Lately in the debate over President Obama's approval numbers, people on the Right, the Tea Party ilk especially, are trying to use their insulated and isolated groups of friends to justify widespread disapproval of anything Obama proposes. While I know attempting to explain the interactions involved in this dynamic may be a matter of futility, I will try nonetheless.
The logic follows as such. If all the people I know dislike what Obama is doing, then it stands to reason the rest of the country feels the same. Let me fill you in on some extra aspects of the interaction going on.
1. I have to ask about the specifics regarding "everyone you know."
2. I have to ask whether or not you have any liberal friends to begin with.
Have these liberal friends questioned you? Have you wondered why?
They are tired of repeating themselves when confronted with outright lies and misinformation. Repeating oneself is not a fun thing to do. Ever sit around with a group of friends? How often to disagreements arise? You are a group of friends for a reason. Those outside your circle never participate in your get togethers. You seldom hear from opposing views.
I can sit around at the barber shop and never once hear anyone agree with Obama. Why? I'm in the South at a white barber shop. I'm not going to hear anything other than dissent, justified or not. That should raise a red flag. I can proudly say that I no longer waste my money on such nonsense and get my hair cut elsewhere.
It is this sort of social dynamic that perpetuates the idea that those who surround themselves with people of the same ilk refuse to see what is right in front of them. It is why FOX News is a single entity and other news organizations are labeled as "liberal media." While the Right continues to claim the "liberal media" controls what you hear, it is more true that FOX News and the talking heads on the Right follow the pattern which exemplifies controlled information and parroting of ideas because the information being passed around is often done in a circular fashion among themselves. They are an insulated entity. Everyone else is scrambling for a story and a career in journalism.
Take where I live, for example. None of my local news outlets are fair and balanced. They all stink. They use Rasmussen polls. Anchors have their own Right-leaning web sites and columns. Reports only report what the viewership around here wants to hear. Polls in local news broadcasts often perpetuate misinformation by using said misinformation as the premise for the poll, thereby legitimizing something that never was true to begin with. They get numbers in favor of something that does not exist. None are FOX stations. Well, one is, but I never watch it. My local NBC, CBS, and ABC affiliates are all Right-leaning.
Two perfect examples:
A poll I posted on here at the blog asked whether or not we approved of the Obama health care bill. At the time, no Obama health care bill existed. There were multiple bills in the works and no one bill stood out as the leading piece of legislation. When asked the question, the ideal response is not yes or no, but rather "Which bill are you referring to?"
The second example is a recent one. The poll had to do with whether or not voting out career politicians would bring about repeal of the health care bill. It has already been pointed out by many, including Republicans, that it would take a miraculous number of wins in the midterm elections and even then, the chances of repealing the health care bill simply don't exist. The news disregarded this point, instead, choosing to fire up the Right wing base over anger related to the passage of the health care legislation to justify voting out elected officials.
But this is to be expected. You see, quite often, political differences are different because of a discrepancy with one premise. Often is the case that the premise on the Right is severely flawed, covered up with more animosity than real critical thinking. When one side of a debate operates from a very different premise, it is next to impossible to make your point shine through without drawing unnecessary and unrelated fire from the opposition.
I will never be able to point out the irony in - a Texan who feels abortion is a selfish arrogant act - to an actual Texan. Why? They will ask what Texas pride has to do with abortion. They are completely oblivious to the irony I see. The epitome of a Texan is that of an arrogant and selfish ass and in turn, I would not expect someone so selfish to have a problem with another so-called selfish act. An additional ironic point to make is that this is the new platform of the Religious Right component of the Republican party. Do as I say, not as I do. David Vitter exemplifies this utter hypocrisy in Christian Conservative thinking. But I digress. Hopefully you get the point of the example. The problem is premise.
You will never understand the broader picture until you step outside of the small town way of thinking. While Mayberry can be an enjoyable place, it operates under a very strict system of control. Those with power in small towns are able to manipulate anyone and everyone in the town. Those who question the power structure are chastised and cast out into the cold. There is nothing wrong with having pride for living in a flyover state, but you cannot suggest that you are any more American than someone living on the coast. It happens in coal mining towns. It happens in farming towns. It even happens in somewhat larger cities.
By limiting your argument to the opinions of only your friends, you have just introduced a hell of a lot of bias. I have very few friends where I live, but that is largely because they would prefer to have nothing to do with me as I'm not a church going, Right-leaning redneck. No, I'm not stereotyping. I'm simply telling you that the population of this town is largely comprised of this group and they are very selective about who they choose to surround themselves with. I highly doubt they are getting additional perspectives from anyone like me seeing as how I, myself, have very few friends as a northern transplant in the South. I've seen the outside world with my own two eyes living among the natives, not stationed on an army base.
To this accusation of corruption and arrogance, I expect anyone on the Right to respond with the well scripted "Liberals do it too." While I agree several on the Left insulate themselves, they do not follow the same pattern of limited information flow that occurs on the Right. The information being passed around outside of your circle is much more varied and open to interpretation whereas the information inside of your select group is limited by your own townsy lifestyle. This is why the "regular guy" has been pitted against the "elite" so as to prevent open interpretation of information from being accepted as legitimate. Your modus operandi should not be to screw over liberals every chance you get. I do not wake up every morning plotting to make life a living hell for conservatives. That is what has become of our political system. No longer is the statement "It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game" true. Nowadays, it's more about whether you win or lose. Much of the anger circulating among the Tea Party has more to do with being a sore loser than being a true conservative.
Prior to Columbus, the notion that the world was flat seemed almost painfully obvious. Look how that turned out. Things are not always that simple and seldom follow what Billy Bob considers common sense.
To steal a line from Pulp Fiction, move out of the sticks.