Seven #MAGA myths about “The Liberals”

#StrawMan

Jeffrey Denny
Oct 8, 2018 · 10 min read

Jeffrey Denny

I’m not much of a liberal, per se.

More of a moderate Democrat, actually. I was even once the press aide for a Republican member of Congress. And I’m skeptical about Bernie.

Nevertheless, since I’m with the party of Nancy Pelosi, trust The New York Times, and think President Trump is dividing and making America worse, some #MAGAs might consider me a stupid liberal.

I’m lumped with fascist anarchist Antifa protesters who start riots or confront the “nasty, lyin’, sniveling coward” Ted Cruz, as Trump called him, at a Washington restaurant.

I don’t blame any Trump supporters who have an exaggerated fear and loathing of liberals. Maybe it’s the relentless diet of liberal-bashing on pro-Trump cable, radio, internet and social media. And now the Trump media is being flooded with the GOP’s hail-Mary campaign theme tagging Democrats as the “angry mob.”

So it’s a waste of effort to tackle the #MAGA myths about liberals.

But since I’m stupid, I’ll try anyway:

1.No, Virginia, there’s no fascist liberal under every bed

This just popped up on my Facebook feed to prove the angry liberal mob is sweeping the nation:

“Count the number of high level liberal writers, tech execs, celebrities & ‘insiders’ saying profanely psychotic stuff against conservatives & essentially calling for violence. This is not a fringe group. This is the mainstream left wing.”

Thus spake “An0maly,” aka, A.J. Faleski, who on his website calls himself “a groundbreaking news analyst, hip-hop artist, video producer & creative visionary. Combining elements of spirituality, philosophy & real life; An0maly has become a leading voice of this generation as well as a legendary rapper/poet.”

His “news analysis” had over 80 million views last year, he says. An0maly is also a “media consultant” who wants to help you “Grow your business, brand or company today!”

Props to An0maly, but setting aside his misuse of the semicolon, he’s not someone I would trust with my business, brand or company, let alone my opinions.

I understand that preaching snarky, provocative views — sane or not — that confirm the choir’s bias can generate online views to build business, brand and company. But to me, An0maly seems a little sketchy. The joke’s on me if I take him seriously.

Over here in Reality World, in spite of the false claims and fury the right-wing media and bottom feeders stoke for ad revenues, only 25 percent of Millennials and 17 percent of Boomers identify as “consistently liberal,” per the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

Few liberals are militant, hate on America, or call for violence. As for saying “profanely psychotic stuff,” that’s in the ear of the beholder. Most liberals, including activists, want to make America greater just like Trump supporters do. They’re just protesting Trump’s agenda, which is their right, even duty.

The few militant activists who cross the line into mayhem do not represent the overwhelming majority of Democrats and liberals. Same with the small number of college students who go overboard with the triggers, safe spaces, language and cultural policing.

Just like the angry mob at Trump rallies he incites to chant “Lock Her Up,” scream and shake their fists in the faces of the media there, yell the anti-immigrant “Build the Wall” and mock Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, doesn’t represent all #MAGAs. Right? Nor do Trump supporters who post vicious, hate-filled comments online with the courage of anonymity. Most #MAGAs are more decent than that.

How about the self-declared Nazis who raised the Hitler salute on Thomas Jefferson’s college campus and chanted “sieg heil” and “blood and soil”? Or the white supremacist who rammed protesters with his car, killing an innocent young woman, or those who viciously beat a young man in a parking garage? Do they represent all #MAGAs? I hope to doubt.

2. When The Liberals challenge hate, it doesn’t make them haters.

It’s not hateful to challenge Trump’s policies or behavior, or urge America to be less racist, nativist, misogynist, homophobic or Harvey Weinstein-y.

Agree with them or not, The Liberals are trying to promote openness and acceptance; end sexual misconduct; protect women’s reproductive rights from government; represent the tired poor huddled masses — citizens and immigrants; enlarge the melting pot; and, safeguard our air, soil, water and climate from being ruined, giving us cancer, or fueling violent weather that destroys and kills.

Yes, perhaps The Liberals too often overlook the plight of the white underclass, or directly or indirectly blame them, which undermines liberal causes. That’s a blind spot liberals need to address.

As for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, after the Dr. Blasey Ford allegations and his tour de force testimony, more Americans opposed his nomination than supported it, however slim the margin. With only 17–25 percent of Americans being consistently liberal, how can anyone single out The Liberals for challenging Judge Kavanaugh’s suitability for the high bench?

Trump supporters may be disgusted with Alaska GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski’s no vote on Kavanaugh, but she’s no liberal. For example, Murkowski won the NRA’s “A” rating and strong endorsement in her 2016 re-election bid, citing among other Second Amendment protections that she “voted against anti-gun Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan and will continue to oppose future anti-gun nominees for the Court.”

3. The “liberal” mainstream media is doing its patriot duty by holding Trump accountable.

Challenging our political leaders and government — now run by Republicans — is the job the Founders envisioned for the independent press and protected with the very first amendment (even before the almighty second).

The press has held every president accountable since we’ve had presidents. Yes, even Barack Obama. Don’t forget who broke the Clinton “scandal” stories, including Hillary’s emails. Not Fox, Breitbart, Daily Caller, Infowars, Newsmax, TheBlaze, etc. — it was the “fake news enemy of the people” New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, etc.

Remember also that for decades, liberals have attacked the mainstream media for being too conservative- and corporate-biased. The “media watchdog” group Fairness and Accuracy in Media as late as 2015 posted “studies” slamming NPR as “National Plutocrat Radio” and “Some Things Considered, Mostly by White Men.”

FAIR claimed the mainstream media leaned too far right on many issues ranging from the economy, race, religion and gender, voters and elections, war and militancy, ad nauseam.

The right-wing media loves to kill the mainstream media messenger when it delivers news or views that offend Trump and his base. Makes sense: Big media is a competitive business with billions of dollars in ad revenue at stake. So Fox News attacking MSNBC is like Coke saying Pepsi contains rat hair.

But calling the press the “enemy of the people” is what governments do in Somalia, Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Pakistan, not to mention Russia, North Korea and Saudi Arabia. Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi may be just the latest to be attacked, jailed or killed for challenging power.

In America, we depend on the independent media to keep us free. We need professional journalists with years of experience and dogged reporting to keep us informed, watch politicians and uncover abuses that lead to reforms, such as nursing home mistreatment of elderly residents.

Google the last few Pulitzer Prize winners to see the mainstream media at its best. See also where the journalists tend to come from. Many started their careers in the usual way covering local, regional or state news — town hall, police, fire, school and zoning board. Like I did, but they kept at it. Even though journalism is far from an easy, predictable, lucrative career. Especially now with the competition from internet and fake news.

Then look at the right-wing media, especially online. I did. A startling number of writers are not journalists at all. They’re political hacks, flacks and factotum who launched their careers at conservative organizations such as Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, or Koch Bros.-funded groups. Some worked for Tea Party/Freedom Caucus Congressmen or candidates. Others came from conservative talk radio. Most have written little but commentary — opinion, not reporting.

In stark contrast, the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, the networks and other mainstream media rarely if ever hire political hacks — conservative or liberal — as reporters. Objectivity is a key principle and goal, enforced by layers of tough, skeptical, show-me editors. Newspapers maintain a firewall between the news staff and editorial/opinion staff.

Perfectly objective all the time? Nope — even journalists are human. Do bleeding hearts tip to “afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted”? Yep — that’s the job definition, unless your president is Kim Jong-un.

But cherry-picking a few articles we don’t like to say “I don’t trust the mainstream media” is not just cynical or silly; it denies us the incredible wealth of information, insight and knowledge the mainstream media delivers every day.

4. It’s healthy for The Liberals, and all Americans, to question Trump.

Being a #MAGA shouldn’t require defending everything Trump says or does.

The liberals challenged Clinton and Obama, and they survived two terms each. Trump is human, so he isn’t perfect. He’s also not a poor innocent victim who needs succoring. He’s not a child his supporters need to defend, or overlook his flaws no matter what he does, including when it’s awful. He’s a billionaire holding the world’s most powerful office.

I would ask this of #MAGAs: When Trump acts like a petulant child whose iPhone and microphone need to be taken away instead of like the President of the United States and role model for our nation and kids, when Trump insults people who disagree with him and attacks U.S. allies, when he happily tells bald-faced lies or has fun at rallies or on Twitter dividing the country instead of trying to “bind the wounds of division” as he swore to do as president-elect, could you ask him to do better? He listens to you.

Please #MAGAs—the rest of America is begging you.

5. Liberal does not mean socialist.

Most Democrats indeed are skeptical about socialism. Democrats are split on Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan. Few advocate collective or government ownership and control of the means of production or goods, or believe there should be no private property.

That said, it’s worth noting that 59 percent of Americans — including millions of non-liberal, non-socialist people — favor a nationally socialized healthcare plan, per a nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation poll in March.

Whatever the issue, most Democrats embrace, accept or leverage the free market. They support both government incentives to create jobs, and guardrails to protect people from being hurt, poisoned or cheated. Democrats also support policies to protect our economy and its job-creation from Wall Street excesses that led to the Great Recession.

Remember, it was Obama that bailed out the banks and American automakers instead of seizing them like old-school socialists would.

Consider what one observer noted in a recent piece titled, “The New Socialists”:

“Since the 1970s, American liberals have taken a right turn on the economy. They used to champion workers and unions, high taxes, redistribution, regulation and public services.

“Now they lionize billionaires like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, deregulate wherever possible, steer clear of unions except at election time and at least until recently, fight over how much to cut most people’s taxes.”

Sound like something you’d read in the conservative National Review, snarking on liberal hypocrisy? No — it was in a New York Times article written by a Brooklyn college professor.

6.The Liberals care about people, including #MAGAs.

Take healthcare. I know Trump supporters hate Obamacare. But I hope they realize by now Trump was spit-balling about having a better plan.

He doesn’t. In fact, we’re all afraid that Trump’s attempted destruction of the Affordable Care Act with no replacement on the horizon will mean people with preexisting conditions — that is, everyone alive — could get sicker and die because we can’t get affordable coverage.

And forgive me for saying, but anyone who hates government, taxes and socialism, but receives free, taxpayer-subsidized Medicare or Medicaid, is just begging to be called a hypocrite. Especially those that complain the free healthcare isn’t good enough.

Likewise, anyone who hates Obamacare but gets free or reduced-cost employer healthcare coverage, which is also subsidized by taxpayers, can join the hypocrisy crowd.

Either way, supporting Trump’s dismantling of the ACA is taking away affordable coverage for millions of people not blessed with taxpayer-subsidized care. (Including the independently employed like me.) We thank you not.

I get if few people fully understand how the healthcare system works. It’s complicated. But nobody should let confusion or right-wing spin from well paid political shills who have gold-plated coverage to mislead and hurt people who aren’t so fortunate.

Recent polls in fact show many people who hated Obamacare now realize they need it. People also are understanding that you can’t force insurance companies to cover everyone’s preexisting conditions without either boosting the cost or spreading out the risk, e.g., by requiring everyone to have coverage or nationalizing it like Medicare, Medicaid or Berniecare.

Yep — without liberal healthcare, millions of Americans would have no care at all.

7.The Liberals aren’t running the country. #MAGAs are.

To anyone in Trump’s base who hates the government, remember: You are the government now.

It puzzles me why #MAGAs still obsess about liberals. Trump-lovers won! They beat the liberals!

The right wing now controls all three branches of the federal government — the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court, which is now firmly conservative with Trump’s two new justices. Conservatives also control the vast majority of the states, with 45 Republican governors and 31 Republican legislatures.

Yes, in a few weeks the so-called Blue Wave of Democrats might retake the House, maybe even the Senate. The Liberals aren’t to blame. Nor is the typical midterm change.

Trump’s shenanigans have turned off most Americans who don’t like how he’s running the country. Liberals aren’t the problem. Trump is.

***

My advice to Trump lovers: Stop obsessing about The Liberals.

Or cherry-picking the worst anecdotes to hate on them. If #MAGAs don’t like being tagged as Nazis, then don’t tag The Liberals as Nazis. Pretty simple.

Most of all, The Liberals are not #MAGA’s problem. Liberals have little real power other than the vote and a voice. They’re not holding anyone back. At best, liberals are an irritant — a mosquito, a skin rash, rain on your wedding day, a free ride when you’ve already paid.

So I’d ask my Trump-supporting friends: Instead of wallowing in delicious ire over liberal shenanigans, rise above. You’re better than they are, right?

Plus, you control the country now. You’re leaders now.

So lead. Focus your passion and energies — at least your social media comments and memes — on advancing the nation, healing the divides, and making it great.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer

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