I know I should find better things to waste my time on, and there are equally specious pro-Obama memes are out there, floating around, cluttering the discourse, too. I know that. Still, I wanted to talk about Ronald Reagan, hero of the right. And yes, I came from the perspective that his presidency wasn't as great as this meme implies. And so I called upon his trumpeting of "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" which at least subtly suggests blame for society's problems on his opponent, Jimmy Carter, during the 1980 campaign; his penchant for falling asleep during cabinet meetings (I hear this excused as, "probably got more done sleeping than Carter did awake." and other such noise that I'd prefer not to delve into); his love of a short workday; his taking twice as much vacation in the same time span as Obama (though one president definitely gets more grief for it); and his -- I'll concede -- probably unknowing complicity, or "actual deniability" as I believe John Poindexter once called it (instead of the more aware "plausible deniability"), concerning The Enterprise and sending armaments for money from Iran to the Nicaraguan Contras, during the Iran-Contra scandal. There's more, naturally. Any president can be accused of just as many gaffs as they can successes, and as always, it all comes down to perspective. Anyway, I went there. And it was bad. It was not a lot of name calling, at least between me and my most specific debate partner. But it was a waste of time.
We got nowhere.
For every reasonable point I made, my opponent felt the same way about his counterpoint. It just sort of went on like that, fruitlessly. To end it, I blocked the discussion. To further end these sorts of issues from coming up again, I deleted the person who'd originally posted the meme. Is that wrong? I'm inclined to say no. I say that because I did not know this person, a received-at-random add from him for reasons that remain mysterious to me, especially when if I recall correctly I came in contact with him for the first time while arguing in another thread with just the same sort of leftist bent.
What it comes down to are salient differences in belief. I'm at least largely a demand sider as goes economic theory, and I consider supply side economics very hazardous at best (a la the Clinton administration's bestowing "Most Favored" nation status onto trading partner China and the problematic and still controversial implementation of The North American Free Trade Agreement, which each decision made it more appealing to move American jobs overseas). A vehement supply sider would see my opinion in this regard as a wrongheaded, unnecessary restriction on the mechanisms of the global market. Simply put, don't make it harder to buy and sell (and produce) goods in other locations abroad. And as time has gone on we've been able to see the longterm effects, which have been largely good for corporations and the very wealthy, but like a lot of international commerce, much less desirable for the less wealthy on down. Thus the irony of the "Trickle Down" theory's name, which seems to have gotten stopped up somewhere as wealth continues to be increasingly consigned to the highest levels of American society to the detriment of all those (and not just the poorest) below them.
But often these components aren't reasonably looked at. And the individual he sees things in terms of his self, as we all do to lesser or greater extent, evaluates progress only by how good his/her life is, purely anecdotal and ego-centric terms, bordering at times on the solipsistic and, even, occasionally, the sociopathic. Which is why arguments can be so reductive. And suddenly name calling arises out of what was once a logical and reasoned debate. The party that is categorically wrong is usually the first to invoke derision. See: the history of racism, of subjection, of scapegoating and genocide. Meanwhile, how are we looking at the true merits of our sociological problems? I had a fascinating email exchange with Professor Robert Lopez of California State University-Northridge on this recent article he wrote for The Witherspoon Institute, and which tells a different story from the commonly held arguments supporting gay parenting. (Lopez himself was raised predominantly by his mother and a woman she became involved with, and he speaks of what he viewed as "being strange," in the eyes of the greater community around him, and likewise feeling strange himself.) Granted, I wrote to him because I wanted to determine where his and my own views intersected, but our views hardly completely intersect, even after discussing the matter with him more personally. Still, it was a very polite exchange, one that I feel good about and suggests to me that people on the opposite sides of any of the political perspective (on all the different issues) can, indeed, be debated reasonably. This is not something usually found on Facebook, however, and I think that's the lesson I want others to take from what I'm writing here. Don't be like me. Probably, where Facebook is concerned, you should leave well enough alone.