It pains me to say this, because I still believe that honestly examined, thorough data gathering is an important tool in discovery, but reading your average Twitter of Facebook feed reminds me of the words of Benjamin Disraeli: “there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” People sharing their political views on social networking sites are the kings and queens of cherry picking. Sure they get a lot of their information from their favorite echo chambers (Fox News, I am looking your way,) but ultimately they choose to ignore obvious facts when sharing gems like this:
The most hilarious bit about this graphic is it tells you right where to attack it. After running through “Bush’s” portion of the responsibility for the debt it gives us how much Obama is responsible for, but letting us know that the GOP owns part of the blame for that small portion. I want to write a sentence or two of filler here, not much really, just giving you a second or two to let it sink in. Do you hear the Jeopardy theme playing in your head? Are you ready now?
If Obama is not solely responsible for that four hundred billion (and he’s not) how is Bush solely responsible for the remaining 4.6 trillion? There were Democrats in congress during Bush’s administration. Indeed, the Dems held a majority in both the Senate and the House for a healthy portion of that time. They even threatened to use the power of the purse string to end the war, but wimped out because they were afraid of the political repercussions.
This isn’t to deny our current PotUS inherited one heck of a mess, because he did, but to put it all on one party is ridiculous. Even to absolve him of blame is specious at best. Yes he has faced rigid, juvenile opposition in his attempts to face our debt (not-so) crisis, but what was he doing in his time as a US Senator to head this off? Where were his ideas then? Did he stand for any set of solutions before running for President? Did he have ideas and they got shot down, or (and this is actually a rhetorical question) did he remain largely silent? If he did (he did) then he owns part of the blame for the Bush administrations failures too.
Again, as is so often the case, I need to point out this is not just a problem for dyed in the wool Democrats on social media sites. To this day you can still read Republicans blaming Bill Clinton’s meager defense cuts for 9/11. Setting aside the mindless symbolism and nationalistic baiting we have allowed the memory of that horror to be used for, it has since become easy to access public knowledge that key members of Bush’s cabinet knew something was coming, and what form it would come in (if not the specific target) and did nothing to prevent it. They also ignore that Clinton’s defense cuts were necessary after forty years of pig at the trough behavior by the defense industry.
Part of me is so very tired of having to say this over and again, but the American public treats politics like a baseball game. They have chosen their favorite teams and anything their players do is perfectly fine and any time the media either picks up on something their guys did, or “misses” something they think the other guys did, the umps are blind. I won’t argue that the media does not own a great portion of the culpability in our current state of affairs, but not in the way most Democrats or Republicans think. They have kept the real umps, us, blind to the activities of both parties, and because of that, we’ve let the game go into extra innings for far too long. It is time to call the game, but we cannot do that unless you learn the rules.