Hypocrisy: The Greatest Factor Fueling a Divided America

divided America

Today it seems everybody has a complaint about the state of things in America. Some people think the problem is that we’re too politically correct. Others think the problem is there are too many guns. Some claim America’s problem is that political system is corrupt. Others claim that America’s problem is it’s too easy on people who aren’t of the same race, creed and beliefs of the single majority. And while some claim the problem is all our safety nets have made people lazy, others claim that the system is rigged in favor of the already-rich and established.

But in the end, I’ve noticed one overarching American problem, one that has seemingly powered all of our political divisions. The biggest, most divisive problem in American politics and infrastructure is hypocrisy. And yes, I’m going to try to show examples on both side, even though I know only my side is really right while the right is wrong (a perfect example of the hypocrisy ruining America: we’re both so married to our party lines we often refuse to listen to each other).

Hypocrisy of Lawbreaking Presidential Candidates

For this article, we’ll go to the bible: Merriam-Webster defines “hypocrisy” as “the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel.”

This past week James Comey released a report that Hillary was negligent, maybe ignorant but not criminal. As a previous KTB article explained, the burden of proof to have convicted Hillary Clinton of criminal activity is extremely high. Especially when you take into account the fact that Hillary’s great “crime” was simply using her personal email when conducting state business, an act perpetrated by many before her yet because Hillary did it and she’s the Dem presidential candidate that caused the GOP powers that be to wet their beds in fear, Emailgate has been elevated to the status of greatest crime ever perpetrated by a government official.

Her enemies are claiming that Hillary exemplifies the idea of an American double standard, that she thinks she can get away with “breaking the law”  and to allow her to do so would be setting a bad example for children, for America.

But where were the morality police when Donald Trump was indicted for ripping off old people and poor people with a for-profit fraudulent university scheme designed from the start to bilk average Americans looking to work hard to achieve the American dream? When Congress investigated Hillary, she gave everything she had to but nothing more. Trump resorts to attacking his accusers with baseless and borderline racists claims that they aren’t judging him fairly. In general there are a disturbing amount of lawsuits and disputes against his companies and his person (more than 100, according to USA today) yet Hillary is being painted as the rule-breaker and bad example for American morality?

Hillary at worst made a bad decision as Secretary of State (as every leader has done at one point or another), was proven in Benghazi to be guilty of nothing more than following orders (since the only big issue was that she lied to the American people about motivation for the attacks and that actually came from the WH press people), and received classified files on a less-secure email server. Donald Trump made money by conning hardworking average Americans but apparently that’s less of an outrage than the fact that a woman in her 60s didn’t understand the problem with personal email. My mom still doesn’t understand smartphones.

Hypocrisy of Congressional Investigations

Trey Gowdy declared that liberty died when Comey declined to charge Hillary Clinton with anything. Of course he would say something like that: He led an investigation that spent 62 hours in hearings (and 1000s of hours of the DOD’s time, not to mention how much congressional staff time was spent) investigating over and again Hillary’s role in the attack on an American temporary consulate in Libya and even by his own admission found nothing but the fact that she used her personal emails to conduct State business. The current Congress has done nothing in 4 years but investigate Benghazi and try to repeal Obamacare. Over and again. And all they’ve found after those hours and $23M worth of taxpayer dollars is the “outrage” of Emailgate. Which has been tied to absolutely zero deaths or even compromises of state secrets. So perhaps liberty died when the GOP and Gowdy wasted so much government time and taxpayer money on personally-driven investigations?

Over the last year over 136 black people have died at the hands of police officers. There have been dozens of cases where video shows that the person killed presented no immediate threat to the officer and in many cases the person was unarmed. Yet Congress has refused to investigate any of these killings, or even look into whether there is some systemic problem with the American Fraternal Order of Police, that needs to be rectified despite calls from the minority party to do so.

Congress has not conducted an investigation into the Iraq war and who lied to whom about what and when. Great Britain, whose Brexit move has been slurped down by every party-line pachyderm as an example of how Trump’s great walls of trade exclusion will save America, did just that and found millions of words condemning the war as the act of a moronic Republican and his British lackey. Yet is W. being investigated and indicted? Congress has not conducted studies of gun massacres like those in Newtown, Aurora and Santa Barbara, nor has it conducted investigations into whether the NRA has gone beyond its role as educational nonprofit and become a political entity in violation of 501C3 laws. Which leads me to:

Hypocrisy of Guns

The same people who see guns as protection against tyranny often support the tyrannical hand of law enforcement that stems from the free reign given to these people in power to use their judgement in the enforcement of law over American citizens. Or they’ll point to guns as necessary to keep one’s family safe without going so far as to say that the stockpile of weapons in America has made large police forces unnecessary. Following the logic of most pro-gun arguments, we don’t need as many cops on the streets. So the compromise should either be fewer guns or fewer cops. More of both is like a nuclear arms race.

Let’s not even get into the lack of statements from the NRA when a black man is shot by law enforcement for possessing a legal gun. Or actually, let’s, in one simple question: Are gun rights only for some Americans? Where were the #alllivesmatter people Monday and Tuesday? Apparently, the deaths of five men who took a job knowing their lives could be on the line are more deserved of tributes than the death of two men who were private citizens just going about their own business?

Then there’s a simple riddle: Why did Omar Mateen shoot up an Orlando night club? He was a terrorist Muslim and the FBI had proof so all Muslims should be cracked down on. Why could Omar Mateen buy weapons so easily? Because he’s an American and all Americans, even ones on terrorist watch lists, shouldn’t be prevented from buying guns. So do you believe he was an American first or a terrorist? And how much do you really want to support the fight against terrorists if you won’t support the idea that American terrorists don’t have a right to a weapon?

On the other hand, you have people in NYC and Washington DC trying to spearhead gun legislation nationwide without understanding how in states like Wyoming and Idaho and Utah, guns are often a necessity for protection (from wild animals) and part of a culture of self-sufficiency urban America claims to respect as it buys mass-harvested meals from Whole Foods.

Hypocrisy of Establishment

Donald Trump inherited a buttload of money from his father. He went on to build hotels all over the country, greasing palms along the way (by his own admission), hobnobbing with his elitist peers, is a real estate mogul (didn’t real estate have something to do with the Great Recession? Just like Wall Street workers are vilified despite only a few being active in MBS, shouldn’t all real estate developers be vilified?) and even has an office on Wall Street — he’s anti-establishment because he never worked in politics.

Bernie Sanders has for the majority of his adult life worked in politics — yet because he’s never done anything significant, that’s a sign that he’s not establishment.

Hillary has dedicated her whole life to public service, working on state and national levels of politics, and pushed forward proposals the regulate or improve (from a progressive standpoint) seemingly every hot-button issue, from health care to education — she’s part of the problem with the American establishment.

Hypocrisy of the Parties

Many of these examples are about the Right party line but that’s because the party has seemingly left the reservation after 5 years of active non-governing (or political obstruction). But it’s also because they’ll make statements accusing the left of employing divisiveness and using a tragedy for political gain (as in last week’s shootings of Sterling and Castile) despite having spent the last 4 years trying to use the tragic deaths of American diplomats in Benghazi as a way to take down the opposite side’s presidential candidate.

But hypocrisies exist on the left, too. I remember a few years back a Mexican woman came out of the polling place across the street from my house. A man who’d been holding up a placard (he was the legal distance away) asked if she voted for Obama and she said yes. He asked if she voted down Prop 8, which took away same-sex marriage, and she said no. That is, she wanted a progressive president who would be easier on immigration and poor people but she didn’t want gay people to be able to marry. Far too often I see this on the left: The Bernie bros who harbor and promote sexist anti-Hillary beliefs. The latent homophobia still running through many American minority social groups. Often hypocrisy is fueled by people’s personal prejudices; that is, justice is important but as long as it doesn’t go counter to our individual interests.

Hypocrisy of the Media

I can’t take credit for this one: College kid rapes a girl, media prints his swim times. Non-violent man is shot to death, media prints his arrest record.

Hypocrisy of Trustworthiness

I wrote about this a few weeks ago, about how Hillary is held to a higher standard than Trump and Bernie. But it still surprises me when people claim Trump is just an honest guy speaking his mind (when he has literally been documented lying and, in some cases, even saying he was lying; meanwhile, Bernie has fibbed and exaggerated quite often, not to mention he’s been beholden to Guns Inc. for longer in his career than HRC was beholden to Wall Street).

Hypocrisy of Subsidies

The right decries subsidies for safety net programs without addressing the subsidies to corporate interests despite those being greater than Medicare and Medicaid.

Hypocrisy of Sanctity of Life

The right is decidedly pro-life and pro-death penalty.

The left is decidedly pro-choice and anti-death penalty. While I see this as common sense (both benefit the lives of the living, though I’m also pro death penalty), that’s because I’m on the left. I can see how this could be seen by some as hypocritical.

Hypocrisy of Stereotypes

One side accuses all police of racist brutality while telling the other side not to generalize about Muslims.

The other side claims that because a few terrorists worship Allah, all Muslims should be monitored and barred from entry; but when folks point to the epidemic of anti-black police violence, they claim that most police are good, hard-working men and women who shouldn’t be vilified en masse because of a few bad seeds.

Hypocrisy of Environmentalism

Celebs talk about saving the environment while flying on private jets.

People push for electric cars that plug in when coal-burning from power plants is much worse than that from the burning of gasoline.

Hypocrisy of Drugs

Pharmaceuticals made of chemicals in factories with high rates of addiction and often long lists of side effects? They’re OK.

A weed grown in the ground? The scourge of American health.

The list of hypocrisies could go on but you get the point. It’s time for everybody on both sides to try and evaluate their own beliefs and see if they believe them because those beliefs are really where their morals lie or if the beliefs are simply convenient ways to support their stances. In which case Americans are smart enough to twist anything to fit their agenda and we’ll never see a unified bi-partisan nation again.

 

 

 

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Ryan Ariano

Born and raised in Baltimore, Ryan has been kicking around the west since the first Clinton White House. Having worked all over SoCal in the surf industry, Hollywood, marketing, journalism and finance, he now hangs his hat just outside Jackson Hole where he can fulfill an addiction to ascending and descending mountains.

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