Saturday, June 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 16

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on September 6th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 27

Shifting the argument

I wish people would respond to the words coming out of my beak.

It seems to be a trend that those responding to a counterargument who have nothing to stand on instead argue against something totally different. It’s called a straw man fallacy, and they teach you about that in critical thinking 101.

The most recent example I can think of came after President Donald Trump’s reaction following the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. There was a big hullabaloo after the president equivocated openly genocidal domestic terrorists—the KKK and neo-Nazis—with counter-demonstrators who came out against them.

When Trump defended himself, he doubled down on his “many sides” comment, and then shifted the argument, saying that “fine people” were among the throng of Klansmen and white supremacists who were there to defend a monument of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, from being taken down.

“Is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” the president said.

Since then, Republicans kicked into high gear, choosing to hop on this also fallacious argument, saying that the left is trying to “re-write history.” This argument has been repeated again and again, including by our own cartoonist Ross Mayfield.

Sorry to call you out like this Ross, but as a bird, I know a parrot when I see one.

Anyone who watched Sesame Street knows the “One of these things is not like the other” song. Well children, here we have George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert E. Lee. What’s the difference? They all owned slaves, but Washington and Jefferson were founding fathers of the United States of America, whereas Lee was a general of the Confederacy, an insurgent coalition of states that nearly destroyed the country to preserve the institution of slavery.

The argument on the left is actually this: Placing Confederate generals on the same pedestal that our country reserves for founding fathers is wrong, as it only serves to honor a system of white supremacy that we should move beyond, not celebrate. These statues belong in museums, not the public square. Nobody is pretending these things didn’t happen; we’re changing how we remember that period and those people.

There, will someone please respond to that?

I’m also tired of hearing the left get blamed for “crying wolf” when it comes to calling certain people on the right racist. If Trump’s DACA decision isn’t an indication—other than as another reversal of a policy established by America’s first black president, Barack Obama—that the administration is racially motivated in a disturbing way, I don’t know what is.

Thankfully, not all Republicans are OK with this, and are willing to speak up. California Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) did just that.

“These are our neighbors. They attend our schools, they speak English, they pay taxes, and they played by the rules,” Mayes said in a statement. “America should not be in the business of deporting children who came to this country through no fault of their own.” 

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