I’ve gotten quite used to the narrative at FOX News and don’t usually have much more to say than what Jon Stewart usually already says, but the comments that were made by Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin and other pundits after Obama’s victory was called enraged me a little more than usual. Specifically I am referring to the comments that “50% just wants free stuff from Obama”, “This is no longer the traditional America”, “I can’t believe 50% of the country wants more debt”, “Minorities took this election away from Republicans”. I might not have these quotes quite right, but let’s deal with them.
The idea that there is 50% of the nation who doesn’t work hard, who wants entitlements, is simply not true. There is a percentage of people who take advantage of the system, there is no question. Is there not a similar percentage of rich people who take advantage of the system as well? There are cheaters in every system and there is no way to prevent that. This mythical 50% of the population (47% according to Romney) is supposed to be all voting democratic handing the election to them. This has never been proven to be true. The south which has the greatest poverty also tends to be extremely red. While urban welfare recipients might be voting blue, there is no question that there are plenty of rural welfare recipients who are voting red. In general urban dwellers vote blue anyway. Perhaps because they are exposed to the diversity of human life more. Perhaps it has nothing to do with welfare at all. It certainly doesn’t in the South. If you have been to impoverished areas in the south, these people are extremely conservative and so there is certainly a large proportion of people at or below the poverty voting Republican.
In terms of the comment about debt, the assertion that all of us are happy about the debt and thus voted for Obama is ridiculous. Though FOX you would like to believe that the memories of all of us are short, perhaps more people than you want realize that while Republicans were in power, fiscal responsibility was not your hallmark. New York City was attacked by terrorists, FEMA was a disaster during a disaster, and the economy crashed. The rate at which people went on welfare increased more rapidly in the last year of Bush’s presidency, just as the rate in which unemployment increased was also more rapid during this same time, than when Obama has been president. And when I say rate I am talking about calculating the change and dividing it by the time. The actual meaningful way to compare trends. Under Bush our deficit (the yearly debt) went from being in the black to being massively in the red. And while Obama hasn’t reduced the deficit as much as he should have he has not increased it as much as Republicans. So perhaps there is a reason why many don’t believe that Republicans are anymore money conscious than the democrats.
The comment about minorities is perhaps the most insulting, especially since white America are all descendent from different European nations who all came here to escape persecution or poverty for a better life. The fact that many of us happened to have fair skin only binds us together now. But many European groups didn’t get along at one point either. It is also insulting since we brought all the African-Americans here to be our slaves. And now they have the gall to complain that they have somehow ruined America by voting for the democratic party. And when it comes to the African-American population, most of that population lives in red states. Seven out of the top 10 states in African-American population are red states. So even if all those African-Americans were voting democratic, it doesn’t make a difference in the electoral college numbers. Perhaps we should look at hispanic populations which is the biggest minority in the U.S. And while Florida and California are huge and it looks like Florida will fall to Obama again. Texas and Arizona are no slouches to the Republican electoral college count. But, for argument’s sake, let’s say they did win Obama the election. Then shouldn’t the party of “personal responsibility” as they claim to be perhaps look inward and ask the question “What are we doing to alienate a large portion of the American population”. Vast millions of people who love this country as much as anybody else. Because right now it just sounds like you are asking them to be white, to cast aside the fact that the world is a diverse place. In order to make society work we have to learn how to deal with diversity and not dismiss it.
Finally…”traditional America”. I don’t know what that means. Is that the America that had slavery? Is that the America that didn’t allow women to vote? Is that the America who allowed segregation? The countries that hold on to tradition for too long are the countries that flourish with extremism. They are the countries that house terrorists. They are the countries who oppress their people. When I think of countries that are mired in tradition I think of Saudia Arabia, Pakistan, and Iran, and whole host of other countries that are in the process of changing, but all too slowly from a human rights standpoint. FOX News the world changes. Over time the world has become more peaceful, more humane, and more secular. This is reality. The less you choose to accept the, the more your party will fail. Maybe more Americans than you realize, recognize the importance of separation of church and state and that you can still maintain your beliefs even when your government does not purport one belief system over another. Maybe there is no war on Christmas. People just realize that the reason that Christmas is special is because it is a time spent with family, a time of giving, a time of seeing smiles when you make gingerbread cookies for your kids. The essence of good values of community, friendship and love remain, only the context has changed. Maybe there are many people who recognize that while they still may be against abortion but realize that the best way to achieve less abortions is not through restictive laws or forcing your system of beliefs upon others, but to provide affordable health care for mothers, to provide women with birth control, and to give them a good education on all of these issues. Maybe there are many Americans who realize that a functioning society is one in which the people remain as free as possible to make personal decisions especially when those decisions have no bearing on your own life or beliefs. Perhaps people are confused as to how a party that claims they value life can be for the death penalty and support war.
So FOX News and the Republican Party (they are the same), the reasons why you lost are because of you. I suggest that before the next election you find out what America actually is not just what you want it still to be. I suggest you learn about history, not just your own, but world history. Understand the process of change, progress, humanity, instead of selectively reporting the history that supports your views. Most importantly I suggest you get on board with science. The process of investigating things based on evidence. So that even when you arrive at conclusions you constantly test those conclusions for their validity in an ever changing world. You have to learn to adapt. You have to learn how to integrate personal responsibility into a world that every day is different from yesterday.