We have a war going on in this country. No I don't mean the one in Afghanistan, or the war on terror. It's a war fought on the airwaves and on the Internet. Where one side comes armed with facts and reason, and other comes armed with lies, deception, and ignorance. It's a war on science, logic, facts and reason. It's a war we're not winning.
It's a war where facts that have been proven are called into question by those who deny them simply because of a political agenda. Where propaganda and conspiracy theories rule the day. How can you get through to people if facts and studies and statistics don't work?
I'm not sure you can. That's a huge problem, we have big problems in this country and we cannot possibly solve them if we can't even agree on "reality". It's an argument where one side says the sky is blue, but the other says it's red, and when we bring in the science to prove it, they scream "LIBERAL BIAS". How do you reason with someone like that?
That's a big problem us Liberals have, we genuinely think everyone is reasonable, that if you just say the right things, show the right graphs, or explain things in a simple way that people will be swayed and accept the facts as you do.
We couldn't be more deluded.
It's painful for me to say, but in my experience it's true. I spent way too much time bringing facts and reason to debates to have those I argue against shut down and immediately go to the latest talking points they heard on Fox. It's a lot like Mitt Romney's strategy; just keep repeating "We built it" when the entire premise of that attack was proven to be built on a statement that was taken out of context. How about the $716 Billion dollar Medicare lie that's been killed more times than South Park's Kenny? Yet just like that foul mouthed, orange coat wearing kid from Colorado, that lie keeps coming back.
Climate change is also put into question in this war. Even though scientific studies and models are continuously being put out that prove global warming is real and is a major challenge. Even a Koch brothers funded study admitted to climate change being real and man made. Once again the right wing lie factories continue to put out this perception that the science is incomplete. Using snappy messaging and conspiracy theories the right paints Liberals who care about the Earth we live on as enemies of capitalism, and destroyers of America when it is their policies that will sicken the Earth and bring about catastrophic global change that *will* destroy the very land we call America.
They have elected officials like Michele Bachmann, who famously said:
"there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows carbon dioxide is a harmful gas. There isn’t one such study because carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural. It is not harmful. It is part of Earth’s life cycle. "
Then there's Sarah Palin who on climate change says:
“We knew the bottom line … was ultimately to shut down a lot of our development. And it didn’t make any sense because it was based on these global warming studies that now we’re seeing (is) a bunch of snake-oil science.”
For someone that can supposedly see Russia from her house, she apparently cannot see the forest through the trees.
The war on facts gets more personal with Todd Akin who said on a TV interview:
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Of course that's completely wrong, a study done in 1996 came to the conclusion that:
"Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies
and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. As we address the epidemic of unintended pregnancies in the United States, greater attention and effort should be aimed at preventing and identifying unwanted pregnancies that result from sexual victimization."
"The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator."
But you know, facts be damned when it comes to the Republican party. Just ask Richard Mourdock who believes that rape babies are a "gift from god"
"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
Instead of facts, empathy and reason Republicans often turn to the invisible sky fairy god who thinks rape is A-Okay but abortion will damn you to hell. Except that the Bible doesn't explicitly mention abortion. It is at best ambiguous.
That's just another example of the right making things up to suit their political agenda. I don't know if these people really believe that they know what god is thinking. The real question here is why are we electing people to serve in our congress that are saying they believe these crazy things? Because whatever their true beliefs are, they use gut instincts, ignorance and hate to get people to side with them.
You know the tried and true formula of campaigning on guns, god and gays.
Every right wing blog and website has some sort of conspiracy saying that President Obama is going to take away your guns, your religion, and force homosexuality on America. Even Ted Cruz, Tea Party backed Republican senate hopeful says that U.N. is going to come and make us live in hobbit homes without paved roads. Just google agenda 21 and be amazed at the nuttery you'll find. All of these are not backed up with one shred of evidence, but they sell it, and half the country buys it.
The corporate media.
It's not the sole reason but it's a huge part of the problem. When news organizations give a platform for people to spread propaganda without refuting it because they're scared of being called bias, that's a problem. When a supposed news organization can lie all day and yet boast being the highest rated news channel on television, that's a problem. When the media has been consolidated to the point of six large corporations owning 90% of the media we consume, that's a problem.
And then there is the education system in this country, and how it continues to be threatened.
(to be continued...)