Tuesday, August 31, 2010

People I Don't Care About

Obama Palin Dancing With the StarsImage by BrianWestChest via Flickr
I love people watching. Not the kind you do at the mall or a sporting event. But, observing human behavior like talking with people on Facebook. I notice that when I criticize certain things like Glenn Beck, the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin, I get a predictable and usually vicious defense of them. I mean it's like I talked bad about somebody's mama. OK, that's to be expected. If you rag on President Obama or (well I can't think of anyone else to put in here) and I'm likely to jump to his defense, too. I get that. We identify with people we admire and when are attacked, we feel attacked. So far nothing interesting there. But, what I have also noticed is when my friends start to lose the battle they come back with some criticism of an almost totally unrelated person on the left and expect me to react in the same way they have. For example, I'm talking about the Tea Party and the underlying current of racism in it, its rallies and its slogans. I'm talking about the underlying violent tones in its very name and the implications of our government being some imperialistic foreign power and I get "Well, the New Black Panthers are racists too and they want to kill white babies.". My initial response is always the same "Huh?". Then, after I've picked up that the discussion has jumped the tracks into whole new territory I think "What does the New Black Panther Party (whoever they are) have to do with the Tea Party?" I had to Google them to even find out who they are. Or, I'll be critcizing Glenn Beck for being a demagoguing, messiah-wanna-be who spreads fear and hatred. And he just happens to also be able to sell you the cure to all the ills and fears he's telling you exist out there. And I'll get "Well, Al Sharpton plays the race card.". Again, huh? Why don't you just tell me that Tiger Woods hits golf balls. Of course Al Sharpton plays the race card. That's what Al Sharpton does. That's his profession.

For my friends who want to continue to use this tactic, I'm going to help you out. I'm going to rank all the people you can throw at me that I care and don't care about. Mostly they're on this list because they've been used against me before. The Republican/Right Wing "equivalents" doesn't mean I think they're equivalent. They are the initial subjects that prompted the mention of the name I was supposed to react to. This should make it easier for you to choose a irrelevant person to attack whenever I'm getting to close too a cause or person dear to you. I'm going to rank them on a scale of 1-100 and tell you why they got the ranking they got. The closer they get to 100 the more likely you're likely to get a reaction out of me and derail the conversation.

or Organization For You to Throw At Me
Wing Equivalent
for their score
New Black Panther Party 0 The Tea Party I never heard of these people until my Tea Party friends started telling me what threats and racists they are. They're probably racists. But, I don't know how much of a threat they are and they're certainly not politically relevant.
Old Black Panther Party 1 The Tea Party I give them a point more than the New Black Party just because I have actually heard of them. Never met one. Never wanted to be one. No association with them.
Nancy Pelosi 2 John Boehner/Mitch McConnell Don't expect me to defend Nancy Pelosi for a second. If I could vote her out, I would. The woman is an embarrassment to the Democratic Party. Every time she opens her mouth it's only to stick her foot in.
MSNBC 2 FOX News MSNBC is, IMHO, better than Fox News because I think Olbermann and Matthew, as bad as they are, are better than the bozos on Fox. I do watch MSNBC for political
spin. But, I know it's spin.
Reverend Jessie Jackson 5 Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh/Sarah
OK. I'll give him a few points because he did know Martin Luther King. But, it's been all downhill for him since then. He's never represented me and as far as I know never
been elected to anything- least of all as spokeperson for all things black.
Reverend Al Sharpton 10 Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh/Sarah
Reverend Sharpton started off as just a big old blowhard who ran around shouting "Race, race, race." at every opportunity. I did notice him maturing during the 2008 elections and he actually said some very respectable things. So, I'll rank him above Jessie Jackson. But, again, never been elected as spokeperson for all things black and certainly not a spokesperson for me. If he ever changes his hairstyle, I'll give him a couple of more points.
Keith Olbermann 15 Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh Olbermann is one that gets thrown at me quite a bit. Guys, we lefties know this guy isn't a serious journalist. I didn't even know his show existed until the 2008 elections. Yes I watched it some. But, I don't think I've watched a complete program of his since then. Some of his rants are spot on (very few). But, for the most part he's almost as over-the-top as Limbaugh.
Chris Matthews 16 Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh I'll give him a point more than Olbermann. Occasionally, he does act like a serious journalist.
The Coffee Party 20 The Tea Party I had to think of a real equivalent to the Tea Party, not just the Black Panthers or New Black Panthers or even the NAACP. I like what the Coffee Party seems to stand for- common sense and reasonable respective dialog. I'm following them on Facebook. But, it took me 30 years to join the Democratic Party. So, I may not be getting my membership badge anytime soon. If I continue to like what I see, they could quickly move up the list though.
NAACP 25 The Tea Party The NAACP is a legitimate organization, IMO. There once was a great need for them. Maybe not so much now. But, I still think there is a need. I will respond when people try to point out that there is some sort of equivalence between the Tea Party's racial makeup and the NAACP's make racial makeup as if one justifies the other.
Rachel Maddow 50 Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh Hey, I like Rachel. She's smart and make some really good points.
Democratic Party 50 Republican Party Now we're getting to the interesting stuff. Yes, I am a Democrat. But, not like you might think. I didn't register as a Democrat until 2008 and that was only so I could vote in the primaries. I've voted Democratic all my life. But, I'm not partisan in the sense I will defend "my party" right or wrong. I think the Democratics are dysfunctional and largely stupid. My old joke is "The Democrats are stupid. But, the Republicans are evil."
Stephen Colbert 75 Can't think of any Love Stephen Colbert. Don't mess with him.
Jon Stewart 80 Can't think of any I think Jon Stewart is brilliant. Sorry I can't think of any Republican/Right Wing equivalents. Rush and Glenn Beck are almost as funny. But, they're not trying to be. So, it doesn't count. So far, no has used an attack on Jon to sidetrack a conversation. But, when I post his brilliance on Facebook, he does get criticized for not being a serious journalist. At least he doesn't pretend to be and he's still better than most.
Barack Obama 90 Sarah Palin I put Sarah Palin in there as the equivalent because when I go after her, the response I get most often is some insult about Barack Obama (Barry, or BO or "that POS President" ). You might think he gets such a high rating on my scale because I am unthinkingly uncritical of him. That would be wrong. Primarily he ranks so high because he is the only person on this list I have voted for or worked for. I do feel a bond with him because our stories are similar in many ways. I read his book "The Audacity of Hope" and I was extremely impressed. I think he's doing a fine job. And, anyone who would make the sacrifices it takes to be President at least deserves the respect of giving him credit for wanting the best for our country. I will agree with you if you criticize him on an issue where I think he's wrong (and he has been wrong). But, for the most part, if you want to really side track me, this is your go-to player.
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Anonymous said...

Hi Brian,

What I've noticed since being on your blog, is that you tend to take the most extreme right-wing position that you've heard someplace (like the email with Pres Obama's feet on it, or that Imam Rauf is being reported/rumored as supporting terrorism,) and then you fight that battle. In other words, it seems you take the easiest target to go for in order to put down the other side, but don't you see that this is ignoring the real issues? That this is no different than what those on the extreme right/left also do? Its so easy to target an Imam who supports terrorism; not so easy to target him if he is indeed a moderate, and indeed is trying to build bridges.

Its rather frustrating for someone who's a conservative with concern for valid issues to try to have discussion when the topic is over the top to begin with. I'd love to have real, honest discussion with people on the Left--without all the extremism attached to it on either side. I believe that also goes for people on the right; it has to be real, or its just silly, and an exercise in futility; its fighting windmills. :)

I disagree with you that Beck and Limbaugh aren't trying to be funny. They both use humor often; they're both hilarious with parody and impressions--and entertaining. Matthews--no--he's funny just by being so serious.

Did you see for yourself the Beck Rally on 8/28? I receive emails from Media Matters; I was told what it WOULD be in the most extreme terms; and it wasn't at all anything like that. It was beautiful, Brian. 350,000 - 500,000 people united as Americans in faith, hope and charity. People of all races, religions and backgrounds. Don't listen to the pundits--judge for yourself on things, bro.

The Tea Party isn't racist--take an honest look.

Before I end this post, I want to tell you that I was so pleasantly surprised tonight at Pres Obama's speech. I loved it. I'm basking in the afterglow, so to speak; this is who I thought he was in the beginning; a uniter. I haven't found him to be so since his inauguration; but tonight, I was pleased to support him as my President.

To cite Arizona to the UN as breaching human rights in which the Feds came in with a lawsuit as an example of protecting human rights; well, that is truly disappointing, its outrageous. As so many other things are disappointing--but for tonight, I'll enjoy this good feeling from his speech, and hope and pray for the best from him in the days to come. :)--rhonda

Brian said...

Hey Rhonda,

I'm sorry that it seems like I'm only taking on the most extreme right wing position. You and I are not connected on Facebook. But, I pretty much am addressing the topics that are raised to me.

I've heard every argument under the sun against the Islamic Center. The Imam is a terrorist sympathizer, the Imam is a moderate who just won't renounce terrorism, the center is funded by terrorists, the center's location is insensitive, true moderate Muslims want the center moved, 9/11 families want the center moved. I've addressed them all.

I did not see the rally on 8/28 and I have not commented on the content of the rally. I have commented on the polarizing and divisive figure behind the rally, the timing of the rally and Glenn Beck claiming to "take back the civil rights movement". I have heard reports about the rally which I understand was a mixture of support for the troops, a couple of political topics including abortion and a pseudo-revival meeting. The actual content of the rally is not what was interesting to me, it is the larger than life figure of Glenn Beck who has a cult-like following.

The Tea Party is, by and large racist, IMO, Rhonda. I have looked and looked and looked. I have friends who are members who have been trying to convince me otherwise. If they're successful, I'll let you know. Let me be clear. You don't have to be a racist to be a Tea Party member. But, I think there are a lot of Tea Party members who are racist. Where were the people in the funny hats when Bush was getting us into two wars and spending us into massive debts? The timing of the Tea Party's rise to prominence is not lost on me, Rhonda.

I'm glad to hear you give President Obama credit for a well delivered speech. Unfortunately, I can't enjoy them as much as I used to because I know the next day I'll end up defending attacks on the speech from everything from "he looked so arrogant sitting there behind that desk" to actual matters of disagreement with his policy. So far this morning I've been surprised. No attacks. But, it's only 7AM. We'll see what the day brings.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Good observations, Rhonda. I can see how it would look that way. As Brian pointed out, the extreme things he posts and responds to aren't things he seeks out, but are items presented to us on Facebook by friends.

I did see some of the rally and liked some of what I heard. A representative from Special Operations Warrior Foundation spoke and it sounds like a wonderful organization.

Glenn Beck spends so much time demonizing and polarizing that it was nice to see him acting in a kinder, gentler manner, but I can't shake his divisive polarizing persona enough to take him seriously. Maybe he will continue on this path and earn my trust, I hope so.

Kevin Min said...

This is hilarious, Brian.

Anonymous said...

Brian, Mike and Kevin--I enjoy your comments. I suppose if you rely on others to give you info...I suggest looking into things for yourself, and see for yourself.

So much misunderstanding goin' on, and I think that's on both sides. How can the tea party be racist when it includes all races (not to mention all relgions?)

I've just begun doing Facebook (I'm a late bloomer.) I just commented on a thread that said, "Jan Brewer is an evil person."

I realize this isn't a "mainstream liberal thinking"--right? :) --rhonda

Brian said...


To say that Jan Brewer is an evil person is wrong. There are no evil people. There are, however, people who do evil things.

I won't say whether it's mainstream liberal thinking or not. But, it's not my thinking.


Jesse Ahmann said...

So I want your honest answer. Now that we are friends on FB, how would you rate our discussions? I always appreciate your insights! Even though I think Barack Obama is a socialist, I think our discussions are edifying.

Brian said...


Honestly, I really enjoy our discussions. I think you discuss things openly and honestly. And, I really appreciate that it doesn't seem like a "debate" when I'm having a conversation with you. It's not a win or lose thing. It's an exchange of ideas. I wish I could say that about all of my conservative and libertarian Facebook friends.

kc bob said...

Great stuff Brian! Can't believe that it has taken me so long to read this.. I have become such a reading slug these days. I really liked your table comparisons. On a friend's suggestion I watched Glenn Beck all this week and blogged about it yesterday but don't think my friend liked what I had to say.