Friday, June 29, 2012

Your ignorance is not a license to defame

Just lost one of my best friends from college over a political argument.  He's an ardent Democrat.  Not even so much a flaming liberal as a devoutly loyal team player who was raised a Democrat and has never wavered.  He was a good athlete growing up and a loyal basketball teammate.  As an alum, he continues to be a strong, loyal supporter of his alma mater and its sports programs.  It's just the way he's wired.  And he's the same way about his political team.  As a high schooler, his parents were struggling about whether they could vote for McGovern in 1972.  His impassioned arguments about the need to support their team convinced them to stay loyal.

I prefer to be loyal to principles rather than politicians.  But I can respect his decisions.  I know him to be a person of integrity and honesty in his personal dealings.  So how did we lose this friendship?  I have an idea and I'm sure I will develop it more fully as I think about it, but I think it comes down to media bias and the liberal cocoon.

He gets his news from the mainstream media and the DNC.  He simply is ignorant of most of the revelations about the president, his dishonesty, his corruption and his incompetence.  So when he reads something I have written which points out that Obama has set up his credit card system deliberately to make it easier to accept illegal and fraudulent campaign contributions, he thinks it must be a lie.  Because he's never heard or read the first word in support of such a charge.  And he certainly doesn't want to believe it.  Or that the budget scoring for Obamacare was a fraud that the CBO, by law, had no choice but to swallow.  He just knows cannot be true.  Not about his leader.  Not about his team. He pays attention to the news and he's never heard anything about such claims.

He's also convinced, because it is an article of faith among his liberal friends and political allies, that Fox News and Rush Limbaugh concoct lies every day to arouse anger and indignation among ignorant Tea Party types.  I can only assume that he believes that I have foolishly believed a bunch of lies.  His team and his leader have had a really bad month.  I'm sure he's likely a little frustrated (although he'd never admit anything but confidence about the November election).  And no one likes to see their leader and teammate disparaged.

But I don't get my news from Fox News and Rush.  [And Fox and Rush have a track record of integrity that's better than the mainstream media, anyway.]  I get my news from a very wide range of sources with a track record of integrity -- law professors, lawyers, scholars, et al.  Many of them aren't Republicans.  Some were once left-wingers, even radicals.  They are often people who have undertaken the long and arduous task of examining their cherished political beliefs in light of the evidence and realized that they were wrong.  They tend not to be focused on support for parties or politicians because they've developed a healthy disdain for both.  Some voted for Obama.  Invariably they provide source material to allow the reader to evaluate their claims regarding facts.  And every single one has demonstrated a willingness to bend over backward to publish corrections if something needs to be corrected.  They even go to great lengths to identify any edits made of posts to insure that readers understand what has been changed and how. 

My friends don't think I am a liar.  And my friends don't think I am a fool.  So anyone who disparages me with a long string of nasty adjectives which in summary make me out to be either a fool or a liar is not my friend.  It is sad that someone who once knew me well would think that I would carelessly make claims of corruption or dishonesty against the president without sufficient evidence to support the charge.  I can only hope that he did so because of the liberal cocoon he inhabits and his passionate desire to be loyal to his team.  But ...

Your ignorance is not a license to defame.

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