I read an article this morning that detailed Mike Rowe’s response to one of his fans who wrote to him requesting that Rowe encourage his fans to go out and vote.
Can you please encourage your huge following to go out and vote this election? I would never impose on you by asking you to advocate one politician over another, but I do feel this election could really use your help. I know that there are many people out there who feel like there is nothing they can do. Please try to use your gifts to make them see that they can do something – that their vote counts.”
Mike Rowe’s response was unusual – and one with which I agree 100 percent. Anyone who has read my rants about Generation Stupid and political ignorance knows I am a big advocate of being informed, doing one’s research, and analyzing the information one receives.
Voting is not a “civic duty,” although some have tried to couch it as such. You have no duty to cast a vote for someone whose positions you may know nothing about, or whom you wouldn’t trust to lead this country, merely because that’s whom the major political parties of this nation have put forth. You have no obligation to help elect someone to lead this nation, in whom you have no confidence, but whom some celebrity, who has no understanding of economics, foreign policy, national security, or the military, has encouraged you to oppose or support.
Your only obligation is to exercise your rights responsibly, because your vote does matter, and it does affect everyone around you.
A few weeks ago, during the first presidential debate, I lost my shit on social media after hearing one of the candidates claim that we pay 73 percent of NATO.
WE. DO. NOT. PAY. 73. PERCENT. OF. FUCKING. NATO. If you don’t know how NATO fucking works, shut your stupid fucking face up! OMG!!!
I can’t watch this. Seriously. It’s making my head explode.
Now, I didn’t watch the rest of the debate. I merely walked in from dinner and heard that portion. However, several of my friends tried to justify the comment – one with “But… but… but… Hillary lies more,” and the other with a graphic that details our total defense spending compared to that of the other NATO allies combined.
I had to patiently explain that this has nothing to do with our contribution to the alliance. This is a comparison of our own defense budget compared to the other NATO nations. It’s what we spend on our OWN defense, and it should be a lot. We’re much bigger than our NATO allies.
Now, there is a NATO defense spending benchmark that the alliance encourages each member to reach – that’s 2 percent of their Gross National Product. Most members don’t come close to spending that much on their own defenses, and ostensibly it’s correct that they would rely on the strongest, biggest alliance member – the United States – to defend them should the shit hit the fan. That’s a valid concern, given that we are under an obligation to abide by the treaty and the collective security guarantee. But to claim we contribute 73 percent to NATO is ludicrous!
It’s an indication of just how ignorant the candidate is on issues pertaining to our most significant alliance, but it’s also an indication of just how ignorant some voters are about those same issues. A simple Google search isn’t enough. The Internet doesn’t always provide the correct answer to your question. Further research is needed.
And in a world made up of memes, the commitment to doing that research and being fully informed on issues of importance in this election is critical.
That was essentially Mike Rowe’s reply.
I also share your concern for our country, and agree wholeheartedly that every vote counts. However, I’m afraid I can’t encourage millions of people whom I’ve never met to just run out and cast a ballot, simply because they have the right to vote. That would be like encouraging everyone to buy an AR-15, simply because they have the right to bear arms. I would need to know a few things about them before offering that kind of encouragement. For instance, do they know how to care for a weapon? Can they afford the cost of the weapon? Do they have a history of violence? Are they mentally stable? In short, are they responsible citizens?
Casting a ballot is not so different. It’s an important right that we all share, and one that impacts our society in dramatic fashion. But it’s one thing to respect and acknowledge our collective rights, and quite another thing to affirmatively encourage people I’ve never met to exercise them. And yet, my friends in Hollywood do that very thing, and they’re at it again.
Every four years, celebrities and movie stars look earnestly into the camera and tell the country to “get out and vote.” They tell us it’s our “most important civic duty,” and they speak as if the very act of casting a ballot is more important than the outcome of the election. This strikes me as somewhat hysterical. Does anyone actually believe that Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ed Norton would encourage the “masses” to vote, if they believed the “masses” would elect Donald Trump?
Regardless of their political agenda, my celebrity pals are fundamentally mistaken about our “civic duty” to vote. There is simply no such thing. Voting is a right, not a duty, and not a moral obligation. Like all rights, the right to vote comes with some responsibilities, but lets face it – the bar is not set very high. If you believe aliens from another planet walk among us, you are welcome at the polls. If you believe the world is flat, and the moon landing was completely staged, you are invited to cast a ballot. Astrologists, racists, ghost-hunters, sexists, and people who rely upon a Magic 8 Ball to determine their daily wardrobe are all allowed to participate. In fact, and to your point, they’re encouraged.
Some of my friends took issue with some of what Mike Rowe said. According to my friend, the idea of not encouraging everyone to vote because they aren’t smart or informed enough is elitist snobbery at its finest. This friend, then, somehow decided from Rowe’s words that it’s a Republican versus Democrat issue, and pointed to the fact that Republican celebrities are also engaged in “get out the vote” campaigns as well.
My friend also agrees with the responsibly exercising one’s gun rights idea, but claims that this contradicts Mike Rowe’s logical, principled stance of not encouraging those who are ignorant about guns to own one without training to refusing to encourage more liberals to vote. I find that, in and of itself, to be interesting projection. Rowe didn’t mention anything about not encouraging liberals to vote. My friend merely took it as such.
Fact is that Mike Rowe didn’t mention for whom he was voting, didn’t focus on the liberal/Democrat side as being more guilty than the Republican/conservative side (although, he mentioned more liberal celebrities, probably because there is a much greater number of liberals in Hollywood than there is conservatives), and didn’t advocate depriving ignorant people of their rights.
He merely said that he refuses to encourage people who barely know how our government functions to cast uninformed ballots, because everyone’s vote counts. Everyone’s. Republican, Democrat, informed, and barely intellectually functioning.
Rowe doesn’t encourage one side of the political aisle over another, but rather advocates that every single voter get informed by reading a variety of sources to inform their worldview.
“Spend a few hours every week studying American history, human nature, and economic theory. Start with “Economics in One Lesson.” Then try Keynes. Then Hayek. Then Marx. Then Hegel. Develop a worldview that you can articulate as well as defend. Test your theory with people who disagree with you. Debate. Argue. Adjust your philosophy as necessary. Then, when the next election comes around, cast a vote for the candidate whose worldview seems most in line with your own.”
Since when is being informed about something as important as deciding the future of our country “elitist snobbery?”
Since when is encouraging a well-rounded education and responsible exercise of a right a “personal intelligence test?”
No. Voting is a right, and every right needs to be practiced in a responsible manner. Rowe does compare such responsibility to gun ownership. He doesn’t advocate depriving people of their right to keep and bear arms if they’re not well versed in firearms and their safe usage, but he rightfully says that he refuses to encourage such behavior.
We all should.
Voting is similar. Encouraging people who can’t name the current Vice President of the United States to cast a vote for the future President is ridiculous.
The future of our nation is too important to trust to people who will vote for a candidate because it’s a vaginal American’s turn in the White House, or because “LOCK HER UP!” or because “THIS IS MY PROTEST VOTE!” This is how we wound up with the current crop of candidates whom very few Americans like, but are too afraid to shun, because the other person might win.
Steer clear of those who encourage you to cast an uninformed vote. Chances are they’re hoping to scare you into voting for their choice, because they’re a celebrity… because they made a glossy, inventive PSA… because they have a neat slogan. Unless they’re also encouraging you to get informed about the issues, instead of just trying to scare you because “that evil, murdering bitch” or that “boorish, racist, misogynist swine” could get into the White House, back away. Slowly.
So, no. I don’t encourage everyone to vote. I refuse to scare people into casting a ballot without understanding the issues at hand, because SHE might win.
Voting is too important a right to be practiced without personal responsibility.
Your ballot is your vote of confidence that the person you choose to lead this country will do his or her job, will respect the Constitution and faithfully execute the laws of this land, and understands his or her role in the leadership of the biggest, most significant, most powerful country in the world.
If you cannot or will not understand the issues at stake and are merely planning to cast your vote because some celebutard scared you into irrational terror of the other side winning, I would encourage you to get informed via something other than Internet memes and two-minute TV commercials, or stay the hell home!
Sometimes you have to wonder if celebutards and MSNBC “journalists” attend the same school of undefuckable derpitude. After reading this shit this morning, I would have to say they probably do.
We’re also very very lucky that the attackers tried to use explosives rather than guns.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) September 19, 2016
First, there was MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who after the explosions in New York and New Jersey this weekend, waxed retarded about how it was a good thing that the terrorist used bombs instead of guns. Because, you know… bombs are so much… uh…
Well, you know…
Something, something, something derp.
The social media reaction was swift, and Hayes at first was pleased with the attention he was getting, because any kind of attention is preferable to no attention at all – especially to an MSNBC journaljizzer, whose network is more of a punchline than an actual news station. After a while, however, Hayes walked back his douchery by proclaiming he didn’t really mean anything anti-gun, and he was just happy that no one died, that’s all.
Just when I thought this was the stupidest thing I’d read all month, out comes the wretched “comedienne” – and to call her that would be charitable – Sarah Silverman with the claim that Hillary Clinton somehow “captured” Osama bin Ladin.
UPDATE: Apparently, after a whole lot of ridicule, Silverman pusillanimously deleted her tweet. But the Internets is forever, bitch! For those of you wondering what she said, here it is – in its full asshatted glory.
Well, it occurs to me that snorting lead paint chips and guzzling rail vodka mixed with Clorox likely leads to an uncontrollable urge to lick windows and Tweet stupid shit, and here she is. Proof.
I guess watching bin Ladin get his ass capped by Navy SEALs in the White House Situation Room is equivalent to “capturing” him?
Much like landing in Tuzla airport and being greeted by a little Bosnian girl really equates to ducking and running from sniper fire. Hell, if it was a Republican, they would have gotten like 1,000 Purple Hearts for that! And maybe a Legion of Merit! And a CIB!
I can’t even today.
Yeah. She captured bin Ladin. And Brian Williams was there with Harambe, the cast of Hamilton, and Kevin Bacon.
Seriously, Silverman. Stop snorting meth.
So I’ll leave it up to you guys to decide which Tweet was dumber.
I’m leaning toward Silverman, but it’s a photo finish.
…those mistakes are epic in their stupidity!
There was the “Little Green Men” incident, in which Russian troops, wearing Russian uniforms, wielding Russian weapons, but without unit insignia, occupied the Simferopol airport, Crimean military bases, and other strategically important sites. Putin at first denied that Russian troops were operating in Crimea and claimed that it was Ukrainian militia groups trying to imitate Russians. Oops! Not so much. The weapons used were only issued to Russian troops, and could not have been sold in Ukrainian shops, as Putin claimed, since it’s illegal to sell or carry firearms in Ukraine, other than for hunting. There would have been no place to purchase said weapons – issued only to Russian troops.
Then there was the MH-17 stupidity, in which Russia actually claimed that the West (read: United States), NATO (read: the United States), boogie man (read: the United States) was responsible for the downing of the plane, despite the fact that a known Russian operative bragged on social media that his monkeys downed the plane, before realizing that OOOOPS! it was a civilian aircraft – filled with innocent people, whom they just murdered – and removed the social media post.
The post says that an An-26 aircraft was just shot down in the Torez region, and it’s currently lying somewhere behind a mine shaft. Then it said, “We warned you not to fly in our skies!” and claimed that the craft didn’t affect any populated areas when it crashed and that “peaceful people didn’t suffer. Except for the innocent civilians this Russian turd and his savages murdered, that is. He even posted video of the “downing of the bird.” (Shut up! It’s the best translation into English I could come up with.)
To make matters even worse, the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda published an alleged conversation supposedly intercepted by the Ukrainian security services, recorded between two “western agents” who were allegedly discussing their plans to down the craft prior to the incident. The burning stupid of this was evident in the really bad English of the “western” agents that sounded like a shitty Google Translate transcription, non-western phrasing, and the accents – OH THE ACCENTS!
I wondered then, between snorts and giggles, if someone in the FSB was smoking something laced with something else, because the Russians are generally pretty good at propaganda operations.
And then, I saw this in today’s New York Times. Jesus Christ on a toilet!
So apparently, after the release of the “Panama Papers,” which implicated Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in some… well… unsavory stuff, the NYT got a letter ostensibly from the Ukrainian President himself, wanting to address an editorial the paper ran on March 31, rightfully pointing out Poroshenko’s failure to address prevalent corruption in his country.
“I would like to respectfully request a telephone conference with you personally in order to attempt to convince you that opinions published in the article are without merit,” the letter read, finishing with the neat, curlicued signature of Mr. Poroshenko.
Well, alrighty, then! The NYT set up a phone call with “Poroshenko,” and that’s when things got funky.
The complainer’s comments were so suspect that the Times participants, including some newsroom journalists listening in, declined to publish an article on the matter, but instead began to investigate.
On Wednesday, however, edited audio of the call was mysteriously posted on YouTube, and the Times participants found themselves caught up in an apparent propaganda war between Russia, which is backing separatist forces in Ukraine, and Ukraine’s government.
The call, said Carol Giacomo, an editorial writer, was odd “because the more we got into it, the more we had questions.”
“The guy who was supposedly Poroshenko was in the background, and we couldn’t hear him very clearly, and the translator’s voice was dominant,” she said.
The translator told the journalists that the president, who has been identified as an account holder in the Panama Papers revelations about offshore accounts, had $500 million stashed in them.
The translator also quoted the voice identified as Mr. Poroshenko’s as saying he did not want to return the money to his country, in part because he did not want to pay taxes on it.
Yeah, because the President of Ukraine would speak Russian through his translator, even though he speaks fluent English, and usually conducts press interviews with foreign journalists in that language. *snort*
Because the President of Ukraine would tell American media that he had $500 million in offshore accounts. *more snort*
Because the President of Ukraine would admit to American media that he was hiding money for tax evasion purposes. *YUUUUGE snort*
Funnier yet, according to the article, the alleged Poroshenko “signature” was identical to a Google image result for Mr. Poroshenko’s signature, and the email address for Poroshenko’s alleged “press officer” was a fucking GMAIL account! *SOOO much snort!*
What in the everloving, grinning fuck, Russia? Are you really that pathetic nowadays? I mean, I realize it’s the Times and all, but still… Really?
And when caught in the hoax, this douche who identified himself as “Sergei Panfilov,” buckled and admitted to the lie, but tried to spin the story and claim that Poroshenko’s office was so upset with the editorial, that they hired him to stage the hoax.
Because, of course, admitting to keeping $500 million in offshore accounts in order to evade taxes is exactly what a Ukrainian president accused of not addressing corruption in his country would do to mitigate the situation!
I would never underestimate Russia. Really, I wouldn’t. But this monumental stupid isn’t the first time they’ve epically fucked up their propaganda efforts, and I keep wondering how anyone at the Kremlin thought this was in any way a good idea, and whether they’re now floating somewhere at the bottom of the Moscow River sporting some fashionable cement shoes and a gag.
A few weeks ago, a Baltimore Sun editor named Tricia Bishop penned an inflammatory column in which she equated gun owners with sex offenders and demanded a registry of those who chose to exercise their Second Amendment rights, so she could decide whether or not to allow her crotchfruit to grace those homes with her presence.
The backlash was quick and intense, as numerous gun rights supporters and even those in favor of gun control (just check the comments in the original and the Twitter feed response) widely panned the idea as stupid, offensive, and unconstitutional.
Well, Tricia apparently hasn’t learned the first law of holes, because she’s doubled down on the stupid in yet another column – this one a passive aggressive composition about the mean gun owners who insulted and berated her for wanting to treat them like sex offenders, as well as impugned her intelligence and parenting skills.
Her bottom line, however, is that the gun bullies, as mean and intimidating as they are, should be countered by an equally powerful anti-gun force, because see… polls are on her side. And in this battle of good versus evil, gun grabbers are sure to win, because POLLS or something.
So time for some whining fascist to English translation. Just a reminder that her text will be in italic blockquote, but will not show up on mobile devices for some reason. However, I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out which is text is her stupid, and which is my reply.
Here’s what happens when the NRA tweets your gun-control column, which is then picked up by several conservative media outlets: It makes your piece one of The Sun’s best read opinions of the new year, and it unleashes the hounds.
Translation: I love the attention. Even the evil NRA and conservative media outlets link to me! Look how important I am! They consider me significant enough to unleash their attack dogs on me! Look at me! I have the best read column of the new year (which was something like six days old at the time).
“Batten down the hatches,” was the advice my editor gave after signing off on the admittedly provocative essay, which explored the idea of a searchable, public database of registered gun owners. He wasn’t kidding.
They came at me via email, Twitter, Facebook, telephone and the U.S. Postal Service, attacking my looks, intelligence and parenting skills. They suggested multiple ways my child could be killed other than by guns and liberally used the f-word, b-word and c-word (at least once misspelled with a k) for emphasis. “Special kind of stupid” was a favorite put down (though I kind of liked “trollop” — you just don’t hear that much anymore), as was questioning whether I was on my period (Hey Trump fans!).
Some were local, but many weren’t. And a handful were thoughtful, respectful and earnest, with fair points to make. I tried to respond to those folks, though I may have missed some; I stopped reading the messages after a while. You can only take so much cyberbullying before it gets old.
Translation: Gun owners attacked me. They were mean to me. They bullied me until I hid under my bed away from my Inbox. They called me names. Why? Because I wanted to treat them like the worst life form on this planet (sub-human detritus that even convicted felons despise) for the awful crime of taking responsibility for their safety and the safety of their loved ones and daring to exercise their Second Amendment rights! They called me bad words for that!
In short, the response was largely ruthless, relentless and meant to intimidate. It was also impressive. Seriously. Tens of thousands of people read the column online (and at least another 23,000 read the web summary), and hundreds took time out of their days to give me a piece of their minds. If these same gun owners lobby their legislators with half the passion they directed my way, it’s not hard to see why they have been so successful in fighting gun control efforts.
Translation: They’re mean! They’re bullies. (But look at how awesome I am that they took the time to abuse me – I must be significant!) But I have a case of passion penis envy, because they’re intensely dedicated to their rights, and people like me can only use the First Amendment to attack the Second by proposing cretinous ideas rejected by the vast majority of Americans with an IQ above room temperature and then hide when the backlash inevitably hits.
And there’s the takeaway: Those of us who claim to support gun reform efforts — the majority of the country, according to recent polls — have to be as loud or louder to be heard (though perhaps more civil). It’s not enough to shed tears over the latest mass shooting or bemoan gun buying loopholes with like-minded friends. We’ve got to act. The gun owners, roughly a third of the population, sure do. Many are single issue voters who turn out for every election, proudly contribute to the NRA and wholly believe in their cause. Can we say the same?
Translation: We need to lie more and louder. We know we’re in the minority. We know recent polls show us losing, but we need to be louder anyway, because if you screech a lie loudly enough, “GUN SHOW LOOPHOLES! POLLS!” politicians will not notice that the gun show “loophole” claim has been debunked numerous times, and polls show a decline in gun control support. Just lie more. Lie louder.
In an op-ed earlier this month in the New York Times, discussing his new executive actions on gun control laws, which are supported by 67 percent of Americans, President Barack Obama pledged to also take every action he could as a citizen. “I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform,” he wrote. “And if the 90 percent of Americans who do support common-sense gun reforms join me, we will elect the leadership we deserve.”
I can get on board with that, though I don’t think we should wait around for the next election. We need to speak up immediately to let our politicians know how they can best represent us — or find a new career. There are many gun control advocates who already do this, but nowhere near enough given the numbers of people who say they support reforms.
Translation: If the President can lie and obfuscate, so can we! There’s just not enough of us who lie loudly enough. So we need to start. The quicker, the better. Just watch how I do it below!
The time for action from that silent group is now. As Alec MacGillis, a former Sun reporter now with ProPublica, noted in a recent opinion piece, the gun lobby’s power is waning: Gun ownership is concentrated in a smaller portion of the population, universal background legislation nearly passed in 2013, and more politicians are willing to take on the National Rifle Association.
Translation: Only in my twisted world can I claim that the gun lobby’s power is waning by using an opinion piece that cites a CNN story from 2012. Only in my twisted world can I claim gun ownership is on the decline, despite NICS background check data showing a clear increase, and despite other, more current polls, contradicting that claim. I also don’t care that I’m relying on data based on what people will admit, which leaves a rather vast and unknown delta between those who acknowledge gun ownership and how many actually do. And only in my own delusions can I claim a 54-46 Senate vote rejecting the background check bill in 2013 “nearly passed.”
New polling and study data are also making it clear that Americans not only want tighter controls on gun ownership but also more controllable guns. A study published yesterday in the American Journal of Public Health found that roughly 60 percent of Americans overall (including 40 percent of gun owners and 56 percent of political conservatives) would be willing to buy a “smart gun” with safety technology that limits who can fire it. That suggests there’s a market for such firearms — which could reduce gun suicides and accidental shootings, and render a weapon useless if stolen — despite claims to the contrary by gun manufacturer trade associations.
Translation: I will use only specifically-worded surveys to bolster my disingenuous claims. Scientific studies and public statements about lack of reliability and the risks of hacking from law enforcement officers don’t matter, because they don’t support my agenda. I also don’t understand what a “market” actually is. Oh, you mean a free market? Yeah… I have no idea.
While a public database of gun owners may push too far, easy access to guns is nevertheless a problem in this country. So is our acceptance of it.
Translation: I got my ass handed to me by both gun owners and non-gun owners alike. My leadership at the Baltimore Sun likely told me I should soften my approach.
Let me add this. The majority of Americans oppose drunk driving. Vehemently so.
So if this is the same Tricia Bishop who is now demanding that gun owners be treated like criminals for the safety of the children, I would submit that maybe this hypocritical imbecile be registered as a danger to society after her drunken driving incident.
(h/t to Misha for finding this particular piece of interesting information.)
Perhaps Tricia needs to stop digging and find another cause celebre. She just isn’t all that good at it.