By Josh Marks
I was leisurely walking through Jersey City on a picture perfect sunny Sunday afternoon as the under-construction One World Trade Center tower stood tall across the shimmering waters of the Hudson River as a symbol of hope and renewal in the place of so much suffering and destruction on that fateful September day nearly eleven years ago under similar blue skies.
I happened to stroll past a Polish festival and as I looked to my right I was awoken to the intense polarization and hatred that divides Americans in this election season. The John Birch Society set up a booth promoting their radical right-wing agenda and spreading all sorts of vicious lies and propaganda against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
Maybe it was because I was in New Jersey, where I have seen video of residents confronting the state’s right-wing Republican Governor — and Republican National Convention keynote speaker — Chris Christie (read Paul Krugman’s take down of Christie for, among other irresponsible actions, canceling the badly needed Hudson River rail tunnel project while investing in a megamall and casino), but my initial reaction was to confront the old man behind the booth and tell him the John Birch Society was a racist organization, so I did. Well, he countered by saying that they had Jewish and African-American members and so JBS wasn’t racist. I then gave him a nasty look and left.
However, in hindsight it occurred to me that us progressives and Obama supporters have the facts on our side and we should use them when confronted with the anti-Obama crowd who will be making their presence known more and more as the election gets closer. That we have the facts on our side gives us a strategic advantage that means we don’t have to out-shout the Tea Party types and other right-wing groups that like to yell the loudest. We need to stay educated on issues like health care reform, the economic stimulus, Wall Street reform and dispassionately make our case without resorting to a shouting match, which is what they want.
It makes for great TV and gets progressives fired up to see the passion and fighting spirit of MSNBC host Chris Matthews when he took down Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus for the GOP’s divisive rhetoric on the birther issue and attempts to portray Obama as a foreigner. But there is a big difference between Matthews versus Priebus and you or me versus Tea Party wingnut on the sidewalk, so we also need to be armed with the facts and remember that we don’t have to resort to name calling and angry tirades — the facts and Obama’s record will win out. A good example is former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s MoveOn.org video in which he breaks down the five biggest problems with the Romney-Ryan economic plan and why it would be a disaster for America.
There are scenarios that might arise as the election gets closer and you are confronted with angry, zealous anti-Obama types, and some talking points are needed to refute their lies about the president. Many of these people will be fueled by the misleading theatrical film “2016: Obama’s America,” which is nothing more than right-wing propaganda by GOP hack Dinesh D’Souza, who is the president of King’s College, a conservative evangelical Christian school that operates out of the basement of the Empire State Building. The movie is playing well in the heartland and conservative cities so it is important to counter D’Souza’s lies with the truth. Click here for a fact check on this anti-Obama political propaganda.
Here are some websites you can visit to arm yourself with the facts on Obama’s record. Just remember, if you find yourself engaging with an anti-Obama individual, stay positive, stay calm, and be confident because you memorized the facts. The truth always wins.