Sunday, September 13, 2009

You Lie!

A few weeks ago I heard a TV commentator advise that Democrats needed to learn from Republicans how to speak in "bumper stickers". This is the common wisdom that by labeling an issue, you control it.

Drill, Baby, Drill!

No New Taxes!

Life Begins At Conception!

Death Panels!


Of course, this is a lot easier for Republicans. They think and communicate via bumper stickers. "Nuance" is an epithet that Republicans use to denigrate Democrats. Institutes of higher education are always "bastions of liberalism". The mainstream media always has a "liberal bias" (as compared to?). Climate change is a fraud. President Obama isn't a citizen. Evolution is just a theory. Medicare is not a government run health plan. Do you see a pattern here?

During the Bush administration, more than once I complained to conservative friends that I objected to being called unpatriotic or worse if I questioned administration policies. My conservative friends countered that they objected to being considered stupid. That is fair enough until you listen to them explain their positions. Bumper stickers may be a simple way to summarize your position, but they don't form the basis for a discussion and they do nothing to convince anyone you know what you are talking about.

Joe Wilson has apologized for his "You Lie!" outburst. I listened to him today on Fox News Sunday. He did not apologize for calling the president a liar. A lie is conscious effort to not tell the truth. So he really believes the president intentionally meant to lie to Congress and the American people. He never once explained why he thought the president would presumably want to give insurance coverage to all illegal immigrants. That would require too much explanation. Way too much for a bumper sticker.

What bothers me most about Representative Wilson's outburst is that it only feeds the outrage in people who who much prefer a bumper sticker rather than a discussion and continues to distort the debate.

I'm sure there are already cars with "You Lie!" bumper stickers.

I'd like to ask Representative Wilson why he didn't yell "That's Not True!" or "You Are Wrong!"? Too many syllables?

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