Friday, November 25, 2011

New Economic Policy

I remember back when the TEA Party started spreading this toxic and stupid meme (... one of them), and really, it shouldn't surprise me that some small business owners, especially in the Deep South, are picking up on it.

U.S. Cranes, L.L.C, has a new company policy. One that they picked up from the TEA Party more than likely. Owner William Looman has explicitly stated that "we are not hiring until Obama is gone."

Well, if I ever need a crane service, I know where I'm *not* looking.

It's unfair to pick on just Looman here. This is symptomatic of a broader, petulant and toxic stupidity that the GOP. He's not the only one; he has friends like Mike Sankewitsch (that doesn't sound like an American name... hmm...), and a particular gun owner down in Texas who's willing to discriminate against Muslims and liberals (he ended up backing down - link to the Statesman. Avoid the comments if you don't like right-wing tripe). 

And if you actually go to his webpage, you get this:

William (Bill) Looman is a veteran, a patriot, and most importantly, my friend and brother. He and I along with many other Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen/women and Coasties, served, still serve, and shall continue to serve, so that the Constitution of the United States of America cannot be so trampled as to rob any American of their right to freedom of expression. All of you who have been less than kind in your assessment of Bill for his practice of that freedom, should be ashamed of yourselves. Every American has the right of freedom of speech, through the printed word or spoken, and for you to look down upon that right is to declare that not only do you not believe in the American Constitution, but to also declare to all that listen that you do not care to be branded an American. How sad that is.

I think he just scored an 11/10 on the victim pose scale.

Looman is claims his message was not "political" but anyone with any kind of sentience will realize it is - the economy is going to magically get better once Obama is gone? Really? If you were worried about the economy, you could post a sign saying "New Company Policy: Not Hiring Until Economy Improves," in which case, you'd be like most companies.

But instead, you specifically chose to highlight "Obama" as the cause, under the impression, one assumes, that if Obama isn't re-elected, everything will be unicorns, rainbows and roses and things will be perfect again, like they were under Dubya.

You can *say* that's not political if you want to, but it's blatantly so. It just goes to prove once again that the GOP and their supporter are ignorant and irony deaf.

And let's look at that message his brother left. Let's hit the highlights of this:
  1. We're former military personnel. Therefore, we can't be criticized or our actions and are beyond it.
  2. By "being less than kind" to Bill in his ignorant opinion, we're "trampling on their right to freedom of speech"
  3. And isn't it just terrible that you'd have an opinion of them yourself? You should be ashamed.
Freedom of speech does not mean I don't have the right to criticize you. Freedom of speech does not mean that you can say whatever you want without people taking you to task for it. Grow some thicker skin, you big baby. If you're willing to say something, you should be willing to accept legitimate criticism of it without whining about how persecuted you are or trying to make others feel sorry for you. And I'm of half a mind given that you're White and you're a business owner, that your actions are at least half-directed by an innate prejudice towards Obama merely because he's (half) Black and has a funny foreign name. Prejudice is the mechanic through which racism acts. So yes, that makes you racist if that is indeed true, and I'm strongly of the belief it is.

Second, this notion that because you're a former military personnel you're immune to criticize for saying stupid things; nope. I respect your sacrifice. Respect for your sacrifice does not extend to respect for you if you show me plenty of reasons why I shouldn't. Being in the military does not mean I automatically respect you; you certainly aren't immune to criticism for saying stupid things. I have plenty of friends who are in the military. There's a lot of former military members in the gaming community. But if they said something stupid or bigoted, I'd call them out. Just like I'm calling you out. It doesn't denigrate their service to criticize them for saying something stupid.

At the end of the day, it's standard right-wing flag waving and logical fallacies; the Fallacy of the Stirring Symbolism, I believe is one name for it. It's also one of the 8 methods of propaganda; glittering generalizations is another name for it. I can say any stupid thing I want, so long as I wave the flag around and accuse you of hating the constitution because you criticized me. I mean, this is so common on the Right anymore that it wouldn't be worth addressing if it weren't so toxic. I think this comes up in damn near every post I make.

And that's before we tackle that guy down in Texas (really, does it surprise anyone he's from Texas?) who wouldn't teach "socialists" or "Muslims" how to use guns. Really, I wouldn't go anywhere near his store anyway, but by posting that massive neon sign when he opened his mouth, he only confirmed which places I need to avoid. I'm not a Muslim, but I'm pretty sure that it's bigoted, because in all but a few cases (I work with a woman who has blond hair, blue eyes, doesn't wear a hajib or burqa, dresses like standard western woman, and is a Muslim - a convert, because her first husband was Yemeni), Muslim = Brown foreigner. That's pure bigotry. Some of the comments at the Statesman try to coat it with babble about how he has the right to discriminate due to "free market economics", but ultimately, it boils down to the fact that he's purely driving by basic tribalism and pure spite. Couch it how you want, but at the end of the day, that's what it all boils down to once all of the mental gymnastics are removed.

One criticism often leveled against the Right is that their economic policies are often driven by ignorance, like most other policies they have. I'd also add that these policies are driven by tribal loyalism, too: one look at the current state of the GOP and the Right reveals an economic policy that smacks of the early 40s , with separate drinking fountains for Blacks and Whites. So, given all of this, one can argue that the following are true: The way they understand the first amendment is right up there with they way they understand the free market and economics. That is to say, they don't.

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