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October 16, 2013

Ignorance is a Preventable Condition

Patrick W. Allen

Conservatives are far too quick to attach themselves to anything anti-Obama, disregarding all reason, logic and common sense. Two new “Obama’s abuse of power!” memes are racing through the world of digitally generated right-wing outrage.


One that exposes the president’s blatant abuse of power by using military resources to air-lift a tarp to cover Mt. Rushmore.


The other, the president’s blatant abuse of power by closing the ocean!


Cover a mountain with a sheet and close the ocean? Sounds completely insane, doesn’t it? Not if you’re a conservative.


Blatant Abuse of Power #1


A depiction of military choppers draping a tarp over the faces of those carved into Mt. Rushmore. The caption sometimes seen accompanying the photo reads: “Obama ordered this.” Sure he did. This couldn’t possibly be just another extremist attempt to take an easily foreseeable consequence of the government shutdown and blow them out of proportion.


The sites denouncing the president’s abuse of power using this or a variation of this picture have received hundreds of thousands of page views and shares. The problem is that people (conservatives) think the picture is real. They actually think President Barack Obama put a drape over the monument.


And the onset of Ignorance begins!!


The truth of the matter is there is no abuse of power here. And only an idiot would think that picture is real. The truth is, because of the shutdown, all areas within the federal lands are closed off. That includes the federally owned and maintained viewing areas, many of which are on the roadways that run through federal property. You can drive through; you just can’t stop and take pictures. Want to get a snapshot? Tell the GOP to reopen the government. Who do you think cleans and polices those viewing areas…The National Monument Fairies?


Blatant Abuse of Power #2


This is one of the finest examples of the lack of journalistic due diligence seen in quite some time.


Mike Flynn, fact checking stalwart of right-wing sludge-pit, informed us about President Obama’s most unbelievable abuse of power yet. As part of the president’s nefarious actions to inflict the most amount of pain possible, he’s…wait for it…shut down the ocean!


Nothing extreme about that headline is there? Unless, of course, you consider that Florida Bay is a federally owned and protected area off the southern tip of Florida and has the same application of rules to it as say, a South Dakota monument carved into a mountainside.


This ‘news article’ has received hundreds of thousands of views. There are over 10,000 comments and climbing. People (conservatives and right-wing conspiracy theorists) are pissed. And for what? For what some propagandist hack throws a toddler’s tantrum over? This is what the Breitbart Breaking News article had to say about President Obama’s alleged abuse of power:


The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban… of access to an ocean. The government will probably use more personnel and spend more resources to attempt to close the ocean, than it would in its normal course of business.


Florida Bay is the ocean. How, pray tell, do you “close” 1,100 square miles of ocean? Why would one even need to do so?


It’s amazing how blown out of proportion this story is … and the infection of ignorance becomes epidemic.


Florida Bay is a relatively small area when you consider the scope of coverage to Florida’s coastal waterways. A literal speck on the map when looking at the coastal areas of the country. The questions proposed are ludicrous.


How do you close 1,100 sq. mi. of ocean? Why do we need to do so?


Suddenly, President Obama’s “abuse of power” seems like an incredibly stupid claim by easily frightened conservatives. Conservatives are not just easily frightened, they want to be frightened by anything which has President Obama’s name attached to it.


What gets glossed over is that you can still drive, sail, and paddle your boat through the area; you just can’t stop to fish or scuba dive and similar activities. Why? Because if something goes wrong, there’s no one coming to help you. If someone decides to dump raw sewage in the water, there’s no one there to stop them. The federal government is shut down, remember?




As with Mount Rushmore, there is no presidential abuse of power here.  Florida Bay was closed during the shutdowns of both Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. It’s not like this is a new and unique occurrence.


Be careful what you wish for…


Conservatives were super excited and worked in overdrive to shut down the government. Now they’re screaming about the reality of what they wanted and have done.


This is what happens in the real world when you make such stupid (ignorant) choices.


Shouting “abuse of power!” and failing to take responsibility for your choices and actions doesn’t lend credence to your argument. Quite the opposite. How is it that Republican leadership and right-wing sheeple don’t see that?


A big problem with the way this country operates and its use of technology is that people spend more time sensationalizing and distorting an issue then they do actually deciphering and contributing to the solution of it.


Centrist, moderate views allow for difference of opinion and the debates and compromises that come with them.


Taking things to an extreme only polarizes and paralyzes all involved. And when it comes to the shutdown, we are all involved.


So, please, Mr. Republican-at-large, do us all a favor, knock off the ridiculousness of your bogus claims and distortions and sit down at the table. We have work to do. Stop preying on the fears and lack of education of the common low-information citizen. Put away childish things, treat serious issues seriously and fund the government for the next fiscal year all at once with a clean continuing resolution (CR).


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