What’s on my mind? You and I are in the top 1% of the wealthiest people on earth. How incredibly fortunate we are. See Global Rich List.
Hint, hint, stop whining. I think he got my point (sorta) but he doesn’t really like thinking of himself as rich…
Indy: I agree we’re very fortunate. However, I’m not so sure I believe those statistics, as I surely don’t feel like I’m in the top 1% of the wealthiest people on earth.
I pushed a little harder…
Me: The glass is half empty or half full. You can focus on the fact that you have good health insurance, a high paying job, lots of marketable skills that will leave you in good stead if you ever lose your job, and you live in a country where you have freedom, opportunities and a standard of living unmatched anywhere in the world…OR…you can focus on how overtaxed we are.
It was at this point that my friend’s buddy, whom I’ll call “Wingnut”, jumped into the fray with this barrage of BS…
Wingnut: I think we do need to focus on how overtaxed we are, because our government is slowly chipping away at the freedom we have. It seems like the current administration is hellbent on creating an entitlement society, and with each passing tax increase, we have our freedom decreased. Ben Franklin said it best: “The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.”
As far as good health insurance goes, you can say goodbye to that when healthcare is rationed, and if you look at the job market, the constant barage of governmental regulation and taxation is forcing companies to do more with less, which will inevitably shift jobs overseas.
Being a half full kind of person is all well and good, but you can’t look past what is happening in this country. If you do, freedom and liberty will disappear right before your eyes, and you’ll wonder what happened.
Wow. Where do I start? After the
Bush Cheney administration, do you really want to have a conversation about not trading freedom for security? “As far as health insurance goes”…was I talking about health insurance?
How do you argue with someone like this. I could go in a thousand directions but I decided to focus on this comment: “our government is slowly chipping away at the freedom we have”. Compared to the rest of his mini-rant, it’s fairly clear so I decided to challenge that statement. I started with a little dig of my own at the previous administration…
Me: The current administration is picking up the pieces of the mess left behind by the worst administration in US history. You state that the government is chipping away at your freedoms. What specific freedoms have you lost since Obama was elected?
This threw him into overdrive…
Wingnut: Bush’s was the worst administration in history? That is just utter liberal nonsense. You want to talk worst, you need look no further than Jimmy Carter. What you are getting with Obama is Carter 2.0. In regards to our freedoms, you just don’t get it. It is a slow chipping away of freedom that comes over time. Read Saul Alinsky’s book, Rules For Radicals. It is Obama’s bible. There is not going to be any point in continuing this line of converstation. I cannot argue with brainwashing.
Apparently I just don’t get it. Lucky for me, I have this guy to straighten me out. By the way, is “liberal nonsense” somehow different from other forms of nonsense? The Carter comments are amusing – it’s like he’s saying “I know Bush sucked but your guy was worse!”. Then I hear his refrain again “It is a slow chipping away of freedom that comes over time”. And he’s already giving up because I’m too brainwashed. Could he be throwing in the towel so soon because he has no chance of answering my question and he knows it? I persisted…
Me: I don’t mind the name calling. I am a liberal and proud of it. However, I noticed you didn’t answer my question – can you name one specific freedom you’ve lost since Obama was elected?
He responds with a big bowl of crazy…
Wingnut: Liberalism is brainwashing plain and simple.
Well, for starters, creating unconstitutional czars takes away from my freedom. Reviving the so-called “fairness doctrine” is another, and let us not forget the organization that Obama used to work for, ACORN, disenfranchising the American people by stealing elections (that dope Al Franken).
Obama sold the masses of sheep a bill of goods, promising hope and change. Socialism is not the kind of change those voters counted on, and each time Obama bows to another foreign leader, he eats away at the very heart of what made this country great. I find him utterly sickening, as do millions of us out here in America.
Unconsitutional czars? Obama used to work for Acorn? Socialism? This guy’s amazing – he hit all the Fox News cliches in two paragraphs, even managing to squeeze in something about bowing in Japan. And he’s calling me brainwashed. :) Love the part about “as do millions of us out here in America”. Like where do you think I’m writing from? It smacks of Palin’s “real Americans” comment. Not fully satisfied, he unburdens himself with this gem…
Wingnut: The thing I haven’t been able to figure out about liberals is if they are fully aware of the destruction they cause, or if they are just unaware of it. I hope it’s the latter…
Isn’t it nice the way he gives us the benefit of the doubt? At this point, an unknown confusenick pipes in with this perplexing remark:
Confused Guy: Worst president in my lifetime…Carter, next likely candidate, Obama. Twice in my lifetime, before a presidential election, I told all my friends that if elected these candidates would be abysmal: Carter, Obama. I’m a democrat.
Yeah, right, you’re a Democrat and I’m Amelia Earhart. With Democrats like you, who needs Republicans? But I digress. Once again, I try to focus on one simple question…
Me: I think you do yourself a disservice when you assume everyone who disagrees with you is dumb, evil, or brainwashed. BTW, I am still waiting for an answer – what *specific* freedoms have you personally had taken away from you by the Obama “regime”?
The tirade continues…
Wingnut: I listed 3.
Besides, my goal is to stop Obama from destroying my freedom BEFORE he does it, not after it’s too late. Answers like this are not always simple and concrete. This is the difficult thing about arguing with liberals.
Confused Guy: I empathize with you as well. I know plenty of decent, hard working democrats who are disturbed by the takeover of your party by the radical leftists.
Yes, I am passionate about this, but it is not merely politics to me. This is a struggle against tyrrany, and it is a battle for our way of life, and I am not going to sit on the sidelines and watch Obama, Pelosi, and Reid trample all over our Constitution. I can’t let that happen to my children.
Now if you’ll excuse me, but this capitalist has to get ready for work. There are millions of people and politicians out there who think they are entitled to a portion of my earnings, and I cannot let them down.
Love the “Besides, my goal is to stop Obama from destroying my freedom BEFORE…”. Also love “answers like this are not always simple and concrete”. In other words, OK, he hasn’t taken away ANY of my freedoms so far but I’M SURE HE’S ABOUT TO ANY DAY NOW! Here’s me again, trying to keep calm and giving it one more try…
Me: you’re right, you “listed three” right wing talking points but you never answered my question. In response to a request for one *specific* freedom Obama has taken away from you, you cited:
1. unnamed czars who took away unnamed freedoms
2. ACORN (?!)
3. the fairness doctrine
Yup, that’s a list of three things, all right. :) But it has nothing to do with my question.
I’ll help you out here – the answer is “none”. There are no specific freedoms you can cite which Pres. Obama took away from you and I think you know it. But that answer is very unsatisfying because it undermines the right wings caricature of Obama as a stealth socialist intent on ruining the world as we know it.
You’ve cited standard right wing talking points like “chipping away at our freedoms”, “struggle against tyranny” and “trampling on our constitution” but when challenged to cite an example you can’t name a single one. So who’s brainwashed? :)
Again I get no answer but something akin to Bluto’s rousing call to action at the climax of Animal House…
Wingnut: I will agree that both sides use talking points, and I realize that I am never going to convince you that the liberal philospohy is absolutely destructive to our nation. The only thing I can do is cancel out your vote, and do my damndest to talk to as many people as I can , and work to cancel out as many liberal votes as possible. You can count on me doing that for as long as it takes.
If Obama has done one successful thing in his 11 months, it has been to awaken the quiet masses of Americans who are sick of big government, sick of massive spending, and sick of our leader going around the world apologizing for our way of life. Obama’s election will eventually lead to the left’s downfall, and for that, I am truly grateful.
Can you hear the John Phillip Sousa music playing in the background? “When the tough get going…uh…”. I made one final comment…
Me: Let me translate your response into plain english:
“I can’t cite a single concrete freedom that Obama has taken away from me but I still hate him because of…all those other talking points”. :) Let’s agree to disagree. I’m fine with you having different opinions and even though I don’t think you can justify some of your statements, I respect your right to disagree with me and to reach different conclusions.
And it’s great that you’re going to work hard to support your views but I’ll be working just as hard to support mine. :)
And then I heard no more. Perhaps he is back in front of the TV, reloading his impressive stockpile of right wing talking points.