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A Laughable Engagement

Posted by Rick · October 16th, 2003 · No Comments

The Clovis Independent writes,

We have argued. We have debated. We have been insulted at the mockery and disgusted by the allegations of impropriety, the childish verbal assaults, the all-too-obvious attempts to skirt direct answers to direct questions.

But we, the people of this state, have become engaged.

Yes, they’ve become “engaged” in a laughable fit of lunacy that just won’t end.

For a sample of how we “engage” in debate, we can look to that same newspaper where the debate is raging on bringing that harbinger of destruction, Walmart, to the currently thriving town of Clovis. (I reprint these here since they are postings on a public bulletin board; I don’t know that linking to them will not result in a broken link by the time you read this article.) At about 3:47 p.m. on (supposedly) May 1, “Azor” wrote:

The City of Clovis should say no to Wal-Mart. They do not pay a living wage, over seventy percent of their employees are part time, and they consider anybody who works 30 hours a week full time. Their health care can cost up to 20% of their workers wages so most go without any health care. Some stores have a turn over ratio of 100% annually; that’s right, 100%. Employees are forced to work overtime off the clock to keep their jobs with promises of future advancement and without overtime pay. This not the kind of employer for “The Clovis Way of Life”. Employees should be able to make a Living Wage and be able to afford to live in Clovis. The Walton family is the richest family in the World and yet do not pay a living wage. [Typos not corrected.]

On May 21, “Fortunate1” replied,

Yea Azor we wouldn’t want an employer to come to the Central Valley with jobs for the unemployed now would we. That would defeat the purpose of unemployment and the Democratic party. Your party would rather they toil in the unemployment line instead of working for a living, how else can you keep the minorities down. Working for a living… what a novel concept, but no, that is not what Azor wants from a free market. He would rather the big brother government take care of the population. He would rather the government hold on to your salary through taxes. Nice ideas Azor, for a communist but it won?t work. Your communistic ideals fell from favor back in 1991 with the end of the Soviet Union. Living wage? Ha that?s another name for Socialism. So which are you, a communist or socialist because your sure not a free market American. [Typos not corrected.]

Nothing jejune about that response! Note how Fortunate1 handles all the reasons given by Azor for wanting to keep Walmart out of Clovis so adroitly…not.

This is, in fact, how Californians — and much of the rest of the U.S. these days — “engages” in political debate. This isn’t an engagement! These folks are two ships passing in the night. Fortunate1 is apparently fortunate enough to have just enough eyesight — or, you could read that “insight” — to realize that Azor was flying a different flag than the one Fortunate1 would prefer to see on the ships that go by. Yet, just as when two ships actually do pass in the night, Fortunate1 is completely unaware of the cargo in Azor’s hold. What other explanation can there be for this?

True, Fortunate1 got Azor’s name right. So that’s one thing he/she/it spotted. And apparently Fortunate1 also recognized that Azor’s posting was 1) about Walmart and 2) opposed to having a Walmart in Clovis. Other than that there is no indication from Fortunate1’s letter that Fortunate1 has any clue what Azor was writing about. Not one time does Fortunate1 address the claims made by Azor.

There’s good reason for that, in this case, but I won’t dwell on it. (After all, what can you say in a country that thinks sweatshops are good things in spite of this. It’s like trying to argue that slavery wasn’t really so bad because it provided food and shelter for lonely Africans marooned in the pre-Civil-War United States; the Civil War was a bad thing, because look what happened to the slaves afterwards — Jim Crow laws, sharecropping, .)

In reality, you can’t blame Californians. We’re pretty much like people everywhere. We’re no longer taught to build logical arguments nor do we learn how to properly respond to the arguments of others. Schools are too busy paying administrators presidential wages, while paying teachers such low wages that our best either avoid the profession or desert in droves.

Until something is done about that, or we fix our political system to prevent mob rule and return to the vision of Thomas Jefferson’s republic, our “engagement” will remain laughable.

Categories: Politics-In-General


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