Loyalty Clouds Objectivity
by glopster, Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 09:46:53 AM EDT
First of all, since this is my first diary here, allow me to state up front that I have been an Obama supporter since February (I mailed in vote for Edwards early from California).
That being said, a personal priority of mine is to remain as fair and objective as possible when interpreting matters of politics. I have noticed, even in myself, a tendency for my own objectivity to become clouded when I become too loyal to a candidate or cause. It is even easier to notice this trend in others. For example, when Obama's "bitter" comments surfaced, I noticed many fellow Obama supporters trying to excuse the comments as something other than what they were. They were a big mistake, costly to his public image, and they pointed out some of his imperfections as a candidate. Because of mistakes like this, I often remind myself that Obama is not the perfect candidate and I will not defend him for every statement and stance. But, I happen to prefer him over Hillary Clinton for my own set of reasons (everyone has their own, don't they).
My question is, do others on this site also value the exercise of more objectivity in political discourse here, or is it OK to let loyalty triumph over an attempt at reducing one's own bias in the course of argumentation?
As an example of what appears to me to be loyalty-clouded discourse on this site, I have been puzzled about how to respond to many, many diaries and comments regarding the Florida and Michigan delegate dispute. There seems to be such a willingness among supporters of both candidates to selectively use data to support their point. Because this site seems to have more Clinton supporters making comments, there are more examples of what appears to me to be Clinton-slanted logic here than Obama-slanted, but I'm not trying to argue that this problem is one-sided.
Being geeky enough to have watched CSPAN for too many hours yesterday, I watched with interest as Mr. Ickes (as some others did) used stretched arguments to make his case. In his attempts at using logic to justify his moral position, he carefully selected out the information that he voted to strip the delegations of their representation himself. Surely he must have assumed when casting that vote in the 2007 committee meeting that at least one voter would show up for the primary and cast a vote in each state. As a member in the committee in 2007, he voted to deny that and any other potential voters their rights to be "fairly reflected". If the principle he claimed to be so upset about as being bedrock was so bedrock, why didn't he notice it then?
While he pointed out the observation that some of the candidates removed their names from the ballot in Michigan in part to "curry favor" with other states, he overlooked the implications of signing a pledge "not to campaign or participate" in those two primaries. Having your name on the ballot when you have pledged not to participate may be considered not honoring that pledge depending on what the interpretation of "participate" is. It also seemed purposefully hypocritical for him to insist on "fair reflection" without wanting to fairly reflect the 30,000 votes cast as write-ins. Since Hillary was on the ballot, those votes were most likely not for her, therefore his claim of entitlement to 73 delegates is not really valid according to his own logic of count-every-vote is more important than follow the rules.
Now, it is his job as a politician to twist logic to make a case. That's what they do. But...
What should WE do? Should we parrot his talking points here and validate a position built on slanted logic, or should we, as a community try to get to an objective reality together by working hard to try to identify our own biases and not let loyalty alone drive our opinions?