SadPolitics.com will focus on the quality (or, more specifically, the lack of quality) infecting our national political discourse.
What is Sad?
Simply put politics become “sad” when people lie. Note that this is not the same as being in error. Somebody that makes an error and admits it has not lied – in fact with any luck we’ll be able to applaud many such people on this site. No, a lie is when you know something is wrong but you continue to say it because it helps you.
For our purposes, at least, politics aren’t sad when somebody disagrees with you. The world is a complicated place and there are no simple answers leading to situations where multiple honest, intelligent well-constructed but nonetheless completely contradictory opinions may flourish. But to step over the line, to propagate a lie or brash, uninformed simplification that’s known to be false – that’s sad.
Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Left, Right, Center, young, old, etc – they all lie and it’s the lie that we’re worried about here, not the position being defended. In truth we don’t care what your position is as long as you can defend it reasonably and soundly. Hell, we don’t even care if you’ve “gone negative” as long as the muck that you’re raking is true and relevant.
The Types of Sadness
At SadPolitics.com we’ll charge all items on a simple three-scale rating system as follows:
Dumbassery: This covers items that are just patently stupid or so well debunked that no honest individual could possibly present them as time-worthy. Most conspiracy theories (whether actually believed or simply used to distract and waste resources) fall into this category.
Dumbassery would include claims like “George Bush ordered the 9/11 attacks to force congress to go to war with Iraq” or “We need more evidence that Barack Obama was born in the United States“. There can be no more reasonable discussion on these points: those exposing them are simply idiots or liars.
Douchebaggery: This category would generally cover those things that are technically true, but presented so far out of context as to be meaningless to the conversation at hand. Douchebags will often “lawyer you” by making vague implications with no conclusions.
One of the more common forms of Douchebaggery involves attacking voting records in the Senate or Congress. Voting “yes” to any omnibus budgeting bill probably means voting “yes” to any number of minor, appended items that any specific politician may disagree with. The Douchebag will cherry-pick those items and imply specific voting tendencies where none exist.
Dickory: This is just, for lack of a better word, being an asshole. An implication that Barack Obama won the presidency because “people didn’t want to seem racist by voting against him” is pure Dickory as is the implication that George Bush would make policy decisions based on as supposed dislike of black people.
Politicians, at least on the national stage, tend to shy away from blatant Dickory. Political pundits and local politicians on the other hand tend to be masters of it.
Sad or Opinion?
As we said complex topics mean that multiple, completely contradictory opinions might be held about any particular subject. In keeping with out theme we’ll try to prevent our personal opinions from contaminating our selections as much as possible. That being said there are a few things that tend to get our attention more than others:
Opinion over Evidence: When a politician chooses to follow opinion rather than clear, direct evidence that’s sad. These opinions might be very popular or might be held by important supporters but if the evidence is against them and they’re used as foundations for policy decisions you may see them here.
Faith over Evidence: One of the greatest strengths of The United States is the separation of Church (any church) and State. So using faith to defend bone-headed, provably incorrect policy decisions is just sad. This site is always going to side with the science.
Funny Shit: We’ll be honest, we love a good laugh more than most people. So you’ll see the story of an anti-gay-marriage crusader caught in a gay relationship with a prostitute before you’ll see one about some junior congressman cheating on his taxes. They’re both sad… but only one is hilarious.
Logical Fallacies: We’re annoyed by bad arguments. Wherever possible we’ll not only present and item but also specifically call out the logical flaws that make it sad.
So that’s our plan: to call out the saddest examples of politics we can find and hopefully convince a few others of why they’re hurting us so much. Complex issues can’t be simplified into sharable Facebook posters and bullshit status updates and attempting to do so is tearing us apart.
We fully expect that some people (maybe most people) will charge us with partisanship (in fact we’re almost certain that we’ll be accused of being partisan for all sides). We welcome all corrections and will happily repair anything we’ve gotten wrong. We also welcome all criticism but warn that we may just respond in kind.