Thursday, August 11, 2016

False Equivalence and internet hysteria

Social media is full of links to sites with hyper headlines.  Clickbait, they call them.  Did you see what Hillary did?  The Republicans said this!

Most of these have no interest in discussing ideas, or facts, but rather in driving clicks, eyeballs on adds, and fomenting partisanship and division.  Just STOP IT.

If you are forwarding these you are contributing to that air of hysteria. 

These false equivalencies do not help our discourse. Whether you are a Bernie conspiracy theorist or a Republican gun advocate.

Recently, Donald Trump implied that the election of Hillary Clinton could justify armed insurrection.

I have two thoughts on this.

First, this goes to a long history of the Right attempting to "nullify" elections that they lose.  They did this with Bill Clinton, they have certainly done it with Obama, and now they are trying to pre-empt Hillary.  Over at Washington Monthly, Nancy Le Tourneau calls this the Conferderate response:  the effort to de-legitimize this challenge to their world view. If the election didn't go to my guy, it can't be legit. 

Second, this has prompted my right-leaning friends to post clickbait saying, essentially, Oh Yeah?  The Dems did it too!

No, the Dems have never called for armed insurgency if they lose.  But from Sarah Palin's gunsight ad, to the lynching memes ever since Obama was elected, to Republican officers sending around threats against Hillary, to rallies calling to "Kill the B....." , Trump has now escalated to an anti-democratic strong-man dictatorship.  Don't like the results of the election?  Take up arms!

Oh yeah? In 2008, Hillary called for Obama's assassination!  

No, she didn't. In an admittedly insalubrious choice of language (for which she apologized), she justified staying in the primary race in case something happened to him,  invoking the assassination of RFK in 1968.  You can go Google Robert F Kennedy.  I'll wait. 

She did not threaten an armed insurrection if Obama won.

She did not tell sober gun owners to take up arms against the government, including  against the police. 

She did not imply that the popularly elected president is illegitimate as commander  in chief. 

This unreasonable hatred of Hillary (Hillary Derangement Syndrome) fomented by one wing of our media is dangerous to our democracy. You don't have to like or agree with her.  But don't claim that the extreme language from the Trump side is in any way equivalent, or justified.    Argue the issues, not the hysteria.  And stop contributing to it. 


JCF said...

I fear you're preaching to the choir here, IT (but maybe you'll get some pushback: fingers crossed! :-X )

The link to the Washington Monthly is broken (would like to see it---but am too lazy to Google it. ;-p )

Kevin K said...

I am sorry but this is entirely incorrect historically. Democrats did lead an insurrection (or secession) after losing the Presidential election of 1860. its in all the history books.

dr.primrose said...

Kevin, the 1860 election was much more complicated than that.

In 1860 the Democratic Convention first met in Charleston, SC. Most of the Southern delegates, a minority, walked out because the platform was insufficiently pro-slavery. After 57 ballots, the convention could not agree on a nominee and adjourned for several weeks.

The convention then reconvened in Baltimore. Again the Southerners, again a minority, walked out. The remaining delegates in the National Democratic Party then nominated Stephen Douglas for president.

The Southern Democrats who had walked out of the National Democratic Party then formed their own convention, passed the pro-slavery platform that they couldn't achieve at the National Democratic Convention, and nominated John C. Breckinridge for president.

The scenario in 1860 bears a resemblance to the 1948 Democratic Convention when, after the National Democratic Convention passed a pro-civil rights platform, the Southern Democrats ("Dixiecrats") walked out, formed their own convention, and nominated Strom Thurmond for president.

In 1860, the minority Southern Democrats left the national party, formed their own party, nominated their own candidate, and, when that candidate lost, took the route of secession.

The majority National Democratic Party, however, did not support secession and insurrection (even though many of them were sympathetic to some of the Southern positions, but not to the extent of the minority Southern Democrats themselves).

Saying that the National Democrats in 1860 supported secession and insurrection is like saying the National Democrats in 1948 were opposed to civil rights because of the actions of the Dixiecrats.

Kevin K said...

I am familiar with these facts. The second convention nominated Douglas, in part, because many southern Democrats did not attend that one. Southern Democrats then held a convention and nominated Breckenridge. I have never heard anyone suggest that any of these people ceased being Democrats. This was an internal political squabble between Democrats.

I did not say that the "National Democrats" supported secession although there were northern Democrats sympathetic to or at least willing to live with secession which ultimately became the Copperhead movement. I said that the people who left the Union as the result of an election were Democrats, which is true even if, as is also true, they were a minority within the national democratic party. It is important to note that, when the Union was restored, these people again became part of the national democratic party.