Changing the subject

Suppose you and I discuss education. I disagree with what you say. “Communist!” I sing out. “You’re a damned communist, that’s what you are.”

 What happens next? My guess is that you say “I’m not a communist. How could you call me a communist? You have zero evidence. Why, I’ve never … etc, etc.”

By calling you a commie I change the subject, don’t I? We no longer argue about education. We now argue about communism. And about whether you are one.

 This is why so many public figures fling the term “racist” about. 

 This week, Jimmy Carter suggested racism was behind Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst during the President’s speech to Congress. (Wilson cried out “You lie!”) Carter reckons most of the animosity directed toward the President is based on his race. Zero evidence.



New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that Wilson’s comment “had racial undertones.” She suggested that many critics could not accept a black as president. Zero evidence.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters urged the press to “probe conservatives for racist views”. Zero evidence.

Another representative said something about the donning of white hoods, encouraged by Wilson. Zero evidence.

The tip of the iceberg, for sure. Representative John Conyers, Charlie Rangel, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have cried “racism” at critics of all stripe. Remind Charlie about his financial shenanigans and he will call you racist. 

Remember the friend of Obama who the cops subdued in Boston recently? He immediately accused police of racism.

What do these folks achieve when they cry racism? The same thing I achieve when I call you a communist. They change the argument. My guess is that they feel they are losing the argument. By calling a critic a racist, they change the subject. For example, all this week politicians and commentators have babbled on and on about whether Wilson is racist.

These folks have changed the subject. The subject should be: Was his charge accurate?

Should he have called the President a liar in Congress? Of course not. Utterly disrespectful of the man, the office and Congress. That, however, is a separate subject.

Suppose, instead, the discussion had been about whether the President did lie? Well, if you look at what he said… and you look at what the healthcare proposals say… somebody is not telling us the truth. Not telling the truth is a lie.

That is what the issue should have been.

And just for the record, words are supposed to have meaning. Look up “racism” in any dictionary. All the folks I listed above apparently never have. 

Not only do they fling the term about. They also show us one of two characteristics. They show us their ignorance as to what it means. Or they show us demagoguery. The word demagogue means “political agitator who plays on passions and prejudices of the masses”.

In either case, they cheapen debate. They insult those who want to discuss issues. And they change the subject, to avoid discussing it.

From Tom … as in Morgan.  

 

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): www.tomasinmorgan.com.

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