I don’t usually respond to political memes, because it’s the equivalent of arguing with a mentally ill brick wall.
But I’ve come across a couple that are currently making the rounds that I feel are worthy of a response, because they try to make intelligent points – or what they imagine are intelligent points. So okay. 1. Conservatives are grown-ups (unlike “takers”)
This is a variation on an old favorite in conservative circles: personal responsibility. Paying yr own way is a virtue. Relying on govt programs is not, because people who use govt programs are “takers”: lazy irresponsible children who demand everything be handed to them by the nanny state.
Which is really just another way of saying: “I resent the fact that other people can take my tax money and buy stuff I have to pay for myself.”
As you might imagine, I don’t agree with this, partly because I personally don’t mind if my tax money is used to fund public services, but mainly because I think it’s based on a false premise: namely, that all people who use govt programs are freeloaders who aren’t willing to work and the equivalent of irresponsible children. Yes, some of them are. Many of them are not. So I think it’s unfair, unrealistic and mean to yank their safety net out from under them just because some people in the same net are loafers. Characterizing them as irresponsible children is oversimplistic and, well, lazy.
I also don't really buy into the libertarian fantasy that participation in society should be based solely on your ability to pay for basic necessities, and that if you can’t afford birth control, food, a mortgage, college education or a cell phone, yr not entitled to have them. We can argue over whether things like college and cell phones count as necessities, perhaps. But that’s a different argument from whether people who can’t afford to pay for them on their own are lazy irresponsible children. That’s just an excuse to pretend that people who can’t make ends meet or keep up with the rest of society only have themselves to blame, and therefore are not yr problem. 2. If you don’t vote, Trump happens
This is usually forwarded by left-leaning people worried that voter apathy leads to people like Trump winning the the White House – or worse, Bernie Sanders losing the Demo nomination to Hillary Clinton.
I’m all for voter participation, but I have a problem with the argument that if everyone votes, then good candidates will win (and by “good” they usually mean “the specific candidate I’ve been supporting with every other meme that I post here”). Actually there’s no guarantee that a higher turnout will swing a particular result, except in retrospect, when you can point to examples where, say, your party had only 25% voter turnout while the opposition party had 45% voter turnout. But the party base usually only accounts for about 30% of the electorate. The remaining unaffiliated 40% could go either way depending on all kinds of factors. So if you have 100% voter turnout, the opposition candidate could still win.
Put another way, if you have 100% turnout and yr candidate still loses, is that better than if they lost with only (say) 40% turnout? And would you be more accepting of the result?
Also, people who forward memes like this tend to believe there is a stark difference between the two parties. Well, sure, if you believe every fool meme that pops up on yr Facebook feed catering to yr specific political bias. But many people don’t see all that much difference. To some people (including me to a point), the GOP and the Democratic Party suck in different ways, perhaps, but they still basically suck. I don’t belong to either party, and I haven’t been that happy with the POTUS choices offered to me since at least 1996. This year is a little different in the sense that both parties’ candidates are being pulled closer to the ideological fringe. But political polarization has made change even less likely, so I can’t blame people for thinking it doesn’t really matter who wins, we’re screwed anyway, so why bother?BONUS TRACK:
On a side note, I’ll add a comment about a related meme complaining about the Democratic use of superdelegates
, which at the moment is favoring Hillary. Sanders supporters are complaining this subverts the will of the people and that it's a plot by the DNC to steal the election for Hillary.
I’ve heard this one before back when people were complaining about the electoral college in 2000, where Al Gore won the pop vote but lost the electoral vote (Florida’s hanging chads notwithstanding.) I think that’s a valid discussion, but regarding the way the current superdelegate argument is being framed, I just have a few things to say about it:
1. Many of the people complaining about superdelegates don’t seem to understand how the process works (or how political parties work, for that matter).
2. Even of they do, I will bet good money that if the superdelegates were backing Sanders instead of Clinton, the Sanders supporters would not have a single bad thing to say about the superdelegate system.
3. If the GOP had a superdelegate system, it’s possible that the current frontrunners in the delegate count would not be Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
Of course I realize that Sanders fans are delighted at having Trump or Cruz as the GOP nominee, because they’re pretty sure America as a whole won’t vote for the crazy guy. But think of it this way: one of the purposes of the electoral college is to give political parties the ability to prevent The American Voters from electing any dangerous demagogue yahoo who knows how to work the rubes. (The superdelegate system serves a similar purpose.) So if you want the pop vote to determine all election outcomes, that’s fine – just remember that sometimes the population doesn’t always make the smartest decisions about who would make a good POTUS.
Trump and Cruz are getting closer and closer to proving that.
It can’t happen here,
This is dF