It’s official. The Republican Party, the Grand Old Party, has made it clear that Obama is not their enemy. Who is the enemy?
Critical thinking and facts.
When asked about the thoroughly debunked talking point of “You didn’t build that,” the one where the GOP, led by Fox, claim Obama slammed small businesses, Romney’s people had a very interesting answer. After all, all they’d done was base their campaign pitch on a lie, right?
Their answer? Fact-checking wasn’t important.
This isn’t something trivial. Critical thinking and facts are the basis of growth, both personal and social. They are the basics of science, something a lot of conservatives seem to think is a bad thing going by recent examples, but never has it been more clearly stated.
Facts don’t matter, they say.
It’s not that hard to see how this works to the GOP’s advantage. The Texas GOP tried to ban critical thinking and inconvenient facts in schools. Tennessee pushed a bill that would allow creationism in schools. Bill Nye was booed in Texas for suggesting the moon doesn’t glow, something which creationists find insulting. The entire concept of the scientific method is missing from the GOP brain. When Limbaugh, for example, tries to make the argument that The Dark Knight Rises is an attack on Romney or that Robin Hood would have been a Tea Partier, he is showing the kind of thinking that most educated, mature people learn when they’re in high school.
More recently, the NRA actually came out and said that mass shootings are essential to an “open society,” that it’s not a good idea to ask questions after mass shootings like the ones we’ve experienced the last few weeks.
Remember, this is the same mentality that makes some people kill abortion doctors because life is sacred. This is the same culture that believes the Bible is the infallible word of God, yet charity and sharing are now sins. The ability to think critically is what has given us medicine, the reason we landed on the moon, and the reason you can read this on a screen that manipulates light and is controlled by a small piece of silicon and metal.
Everyone is entitled to an informed opinion. The ability to come together and debate issues only happens when we can all agree that REALITY EXISTS. It’s the most basic foundation for an argument, for science, but since the GOP and many conservatives have simply decided that reality doesn’t work for them and they’d rather go with fantasies about anti-rape vaginas and an Arab conspiracy to destroy our country, I guess we can just stop the debate now. After all, with everything that’s happened, it’s obvious that conservatives really are scientifically incapable of understanding reality.
We’d have a better chance of discussing Chaucer with a mentally handicapped tapeworm. At least the tapeworm is more pleasant company.
Uninformed, deluded or craven. I think those are your choices if you’re conservative and caught spouting the “We Built This!” nonsense. Forget roads, forget the power grid, forget regulatory schemes, forget all infrastructure – the indisputable reality is that you did not build “this” on your own. Not totally on your own, anyway.
Let’s talk about Cheryl and Eli Valenzuela, who will be speaking this week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. The Valenzuela’s own First State Manufacturing (FSM), a successful small business which they started in a garage doing upholstery, but which has subsequently expanded to making other products, like baseball ump vests and vests for the Israeli military.
Cheryl is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention, an ostensible flesh-and-blood embodiment of Republicans’ mantra “We Built This”. The phrase amounts to a rebuke of President Obama’s recent remarks that small business owners didn’t build their business in isolation without help from others. Forget that the remarks have been shamelessly taken out of context for a moment. Forget that, logically, it is impossible for you to build a small business in America totally on your own. Forget that you’re an adult and should know that without me having to write this article to remind you of that basic fact.
No, forget all that and just remember this: What is hilarious to the utmost about Cheryl Valenzuela speaking — as a living example of the “We Built This!” them, mind you—is that the Valenzuela’s didn’t even come close to building it on their own. Subsequent research on FSM, by Justin Acuff at Addictinginfo.org, has revealed the following:
1) The Valenzuela’s’ new 66,000 square-foot facility is funded by a $1.8 million US Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan
2) Eli Valenzuela learned the upholstery trade through correspondence courses in the Army, and he applied what he learned at Dover Air Force Base, upholstering C-5 cargo planes.
3) Before Eli and Cheryl opened their upholstery business in the garage, they first received help and advice from the non-profit SCORE Association and Delaware Small Business Development Center to compose a business plan.
4) FSM was initially funded by a $20,000 guaranteed SBA loan.
5) Eli and Cheryl also became certified in the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program.
6) In 2001, FSM received another $96,500 guaranteed SBA loan in order to modernize and expand.
7) After 9/11 and during the ensuing recession, FSM obtained a $65,800 SBA disaster loan to maintain their business and employees until the business climate improved.
Kind of takes the wind out of the “We Built That!” sails, doesn’t it? So, when you’re listening to inane conservative drivel this week about how we all did this “ourselves”, without any help from others; as you watch Republicans strut and chest-bump to “We Built That!” at a convention held in the 62% publicly-financed ($86 million) Tampa Bay Times Forum, keep these little facts as a obvious and commonsense reminder that, no, we didn’t build it all ourselves.
We all need help, and we all are in it together – a fact of life most people know without having to be told. Some of us (Yeah I’m talking to you, conservatives), it seems, are comically uninformed, hopelessly deluded, or just cynically craven, about the “We Built This!” theme. You pick.