Politics postsMonday November 04, 2013
How to Win Political Arguments in Your Sleep
Stupid political arguments have invaded my unconscious.
Last night I dreamed I was at work, but not my work, where me and a colleague were schmoozing a couple of loudmouths from the South. They were big, brash types who acted as if they knew it all; as if they had secret information we weren’t privy to. At one point I asked them where they were from. “Texas,” said the more heavyset man. Where in Texas? I asked. “You know Texas?” he asked. “Florida, Texas. Near Dallas.”
My dream self thought the place sounded familiar but I couldn’t quite place it.
“Did they make a movie set there or something?” I asked.
The heavyset man cocked his head knowingly. “Movie? No, not a movie. History. You watch the news? You pay attention to what’s going on in the world?”
He began to go on about in Texas this and in Texas that, and I was nodding politely; then he launched into an anti-Obama argument. He claimed Obama was an illegitimate leader, a usurper, etc. etc., and my colleague was stunned but silent, so I looked over at the man and laid my cards on the table.
“Yeah, I know about Obama. I volunteered for his campaign in 2012. I donated $3,000 to his campaign.”
The dude came back with in Texas this and in Texas that, and the conversation quickly devolved, and the main thing I remember was being on top of the dude, my finger in his face, and saying the following:
“You may be from Texas, and they may do things a certain way there, but now you’re in Seattle. And in Seattle? I’m the conservative.”
When I woke up I thought it wasn’t a bad line for a dream, if a bit cheesey. I’m sure I’ve heard it in a similar context before.
Interpretations welcome. Particularly “Florida, Texas.”
Here's your info graphic of the day courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov:
Feel free to use it when talking to various right-wingers and Tea Partiers and FOX News watchers who complain about how out-of-control spending has gotten under Pres. Obama. Just don't expect them to listen. From Salman Rushdie's memoir of his fatwa years, “Joseph Anton,” pp. 70-71:
In February 1983 thirty-eight Shia Muslims, followers of a man named Sayyad Willayat Hussain Shah, were convinced by him that God would part the waters of the Arabian Sea at his request, so that they could make a pilgrimmage across the ocean floor to the holy city of Karbala in Iraq. They followed him into the waters and many of them were drowned. The most extraordinary part of the incident was that some of those who survived claimed, in spit of all evidence to the contrary, to have witnessed the miracle.
A Conservative Theology Becoming a Revolutionary Idea by Attracting the Non-Urban and Marginalized: A Quiz
Quick quiz about the following quote:
Here was a fascinating paradox: that an essentially conservative theology, looking backward with affection toward a vanishing culture, became a revolutionary idea, because the people whom it attracted most strongly were those who had been marginalized by urbanization—the disaffected poor, the street mob.
Who said it about whom? Was it:
- A: Andrew Sullivan on the Tea-Party-wing of the GOP
- B: Gore Vidal on the '64 Goldwater campaign
- C: Salman Rushdie on the birth of Islam
Answer in the comments section.
Moyers: It's Not a Shutdown; It's Sabotage of the Democratic Process
Here's Bill Moyers on the Tea Party-led and GOP-led and credibility-destroying government shutdown. Moyers doesn't like the term 'shutdown':
At least let's name this for what it is: sabotage of the democratic process; secession by another means. And let's be clear about where such reckless ambition leads: as surely as night must follow day, the alternative to democracy is worse.
See the whole video essay here.
American idiot celebrating secession by another means.
More Unseemly Sideshows
From Margaret Talbot's Talk of the Town piece, “Washington Dramas,” in The New Yorker:
There was a rather unseemly sideshow at the memorial to the Second World War, where Republican representatives turned up to personally inform elderly visiting veterans that it was President Obama’s fault that the memorial was closed. The chair of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, later offered to use R.N.C. funds to open the memorial, claiming that the Administration was keeping “the Greatest Generation away from a monument built in their honor.” You could deny eight hundred thousand federal employees their paychecks, you could cripple entire agencies, but close the war memorial? The National Park Service declined the offer, because, as a spokesperson explained, “we are a national system.” The park service could hardly pick favorites—opening the memorial for the Second World War but not for the Vietnam War, opening Yellowstone but not Yosemite—and it shouldn’t be asked to.
What the Republican intransigents were willing to deprive of funds, besides the Capitol police, included the following: The Centers for Disease Control, which said that it would have to stop its seasonal flu-prevention program and would “have significantly reduced capacity to respond to outbreak investigations.” The Environmental Protection Agency, which would close down almost entirely, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which would stop most of its inspections. The WIC program, which provides healthy food supplements for millions of pregnant women, new mothers, and babies, and could run on temporary federal funds only through the end of the month. The Food and Drug Administration, which said it “will be unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities,” and would have to halt “the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making.” The National Institutes of Health, which announced that it would not be enrolling any new patients in ongoing studies or clinical trials.
The fringe elements of the GOP have created even more unseemly sideshows at our national monuments. Today, huge crowds turned out at the World War II memorial, whose closing is still blamed on Pres. Obama rather than (rightly) on the GOP, and several took the baricades there and moved them to the White House as a kind of symbolic gesture. They waved a Confederate flag outside the White House. Other flags were unfurled, including a “Right to Heaven” flag, which an Andrew Sullivan reader reminds us is an invocation to righteous rebellion and revolution.
These are people who don't recognize that they are what they accuse others of being. They are antidemocratic, anti-American fascists.