The Gossip Fence, Obamacare, and Just Talkin’ Partisan

It may not be correct, but my perception is that there is an increasing trend of giving credibility to partisan opinions instead of asking the individual directly or finding and studying the primary documentation for oneself.  Whether it is legislative activities or one’s own personal affairs, confrontation and scandal overwhelm either the preponderance or lack of evidence to support the claims and accusations.

The above is not intended as a criticism of a particular individual.  Those who know me are well aware that if I have an issue with them that they will hear about it from me.  Then we can argue, discuss, clear up any misunderstandings, or engage in a war of words both verbal and written and on a few occasions reduce ourselves to freestyle fighting and catch wrestling.

While it’s not a specific individual, it is my commentary on some of the problems in society today.  It’s just my opinion, but at times it appears that people are more interested in the business of somebody or everybody else than they are about their own affairs.  That would not bother me if that interest were to help, but it seems that the interest is mainly to criticize and lower the other person.  

Students taking an upper level course from me for the first time often cringe when they hear how I grade essay questions on exams.  I may agree with everything that you write, but if you don’t back up your thoughts with specific examples and documentation do not expect much credit.  On the other hand, I may disagree 100 percent with your position on a particular matter, but if you supply the specific examples and documentation to give your stance credibility then you can expect to score well.  Just remember not to ASSUME knowledge, or you will make an A** of both You and Me.  Write your answer as if it were being read by the stupidest and most ignorant individual in the world.  Students tend to laugh at that one, and contrary to what a since terminated VP once said, students laughed whether I wore a shirt and tie or a polo shirt.

I’ve ticked off a lot of people with my public statements on a variety of issues, but I’ll listen to or read your positions, and whether I agree or disagree I will research footnotes of footnotes in your source material.  That’s my approach to such matters.

Seriously, I think that personal business, legislative or policy analysis, or answering classroom essay questions all fall within the philosophy of the old adage that you can’t really understand or appreciate something until you have experienced it from a different perspective.  Many of my old friends would say don’t talk about them until you have walked in their shoes.  To me that manner of thinking makes a lot of sense because it is one thing to be the profiler or discriminator and something entirely different when you become the profiled or the one discriminated upon.  Admittedly, walking in another’s shoes is easier said than done.

Still, it’s shocking to hear how evil some people that I know and love are when I hear about them from others who really don’t even have a soapbox upon which to stand.  It’s irritating when I read partisan takes on different legislation because some are impossible to counter simply because they are not based on anything real.  The base is merely the partisan thoughts of another being regurgitated.

Many things coming out of different states and the federal government are presented to the public in this manner.   It is sad that much written and said in the legislative arena must be unearthed as it often consists of mountains of discarded waste which still cover a labyrinth of mazes akin to having a million moles gathering in your backyard for fun and games. Health care or what is now known as Obamacare falls within these mountains and mazes.  When read individual snippets, many of my friends favor the approaches.  If mentioned as a portion of Obamacare, however, support is typically lost.  Many arguments against, I have yet to find or have someone point out to me within the text of the legislation.  Some of the advantages seem to be missing from the text as well.

I’m not inferring that I support or that I disapprove of Obamacare.  To this point, I personally find a number of very positive aspects.  I’ve also found items to which I disagree.  In many cases, I’m on that fence as I think only time will tell whether the idea can actually work.  The thing is that I do not want spinning or mistruths.  I want the specific citations from the legislation.  I also want to hear other options and alternatives presented if critiquing.  I think specific examples with citations speak louder than some opportunists yelling into microphones on different talk shows.

I grew tired of gossip fences back when I was a kid in Livingston Parish.  I see a lot of similarities in the way opponents criticize legislation and in the way neighbors back stab people they call friends.  One lesson from Livingston Parish was that many of the fences were barbed wire or electrified.  While it wasn’t from gossiping, I got caught many times in both types of fences and each leaves its own hurts and scars.

Even the fancy chain linked fences had their own little nuances.  I remember scaling one like I had 100s of times before which was faster and easier than walking about 400 yards to the gate.  The wire had been strung pointing up, so you had the small spikes sticking over the top pipe.  No problem except on this occasion my shoelace happened to catch on the wire, and I smacked the other side of the fence with my face, twisted in the breeze for a few moments, and then fell smack dab into a muddy ditch.

All I’m really advising is to try walking in the shoes of the other person for a little bit.  Realize that the grass often isn’t any greener on the other side of the fence.  Take the time to do a little research yourself instead of relying solely upon hearsay.  Whether you want to talk about people or legislation, those basic steps can prevent a lot of confusion and anger.

I did find a nice piece on some of the Obamacare “facts” spewed by both sides from the Annenberg Project here.


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  1. Pingback: Who Gets to be Blamed after this President? Logical | lablouisianaboy

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