I'm writing this post knowing that some of you might get a little ticked off at me. But please--hear me out.
One of the reasons I can’t stand listening to BushCo and people like Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, Kristol, etc. is that these people willfully ignore the truth, spouting bold-faced lies and ridiculous statements that their supporters accept unquestioningly and then parrot back as “fact.” Logical appeals are wasted on most repugs; they deny the validity of any numbers, studies, or other factual information that proves them wrong, claiming it’s biased or (worse yet) just a fabrication of the “liberal media.” Ethical appeals are equally in vain, for the simple reason that anyone who still supports BushCo or their brand of “conservatism” has pretty much lost any sense of right and wrong, good and bad. Emotional appeals become the fodder for mAnn Coulter-style vituperative attacks on what the repugs call “whiny” “bleeding-heart” “dirty hippie” “hopelessly naïve” progressive philosophies.
So I avoid conservative blogs; I try to ignore the Fox Nazi Channel when it’s on in the cafeteria at work. Why listen to these people’s lies and get my blood pressure up?
Lately, however, I’ve noticed an equally frustrating trend as this battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continues. I’ve been pretty open about the fact that I've never really liked Obama, as his “change we can believe in” platitudes, lack of specifics, and what I perceive as his genuine INsincerity struck me from the first time I saw him speak and read his book. That said, now there’s this flap over his alleged plagiarism of several people’s speeches, talking points, and even strategic plans. People on both sides of the issue are claiming they’re right, and it’s starting to get ugly.
NOTE: I’m not mentioning any names or linking to any blogs, because I don’t want to piss anyone off or spotlight anyone in particular. So even if you start to think I might be talking about you in the rest of this post, please just read on with an open mind.
What surprises—and scares—me is how the level of rhetoric between the people who support Obama and the people who believe Obama is indeed “borrowing” ideas and words from others is fast becoming bitter and angry, and not a little unlike the wingnuts' defense of their Prezdint-Decider-Guy. Just yesterday, I read a comments exchange on one of my favorite blogs between two people who normally get along very well. One of them was attacking Hillary Clinton, while the other was asking, “but what do you have to say about these examples of Obama’s plagiarism?” It went on and on, increasing in fury, and I felt really weird – like I was reading an exchange between a repug and a dem, not two dems who just support different dem candidates.
On another of my favorite blogs, an Obama supporter basically claimed that anyone who doesn't support Obama is an old racist fogey. WTF?
It’s gotten to the point where people--even people I consider to be open-minded, progressives who truly live in reality--are fervently denying or ignoring the reality of the many instances where it does indeed look like Obama has been taking the words and ideas of others and passing them off as his own, which is how I used to define “plagiarism” to my students when I taught college English. Many people whose opinions I value and whose judgment I respect are still squarely behind Obama, defending him with a fury not unlike that of some repug friends of mine defending their Chimp-in-Chief. Again, I ask--WTF?
Now maybe I’m just wrong about all this. Maybe I’m just reading Obama wrong, and he really is a true man of the people, a populist who will change the direction this country is going with a bold new vision that he just hasn't yet outlined the specifics of yet. After all, the guy’s a noted expert on constitutional law, right? Who better to restore the rights we’ve had stripped away from us by BushCo?
And maybe this whole “plagiarism” thing is really just a figment of Hillary’s imagination, and John Edwards’ imagination, and indeed the MSM’s imagination.
And maybe when Obama supporters rigorously defend their man, they’re just fighting for the truth and their ardor should be admired, not questioned by the likes of me—and it certainly shouldn’t even be thought of in the same league as the reich-wingers’ defense of their repug candidates and president.
Maybe I’m just being completely unfair and delusional about this whole issue.
And yet I still can’t get behind Obama. I still feel like he isn’t offering any specifics for how he’ll change things, like he’s a marvelous and dynamic speaker who has inspired many but may deliver nothing if elected, whether due to his inexperience, his naivete, his own ties to some of the same corporate coffers as he accuses Hillary of having, or his nice-guy personality.
And I still can’t help but feel like people who support him are ignoring the lack of substance behind the “dream” and the “hope” rhetoric Obama espouses so eloquently.
I’m not pointing any fingers, and I’m not trying to call anyone an “Obama-nut” or anything. I’m just trying to understand how we all got so bitter so fast.