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Mark Atwood
On easy outrage, and state party platforms
It's very fun and very easy to pile onto an internet bandwagon, and make fun of, criticize, and be outraged by some plank in some state party platform document. I am even likely to agree with you, about stupid and offense planks in state party platforms.


Have you actually gone to the original source and read the full text of that state party platform? Do you know what a "party platform" is, and how it is different from legislation or even consensus? Do you know how state party platforms are written by that party in that state?

Do you know how state party platforms are written by YOUR party in YOUR state? How hard is it for a small group of well organized people to insert a plank into your own state party platform?

Have you read the full text of the state party platform for YOUR own party in YOUR own state? Do you agree with it all? Is there nothing in it that you don't find stupid?

Until you have done all these things, I will leave you with a paraphrase of Harlan Ellison: "You do not have a right to an opinion. You have a right to an INFORMED opinion."

And until then, please, STFU on this topic.

This entry was originally posted at http://fallenpegasus.dreamwidth.org/838317.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
8 comments or Leave a comment
docorion From: docorion Date: June 21st, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hm. Well, I admit I haven't read *all* of the MassDem platform. I read the bits I was concerned about, and skimmed the rest. As it happens, there's plenty to object to, regardless of your political orientation (let's say there's something for everyone to dislike).

And I know how they're written, also. Last year at the state Dem convention, a "small group of well organized people" came within inches of striking the entire thing and substituting one they liked better (it was broadly similar, but struck some fairly anti-democratic provisions regarding getting on the ballot). Inserting a plank is stone easy for things which are truly non-controversial (trans-equality sailed on by), and more difficult for more controversial issues (which are often governance rules which threaten the status quo). Although as I noted above, there was a near-run governance revolt last year (I predict there will be a successful one next year; the structure is every-other-year "issues" conventions, and in election years there are "nominating" conventions. So next year is the issues convention, and with the cock-up the party has made of recent elections (notably the Coakley debacle), I don't care much for the chances of the current chairman and his cronies.

But I doubt this was about MA state politics. What was it about?
rhonan From: rhonan Date: June 22nd, 2010 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I trust this is not in response to the Texas Republican party, which, in keeping with their long standing local tradition, has published a platform heavily laced with homophobia, and calls for active harassment of LGBT citizens.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: June 22nd, 2010 02:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Of course it does.

Have you met the qualifications to have an informed opinion about the most recent easy outrage?
rhonan From: rhonan Date: June 22nd, 2010 06:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Let's look at my resume:
Vice-president, College Republicans.
Secretary-treasurer, Pierce County Young Republicans.
Associate member, Young Republicans National Committee.
Delegate, Pierce County Republican Party Convention.
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, emphasis in American Government, University of Puget Sound.
Precinct Committeeman, Pierce County Democratic Party.
Delegate, Pierce County Democratic Convention.
Delegate, Washington State Democratic Convention.

So, yeah, this is an area I'd consider myself to have expert experience. Then again, politics is a family tradition.
moechus From: moechus Date: June 22nd, 2010 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
So you think the parties should have a gentleman's agreement along the lines of "We won't attack anything in your party's platform if you don't anything in ours"?

I much prefer the rule, "If we find something silly or stupid in your party's platform, we will use it for whatever advantage we can. If you find something silly or stupid in our platform, go for it--turn about is fair play."
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: June 22nd, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I find the entire party game utterly assinine. And the game of "easy outrage" to be stupid, idiotic, and disgusting. It's easy to attack stupid stuff in the other guy's platform, and it's hard work to actually clean your own house.

One of my rare pieces of hope re politics is that survey data shows that Americans, especially ones not in the upper quartile of income, are more and more likely to declare "independent" and to split tickets than they ever have in the past.
moechus From: moechus Date: June 23rd, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is hard to clean one's own house. The fact that the other side can use it against you is the only incentive to do so.

More importantly, parties and party affiliations do matter. For example, Olympia Snowe is a moderate and reasonable person and poles apart from Jim Inhofe on, among other things, environmental issues. But if the Republicans regain the Senate, she will vote for Mitch McConnell as majority leader and to replace Barbara Boxer with Jim Inhofe as chairman of the environment committee. Lots of key committee staff jobs will go to global-warming-denial fanatics, etc. A vote for Olympia Snowe is also, potentially, a vote for Jim Inhofe as chairman of the Senate environment committee.

The same thing applies at the state level to state legislatures. There may be Olympia Snowe equivalents running as Republicans in Texas but a vote for them in the general election (as opposed to the primary) will inevitably strengthen the position of those who share the views expressed in the Republican platform.
wetdryvac From: wetdryvac Date: June 23rd, 2010 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I propose that I have a right to my opinion whether or not it's informed. The concept that *anyone* could be quashed based on degree of research and understanding is both flawed - free will matters, thank-you - and utterly daft.

Telling someone to shut the fuck up based on your opinion and understanding of what degree of research and understanding they have undertaken and achieved requires that you yourself have both breached their privacy - researched them to a very high degree, or at least to whatever arbitrary bar you've set - and are willing thereafter to revoke their right to think and take a position and speak about it. Taking such a stance yourself implies that you're OK with others taking such a stance - and perhaps even enforcing it - upon you. I'm reasonably sure that you do not wish for anyone, particularly me, to set and enforce an arbitrary bar upon what you may speak of, hold an opinion about, or similar.

It is completely valid to be annoyed with a lack of research, to call a party upon their logical flaws, their lack of evidence, and their failure to connect background information to presentation. It's valid to say, "I'm not interested - please don't talk to *me* about it." Further, where those stances begin to affect your acts of free will, taking a counter-view and fighting where needed is probably a good idea. However, unless you wish to set a standard which arbitrarily revokes rights to opinion and speech, "You do not have the right to an opinion," Is dangerous beyond words.

Are you sure you wish to be doing this? If so, what do you do with someone who will not comply? Do you wish to set consequences for non-compliance, and are you OK with those consequences applying universally?

I'm curious: Do you think, if I am silenced, I have any right whatsoever to stand and fight?
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