How to Educate The People

As my wife and I and our neighborhood team make phone calls on behalf of the Obama/Biden Team, I am often struck by the conversation at the end of our sessions. We get together for some snacks and discuss our telephone adventures.  Often we share ‘stories’ that people have told us while on the phone with them.  Although the ‘stories’ are not quite as radically ridiculous as those of Alan West [80 communists in Congress] or Joe the Plumber [charges of treason for Obamacare supporters] they nonetheless indicate a gross-neglect of the facts on the part of The People.

We often hear, ‘I heard that…’ Of course, what they hear is either propaganda or lies, but, without solid facts, these remain as ‘truths.’ This was especially common when our calling-topic was the Affordable Health Care Act. The amount of misinformation was amazing. A common complaint heard through the phone was. ‘I don’t want the government telling me what insurance I can have.’ Sigh. Or, ‘I don’t want the government paying for abortions.’  Double sigh.

The other day, one of our volunteers encountered the question, ‘Why doesn’t President Obama do something about the high price of gas?’ No doubt this person heard Newt promise $2 gas and wonders why Obama can’t do that. Yes, why not? Simple solutions, simple minds? Has our society fallen to such a level that we no longer care to ferret out the truth and, indeed, want simple solutions to complex problems?

How do we tell The People that simple solutions cannot work for such an immense and inter-meshed nation such as ours? The Constitution- so often the simple answer for the cliff-hangers on the right end of the spectrum- was drawn up for an agrarian, white, male, slave nation of a million people. None of those adjectives describe us 234 years later, yet we are led to ‘believe’ that this document somehow fits a diverse, 21st century nation of 300 million people.

How do we tell the people?

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21 thoughts on “How to Educate The People

  1. When I was doing those phone calls, I would ask people if they had internet access, and then direct them to a list of fact checking entities, especially factcheck.org. I kept the links written on a piece of paper in front of me whenever making calls, so I could be sure I was giving them the correct info.

    When I disagreed with them, but was willing to back it up with a third party fact checker, instead of he-said-she-said opinion sources, ti was much more persuasive.

    When I had read legislation or was more familiar with topics, I could often point to where the misinformation originated, the nexus point that led to misunderstanding, and then provide the real information – and it was because the real information made a lot more sense than the nonsense which sounded alarming, that people recognized truth when they heard it and were persuaded.

    Good for you for doing those phone calls; I particularly hate robocalls, and find real people on the phone to be more appealing and persuasive.

    What I would like to do this election cycle is to learn how to do computer generated web videos. I am chagrined to amit that I currently lack the technical expertise, but I am willing to learn. I’m not a bad cartoonist and charicaturist with paper and the traditional tools, and ages ago I learned how one creates an animation the old fashioned way, one image at at ime. But there has to be an easier way. I love the youtube videos done by Mark Fiore – check them out. Or the drawings done by CBS News’s “Fast Draw” guys.

    Before I start experimenting with that I need to figure out how to undo trying out the new blogger dashboard that I hate. I can’t even find a way to get the help function to tell me how. Any suggestions? for either how to go back to the original blogging dashboard OR creating web ads/ videos. (I’m asking laci to help me comply with all the disclaimers required).

    Applause from me for doing the grunt work to get out the word to people with phone calls! Hooray for grass roots political activism and participatory democracy!!!!!

  2. Hello Dog Gone,
    I applauded your efforts and as we use to say in the Navy, “Bravo Zulu” which means, “Job Well Done!”

    I like your approach with passing on the link:

    http://www.factcheck.org/

    so others may verify for themselves and promoting “Logical and Critical Thinking.”

    As we have both noted, it is the willingness to swallow the spoon fed fanaticism without questioning the validity or correctness we are seeing too much of with the voting electoral population this National Election season. This is the pit fall of Conservative “lack of thinking” prespective.

    I would also suggest that if someone likes another fact checking or verification site they like, to please pass this onto everyone starting with our humble group here. :-) In reality, we are all well informed.

  3. Hello All,
    I did a search and came up with these fact checking sources:

    I found this one to be very good for even the simplest mind to comprehend. Of course this does not mean that for those who subscribe to the “Fanatical Activist Agendas” will just give this as proof of some more Liberal Bias.
    http://www.politifact.com/

    Not as user friendly as noted above but can e-mail the latest bull crap being e-mailed around.
    http://www.truthorfiction.com/

    This site has some very useful easy icons to direct you to the subject you may have a question on.
    http://www.snopes.com/

  4. Some people, M_R, are just not educable. My ball park estimate
    of that group is about 30-40% of the population. Now, I don’t
    mean to say it is all the GOP. There are still traditional conservative Republicans who are moderate, like our good commentator,
    Englineer. It is those Republicans that are able to understand the
    word, compromise. People who understand that we need a balanced
    budget, that we need rational reforms of our entitlement programs,
    a reduced defense appropriation, to roll back the income inequality,
    and to increase revenues. However, the rest which includes tea
    partyers, the fundies, the CHINOs, and the duped poor are not
    educable. If I were making those calls and received the type of
    initial response you had, I think that I would say, good you got
    what you deserve, hang up, and already be looking for NEXT. Let spontaneous cumbustion come upon them, my friend.

  5. In the Toledo area there is an ad against President Obama that lists facts that are simply not true.

    – Gas was $1.92 when Obama took office
    – Obama canceled the pipeline
    – Having the pipeline would lower gas prices

    Other misinformation making the rounds;
    – 92% of jobs lost were women
    – Affordable Health Care Act* will ration care
    – The Republican Plan will “fix” Medicare
    – The auto stimulus* plan did not work

    Do we all know how to correct these lies?

    * As a person who has been active in political issues, I know it’s of the up-most importance to use the correct name and NEVER use the name assigned to it by the opposition. Sometimes we do it without even realizing we’re doing it.

  6. “Obama canceled the pipeline”

    I assume that this is the Keystone pipeline running from Canada
    to Houston. My response is that the pipeline has not been canceled
    but s waiting on an environmental impact statement from EPA.
    The reason for this is that while the other States agreed to the route
    of the pipeline, Nebraska objected. The objection was raised by
    REPUBLICAN farmers and ranchers who had to fight tooth and
    nail against Oil and Gas national interests and threats of having their land being taken by imminent domain procedings and
    receiving scab value for their land. However, they prevaled and
    the Nebraska Governor, a REPUBLICAN, sent a letter to President
    Obama requesting the delay. The line as intended would pass
    through sandy land which has some of the best water tables in the
    United States for the raising of cattle and grain. The pipelines
    leak no matter what and the Nebraska REPUBLICAN ranchers
    and farmers do not want their water tables contaminated.
    Therefore, the request to the Preseident from the Nebraska Governor to have the EPA do an impact review.
    The President has not canceled the project, bvut only delayed
    at the request of the Nebraska REPOUBLICAN GOVERNOR.

    1. I’m impressed. You came back with even more than I knew. Thanks!

      And…..
      Parts of the pipeline are actually starting to process required building permits.
      Capacity already exists if Canada wanted to increase production into the U.S.
      The largest U.S. export last year was fuel. Most of the oil Canada will send through the completed pipeline would probably be sold to China.

    2. The pipeline wouldn’t provide more oil anyway to the U.S. It is destined for refineries at the Port Arthur Free Trade port where we will be paid ZERO tax dollars that we would otherwise collect as it is sold to the global markets. As to the job creation bullshit, that is a farce as well. Most of the materials for it have been purchased already – like the metal for it, from India, and it is generally estimated by neutral sources like Cornell that there will be only a few jobs at best temporarily, but an actual possible LOSS of jobs overall, longterm. AND the Canadians want a relaxation of the safety requirements, especially permission to use lighter guage metal for the pipeline which is more likely to crack. Trans Canada does NOT have a good track record for spills either — and it was Canadian oil companies that paid for the studies used by the right to make their claims, and even those entities don’t stand by the numbers they generated – but the righties are sitll using them.

      Follow the money; the pro-pipeline crap – we already have a surplus of pipeline avialable for oil from Canada and do NOT need this one – are the same crooks in congress who want to gut the provisions of the legislation banning insider trading and who joined the F-35 Caucus – another boondoggle to rip off the citizens of the U.S. There is a ton of big oil money pushing for that pipeline, for no other reason than they can find a new way to put our money in their pockets.

      I’ve written about both the F-35 and the pipeline rip off on penigma.blogspot.com recently. It should be a much bigger scandal than it has been. Somebody is really really good at spin on the right.

      1. I was wondering if the Canadians were running it through the U.S. because they probably wouldn’t pass environmental requirements in their own country.

  7. “Affordable Health Care Act* will ration care”

    Face fact, NON, it will ration care

    1. That’s one of those True & False statements. Depends on how you define the word “ration”. Toledo’s St. Vincent Hospital Emergency room is full of people seeking care they should be getting from their primary care physician. The former MCO and Toledo Hospital have the same problem, but slightly less. I personally know people in Canada and Great Britain who say their health care sucks. They either come to The States or rough it out. Neither one a good option.

      The extremist fringe translates “rationed care” into Death Panels. And too many people seek unneeded medical tests or medical specialists.

      I would translate “rationed” into “managed” care.

  8. “92% of jobs lost were women”

    But, those loses came before Obama became President, under
    George Bush, and immediately after Obama was inaugurated
    before the Stimulus program was passed and the automotive
    bailout loan. Since that time there has been steady growth of
    private employment. Moreover, to suggest that this is a War on
    Women Democratic style is ridiculous. Why do women overwhelmingly support Democrats? Because it has been the
    Democratic Party that has supported Women’s Rights from
    universal suffrage to income equality with men. What Governor
    and what Party recently ended equal pay for women?

    1. Wow….and very good. If you don’t use 2009, but 2007 as the start Romney’s quote is WAY off (In the beginning of the recession, most of the job losses were men). Was at my mother’s yesterday and she blamed Obama for the economy. I replied her dementia must be forgetting that the downturn started over a year before Obama even took office. Ya, it pissed her off and she accused me of being mean to her. I said Fox News was the one being mean to her.

      And when researching for this reply, I learned that many of the jobs held by women were actually lost due to Republican actions in Congress. (i.e.: A lot of female teachers lost their jobs after Repubicans stripped and education funding bill.)

  9. Cheap gas (petrol)–maybe get rid of the taxes asssoicated with it.

    Then, get used to even worse road conditions and infrastructure. Although, the right’s answer to that is toll roads and privatisation.

    The problem is that once privatised, public functions are hard to make public again–not matter how much it costs the peasants, which takes us to:

    Some people, M_R, are just not educable. My ball park estimate
    of that group is about 30-40% of the population.

    That is on both sides of the spetrum I take it. Some folks just know when they are better off v. being BS’d.

    Or so we would hope.

    UTF are you saying that no matter how hard one tries, these people are unreachable? They are swayed more by emotions than logic–even if they are formally educated. That makes them a prime target for propaganda.

    And, US propaganda is very effective since it comes from the world of advertising.

    1. “…US propaganda is very effective…”

      Now that’s depressing :-(

        1. Thanks for hte link, Laci. The author concludes: The thing about propaganda is that, once it is exposed for what it is, no one listens anymore. True but time-consuming, yet what else can we do in this age of terribly slick propaganda?

  10. “UTF are you saying that no matter how hard one tries, these people are unreachable? ”

    Yep! Well, unless there is some huge cataclysmic event that
    disrupts their pocketbook in a highly significant way. Other
    that that, it seems to me this 30-40% are unreachable. Voters
    in SC, AL, MS, LA, northern FL, GA, AR, probably TN, KY,
    NE, KS, WY, SD, ND, UT, AZ, ID are all in the fundies camp.

    The rest of the States like, FL, NC, VA, OH, IA, NM, CO as
    swing States with it dependent on voter turn out. TX could or
    is becoming a swing State. That’s the way I view it…

    1. Texas as a swing state: who would ever have thought? “…are all in the fundies camp.” How terribly sad, my frind, how sad. And the worst part of it all is that their theology is completely false. But they don’t know it; they’ve been so thoroughly propagandized and brain-washed that they ‘believe’ the unbelievable. Here’s THE perfect, timely and most important example: Resurrection. The fundies [and the majority of Christians] believe that Jesus rose from the dead. But wait! Not only do they believe this, but they pin their entire life on this fallacy, believing that Jesus came to earth to ‘save us’ and the ‘fact’ that he ‘rose’ from the dead is where we will be after our death. What a bunch of hooey! Myth, magic and miracles!

      When we’re dead, we’re dead. What we have done DURING our lives is what makes us god-like. Thus the living is what makes us holy [wholly].

      Christians sure bought the snake oil!

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