I realize I might take grief for this from many friends for what I am about to say, as many of my good friends tend to lean right. I can’t stand ignorance. I realize ignorance abounds on both sides of the aisle but I see it more on the right. People want to believe the lies they are fed; people want to believe the President and Democrats are bad people who are out to get them. You can make a valid argument and I will respect it more when you leave lies and exaggeration out of the discussion.
Let’s start by taking a look at one of my favorites: “Obama is always on vacation!” First of all, can you blame him? Who doesn’t like vacation? Second, he’s actually not always on vacation.
In President Obama’s first term, he took 131 vacation days. President’s don’t actually get vacation; the job always goes with them, to paraphrase former first lady Nancy Reagan. The honor of the most vacation days goes to former President Bush, President Obama’s predecessor, who took 1020 days of vacation during his eight years as president. By the way, President Clinton only vacationed 152 days during his two terms as president.
How about this one: “Obama has spent more than all other presidents in history!” Again, wrong. When President Obama took office in January, 2009, the United States national debt was $10.6 trillion. Today, it’s $16.7 trillion. Simple math should allow anyone to see that $6.1 trillion is attributable to President Obama and that’s less than $10.6 trillion. As an aside, that $6.1 trillion includes all of the spending passed by President Bush in his final year in office but which did not take effect until 2009, President Obama’s first year in office.
Finally: “Unemployment is at a record high!” Sorry, wrong again. Under President Obama, the highest unemployment has been is 10% and that was in November, 2009. It’s presently at 7.7%.
“But that doesn’t include all the people who have stopped looking for work!” Finally got one! That is correct. However, the unemployment figures have never included those who aren’t actively searching for employment so the numbers are rather accurate, have been and will continue to be.
Here’s a fun one for you: when President Reagan took office, unemployment was 7.5%. 18 months later, unemployment was 10.8%. A lovely comparison.
Here’s my problem with the above and, again, these lies and exaggeration aren’t just from those on the right, though I tend to find more people on the right are eager to believe the lies. My problem is that these lies become the argument and we can no longer focus on what is important and have an informed and respectful political discussion. Even when someone is presented with undisputed evidence to contradict the lies they so desperately want to believe, they refuse to disbelieve the lies. Republicans want to believe the lies they’ve been fed even though reality doesn’t support them. Republicans and those on the extreme right are creating an alternate reality where math, science and facts don’t matter. And that, my friends, is scary.