The Sunday Edition: The West Wing, Arguing with People on the Internet, and Wyatt Wingfoot

j_elationj_elation So the first thing we should talk about is why there wasn’t a Conversation Worth Having. Well that’s because I was in an accident on my motorcycle. I’m OK and so is the bike. A friend rode it home and there’s some minor cosmetic damage. I did crack some bones in my foot however so walking was hard and I’m not a huge fan of doing these things while laying down or whatever. So yeah, sorry about that. I’m going to try to do one in the middle of the week, but no promises.

I might have mentioned this before, though I might not have, but The West Wing is probably my favorite TV Show of all time. I own the special edition box set and I re-watch it, all seven seasons, at least twice a year. I would love to tell you it’s because of the politics, and I do love that, but it probably has more to do with an unhealthy love I have for Aaron Sorkin. So if you’ve got some money lying around and you want to give me something, did you know he has a Master Class? What’s that? It’s like a $100? Well… I suppose that would be an inappropriate gift wouldn’t it… Where was I?… Oh yeah, The West Wing.

Two of my favorite episodes are “20 Hours in America Pt.1 & 2”. There are many things I love about these two episodes, but the thing I love the most is a conversation had across both episodes by Toby Ziegler and Josh Lyman the two people arguably most instrumental in the President’s first campaign and the current campaign. They’re in a tough Presidential race as the republicans have managed to find a folksy, plain spoken, and relatively macho Governor to run against President Bartlet, an exceedingly intelligent Ivy Leaguer who plays a lot of chess. While travelling through the American Midwest after they miss their plane ride home, Ziegler and Lyman argue about the campaign. They bicker and fight about a wide range of things both intelligent men in their own right who complain about the world and what’s going on, all the while oblivious to the people around them. While bemoaning how the simple folksy people aren’t in the demographic they’re trying to win, they’re given a ride home in a home built bio-diesel truck.

Now there was a lot in this episode that highlights the GROSS failings of the Democratic Party and was truly predictive of Trump and why he was set up for victory, but there’s a piece that’s been sticking in my head for a while. Toby is going through all the dumb things that their opponent has been saying and doing and how he wants to take it to him and embarrass him on relatively flimsy grounds. Josh interrupts him and says “See, you want to beat him and that’s a problem for me, ’cause I want to win.”

The most disturbing trend I’ve found on-line from people, but most especially my fellow liberals, is the desire to be “Right”, not the desire to be “Correct”.

I try to limit my arguments to one or two people. I used to do it all over indiscriminately. One day someone had posted this racist diatribe about refugees trying to take pork off of school cafeteria lunch menus. The post, which was a slight modification of a post that came out shortly after 9/11, was demonstrably false and I took the poster to church over it. I had sources galore and I let her know that this was absolutely disgusting. I didn’t realize it was a friend’s mom, and this person got really upset that I called her mother out for being racist. I felt awful… but I also know I didn’t feel awful about what I said. Lies and racism need to be stopped. And I wanted to do it. I felt awful because I lost a friend. So I’ve gotten in the habit of picking only certain targets.

And the most interesting thing about these arguments to me, is how people refuse sources. When I argue on a topic, I never do so without sources, as a rule. If I’m arguing with you about something it’s because I have reliable sources and I’ve read up on this topic. So when I first started this I would often hear the excuse “Well that source is biased.” So then I started citing sources from other locations. Then that location was biased. So I picked another, and another, and it eventually got to a point where I realized; It’s not the source, they just don’t want to admit they’re wrong.

And why is that? When did we as a people decide that it was more important to be right — to win an argument — then it was to be factually correct? I mean sure, I’m definitely guilty of this. When talking about the ridiculous statements revolving around the reasoning to cast Johnny Storm as a black person I railed on about how if they want diversity in the movies, why not use a diverse character they already have? I then cited Wyatt Wingfoot, a young black man, as the best candidate. It was at this point that one of my oldest friends pointed out that Wyatt Wingfoot was a Black Foot Native. I argued for a bit but they had sources… The problem for me was memory. I, for some reason or another, remember Wingfoot at a blackpanther rally or something. So yeah, I’ve been there too, but when they showed me sources and I had nothing to counter with… I dropped it.

But this isn’t the case for the handful of people I argue with. It doesn’t appear to be the case for most anyone on the internet I could throw 2 or 3 dozen sources their way, it doesn’t matter; they’re right, and that’s that.

Where do you guys think this came from? Has this always been a problem? Do you think it even is a problem? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Have a good’er.

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