In America, if you’re not conservative, it means you’re probably arguing with one. As anyone who’s argued with conservatives knows, it’s a slog. Not even remotely fun, informative, educational or, frankly, worth the time. Conservatives never bring receipts; they think their feelings are receipts. And, while they mock progressives for being “elite”, conservatives judge from even higher. They have a relationship with God, don’tcha know. Even if you say you, too, have a relationship with the divine, yours sucks in comparison to theirs. Even religion is just another dick measuring contest to conservatives. How the hell does one argue with that? The thing is, you can argue with it and win every argument hands down. Here’s the secret: it’s in the word “how”. This piece isn’t about how to ARGUE with conservatives, it’s HOW to argue with them.
The answer? For the most part, ya don’t. And that’s how you win.
Trump Made It Worse
Whatever political argument America was having with itself, Donald Trump made it exponentially worse. He empowered our very worst instincts. And when conservative yobbos open their yobs to argue, that’s what pours forth: their very worst instincts.
Personally, I don’t mind a good argument. All of the stakeholders in a democracy need to be able to speak honestly and forthrightly with one another. We need to hear what “the other sides” are thinking. That assumes of course that the other side thinks to begin with. Look, as much as I disagree with conservatism, if I’m honest, I know that America needs conservatives in its political mix. Finding that moderation between all sides – a fluid thing all by itself – that is America’s genius. But, how does one argue with someone for whom even moderation is the devil?
Bigger question: how do you argue with someone to whom facts do not matter? Who thinks “The Big Lie” isn’t a lie? Or, if it is a lie, so what?
We Stand At A Pivot Point
We stand at an existential pivot point. The conservatives in the American mix have stated plainly: they don’t want America to be diverse and they don’t want America to be a democracy anymore. That isn’t shocking. Since the Reagan era, Republicans have had a harder time selling their ideas at the ballot box. The Reagan era itself finished turning the GOP from the Party of Lincoln into a narrow-and-narrowing white power party. Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” captured the Dixiecrats (who were only Democrats in name only; they were Confederates). As the Reagan era ended, the Right Wing Money saw demographic annihilation ahead. America was diversifying more rapidly than anticipated. It spelled certain doom for white power. Every last bit of what the Republican Party is now doing to America, to our democracy and to our future flows from a deep well of racism. They see America as their “white homeland”. The rest of us? We’re visitors apparently. And we’re unwelcome.
This morning on “Morning Joe”, host (and former Republican Joe Scarboro) described a conversation he had with a conservative friend who still calls themselves “Republican”). This person, Scarboro intimated, had a name we all knew. Like Scarboro, they called themselves “conservative”. Alas, democracy wasn’t one of the things they want to conserve. This Republican friend told Scarboro that America doesn’t “have to be” a democracy.
Riiiiiiiight… we could be an authoritarian shithole instead. Just like that.
How does one argue with people like that?
Of Republicans And Rabbit Holes
I meant what I said above: you don’t argue with them. That really is the trick.
Every conservative argument is a rabbit hole of utter nonsense, toxic logic and raging bullshit. Why on earth would you follow a conservative down one? Better to stand up at the surface, waiting for the conservative to realize you aren’t chasing them. Eventually, the conservative will lose interest. Bored, they’ll go looking for you.
They need this argument more than we do. The conservative power grab intended to cow the rest of us into submission. It didn’t work. Killing Roe unleashed a political force that conservatives dismissed. Already 88% of women polled intend to vote as if their reproductive health and lives depend on it. The youth vote, normally unreliable is showing up.
That bodes poorly for Republicans. If young people become reliable voters – and reliable Democratic voters? That will win a lot of arguments. Hands down.
ADDENDUM – Damn! Meant to link to this – Monty Python’s brilliant “Argument Clinic” sketch…