Something That Annoys Me

There are tons of things that really annoy me. However, something that has been happening recently really irks me. It is this habit of people wanting to justify their political agenda by digging up a quote from a politician on the opposite side who said something similar years ago. Allow me to give you an example:  Ben Carson referenced Bill Clinton’s 1995 State of the Union about immigrants and compared it to Trump’s views on immigration. People then go out and turn it into a meme…

Another one I see out there is of something Obama said when he was a senator back in 2005 or something. People comb through C-SPAN archive footage to find some snippet of someone saying something that matches what their side is saying. Look, I can do it too…

That is an actual quote from Roosevelt. Unfortunately, there is no context. Yes, I could use that in argument against someone who is happy that the GOP lifted the regulations against coal companies dumping waste into streams. I could toss this in their faces and say “Roosevelt was a Republican! He would be ashamed of you!” But without proper context, it makes no sense.

Look at the Bill Clinton immigration stuff again. In 1995, there truly was an illegal immigrant crisis. Mexico’s economy had recently tanked. The IMF had to bail them out with $50 billion. This was one of the driving factors for NAFTA. The idea was that if the Mexican economy was stronger, maybe people wouldn’t leave their country as much to find work here. We can debate the merits of NAFTA (and other free trade deals) some other time. At the moment, we are sticking with context. It is no longer 1994, it is 2017. People are not pouring in the country. The numbers just do not support it. Yes, there are illegal immigrants, but the estimates are significantly lower than back then. Therefore it does not make sense to try and use Bill Clinton’s speech to back up Trump’s ideas.

And yes, I realize that people on my side do the same thing. How quickly did Democrats find quotes from Republicans speaking about the greatness of Merrick Garland? Again, no context. If you go back and read some of the full quotes from those folks, they are mostly talking about how Garland is perfect for that federal court judgeship. They never say something like “well he should be on the Supreme Court!” So please, do not comment with “well libtards do the same damn thing!”

Please, the next time you see something like this, instead of sharing it with “heh, looks like those idiots forgot about this, they sure do look stupid now”, try looking up the context behind the quote. Why did Teddy Roosevelt make his famous hyphen American speech? In fact, you may end up learning something you did not know, which is always a fun time. It happened to me the other day. My cousin posted a video about how Democrats only owned slaves before the Civil War and Republicans owned none. I thought “well that makes sense since the parties basically flipped in the 1960s because of LBJ and Civil Rights.” But then I realized, I actually know very little about the actual mechanism of that switch. So I looked it up. I read a bunch of fascinating articles (at 5:15 a.m. while Payton ate). It turns out that while I was right, I was a bit ignorant in how far back that switch went. I highly suggest checking it out.

Okay, rant over.

One thought on “Something That Annoys Me

  1. Yeah – I’d have guessed that the left/right flip between Democrats and Republicans happened between the two Roosevelts. Teddy was a Republican, FDR a democrat, but they stood for many of the same things. If you haven’t seen the Ken Burns documentary “The Roosevelts”, you should check it out on Netflix. I hate documentaries in general, but that one was awesome.

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