Do those everyday citizens spouting the latest conservative narrative really know what they are talking about?

I live in conservative or even reactionary conservative country. I do not consider myself a liberal, but I once may have thought of myself as middle of the road leaning a little left. And maybe now I think of myself as middle of the road, leaning a ways to the right. But I don’t like to get hung up on ideology because it is too confining for someone with an open mind. And I don’t think a lot of people really have any understanding or at least share a common understanding of what left and right and conservative and liberal and radical and reactionary mean in the political parlance anyway — I assert this because I have heard a lot of people in casual talk out in public and I don’t think most of them think like political scientists.

But anyway I don’t mind the fact so much that I live in conservative land but I often wonder why those who spout off the current right-wing talking points and narrative in public seem so convinced that they have the right information. I sometimes think they just like to hear people say what they already believed or something that sounds right (that is correct, as well as “right” as in political parlance) to them. I often wonder if they know what they are talking about, but I don’t carry around my computer for instant worldwide web access and anyway there is so much junk on the web that does not prove anything either.

(Now I could say all of this about people who spout off left-wing stuff too, I suppose, but where I live you don’t hear much of  that.)

What brought this to my mind were two incidents over the past few days:

The other day as I was driving toward home in my 18-wheeler, I spotted a pickup driven by some type of tradesman, judging from the equipment on it, that had a bumper sticker that read: “Impeach Obama”.

As far as I know, presidents can only be impeached (and convicted — impeachment is a tricky word, but let’s don’t get into that) for “high crimes and misdemeanors”, something which is not clearly defined in the Constitution. But I think it is necessary to show some type of tort or recognizable criminal act was committed, not just a political decision that offended people. I am not aware of the charges against Obama. And this was probably not a good example for what I am trying to get at — probably a lot of our recent presidents have had such stickers made against them; I know George W. Bush did (but he did seem to have lied in his bid to justify the Iraq War). Clinton was impeached but not convicted (I think he should have resigned in embarrassment and for disgracing the presidency by his personal actions, not by his political actions.)

But in the second incident I was in a local business establishment and I heard a man tell someone that he is moving to Texas (or planning to) because they have no income tax and they have a balanced budget and he wishes the evangelical (my word) conservative Republican governor, Rick Perry, would become president.

Well, then I read on the web that Texas is facing a major budget shortfall and that it is having to cut all kinds of services to the public. But as I say you cannot trust everything you read on the web. In one blog I read, trying to do a little Texas research, GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was used in place of GOP  (Grand Old Party, as in Republican) and “economy’s” was used in place of “economies”. I confess, I inadvertently make some of those type of errors too because my typing fingers move quicker than my brain at times, but, nonetheless, whenever I read something like that I quit that piece feeling I can no longer trust its credibility (that’s why I so hate to make embarrassing spelling and grammatical errors — and spell check does not know what you were actually thinking or what word you actually wanted — it may be a correctly-spelled word, just not the right word. And a thought may make grammatical sense but it may not be the thought you meant to convey).

Then I saw a video on You Tube meant I think to refute the idea that low taxes mean poor roads, showing a nice smooth stretch of pavement on a Texas highway. But it looked like to me it might well be an Interstate, which would mean it was at least partly federally funded, I believe.

I also know that there are no sales taxes in Oregon, a state through which I travel constantly. Pretty neat when you buy things. I also hear that land taxes are sky high there. I also read that sales taxes are high in Texas. When I lived in Arizona years ago I was chagrined to find that they taxed groceries.

But certainly you can have lower taxes and even balanced budgets. But you might find out all those services you took for granted all those years might go away.

I know, the greedy government should keep its hands off your Social Security and Medicare.

What I think is coming down the pike is lower federal expenditures for a lot of things, but people are still going to demand services. Look out for more local and state taxes and “fees”.  And that may be a better way to handle things in some cases. The money will have closer oversight by the pubic and people can decide what fits their area and needs.

Of course we all don’t just stay in one place. People often feel compelled to move in search of employment. They often bring their ideas of what are local needs with them.


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