One of the saying commonly attributed to statements like this above headline is to say “Captain Obvious” is speaking. We all already know this – that debate becomes absurd when dealing with identity politics. But do we really stop to consider just how widely destructive the use of identity politics actually is to running a representative republic?
And does the absurdity confine itself to identity politics? Is this manifestation of elitism restricted only to one political party in the United States?
The answer to both of these questions appears to be “no.” Absurd “debate” such as can be found most pointedly in the TV host slam-a-thons run by Sean Hannity or even the otherwise impeccable Tucker Carlson make use of both identity politics and verbal cornering to restrict the possible answers a person with a differing viewpoint can give, usually in an attempt to make that other person seem absurd.
One of the questions that comes to my mind when I see such slamathon “interviews” is why would anyone want to come onto national television and actually submit to such treatment? After all, people with opinions widely different from Mr. Carlson’s are going to get ripped by him unless they admit to what he wants them to admit (which admittedly does mean they have to often break with their prescribed talking point), but at the same time, some of the interviewed people really seem to believe their talking point and so get very testy and angry under fire.
Take this example:
The lady here interviewed really is a very pro-abortion person, and the grudge she bears “white men” is real and palpable. The interview breaks down where it does not need to, in an insane tirade of name calling and near hysteria on the part of the feminist woman. Many viewers would say Tucker “won” this “debate” because the woman exposed this level of anger and bias, but in reality, all we witnessed was a catfight between adult-aged schoolchildren. No policy ideas got calmly discussed, even though that discussion was sure to be a disagreement.
There are many such interviews where Tucker tries to buttonhole his opponent, rather than hearing the opponent out fully. Mr. Carlson is not alone, as this sort of theatrical approach is employed by many of the talking heads in the news media.
This criticism of Tucker Carlson in particular is important, because is all other respects he is an excellent reporter and journalist. To his credit, even in these yelling sessions, he is trying to press a reality-based point of view. He does this perhaps more fairly and honestly than almost any other reporter or host on Fox. But this technique only seems to yield outrage, and we are contending that outrage is pure passion, and not conducive to real solutions to real problems.
In recent news, also, as we have reported, President Trump sharply criticized Democrat Congressman Elijah Cummings for the condition that Baltimore is in, a statement which is absolutely true and an indicator that something is truly wrong with liberal ideology and its resulting policy choices to have a city in such a bad state than even socialist liberal Bernie Sanders is on record saying that Baltimore is like a Third World city rather than an American one. And, what happened? Rep. Cummings and the whole media jumped on Trump as a “racist” for saying what he did. Trump never said anything about race at all.
Further, the Associated Press, in a follow up piece about the reaction of suburban white women (sexism and racism put together?) did not even bother to speculate that racism might be involved, nor did it offer any supporting evidence. It simply and blatantly did this:
“I just don’t like the way he talks about other people,” Evans, a 79-year-old retired data entry supervisor, said recently as she walked through a shopping mall in Brookfield, Wisconsin, days after Trump fired off a racist tweet at Democratic congresswomen.
The president’s recent return to racial politics may be aimed at rallying his base of white working-class voters across rural America. But the risks of the strategy are glaring in conversations with women like Evans.
The editors at the Associated Press seem not to care much about English, let alone objective reporting, as the use of the word racial is incorrect here. “Racist politics”, not “racial politics.”
But further, the “racist” tweet at the “Squad” was not racist at all. The AP also used the word “abrasive” in describing the president’s rhetoric. We can agree with that, in the sense that the President tends to speak the truth very bluntly, and after at least a generation’s time worth of genteel, soft-spoken lying, one might be able to really say “the truth hurts sometimes.”
It certainly is a blow to one’s ego, one’s cover and the way some of us want to be seen. This is particularly effective against politicians who are often very concerned with how people perceive them (since they want votes and campaign contributions).
But again, name-calling is utterly ineffective in terms of getting anything actually accomplished. President Trump is all about policy. This is reflected in the substance of his tweets which get called racist to deflect attention away from that substance. While he does call people names, he does so based on their policy views, and the nickname Mr. Trump gives his opponents is meant to call attention to the actions they do. In this, his use is far more precise, founded and effective than blanket accusations of racism are.
That Baltimore has been and still is a city in terrible condition, run by politicians with liberalism running in their blood, is a fact. That there is apparently a connection between such policymakers and their behavior and the condition of the city and the behavior of its citizens is also informative and is comprised of facts.
That Ilhan Omar has a near-perfect record of constant anti-Israel rhetoric is a fact. The further fact is that even where she is correct, her rhetoric is incendiary rather than solution-based in policy ideas. “Some people did something” is at best, amazingly ignorant of the attitudes of Islamic jihadists, and at worst, complicit with them. This simply does not go over well with many people, especially those of us who were present in and around New York at the time of the September 11 attacks. While armchair observers and conspiracy theorists would be happy to pile on this statement with opinions like “it was an inside job!” or “the Zionists did it”, these sort of statements fail to speak to those of us who were there and lived through this tragedy.
The overall attitude that President Trump noted in the four women radical “Squad” is that they do not express appreciation for the United States. Rather, they seem bitter. In this he is correct. It is further correct that there is certainly reason to be unhappy with lopsided US policy towards Palestine and Israel that tend to give Israel everything and take more and more away from the Palestinians, who have already lost so much. That is a very true statement. But contrasted with the efforts of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who spend a lot of time trying to actually create a workable solution for this region and its people, the squad resorts to incendiary rhetoric and accusations.
This gets them attention, but it does not help the policies to change.
The Border Wall and illegal immigration issue have also suffered from this. Democrats have largely performed a 180 on their narrative about conditions at the US-Mexico border, but at no time have they stopped opposing President Trump, even though they acknowledge the substance of his cause for declaring a national emergency.
This situation is perhaps the most obvious – without any sort of fodder for racist accusations among the old white men and women of the Democrat Party in Congress, this argument is fought on terms similar to that of four-year-olds, who refuse to do something “Just because that person said it, and we don’t like him.”
Identity politics fuels much of this insanity, and it is very sad indeed, because the payoff is death, decay, crime and misery. President Trump is right to confront it as he has been doing, and to throw it into sharp relief on a national scale, in the hopes that we might wake ourselves out of our politically correct induced stupor and actually start fixing our nation’s problems.