Sent the following to Common Dreams, but was not published...
How to respond to right-wing rhetoric
The best way to respond to right-wing rhetoric (RWR) is to ignore it. Keep asking questions, keep presenting the facts, keep challenging; ignore the response(s) that you get. Why? Because RWR is designed to do one thing...get you to shut up. RWR has no basis in truth, accuracy, reality, etc. It is simply a tactic by the right-wing to get anyone questioning any of their actions off their ass. I know this because I used to work with felons.
For several years, I worked in a judicial treatment center for felony probationers. One of my responsibilities was to confront our clients wherever and whenever their behavior was in violation of our rules. As to be expected, almost all of our clients had “reasons” for why they did what they did. I quickly learned that their “reasons” were not reasons at all, i.e., they were not explanations for their behavior; rather, they were statements made with a specific purpose in mind...to get me off their back. Some of our clients did this knowing full well what they were doing. The vast majority, however, did this because it had worked for them in the past; they had found themselves in a situation in which they were at fault, did not want to suffer the consequences for being at fault, and continued to supply “reasons” to explain their actions. This was not done to responsibly account for their behavior, but to reduce the likelihood of actually receiving any consequences for their behavior. How did they know when to stop supplying reasons? When I or someone else stopped asking questions, stopped challenging their responses, stopped presenting them with the facts. Right-wingers do the same thing.
Need evidence for this? Consider the seeming myriad of reasons that Bush Co. gave for invading Iraq...Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the people needed liberation from Saddam Hussein, they had biological weapons, Saddam was in cahoots with Al Qaida, etc. None of these actually had any basis in known and established fact, nor did they need to be for the purposes that they were provided to the national and international public. They were simply attempts to get thinking people to stop asking questions.
Why write this now? Because it is easy to see the same dynamics occurring currently in regard to the torture tactics sanctioned by Bush Co. They employed torture...to extract valuable intelligence, to prevent another 9-11, to protect the U.S., because they were scared, etc. All of these are irrelevant and none reasonably account for, nor rationally explain why, the former administration gave the green light to torture people. They are stated simply to get us to shut up, get off their ass, and stop asking questions.
Let's not fall prey to the tactic. People who are concerned about our country and the
world, need the truth to be told.