Friday, June 17, 2005

Republicans, and What the Hell's Wrong With Them

As we all now know, there is little doubt that Terri Schiavo wasn't going to recover, and wasn't trying to communicate with us, or even aware that we existed. If anything, she was perhaps in some sort of dreamland or a hellish netherworld. Or maybe God had already taken her soul into Heaven. Or maybe she knew nothing at all. Who knows? But whatever it was, she wasn't with us.

And I'll just set aside the theological issues involved. Such as, why were Christians preventing a good woman from going to Heaven? Even if we could bring her back, wouldn't Heaven still have been better than anything earth has to offer? And what about reincarnation? Perhaps we were preventing her from starting all over again with a fresh body. Who knows?

But that's not for tonight. Tonight, I'll be talking about my favorite topic: Republicans, and what the hell's wrong with them.

And in this case, I'm talking about the Social Conservative Republicans. For many Republicans, opinions on this ranged from ambivalence to anger at their fellow Republican's behavior. We often think of Republicans as a monolithic group which agrees in every way. But that's a big mistake. Because many of these people would hate their fellow Republicans, if only they'd stop hating us long enough to see who they've joined with. And that's certainly the case with this issue. The Social Conservatives were on their own with this one, and many neo-cons, traditional conservatives, and South Park Republicans didn't want any part of this. Especially the second two groups, which are libertarian-based.

And these people were upset by what they saw, and got an inside glimpse at how the right-wing propaganda machine works. Not necessarily that they'd join our side, but that they'd be less willing to get duped again. And that's what all of this involved: a major duping.

A Major Duping

Because here's the thing about this Schiavo issue: We like to think that the Social Conservatives are just nuts, right? That they're just weirdo ideological freaks who want a different America than the one we want. But it's not necessarily like that. And this Schiavo issue is a prime example.

If you spoke with anyone who was against ending Mrs. Schiavo's life, they were most likely misled and/or confused about what her condition really was. Some thought it likely that she could recover. Many believed that she was actually active, and could even talk. Some believed she was simply mentally retarded and/or lazy. And almost all believed that this condition was caused by her evil husband, and that the proof of this was quite conclusive. On top of that, there was confusion over legal and medical issues. On which judges could view the evidence; which tests had been performed, etc.

And even now, many still hold onto the idea that Mrs. Schiavo could have recovered, that the autopsy was inconclusive or incompetently performed, and that perhaps it was the starvation which destroyed Mrs. Schiavo's brain. They already have their facts, and they're willing to make stuff up if they need to.

And the main thing is: None of this is opinion based. All of this is fact based. And these people had the wrong facts; including the stuff they made-up. They're not necessarily batty people who are always against pulling the plug. Some are, some aren't. But that had nothing to do with this. The truth is, these people didn't know the truth. They were lied to.

They might be nutbags, I don't know. But in this case, they made the right decision based upon the faulty information they were told. If Mrs. Schiavo could easily have recovered, as these people were told, then we shouldn't have pulled the plug. If she was clearly active and able to talk, as these people were told, then we shouldn't have pulled the plug. If Mr. Schiavo was slowly murdering her, while dominating the hospital staff and openly displaying his cold-blooded greed (as was discussed here); then we should have locked him up and ignored his plans.

And so there was nothing necessarily kooky about what these people wanted. Had their information been accurate, we'd be the fools and they'd be the heros. But it wasn't, and we weren't. We were right. They were wrong. And if we could just get them to acknowledge the facts, most of them would probably agree with us that the right thing happened. Because while the protesters at the hospice and the chatterers on TV talked about "Culture of Life" and all that jazz, many of the people who opposed Mrs. Schiavo's death did so based upon bad information; and they aren't against pulling the plug on hopeless cases. They just didn't know the facts, and believed that they did.

Factual Disagreements

And that's how it is with all this stuff. If there is a God, and He wants us to do all those things the stereotypical Christian believes; then we're fools for not believing and for not instituting His laws here on earth. And if tax cuts are always good for the economy, and taxes always bad; then we're fools for not cutting taxes. And if Terri Schiavo was half as alive and conscious as these people were led to believe, we are murderers for allowing her to die.

And that's the thing. Almost all of our disputes are like that. These are not ideological disputes. These are factual disputes. And factual disputes should be easily solved. All you need are the facts and a non-confrontational way to convey them. I've run into a wall repeatedly trying to overcome the barriers which stop these people from seeing the truth; so don't come to me for any easy answers on this. I'm just telling you what the problem is. The solution is different for each individual and issue.

But the main thing to remember is that the people you are arguing with are victims of propaganda. They allowed themselves to become victims, much like how drug addicts allow themselves to get hooked. But just because this was self-inflicted doesn't mean we shouldn't help them. And all they need is the truth. The truth will set them free.

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