Watching the Republican Party Convention one word kept coming up: ”feel”.
Paul Ryan told the faithful that people ”feel” the economy is floundering. They then hugely inflate certain problems by pretending that crime, illegal immigration and terrorism are much more prevalent than they really are. They howl about the budget deficit that they create through over spending on the military and cutting tax for the super rich.
The Party seems to favour emotions over arguments. Speakers tended to emote and not elucidate. Perceptions can be mistaken but very few in the GOP seemed to grasp this.
One Republican said that he felt that Obama did not believe in Jesus. The man offered no evidence whatsoever but kept banging on about Obama not believing in the same God. Even if this were true it would not be pertinent to the election. Christ, J is not a Republican candidate.
Some people said that President Obama was a Muslim. It was blatant from their tone and facial contortions that the believed being a Muslim was utterly vile. This is the sort of revolting bigotry that contributes to the murder of Muslims in the United States. It is also a great boost to ISIS. It supports ISIS’ version of events: that there is an existential battle between the West and Muslims. Americans who wish to satanise their fellow citizens have a lot to answer for. Picking on Muslims is not better than demonising people for being Jewish or Christian or black of Hispanic.
Newt Gingrich is a highly intelligent man. He has a PhD in French History. Presumably he can speak French fluently. But do not expect him to admit to it in public. His party favours knowledge over ignorance. Being conversant in another language is un-American – so Republicans purport to believe. Mitt Romney did not mention his ability to speak French in 2008. John Kerry’s facility in French was something to detest – so said Republicans in 2004. Dr Gingrich was asked about falling crime statistics. He pointed to certain cities where crime is rising. The interviewer observed that this did not negate the overall pattern of crime going down consistently. Newt Gingrich stuck to his position that the overall reduction in crime was immaterial because people felt that crime was spiralling upwards. He said as a politician he went with people’s feelings. In a sense he is right. As a shrewd tactician he knows that he can disseminate a false notion and many people will fall for it. He is an astute strategist and he is aware that plenty of people vote on the basis of feelings not facts.
The irrationality and anti -intellectualism of the Republicans are galling. These lamentable trends do much to explain why so many of them believe in Creationism and scorn the notion of climate change. It also accounts for their purblind opposition to gun control.
So many Republicans showed cognitive dissonance. They block information they find unattractive. They pretend it does not exist. They lawyer their way out of unwelcome facts. They claim that publicly funded healthcare is unaffordable. They ignore Canada. Far poorer countries such as Sri Lanka and Cuba have it but the USA cannot pay for it – so the Grand Old Party says. They also overlook the inconvenient fact that the USA spends more per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world and does not have the best outcomes on average. Publicly funded healthcare would be much cheaper per capita. Admittedly part of the problem is due to defensive medicine which is necessitated by ambulance chasing lawyers.
It is no wonder that so many Republicans are Christian fundamentalists. They believe things either without evidence or even against the evidence. They screen out information that they find unappealing. They cherry pick texts. They can see things in the Bible in black and white and then they pretend this is not there. Things about forgiveness, helping the poor, not fighting etc… There are also evil commandments such as encouraging slavery and rape. Again Christians say this does not count.
The GOP has a lot of growing up to do.
What are the facts? These are often disputed and they are not always clear. People sometimes deceive others. Democrats are mendacious too. Anyone is capable of confirmation bias. The Dems also block out unattractive facts. However, they do not do so to the same extent.