I'm an economic and investment analyst with 20 years experience working with Fortune 500 companies researching complex issues.
“All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.” – Douglas Adams
The impeachment hearings have highlighted something we as American voters need to be better at. We need to use common sense and basic logic to form our opinions. We need to recognize those who are misleading us, either purposefully or due to incompetence, and shun them from the world of people worth listening to.
What does that mean, exactly?
Let’s take the impeachment and a defense Republicans have used over and over. Who is the whistleblower? The impeachment is a sham because the whistleblower is anonymous.
So how and where does this fail to meet a standard of common sense or basic logic?
Well, if there’s an anonymous call reporting a crime to 911, does that mean the police shouldn’t be dispatched? If upon arriving at the scene of the crime, if they gather evidence and arrest a suspect, does the fact it started with an anonymous 911 call mean it shouldn’t be investigated or prosecuted? The answer is no. It’s just plain no.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being absolutely ridiculous, I'd say it's an 11
To Mr. Jordan’s more specific point, “We will never get the chance to see the whistleblower raise his right hand, swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth… we'll never get a chance to question that individual.” Continuing the above scenario, how is this, exactly a defense? I’m trying to picture a defense attorney in a courtroom, "Your honor, we understand we can cross examine any of the witnesses who will swear under oath what they know…but this whole trial is a sham because the 911 caller never identified themselves.”
A further complaint by Mr. Jordan, “We'll not get to check out his credibility, his motivations, his bias.” Again, the investigation and trial will focus on evidence gathered and witness testimony, where the defense will have every opportunity to question witnesses and evidence. Let’s indulge this ridiculous train of though. Let’s go ahead and say the whistleblower was 100% biased and absolutely politically motivated. How is this relevant to reporting a crime? Imagine a 911 operator, “I’m sorry sir, we won’t pass on your report of a crime to the police because we think you have personal motives against the person you are reporting is committing a crime.” Let’s make this perfectly clear. Bias or motivation have nothing to do with facts and what is ultimately found. Again, to emphasize this. Facts are facts. Period.
Interestingly, everything the whistleblower reported as having happened, has been confirmed by witness after witness, under oath, who have been cross examined by Republicans. And yet somehow, the fact the whistleblower is anonymous is more important than the credibility of what was reported.
You'd think at some point they'd just be unable to live with themselves
So why do Republicans try these defenses? I can’t rule out these educated men and women, in very high positions of power and public trust, lack the capacity to employ basic logic like I detailed above. My belief? Their purpose is to provide any argument, anything at all, regardless of its relevance, merit, completeness of fact, reliability, factual support, or any other positive quality, and leave it out there as noise. What will ardent supporters do with that noise? They’ll propagate it over and over. They’ll dig their heels in deeper and deeper, willfully only listening to what they want to believe about the world. Let’s just say those people are a lost cause.
What about everyone else? Well, they may need help applying what I would call a common sense or basic logic standard. Otherwise, that noise will just sit out there as an “against impeachment” item, so that when a voter thinks about impeachment, there’ll be some arguments supporting it and some arguments discrediting it, think pros and cons. And if there are enough pros and cons, isn’t it human nature to just throw your arms up and not form a conclusion?
My belief? Republicans are willfully putting anything out there to load up a “con list” not to demonstrate that nothing wrong was done. Their con list has one purpose only. Make it look as long as the pros. Lead voters to inaction because in this case, inaction is exactly what the Republicans want.
Let's do more than just gripe. Let's become better citizens. Let's help others become better citizens.
I hope voters will start to have thoughtful discussions about our government, what it should be, and who the people should be to act on our behalf. If you support impeachment, don’t get into petty debates over random facts. Keep bringing the issue to its basic components. Aren’t anonymous tips a normal way for a crime to be reported? What does that have to do with witnesses and evidence? Okay then, let’s remove that whole thing from the pros and cons list.
Help those who aren’t blind supporters form a better opinion. Maybe the person you speak to will change their mind or maybe they won’t. But you will have contributed to a well-informed democracy by helping others rule out misleading noise.
I’ll go one better. Vote against people who willfully and deliberately try to subvert what a democracy should be; informed voters electing the people who will best represent them. Stop supporting news sources who waste air time and column space on irrelevant noise. We deserve honest dialogue on important issues. We deserve news organizations who are professional and use their position of trust to inform the public responsibly. News shouldn’t be whatever will garner the highest ratings. News shouldn’t be Wikipedia.
A parting thought.
Tell these propagandists off. Let them know they are making a fool of themselves. Let them know they are that much more irrelevant and unimportant because of this. Mock and dismiss these people for not acting in the best interests of the people they are meant to represent.
© 2019 Alvie Dewade