Sometimes it’s enough to make your head explode. It doesn’t matter if you’re to the left, the right or follow a zig-zag path through the maze of political rhetoric, the question is the same, what are we supposed to believe?
The trigger this time was a discussion of the so-called “nuclear option” in confirming a latest Supreme Court nominee. A political leader, well respected in his party, was giving a scathing diatribe condemning anyone who would dare to suggest changing the rules in order to “force” the confirmation. This was immediately followed by a clip of the same politician defending such action when it involved a previous nominee put forth by his own party.
There are two questions we should ask ourselves in times like these: “Is it all right for a politician to lie in order to advance an agenda we agree with?” and, “is it all right for a politician to lie to advance an agenda we disagree with?” Consistency demands that both questions be answered either yes or no.
The problem isn’t that he would advance opposing views on the same subject, dependent entirely on ideology rather than the nominee’s fitness to hold the office, the problem is that we the people casually accept such ambivalence and even applaud it when it benefits “our” side.
It is far past the time when we should call these people out. Without regard to whether we agree or not with the stand they are taking, when such a stand is obviously hypocritical it needs to be confronted. After all, if you agree with the current stand then you must have disagreed with the previous, opposing stand.
It would seem that we have been lied to so much that we are now willing to accept political talking points as fact when spouted by “our” side without any critical thought. This allows the politicos from all parties to advance their true agendas without having to discuss those objectives.
Take the recent health care debacle. The Obama, nee Romney, cum Trump health care plan, also known as the ACA, is dying a slow death but the pain engendered by its demise has not yet reached the point where a groundswell of public support for the true replacement agenda, a single payer system, has developed. Eventually one or the other major party will conclude that there is sufficient public interest in eliminating the free market, this when they are confident that they can successfully counter the industry lobbyists, and at that point Medicare for all will become the rallying cry.
A similar observation might be made in the case of any comprehensive tax reform. Any such reform that leaves the IRS intact will not be a permanent solution. The IRS is the muscle for the system that provides our legislative branch its single greatest source of power. Asking those same legislators to eliminate it is counter intuitive at best.
As naive as it may be all that I want is for the people we elect, or those appointed to high office, to stop the charade, to have the courage to state their true agendas and then be prepared to support them in a public forum.
Until that time the best we can do is to hold their feet to the fire. Whenever you see or hear an example of hypocrisy, call them out on it. Write, tweet, blog, telephone, whatever, but don’t just put it down to politics as usual and wait for the next obfuscation to be dropped.
Politicians must be held accountable for their positions and when their positions change radically they must explain when and why their views were altered. It is up to us to insist on such accountability.
As B. F. Skinner put it, “The consequences of behavior determine the probability that the behavior will occur again.”