Redundant, we know.
But we’ve heard how close friends – and even family members – walked away from each other after the recent election results, after the even more recent preliminary skirmishes between the administration and its public.
For the past few years we have been posting on Facebook, as well as on our blog, political ideas for people who want to push back and begin conversations about the path our nation seems to be taking. To help us with our computer woes, we’ve had wonderful help and guidance from the technician who weekly records us for Community Access television and on our local NPR radio station.
This fellow is a Republican. So are we, although considerably lower case. He’s married and has a child in our local high school, about whose progress he is not happy. As we listen to his recitations of school board ineptitude and classroom trauma, we’ve asked (we hope) sympathetic questions and propounded the occasional solution.
We get on. He was critical of our pieces about the primaries, their results, and the election itself. He became more critical as we began asking rude questions of his new leader, his new cabinet, the new approach to foreign affairs, the demolition to come of both the ACA and current immigration policy.
Last week he accused us of propagating “fake news,” of using unsubstantiated statistics. We thought about this and decided we would rather be right than hard-nosed, so this week after our taping, we took out our pen and a piece of paper, and asked him for his statistics on voting patterns. We figured it would please him to know we cared enough to admit errors when they occurred and tried to make our points of view accurate and responsible.
At first he seemed content. We could recall his statistical groupings and were ready to write them down with their corresponding numbers of voters in each camp. Democrats. Republicans. Nonvoters. Unaffiliated voters. Voters who chose to pull a lever for “minor” candidates.
By this time, disgusted with both Democrats and criticism of his new leader, he had stopped listening and/or reading about politics generally on radio, on cable, on network television. Nonetheless, he was game to correct our own figures, and began by asking where we got one particular number we had used several times. Realizing we were sounding like the Donald (who watched “the shows,”), we replied that the figure was one we had seen, read, heard in all media.
“The media,” said he, “is not telling the truth.”
“All right. Who has the truth?”
“How do you know AP is telling the truth?”
“They’re the only ones without an ax to grind.”
“Not FOX, or CNN or PBS?”
“Can you prove that AP is sending out only the truth?”
“Can you prove that it isn’t?”
“Well,” we said, “let’s try to narrow this down to a few facts.”
“There are no facts.”
“Come on,” we said cheerfully. “Some things are beyond dispute.”
“Well, did you hear Steve Bannon at CPAC today?”
“I don’t listen to that stuff anymore. I’m through. Everyone’s lying, sending out fake news. I haven’t got the time or patience to try to pick what’s true from what’s not.”
“But they’re your people. Don’t you believe what they say?”
“No, but I listen. I try to be rational.”
“Well, good for you. Have you been hurt by anything Trump’s done?”
“Well, there you are. That’s truth.”
“What’s true is that immigrants enter the country and abide by our laws. Most of them. And they get the same protection constitutionally we do.”
“No,sir! They got here illegally and get nothing. If – as so many of them say – they’ve been “good citizens” for twenty years and paid taxes, why didn’t they have enough time to apply for citizenship and make a commitment? Why should they stand in front of the line when clearly they don’t care about the country?”
“Did you know there’s a draft of a new executive order that allows illegals to be picked up not for breaking the law but for simply being charged with breaking the law? I don’t know whether that’s going to stay in the statute, but it’s clearly unconstitutional. What happens to habeas corpus, to being innocent until being proven guilty, to a speedy trial?”
“They don’t need to be proven guilty. They are guilty. They’re illegal.”
“No mitigating circumstances?”
“No. Facts. They’re here illegally. That’s a fact.”
“Have you been hurt by them?”
“No, but my daughter probably will be.”
“Is that a fact?”
“No, but you can’t prove it isn’t.”
“But there have to be some facts that can be agreed on.”
“Here’s one. You guys are ruining the country with your protests and demonstrations.”
“We’re trying to help people remember how wonderful the United States is, is supposed to be.”
“Prove we’re not.”
Note: no mention of McCain, or Hillary, or Bernie, or Russia, or conflict of interest. They can’t be proved, either. Or disproved.
No shouting. Nothing but a conversation between two guys who work well together.
Is that a fact?