Fox News North suffers a setback (hurray!)

Regular readers will remember that I have had a bee in my bonnet about Sun TV, perhaps better known as “Fox News North”. This is an attempt by Quebecor, a media company, to create a 24-hour news channel styled under Fox News. Critics, myself included, have pointed out the destructive influence that Fox News has on the political climate of the United States, pandering to the biases and prejudices of its funders and attempting to shape the political debate rather than report news honestly. Its craven disregard for journalistic ethics and unrelenting hypocrisy have earned it the deserved scorn of pretty much everyone outside the Republican party.

Despite declaring both my bias and the reasons why my bias was irrelevant to why this station was a bad idea, the conservative readers of this blog (both of them, I guess :P) have accused me of being opposed to any point of view that challenges the liberal monopoly on the media. It is accusations like this that make it extremely difficult for me to take conservatives seriously – I have, on this very blog, defended the free speech rights of anti-gay bigots, racists, theocrats, Holocaust deniers and anti-vaccine/alt-med lunatics. You think I draw the line at conservatives? There is no line, and your criticisms are completely without merit. My objection is to the standards of practice that I see evinced on a daily basis by the propaganda arm of the Republican party, and your attempts to equivocate the so-called (but utterly evidence-free) liberal media bias, a phrase invented by the Republican party, of Canadian media with the clear lack of ethics of Fox News do nothing to persuade me of anything other than the fact that you are anti-liberal.

Part of the Sun TV application was for what is known as a “must-carry” license. This would require all cable providers to include Sun TV as part of their regular programming, rather than making it something that people can opt in to, or out of. As much as supporters of Sun TV whinge that “if you don’t like it just don’t watch”, forcing me to pay for the channel so that they can achieve a fan base belies this trite claim. As a matter of principle, forcing opinions on others is a claim that conservatives are always leveling at liberals. As I suspected, and as evinced by Fox News, the kind of people who support Sun TV are perfectly happy to abandon their principles as soon as is convenient (which also explains many of the actions of our federal government). I don’t object to conservatism when it is honestly come by, but I can’t stomach hypocrisy.

Luckily, and at least in part to the public outcry of you good people who signed the petition, Sun TV has withdrawn its application for this special license:

Quebecor Inc. says it is no longer seeking a controversial special licence that would give the new right-leaning Sun TV 24-hour news channel a three-year boost in seeking out viewers. Chief executive Pierre Karl Péladeau told reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday that he would likely drop his request for a must-carry exemption on his Category II licence application. The request was expected to be hotly contested, with rivals and many civic groups lining up to oppose the application. Last week, the advocacy group dropped off 10 boxes to the CRTC containing more than 21,000 letters from Canadians opposed to the special licence.

Now this is not all good news for me, since the withdrawal of the application means that there will likely be no public inquiry or hearing, and that the application to broadcast will likely be approved quickly. However, we live in a capitalist system, which means that if you have a product that you think there is a market for, you can certainly sell it. While I am completely opposed to even the existence of a Fox News-like channel, I have no legitimate grounds to protest its moving forward. If we can have pornography, MTV, reality shows and other things that I think are injurious to the public good (well, maybe pornography gets a pass), we can certainly have a channel where opinion is masked as news. I just won’t watch it.

While I’m sure there will be many more tricks pulled by the federal government to funnel support to a station that will be completely uncritical and unflappably supportive of its undemocratic agenda, at least it will live or die by whether or not it can convince anyone outside of Alberta to pay attention. We must be thankful for small victories, I suppose.

The short answer is ‘yes’

I laughed my ass off when I saw this. That being said, obviously not everyone in the Tea Party is there because they are racist – smaller and more efficient government has nothing at all to do with race. However, due to its stubborn opposition to any program designed to level the playing field or correct for historical injustices, it tends to attract the racist fringe with open, monochromatic arms. In the same way that supporting a larger role for the federal government isn’t a gay thing, but homosexuals tend to fall on the left side of the political spectrum (because that’s where all the equal rights are).

A commenter pointed out something that didn’t occur to me right away: how racist do you have to be to print out signs and go looking for a black person? I’m trying to imagine their thought process:

“Okay, so we’re going to print out these signs and take them to the rally, right?”

“Yeah, that’ll show all those liberals that the Tea Party is about state’s rights and small government, not a thin veneer of politics hastily brushed over a rotten core of deep-seated xenophobia, unwarranted entitlement and good old-fashioned ignorance!”

“Wow, that was deep.”

“Thanks. I read the New York Times today, and just said the opposite of what was written there.”

“I wish I could read.”

“Hey Steve?”

“Yeah Larry?”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to just take these signs over to the houses of one of our many black friends and/or work colleagues and/or neighbours, rather than having to sleuth around at a rally to find the token fanny-pack-wearing dark-skinned guy at a rally of thousands of white people?”

“We don’t have any black friends and/or work colleagues and/or neighbours, Larry.”

“How come?”

“Uh… because of LIBERALS!”

“Yeah! Fuck those racist asshole liberal faggot commie Muslim terrorist Mexicans!”

“You said it, Steve.”

Update: Harper government actually stands up for science… wha?

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of our current Federal government. They are decidedly opposed to any use of science in decision-making, preferring instead to appeal to ideologies rather than reality. The study of science and logical positivism make you, on average, more liberal than conservative – preferring to side with what works rather than stapling yourself to what you agree with. As Stephen Colbert so succinctly put it, “Reality, as you know, has a strong liberal bias.”

That’s why I was shocked to read this news story:

The Canadian government will not fund a clinical trial of the so-called liberation therapy for multiple sclerosis at this time, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq says. Aglukkaq spoke to reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday, a day after a panel of North American experts announced they unanimously recommended against supporting a clinical trial of the treatment in Canada as yet. Aglukkaq commissioned the expert panel’s report from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which funds medical research, and the MS Society of Canada. “I feel the most prudent course of action at this time is to accept the recommendation of the country’s leading researchers,” Aglukkaq told a news conference (emphasis mine).

Did I say shocked? I should have said ‘floored and rended into a state of utter disbelief’. The Harper government (so called because he calls the shots, and everyone else runs his plays) actually relying on the expertise of people who know what they’re talking about? Surely I must be hallucinating. Particularly from a party that talks a big game about letting people make their own decisions, regardless of how unwise those decisions may be (a view apparently shared by my “nemesis”).

I’ve been skeptical of this ‘liberation therapy’ since it was first announced. My skepticism isn’t merely because it’s a stark departure from accepted practice, but because as a person who works in and is trained in health research, I recognize that many times these ‘radical’ approaches fail to stand up to rigorous scrutiny. A panel of experts recommended against CIHR fast-tracking large-scale clinical trials until smaller, well-controlled trials showed a benefit to the treatment. This is simple pragmatism to anyone in the health research community – it’s not a good idea to experiment on a large group of people unless you are reasonably sure they will actually benefit from it. Ethics boards actually demand this exact type of rigour before allowing research to go through. I am hopeful and optimistic that this treatment could potentially make a positive impact in the lives of people suffering from a horrible disease, but I temper my optimism with skepticism to say that I won’t advocate its use until we know for sure if it works or not.

So the Harper government thinks we should listen to the experts, and make our decisions based on that. Could this be a sign that they’re not as anti-science and ideological as I thought?

No, it’s not:

An RCMP report that evaluates the long-gun registry as cost-effective, efficient and an important tool for public safety hasn’t changed the mind of the Conservative MP behind a bill to scrap the registry. In an interview Tuesday on CBC TV’s Power and Politics with Evan Solomon, Candice Hoeppner says the report told her nothing new. “My position remains steadfast as does our party’s position,” she said. “We believe the long-gun registry needs to end. As legislators, that’s our job, to look at policy, to decide what’s in the best interests of Canadians and make those decisions. So, nothing has changed.”

So instead of experts using their training and experience to help decide what’s the best use of public funds to protect the lives and property of Canadians, Ms. Hoeppner thinks that political appointees are better suited to do it. Political appointees, I’ll add, that have no experience or training in anything other than politics. Even conservatives will have to agree that if someone’s going to be making our decisions for us, it would be better if they actually knew what they were talking about.

Then again, maybe they don’t have to agree at all:

An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal slams the federal government for its efforts to shut down Insite in downtown Vancouver, Canada’s only safe injection site for drug addicts… The paper points out that soon after it was elected, the Conservative government removed harm reduction as one of the four pillars of its National Anti-Drug Strategy. The four-pillar strategy, endorsed by the World Health Organization also includes treatment, enforcement and prevention.

I mean, just because a bunch of eggheads who have spent years of their lives studying the problem and potential solutions doesn’t mean that they know what they’re talking about, or that you should listen to them. It definitely doesn’t mean you should accept the evidence that’s right in front of your face.

No wait, that’s exactly what it means.

Stop “Fox News North”

I have a bullhorn, and I’m going to use it.

Those of you who come here from Facebook have seen this already, but maybe didn’t sign it. Stephen Harper, I suppose growing weary of pretending not to be a right-wing ideologue, has decided to shed his sheep’s clothing and put political pressure on our CRTC commissioner to bring a Fox News-style channel here to Canada.

This is a petition to stop it. Please sign it.

A few people, some of whom are people whose opinions I greatly respect (although they differ sharply from my own), have pointed out to me that the media is already biased, and/or that my objection to a Fox-style channel is that I just don’t like conservatives. I feel the need at this point to clarify a few things:

1 – I don’t like conservativism (although I greatly enjoy the company of my few conservative friends – there are few in university science programs, which is my cohort). That’s emphatically not the source of my opposition. I’d be just as against this if it was a bunch of lying arch-Liberal finks (who I also detest).

2 – Even if I did buy that our current media outlets are biased, I fail to see how adding one that is explicitly and purposefully biased makes that situation better. An informed electorate is crucial to a healthy country. Adding another voice to the supposed pantheon of radical viewpoints doesn’t improve the situation at all – it makes people less informed. Fox News isn’t watched by those on the left to “get the other side of the argument”, it’s watched by those on the right to confirm their in-grained biases; the same can be said vice versa. The answer is to reduce the amount of bias in media outlets through careful surveillance, not to burn the whole house down because you spilled some wine on the carpet.

3 – Even if I did buy that adding another biased point of view (as all points of view will be) will somehow improve the lives of Canadians, Fox News is not simply another network. They lie, distort facts, invent facts when they can’t twist the ones that already exist, and are unrelentingly hypocritical in their stance on issues. They are unprincipled, they lack integrity, and they are poisoning the political and social discourse of the United States. Any station patterned after them will do the same thing, sending Canada down the road to destruction down which the United States is currently drunkenly weaving.

4 – Even if I did buy that a Fox News equivalent would be a good thing for the country, the Prime Minister has no business spearheading it, or shilling for it in any way. He certainly has no business forcing out the qualified head of the CRTC simply for standing up for media standards. All of this is to say nothing of the meetings that Mr. Harper has taken with Rupert Murdoch in order to make this a reality. It is a blatant political ploy designed to ensure that he has a channel that is completely uncritical of his policies that he can lavish his special attention and political influence upon, much the way that Bush/Cheney/Rove and the Republican Party has done with Fox News.

Personally, I like my country. I don’t want it to turn into the pathetic circus farce that is the current political reality of the United States, where a Harvard-educated constitutional scholar has to fight with a clueless, ignorant and feckless “hackey maam” from Wasilla to win the trust of the populace. Apparently Steven Harper will be much happier ruling over that country – I think we should be aiming to get better, not worse.

Sign the petition.

Canada Revenue Agency stops beating dead horse

Here’s an interesting legal connundrum:

David Little, who has spent the last few years moving back and forth between P.E.I. and New Brunswick, has refused to file tax returns since 2000 in protest of government-funded abortions. He was due in court in Fredericton this week to face a charge of refusing a court order to file them. Little was found guilty in 2007 on three counts of failing to file, and eventually was sentenced to 66 days in jail for refusing to pay the $3,000 fine. He believes it’s his religious right to refuse to pay taxes because he doesn’t want his money funding abortions.

Oh… wait… did I say “interesting”? I meant “stupid”. There is no such right enshrined in the Canadian Charter allowing you not to pay taxes for things you don’t believe in. Freedom of religion and belief is what is termed a ‘positive right’, meaning that you have the ability to pursue it, and that nobody has the right to bar you from such pursuit. It does not encompass the right to exempt yourself from civic obligations because you don’t like them.

For example, it would be permissible for Mr. Little to post anti-abortion tracts on public notice boards, or picket abortion clinics. He could even start a blog and talk himself to death about how abortion is murder. If Mr. Little were a private medical practitioner, he could refuse to perform abortions (doctors are considered contractors to the state, not employees of the state, and therefore are not required to provide any services they don’t want to). All of the above actions are perfectly legal expressions of Mr. Little’s religious objection to abortion (although the Bible says nothing about abortion, and equating it with murder means that he must also refuse to pay taxes to support the military).

Refusing to pay taxes, however, is neither legal nor smart. However, the Canada Revenue Agency recognizes that pursuing him for the money may be legal, but it has ceased to be smart:

“You can only beat a dead horse so long, and then the whip starts to fray,” [Federal prosecutor Keith] Ward told CBC News Monday. Not only are the taxpayers of Canada insulted once by having to pay all this money to go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada on what is a lark of Mr. Little’s, but now they’re going to be faced with it again.”

It also turns out that Mr. Little doesn’t have the money to pay the fine anyway, so the thing is a moot point.

The part of this story that is interesting, however, is the abuse of “freedom of religion” as an excuse for all kinds of things. Many on the right talk about their “freedom of religion” being infringed upon because public schools teach the reality that homosexuality isn’t an abomination; merely a personal trait like hair or eye colour. These same people invoke “freedom of religion” when talking about the rights to gay marriage, sex education, or abortion. Having the freedom to believe in your own religion doesn’t mean you exist in a bubble where no opposing ideas are allowed in, or that you have the right to impose your personal beliefs on anyone besides yourself. It definitely doesn’t mean you have the right to cut your children off from hearing any information you don’t like. What it does mean is that you can express your objection, teach your kids what your beliefs are, and allow them the opportunity to decide for themselves.

Classically Liberal: The intersection between Libertarian and Liberal

I’ve mentioned a couple times before that I regularly read a libertarian blog written by CLS called ‘Classically Liberal’. While I don’t agree with everything CLS says (particularly his views on the role of government and health care), I find his articles useful and insightful.

Today’s post is no exception:

But things have changed. Both the Left and the Right have changed. The Left in most the world no longer has the same slavish dedication to dirigism that they once had. The political Left, to a large degree has shifted politically toward the center. The communist empire that attracted so many of them collapsed and so did the ideological assumptions of many on the Left. You now have former socialists like New Zealand’s Michael Moore, the former prime minister, writing in defense of globalization and free trade. This isn’t the Left of fifty years ago anymore. It isn’t even the “New Left” of the 1960s, which was just a more obnoxious version of the old Left.

I find myself struggling to see where I fit with the libertarian moniker. There is a great deal about the philosophy that appeals to me – maximum liberty for all people, the power of free market capitalism, the possibility of multiple viewpoints and approaches where the best one comes through. At the same time, I recognize that regulation and taxation exist for a reason – to compel us to do things that are in our best interest that we might not otherwise do. PZ Myers is notoriously dismissive of libertarians, a fact that is much to my chagrin as I agree with him on most other things. A friend and commenter on the site is much more libertarian-leaning than I am, and I’m not sure that I agree with his stance either.

Wherever I may find myself on the libertarian/authoritarian scale, it will never be in the morass of conservatism that is destroying the word ‘libertarian’ in the United States. I shudder when I see our neighbours to the immediate south dress up bigotry and xenophobia in the costume of Libertarianism (note the capital L), whilst simultaneously eschewing its core principles of equal rights and maximum liberty. CLS’ article draws a sharp line to show why being in bed with conservatives is indeed sharing that bed with the devil.

The Right of the 1980s was not obsessed with bigotry. What did happen, however, is that the Christian fundamentalists abandoned the Democratic Party. Until the 80s the fundamentalists were Democrats, since Southern Democrats were the most consistently hatefully, bigoted politicians around. But when the national Democratic Party adopted the civil rights movement white fundamentalists abandoned their natural home for the GOP. Unfortunately they brought with them the stilted, bigoted views that they always held. They eventually, for the most part, came to accept black people as their legal equals but they still harbor a natural tendency to find scapegoats to hate. At the moment their favorite targets are gay people and immigrants.

Read the article. It’s not good; it’s great. Plus, I learned a new word: dirigisme

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Why do I want to take religion away?

People who argue against the influence of religion, and argue for its separation from public life (which Jesus also did, by the way, for those of you who actually bothered to read scripture), are commonly asked the same question: why do you want to get rid of religion? Atrocities have occurred throughout history committed by people who tried to outlaw religion (Pol Pott, Stalin, Mao) – why would you want to go down that path? Surely outlawing religious practice would lead directly to the same atrocities!

Unlike other arguments that I present and then ridicule, this argument actually has some merit. History has indeed shown us what happens when you try to force a belief system upon a group of people, whether it be state-sponsored atheism or state-sponsored religion. Horrific deeds are the result when you try to control someone’s mind. The problem with the argument is that it makes an erroneous assumption: that I (or those with similar viewpoints) want to get rid of religion.

I will state here unequivocally that I have no interest in taking religion away from people, even if such a thing were possible. Religion, like racism (and herpes) will be around in some form or another regardless of legislation or acts of physical force, and will just keep cropping up here and there. However, even if I could somehow mandate the removal of religion, I would not. I have no right to make decisions on someone else’s behalf – respect for individual autonomy is a fundamental tenet of ethics.

So why write all of this stuff then?

There is a common misconception that people who argue against the influence that religion has in public life are somehow trying to take away their ability to believe what they want. This is the same line of reasoning used by people who accuse affirmative action advocates of taking away jobs from white people. It comes from a mindset (which I’m sorry to say  seems to be held pretty much exclusively by conservatives) that the way the world is now is the way it is supposed to be. White people are at the top of the heap worldwide? Ah, well that must be their manifest destiny! Christians dominate the political spectrum? It must be God’s will.

This is inherently built in to the concept of ‘conservatism’ as opposed to ‘progressivism’. Conservatism, by definition, is about holding on to and maintaining traditional structures and events. In and of itself, this isn’t a bad thing. Some traditions are important to maintain, in order to understand where we came from – go to a military parade exercise and look at the seemingly-archaic procedures of marching and saluting. However, when we take a nuanced view of traditions, we understand that some of them need to be updated to reflect present-day reality. Conservatives deny this, instead fighting to maintain the status quo.

Some people who identify themselves as ‘conservative’ will say that the conservative movement is about maintaining individual autonomy, and refusing to capitulate to societal pressure or government shows of force. This philosophy is correctly called Libertarianism, and for reasons that I can’t quite fathom it has been rolled up in the conservative platform. Libertarianism stands opposed to collectivism (or authoritarianism – a rose by any other name…), and should not be confused with conservatism. In the same way, many people who identify themselves as ‘liberal’ (myself included) do not see themselves or their values reflected in the communal-authoritarian or arch-relativistic philosophy of progressivism. While their/our beliefs may often overlap with those in the liberal movement (gay rights, public education, health care), there are things to which they/we voice strong objection (health “freedom” woo, the role of business, religious “tolerance”).

What does this have to do with anything?

Humankind, like anything else, must constantly adapt to reality as things change. This philosophy is perhaps best encapsulated in the Taoist tradition, in which one is exhorted to be mindful of the flow of the universe (the Tao), and instead of resisting its direction, to allow one’s self to move in harmony with it. This adaptation and change is necessary for survival – as we know from evolutionary biology, those species that cannot adapt, die. If we want to survive as a species, or as a society, or as individuals, we must learn to respond to environmental/social/political challenges and find a way to live with them.

This need for change stands diametrically opposed to the religious/conservative philosophy (small wonder that those who oppose the teaching of evolution are almost exclusively conservative religious people), in which the status quo must be preserved. If the world works this way for a reason, then any attempt to adapt the way we do things is a betrayal of the order of the universe. Change is bad, and so are those who advocate it.

Religion is an impediment to human progress. It is the yoke around our necks that slows us and prevents us from being able to adapt and explore and challenge new frontiers. While sometimes progress needs to be examined closely through the eyes of caution (life-extending technology is perhaps one example), that is not the same as standing as a roadblock to progress at every opportunity. Sometimes (in fact, often), rapid response is needed to relieve or prevent human suffering, and when we have to wrangle at every step with those who refuse to accept rationality or observed reality as truth, suffering is prolonged. The problem with simply throwing up our hands and agreeing to disagree, is that one of these philosophies is trying to kill us.

So should we abolish religion?

I don’t think it is generally advisable to abolish religion. It’s definitely not a good idea to outlaw certain types of belief. That is merely substituting one form of tyranny for another. This seems to be the fear of religious people in the face of secularism – that somehow they will be persecuted and forced to recant, or prevented from practicing their beliefs.

Nobody is advocating this position – not seriously, anyway.

But there needs to be an admission on behalf of the religious community that curtailing the outrageous level of privilege that religious belief has enjoyed over the past few thousand years is not the same as oppressing religious people. Currently, being a “person of faith” is somehow seen as a virtue, and piety is confused for righteousness. Religion has become a qualification for public office (thankfully not so much here in Canada, but that may be changing), and school boards everywhere are becoming entrenched in fights that are ideological, rather than fact-based.

When we no longer accept religious beliefs as valid arguments, and instead rely on evidence and logic, we are better-suited to adapting to changing reality. The founding fathers of the United States understood this, which is why they expressly forbade religious involvement in legal and political matters. Sadly, this has been slowly and steadily eroded to give us a system wherein Sarah Palin is taken seriously when she says we have a Judeo-Christian heritage in this society. However, the principle still stands. If we are able to move back toward such principles, in which superstition is not granted equal time to fact, we will be in a much better position to address the challenges that we face today as a species, and the ones we will undoubtedly face anew tomorrow.

TL/DR: While I do not think it is a good idea to outlaw religion, I would like to see us move toward a system that does not grant it the special privileges it currently enjoys. Also, a bunch of stuff about how conservatives are trying to kill us.

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I break character for a moment

This is not a political or law blog. There are enough of those out there, and I don’t consider myself informed enough to give a meaningful opinion on the law. However, this story made me upset:

The federal government is moving once again to scotch the Criminal Code’s so-called faint hope clause, which allows killers to seek parole up to 10 years earlier than normal if they can satisfy a jury that they’ve reformed.

“Tough on Crime” is a catch-phrase we hear often in political debate. Conservatives are supposedly tough on crime, while “hug-a-thug” (doesn’t the right wing come up with such clever names?) Liberals are weak-willed and think that the criminals should have more rights than the victims.

I am not pro-crime. However, I want to see my government pass legal legislation designed to actually reduce crime, not simply increase punishment for those who don’t have good lawyers. Actions like this one by the federal government do not serve to lower crime, they are merely optics designed to dupe people who only pay attention to sound-bytes into thinking that their lives are somehow being made “safer” by keeping people in prison longer.

Never mind the fact that people get bounced out of prison due to over-crowding, or the fact that people with longer stretches in prison are more likely to re-offend than those who are granted pardons based on genuine reform. No, let’s take away the motivation that convicted people might have had to demonstrate some improvement. Let’s make sure that the people in prison stay bitter, resentful and come out far more dangerous than when they went in. That should fix everything. And don’t worry about the cost, it’s only 7-10 billion dollars over 5 years, also known as twice the annual national aid budget.

This is what gets me so upset about Conservativism, and politics in general. Policies get made that aren’t designed to make anyone’s life actually better; it’s done to get votes from the people who are probably least qualified to hold an opinion. Leadership isn’t about following the uninformed will of the masses; it’s about showing people why your policies will make their lives better. All this is to say nothing of Harper’s recent bill that refuses to allow foreign aid dollars to fund abortion. He says he doesn’t want to “divide Canadians” by bringing up the abortion debate.  It’s pretty clear that he’s perfectly happy to divide Canadians, since there has been no debate except among the right wing. All of sudden though, there’s a debate! Presto! Gee Whiz! I wonder how that happened…

Recently, Ontario premiere Dalton McGuinty announced a bold new approach to sexual education, designed to teach kids the facts about sex and sexuality early in their schooling. As soon as I heard about it, I sent him a letter telling him that although he was sure to get a lot of flack from people for “teaching kids to have sex” and “usurping the role of the parents”, that this was a courageous and admirable step to make changes that work. Of course, the very next day he pulled a complete about face and announced that the program was going back on the shelf. If you believe in something, fight for it. Don’t let people’s meanest and least-informed instincts deter you from the right cause by using fear tactics. There are some things that are more important than getting re-elected.

Anyway, I will get back to my usual topics of discussion. I just felt like talking about this for a second.