Double-standards are no standards at all

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This is a political post (*checks the top of the page to ensure that I’m posting this on the intended blog*).  I don’t lean much to the right or the left, nor am I exactly in the middle; I’m sort of my own person, the type that the politicians think they can swing, and the type that party-line voters blame when their candidate doesn’t win.  Lol.  What follows is simply a personal opinion based on observation.  Don’t worry; I’m an equal-opportunity critic… 😉

I detest double-standards.  It doesn’t matter who’s doing the double-standardizing, nor does it matter to whom they’re double-standardizing against or in favor of.

Double-standards, by definition, defy logic.  They proclaim that “(something) is bad!”  (“That is, until it applies to or is perpetrated by someone I like.”)

I see this especially in politics, on both sides of the line.

Take the ongoing US involvement in the Middle East, for example.  Bush (“W”) started it.  Obama (rightfully) openly slammed Bush for it, promising to withdraw troops from the region on a certain timetable.

Eight years of Obama in the White House?  No dice.  We’re still over there.  If anything, he increased our presence.

Meanwhile, on the home front, the media were all up in arms, bubbling with war coverage during Bush’s term.  They also gave generous attention to the anti-war protests and protesters.  MoveOn.org got serious publicity.

The millisecond Obama took office, it was almost like the war ended.  The coverage that I’d gotten used to enduring disappeared and the protesters vanished into thin air.  Even NPR, typically considered to lean more to the left side of the political spectrum, wrote a 2011 article “Whatever Happened To the Anti-War Movement?

Good question.

When I saw this, I thought, good–so it’s not just me.  I didn’t miss anything.  There really is a glaring lack of coverage these days.

That was comforting, in that it meant I wasn’t losing my marbles.  The implications of the silence, the about-face, the complete shift, however, were not.

It almost seemed like it was OK to protest against the war, and to give publicity to these protests, as long as Bush stood at the helm.  To criticize the war was to imply criticism of Bush, too.

It seemed like all of this stopped being OK when Obama took office. But he didn’t lift a finger to pull the US out of those areas, either.  If anything, he added fuel to the fire.

Where was the war coverage?  Where were the protest rallies?  Where was the rally coverage?

I’ll never know.

Because Media Blackout.

Were we not still engaged in the same “operations” that Bush started?  Did we not still have troops overseas?  Were additional troops not still being deployed?

I had to get my information from other sources.  Maybe mainstream media were covering these topics, and maybe it’s my shortcoming that I never saw it.  Maybe I didn’t look hard enough.  But it wasn’t discussed in the same places I had heard about the opposition before.  Something had changed–maybe in the actual events unfolding overseas (and the domestic response to them) or maybe simply in the attention given to them by the media.  But something had changed, just the same.

If there were truly no more protests once the Oval Office changed hands, then why not?  If we were still at war, and war was the focal point of the protests, then shouldn’t those rallies continue?  Does the ethicality of being in war change depending on who’s Commander in Chief?  Did war suddenly become OK, as long as it was being led by Obama instead of Bush?  Did it become a more morally-just war overnight?

If the protests were still occurring and the silence was perpetrated by the media, then why is that?  Did these protests, once the subject of top-billed headlines, suddenly become taboo or unworthy of coverage overnight?  If we’re at war, and war is unpopular, and our involvement is a problem, does it matter who’s running it?

War is war and it’s either right or wrong and it’s either understandable or it’s not.  It shouldn’t matter who’s heading it up.  The outcome is the same.

This door swings both ways.  Which means it swings the other way, too.  I witness the same hypocrisy coming from conservatives, and just as often.

Consider, for example, the infamous health insurance mandate, likely the most contentious issue within the US Federal Government’s Affordable Care Act.

Originally the brainchild of the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation and supported by many key Republicans as a “shared personal responsibility”, its probable purpose was likely to counter-balance the “epidemic” they perceived of what they called “anchor babies”, their term for undocumented immigrants entering the US illegally and giving birth to their children here, thus allowing them to stay without threat of prosecution or deportation.  Mitt Romney of Massachusetts was the first state governor to implement the individual mandate in 2005, back when the Republicans controlled the Presidency, and it was largely supported by Republicans.  They were the ones hollering the loudest in favor of it.

Well, the Heritage Foundation and key Republicans did a “flip-flop” in 2011….after Obama was already President.  Suddenly, they were vehemently opposed.

So what happened to “shared responsibility”?  Is an individual mandate a good thing or a bad thing?  Does it reduce healthcare costs or does it jack them up?  Do people have more freedom or less freedom?  Is the individual mandate only OK as long as Republicans rule the roost?  Did it suddenly become the work of the devil when the “other side” came into power?

Now that the conservatives oppose the individual mandate, and are working feverishly to repeal it, what’s to come of their “anchor baby problem”?  Will it simply return to its previous state, unsolved?  Will they suddenly start ignoring it now that they’ve tied this law to Obama’s name (“ObamaCare”)?

The funny part is that it was indeed the conservatives who dreamed up this individual mandate first, but then it seems like once they saw how unpopular this concept was on s national level, they worked like hell to distance themselves from it.  And how convenient for them that by the time their efforts came into full swing, the Democrats had won.  Scapegoat!  Score!

Heh.  GOP, please don’t fool yourselves into thinking for one second that you pulled a fast one on me.  Because you didn’t.

Double standards make no sense.  They follow no logic.  Under what logic is it permissible to observe two people doing the same thing, crucify one to the wall, and give the other a total pass?

Why do people lambast one side for doing something, and then look completely the other way when someone from the other side does the same thing?  Aren’t the two actions (or philosophies or whatever) the same?

I’m seeing a breakdown in critical thinking skills.  The general population has ceased to think clearly and objectively.  It seems as though this country is polarizing further and further into opposing labels and personas, largely the efforts of Public Relations departments.  It’s cool, hip, and trendy to be liberal.  It’s normal, ethical, and virtuous to be conservative.

I call bullshit on all of it.  Obama wasn’t any more liberal than Romney or Trump are conservative.  What we have come to call “news” is nothing more than a gaggle of flapping mouths trying to tell us what to think, and what we have come to call “citizenship” is nothing more than the swallowing–hook, line, and sinker–of this “information”/”news” at face “value”.  There is hardly any such thing as journalistic integrity anymore, because nobody reports the unbiased facts, let alone checks out their accuracy.  They stopped doing that a long time ago, in favor of drag-racing 140-character soundbites to pump out “news” headlines 24/7, in the name of “whoever does with the highest ratings wins”.

And the Americans bought it.  Swallowed it whole.  They tuned in to those channels and gave them their ratings, which pumped up their advertising rates, which made “news” profitable as opposed to informative and useful, which in turn spawned more of the same.

Now all we have are between a half and a full dozen so-called “news” channels that keep viewers glued (addicted) to the most successful soap opera to date: the political pundits and the civil division they cause.

They do this largely by applying double standards and finding something about the “other side” to bitch about, even if (even though) their own “side” committed the same atrocity the week, month, or year before.

Never one to bitch without trying to offer a solution myself, here’s what I propose:

  • We learn our history, and that of the rest of the world, so that we’re not doomed to repeat it.
  • We turn off mainstream media and their so-called “news; it’s a waste of time, energy, and brain cells.
  • We seek and gather knowledge, form our own opinions, and pay attention to action (not words; talk is cheap).
  • We remain the ultimate watchdogs, the informed populace, that never forms entangling alliances with public figures–at least, not alliances that couldn’t be broken when that figure or leader screws up.
  • We call out our leaders and figures when they fail to do their jobs, which, lest we not forget, is to represent and serve us by upholding the constitution and preserving our freedoms, acting on logic and staying out of where they don’t belong.

If I’m going to support a leader, it’s because s/he’s doing something I agree with.  When they stop making sense to me, I stop supporting them.  I don’t look the other way just because I liked them before.  If I supported someone before, it’s because I liked how they thought, and if they’re not aligned with my point of view anymore, then there’s no sense in my defending them.  What’s left there to defend, if I disagree with where they’re taking things?  I would have to do some serious mental gymnastics to keep on supporting that person.  That doesn’t make sense, and yet, it’s what most Americans do every day.

Just my 5 cents. 😉

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