Melissa and I do our best to keep politics out of these posts, as well as our professional lives. So, this is the disclaimer, this post is not about specific politics, politicians, or even impeachment, though the topic arises from various political battles of the day. Unfortunately, I need to set the stage for my post with some political context. During the recent investigations related, mostly, to the President, leading up to and including the impeachment, there has been a narrative that attempts to conflate what he is accused of having done with what others are alleged to have done. For example, one may hear or read (especially on Facebook), “The President may have done X, but Biden (or Hillary, or Bill Clinton, or Obama) did Y, therefore, the President did nothing wrong.” The comparisons go on and on, ad nauseam. Again, this post is not about who did what to whom. It is, instead, about stating that these are false equivalents. They are attempts to excuse the behavior of one because of the behavior of another. This makes no sense. One thing is NOT related to another. If you are in a street race with your car and you get caught, but the other racer gets away, you are still at fault for speeding, etc. You are both at fault, even if the other party is not caught or is treated differently when caught. The truth is, all of these actors may be bad. Many have been investigated, some cleared, some not. One does not get excused because someone else did something else earlier, or later. In the case of politics, claiming “the other side is dirty” may be true – but is also likely true that “your” side is also dirty – that is, both sides. There is much dirt going around; one bad act does not excuse another. The frightening part to me is the degree to which the clever political operatives can manipulate so many people by making such falsely equivalent claims. This detail needs to come out. People need to hear that it is okay to dislike both sides. It may come down to the least offensive choice, but bad actors should be investigated and held responsible, whether they are “yours” or “theirs.” Too much effort is being spent dividing people (in this country and worldwide) with false equivalents and similar tactics such as fear and the use of “us and them.” Recognize what is being done, and don’t accept these tactics. Don’t share the hate, look for the truth.
Well, David has opened the proverbial can of worms with his choice of a topic for our blog. I will begin my part with a quote that my late Mother used to repeat, relatively often: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Mom was on to something. This phrase is widely known in both rhetorical and ethical realms as a rebuke against those who renounce someone’s wrongful conduct by mentioning someone’s else’s transgressions. The antithesis of this logical premise, “Two wrongs make a right,” has long been considered a logical fallacy. Whether or not one person has committed a wrongful act is irrelevant to whether another person has done so. Unfortunately, most people are not intelligent enough, nor have they enrolled in a class on logic (one of the most beneficial classes I ever took during my undergraduate education), to comprehend this logical fallacy. There is just no way to convince some people that, if President B did something terrible, it should be excused because President A did something terrible and perhaps, got away with it. The accusation that someone does not “practice what they preach,” although it may be appropriate, does not invalidate a contradictory action. I do not engage in political debates with most people, not because I am disinterested in politics, but because I have found most people are unable to participate by using logical reasoning strategies, instead, focusing on their emotions, such as “I just don’t like the way Senator X looks.” If only people were able to examine themselves for logical explanations of why things are the way they are, instead of adding fuel to the fire with hate filled discourse, perhaps the world would be a better place.