I started writing my blog in 2009, the year our first black president was sworn into office. Although I had written pieces previously over the previous eight years, it was not until fall of 2009 that I put pen to paper regularly. Did I mention that when I started we had our first black president?
I mention the fact that Barack Obama is black because for most of the eight years I’ve been writing I’ve been called racist. Never to my face, sometimes on Facebook and not infrequently in the larger sense as someone who supports the Constitution and advocates small government.
In all honesty I’ve probably lost half a dozen friends via Facebook over that exact point. These weren’t just “Facebook friends” but rather people I’ve known for years or even decades, people I’ve worked closely with and some with whom I’ve shared Christmas dinner. Each time it was over an issue that is near and dear to the left such as gay marriage, Barack Obama, Black Lives Matter or some similar issue.
In each case I tried to make my arguments focusing on the facts… slippery slopes, rates of unwed motherhood, government incompetence – such as with Solyndra – economics, etc. Each time while things might start out cordial enough, eventually, because I could not be swayed to my “friend’s” position I was called a racist, sexist, homophobe etc. I was suddenly labeled a hater of whatever group was impacted by the policy we might have been discussing, despite evidence to the contrary! The thing is, it didn’t seem to matter at all what I actually said, the words I actually wrote… if I didn’t agree with the other person’s point of view they seemed to have no problem slapping their label on me and feeling victorious.
It makes you think… if people I know well, people who’ve know me for years and worked with me and socialized with me can suddenly feel comfortable applying these labels to me – albeit on Facebook – because I’ve written about conservative, Constitutional positions – never, ever because of something I’ve actually ever said or done – what kind of debate is even possible? Particularly when some of the people I respect the most and quote most frequently are themselves black such as Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele.
Now we have a white president… but apparently I’m still a racist. Even though there were LOTS of things about Donald Trump I disliked and wrote about, the fact that I actually voted for the guy makes me racist. Interestingly, had I voted for the other white person on the ticket I’d have apparently no longer been a racist…
The funny thing is, the fact that there were two white people to choose from actually drives home the fact that my vote didn’t have any more to do with race than it did when I voted against Barack Obama. I voted against Barack Obama and railed against his policies for eight years not because he’s black, but because he’s a statist. Coincidentally, I voted against Hillary Clinton because she’s a statist. I opposed Barack Obama from day one because he is a progressive who seeks to diminish the United States on the world stage and destroy capitalism and eviscerate freedom. Coincidentally I opposed Hillary Clinton because she is a progressive who seeks to destroy capitalism and eviscerate freedom. Apparently, none of those things matter… once the left has decided their position they feel confident enough that they can label any dissenters as some version of “ist” with little regard for the actual facts.
Of course that’s the point… with the left, reality and facts rarely matter. Whether it’s the connection between unwed mothers and crime, or between a higher minimum wage and higher unemployment among the unskilled workers, or between increased regulation and lower GDP growth. the only important thing is what politicians say and who they offer the most goodies to, it’s never what actually happens. And it holds true not only in politics, but in real life as well. And sometimes it’s more than just losing a couple of friends. Remember a few years ago when the left wanted New York-Presbyterian Hospital to refuse a $100 million donation because it came from the Koch brothers?
Will we ever get back to a point where political discussions are separate from individual emotions and passions and we can focus on facts rather than name calling? With the media in general and social media in particular fanning the flames of narcissism, unwarranted self esteem and the primacy of the “right” to be free from offense over individual freedom and limited government, don’t expect a turnaround anytime soon. But at least with Trump there is a glimmer of hope. He may be a lot of things, but something he’s not is a socialist who loves regulation and high taxes. Those three things alone will be a 180 degree change from what we’ve had for the last eight years. One wonders if the economy finally pulls itself out of the 1.5% malaise it’s been in since Barack Obama became president and starts to actually grow to its potential, how many of today’s lefties will start separating fact from fiction when they see incomes rising, opportunities increasing and having a bit extra in their pockets at the end of the month? There may be hope… After all, Ronald Reagan who was much vilified by the left finished his second term with an approval rating of almost 65%.