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He said , she said

December 15, 2008 - John Stack
There is an article in the latest Newsweek about our ‘disinformed electorate’. I assumed this was going to be another one of those fluff pieces about how many Americans can’t tell you which Constitutional Amendment barred a poll tax. But, it was much more interesting, but probably not surprising. The story is about how, even with the mopst thorough fact checking of any presidential race in history, a great deal of the electorate was still misinformed. That’s not surprising. But, the misinformation really centered around political lines. For instance , over 52 percent of Americans believed Obama would raise taxes on the majority of small businesses, even though in truth he would raise taxes on a relatively small percentage of small businesses. The rub here is Republicans believed this 4.4 times more often than Democrats. Also, 42 percent of Americans believed McCain would cut Medicaid by 800 billion, even though McCain made it clear he had no intention of cutting Medicaid. Democrats were 3.2 times more likely to believe this than Republicans. It sure is scary that it seems like a good portion of our electorate are much more apt to believe campaign rhetoric than the truth that Is very easy to uncover. But with most online articles, the best, or funniest stuff was written in the blogs after the story. After reading the story, a great many of the bloggers continued to spew misinformation as if fact!
            But, I also realized I had some very different views on the election with a good friend here, who I normally think of as trying not to be partisan or demagogic. Then again he’s a banker trying to get me to invest in a retirement stock portfolio in these economic times. He was telling me how he had believed that Obama had run on basically a Liberal platform, and that he was changing his tune now that he had been elected. He seemed surprised by this also. I had a completely different view of the election. I thought Obama had run not so much on Liberal ideas, but on anti-Bush ideals. He wasn’t looking at cutting taxes as the panacea to all of our ills. He was looking at a new direction for the conflict in Iraq. Other than delaying, possibly forever, the rescission of the tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, Obama has shown me really nothing different from what I expected of him.
            Thing is, as Republicans and Democrats, what we say, and what the other side hears is greatly different. For instance, if a conservative says ‘We must defend the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage’ (we) Democrats hear ‘We need to bomb abortion clinics, ban gay people and fit our children with chastity belts’. It also goes the other way. If a democrat says ‘Bush lied to lead us to war in Iraq’ a conservative hears ‘I hate America and I hope the terrorists win’. So, between my buddy and I, the same words went into our ears, but a totally different meaning came out. Plus, maybe he was feeling his oats because he had his first winning week in the Pine Street Pool League in 2 months. (The Pine Street Irregulars still have a comfortable lead heading into week 10)


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