I’m fascinated and bewildered by American discourse, specifically the difference between what we say as a nation and what we do. Never has that been more clear than now, when the line between fact and fiction is beyond blurry, it’s virtually vanished.
When I grew up in the late sixties and seventies, information was not as readily available as it is today. For me, that created both frustration and acceptance. Frustration because it seemed pretty obvious to me that many of the things we were fighting over in America had to do with the lack of access to the truth. Acceptance because I could see that this would eventually change. All it would take is time for the truth to come out, for us to become more connected to facts and not supposition.
I’d waited for that whole life. The time when truth would be slapped in the face of those who refused to accept it, when it could no longer be dismissed for lack of evidence.
And yet, it’s worse. It seems truth doesn’t wield the change I’d expected. Apparently, truth is not something Americans are particularly comfortable with. We have an affinity for fiction that stretches back to our origins. In school we were taught that our founders broke bread with the dark skinned natives they discovered living here. In fact, the truth is much different. We systematically controlled and killed native Americans, claiming the soil as our own. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in the war over fact versus fiction.
Despite unlimited access to information, fiction consistently conquers fact in America. For the most part, those responsible for promoting fiction over fact are conservatives. I never imagined that the conservative party would be able to withstand the information age. As I saw truth being revealed I knew, deep down, that conservatives would lose so many of the insane battles they were waging.
I was wrong.
I remember throughout my twenties and early thirties, that when I debated conservatives, the biggest roadblock I came up against was not enough statistical information. I’ve always had the kind of memory that remembers the message, but not necessarily a source. Not that I think I need a source on certain things. I believe we should be able to figure a few things out ourselves, based on our experiences. But since I was derailed so often because of it, I started doing more research.
Ironically, it didn’t make a difference.
What happened to me and what I can see happening today with conservatives, is that facts don’t matter. Facts are often the most insignificant parts of any debate I participate in anymore. Now it’s more important to win based on belief, faith, or ideas. Most times now when I debate a conservative the facts are completely ignored. They won’t even talk about them. How can they? They couldn’t win. So instead they avoid and evade them and then accuse and attack, all the while bathing themselves in the glow of moral superiority. It’s something to watch, at once amazing and pathetic.
Often, I end up hearing one of the phrases I’ve come to detest. “I don’t agree with you, but I respect your opinion.” Or “Let’s just agree to disagree.”
These little catchphrases have become a regular part of our national conversation. In my experience they are for the most part used by those who don’t want to get into detail regarding any particular issue. These statements allow them the veil of social manners when in reality they simply don’t want to deal with the truth. There are not always two sides to every issue.
FICTION God exists FACT God is a theory
It took me, as rebellious as I am, 43 years to say publicly that I’m an atheist. I haven’t always been. In high school I was “born again” (as if my first one didn’t count) and participated in Youth For Christ, went to church, etc. Through the years I’ve debated the reality of God in my head, finally realizing my debate was brought on by the societal implications of becoming an avowed disbeliever. I’ve seen even the most rational person literally gasp when I say I don’t believe in God.
Most Americans feel this country is founded and based on God and the bible. People fight to keep God in the pledge of allegiance, public buildings and on all our money. And yet there is not one single piece of evidence in the history of the world that proves God exists. Not one.
Yet God manages and controls much of the ideals and laws in America. President Bush has said publicly that God speaks through him. Our representatives in government pray before their sessions. In court you have to swear on the bible that you’re telling the truth. We endlessly debate prayer in school. It goes on and on.
Many countries would oust their leaders if they dared to use religion publicly in their positions. We’re the opposite. Most of the prejudice and hatred in America has been instrumented by people speaking the words of God. The anti-gay movement stems from God and religion, there simply is no other source to rationalize it.
I have no problem with anyone believing in God. I have a problem with it being interlaced in our government. Why don’t people who believe in God understand that? Why do they have to have God on every corner and in everyone’s eyes in order to feel safe with the notion?
The Gay Lifestyle & Gay Agenda
FICTION There’s a gay lifestyle
FACT There’s no such thing as a gay lifestyle
There’s no such thing as a gay lifestyle, anymore than there’s a straight lifestyle. The same goes for the phrases “gay agenda” or “gay platform”. The only reason this statement exists is that the right wing and the media use it to portray gay people as single minded, radical freaks. It’s so ironic that we live in a country supposedly based in truth and equality and yet not only can these completely fabricated phrases exist, but millions of people instantly and without question begin to define others by them.
These phrases have stuck around even after the latest information age, when it’s been proven over and over to American citizens that gay people are just as diverse as any other group.
Let’s be honest here. There’s only purpose to these derogatory phrases. They are meant to scare these dumb ass Americans who continually vote against gay civil rights to keep right on doing it.
FICTION Marriage is a religious ceremony
FACT Marriage is a civil ceremony
It says a lot about the brain power of those who oppose gay marriage that they can even bring religion into the argument. If they are alive and breathing, and even the least bit mentally capable, they must be aware that getting married is an act of civil law. Despite the fact that God is usually woven into the entire ceremony, it isn’t required. You can have a completely “God free” ceremony and be just as legally married as the next couple. So why is America even debating this issue?
Clearly, any marriage strengthens all marriage. But those opposed to gay marriage won’t even explain what the threat is. If they attempt to, it quickly becomes clear that they have no idea what they’re talking about. Visiting certain “family value” oriented websites you can see numbered lists counting down the dangers of allowing gay marriage. Pedophilia, broken homes, loss of morals in the community, all nothing more that dishonesty and manipulation. We’ve all heard how gay marriage will lead to people marrying animals. If that’s true, why haven’t heterosexuals started marrying animals? Most of them own one or two. In Mexico heterosexual men for years have paid to see a woman get screwed by a horse. You’d think one of them would have tried to marry an animal by now.
Gay people have been, and continue to form long lasting unions with each other. We form households and families, living together just as straight people do. But we do it without the legal rights. This debate rages for one reason and one reason only. The mental defects who are against it because they haven’t evolved past the Bible, and those who side with them.
South Africa just legalized gay marriage, as many other countries have. America has always been about leading by example. What exactly are we displaying to others with this?
Evolution VS. “Intelligent Design”
FICTION Evolution is a theory FACT Evolution is a fact
Bill Maher said it best on REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER on HBO. “You don’t have to teach two opposing theories if one of them is a load of crap.”
Evolution is supported by every scientist on the planet. “Intelligent Design” is a fantasy imagined into reality by those who can’t believe in something unless it’s sanctioned by the whole country.
There are movements today in America to re-classify science as theory, not fact. President Bush has publicly said he doesn’t believe in evolution and that God talks to him and directs him in his presidency.
The tragic thing is that anyone who believes there’s an invisible man in the sky could make evolution work with that belief. They don’t have to cancel each other out. God created life and it evolved. But that doesn’t even cross their minds. Why? Because we live in a time when it’s pretty easy and becoming much more common to be able to deny the existence of God at all. That should have always been the case, since there’s no proof God exists, but until we got a little smarter it was easy to believe. So all these battles over keeping God in the pledge of allegiance and letting kids pray in schools and keeping gay people from getting married are simply tactics to hang on to the masses. These people know that if they manage to legislate God into our lives then he’ll be around a lot longer.
Support Our Troops
FICTION Some Americans don’t suport our troops FACT We all support our troops
This is the lowest of the low, even for conservatives. Stop and think for a second when the last time was that you heard someone saying, “I don’t support our troops”?
It never happened, did it? There are plenty of people who don’t support the war, who don’t support the administration, but those things have nothing to do with the soldiers fighting the war. This phrase was created by conservatives and glued to cars all over America by people who don’t even understand it. The sole purpose of it is to silence opposition to acts of war. What’s truly sick about it is they’re using the very troops they supposedly sympathize with as mere political pawns in their game of power and control.
To anyone who uses this phrase, and especially to anyone who buys a bumper sticker that says it and sticks it on the back of their car so only other people they don’t even know can read it, listen up.. The troops don’t decide to wage war. The troops don’t have a say whether they go to war, they don’t choose their guns or their protection and they often don’t believe in the reason behind a particular war. They’re simply doing their job. They are not responsible. The government is. So grow up and say something that means something.
The Iraq War
FICTION “We don’t need more troops”…the administration
FACT “WE NEED MORE TROOPS”…everyone else
This is one of those glaring things that don’t even make people flinch. I have not heard one person, conservative or democrat or anything in between, say we don’t need more troops. The only people who say we don’t need more troops is the administration. You know, the ones waging the war?
I’m totally against the war, but that’s not the point of this break from reality for those in charge. If you’re going to fight this particular war you’ve deceived us into, regardless of how far you plan to fight it, you need more troops to do it. Why would the administration go against everybody else if they care so much about the soldiers?
The administration is also the only group saying the war is going well. Everyone else points out that deaths are up, Iraq is divided and stays on the verge of civil war, and that it’s time to get out. Bush publicly stated before waging war on Iraq that he would never go into a war without a strong exit strategy. Now does that count as a lie?
Why does anyone trust an administration, even if you support the war, who can’t seem to pull it off?
The War On Terror
FICTION The War On Terror FACT The War On Iraq
Americans were up in arms, rightfully so, after the attack on the World Trade Center. Yet President Bush went to war with the wrong country and the wrong people with the wrong intelligence in retaliation. He’s captured Saddam from a hole in the ground but never mentions Osama and has even said at a press conference that he doesn’t think about Osama very much and he doesn’t really care where he is.
Since the attack of 9-11 Bush has continually promised he’d make America safe. Use this link
to read a government report on just how little Bush has done since 9-11 to make any of us safer.
So if Bush isn’t successfully conducting a war on terror, if he hasn’t even come close to finding the man responsible for 9-11, why do so many American still believe in his ability to wage this war?
FICTION Government run health care doesn’t work
FACT Government run health care works in countries all over the world
I had to refill my prescription recently for an ulcer medication. I get my medicine from Canada now and have for a couple of years because it’s about half the price it is in America. When I refilled it this time the price had gone up significantly. When I asked why I was told because America is now levying hefty taxes and fees on medication coming in from Canada.
So the first thing we know from this is that the same medication is much cheaper in Canada. Therefore, we’re getting ripped off. The second thing is that the American government doesn’t care about our health or financial welfare, they just want us to buy our drugs here.
How many times have I heard from someone in America who’s against public health care that, “Government run health care doesn’t work”? They’ll go on to say there horrible tragedies are happening in countries with public health care. First of all, I’ve never heard this from anyone who actually has any facts to back it up. Second, every single day in America there are horrible mistakes and tragedies brought about by our own doctors and institutions. I’ve witnessed this first hand on many occasions and if you talk to Americans I doubt you’ll find anyone who doesn’t have a horrific story to tell about medical treatment received in this country. Many countries have had successful government run health care for years.
Every administration we’ve ever had has always made it clear that we needed to cut costs, raise taxes and control spending. Yet, when it came to waging war on Iraq we were able to cough up massive amounts of money in no time at all. Although we couldn’t seem to find the money to repair the damaged levees in Louisiana we were immediately able to come up with billions to help rebuild after the hurricane.
Approximately 40 million American citizens do not have heath care, and if faced with a medical crisis, could easily lose everything in order to pay for it. 40 million is not a small number. How can anyone defend that while we’re showering the military with blood money?
We’ve become a country able to accept any words as truth without question. If America is ever going to rise to the levels of integrity our founding father’s meant for us, we’re going to have to start operating from truth and not fiction.