Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reality, BDS, RDS, Presumption and Assumption

(that's Bush Derangement Syndrome & Republican Derangement Syndrome)

Yesterday I vented about Bush Derangement Syndrome detonating in my living room. And I was thinking about how assumptions are made based on emotion and then spun off as facts and perpetuated by like-minded people -- completely disconnected from actual facts.

What really happened in Florida (in 2000, get over it!) was the election was extremely close, a statistical dead-heat but by the original count Bush won by 537 votes. Democrats basically tried to change the rules of presidential election in the middle of an election because they didn't like the outcome. Gore's team wanted votes counted in four counties -- highly populated counties -- where people leaning Democrat tend to outnumber people leaning Republican. No talk there of "disenfranchising" the other 63 counties in Florida, oddly. The Florida Supreme Court ordered a recount of all "undervotes" (invalid ballots that were invalid because of partially punched "chads") in all of the counties (not a re-count of all the votes in all of the counties)... but the US Supreme Court interjected -- no, you can't change the rules in the middle of the game. Still, a consortium of media companies including CNN were allowed to do their own independent, unofficial recount, just to see. Bush lost 44 votes, net. Meaning he still had 493 more votes than Gore.

On December 12, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Florida Supreme Court ruling ordering a full statewide hand recount of all undervotes not yet tallied. The U.S. Supreme Court action effectively ratified Florida election officials' determination that Bush won by a few hundred votes out of more than 6 million cast.

Using the NORC data, the media consortium examined what might have happened if the U.S. Supreme Court had not intervened. The Florida high court had ordered a recount of all undervotes that had not been counted by hand to that point. If that recount had proceeded under the standard that most local election officials said they would have used, the study found that Bush would have emerged with 493 more votes than Gore.

But the myth persists that Bush "bought" the election, or somehow kept people from the polls, or his Sneaky Evil Brother Who Shares the Last Name of Satan™ cheated for him -- based on -- well based on the fact that Democrats didn't like the result of the election and the governor of that state was the President-elect's brother. Air-tight case there, for sure.

It's been pointed out that, according to these same people -- when Democrats win an election, the people have spoken. When Republicans win an election, it's because the people were too stupid to "vote in their own interests" or that the Republicans cheated ... 'cause, you know, Corporate-Corporate, Halliburton, and stuff. I must say that's the trend I've observed as well.

People often believe and repeat that which supports their world views based on the emotional comfort that gives them -- and don't bother to check to see if what they believe is actually based on, you know, the truth.

On Bob Parks Outside the Wire blog, a commenter left this for him on a post about Martin Luther King, Jr. yesterday:

I hate to be the one to say this, but you're nothing more than a traitor to your race.
You sir there, in your blind allegiance to a party that wanted to keep people like you in slavery, and you disrespect a man that did more to get your people out of bondage.
You're a damn disgrace to black people everywhere.
and I'm a white man, Imagine that.
-Chuck Adkins
Never mind the fact that Bob was in no way disrespecting Dr. King. Liberal whites like Chuck Adkins often seem fact-averse, and Chuck's ignorance is showing like a 3/4 length slip under a miniskirt. As is his smug self-righteousness (which is really what this is all about. Chuck soothing his ego and absolving himself for the "sin" of being white).

If you don't think large numbers of ostensibly well-meaning people can believe the excact opposite of the truth -- the truth that facts bear out, consider this:

True or False -- The Republican Party is the party that tried to protect and keep slavery as an institution?

Ask a room full of people. Especially a roomful of enlightened progressives.

Quick, what was the Party of Lincoln?

Correct answer.... Republican.

What party was Martin Luther King registered under? Careful...

Correct answer... Republican.

The first blacks elected to congress were all A) Democrats B) Republicans

Correct answer... Republicans.

The famous Emancipation Proclaimation that brought blacks out of slavery (Chuck, you listening?) Every Republican in Congress voted for it. 23% of the Democrats voted for it.

The 14th Amendment ... ensuring a federal guarantee of full civil rights across the states for former slaves ... every Republican voted for it.

No, as in Zero, Democrats voted for it.

Same with the 15th amendment giving blacks the right to vote.

The KKK was started by: A) Republicans B) Democrats

Correct answer?

Well you ought to be catching on by now... It's B) Democrats.

Al Gore's dad voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Al Jr. stated that his dad lost his Senate Seat because he voted for it. Ooops.)

Big hat tip to Bob Parks, and there's much more here.

The point here is, conventional wisdom often isn't. And when it isn't, it isn't because people will far too often bend the facts to their worldview rather than the other way around.

So next time you hear "Bush Lied", or he "Stole the Election" ... you might want to check your emotions against the facts before you go repeating it.

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