Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Guide for Engaging in Political Discussions and Not Looking Like an Idiot

During this 2016 political season, there's been a distressing outbreak of bad grammar, misspellings, mangled abbreviations, and poor reasoning on political websites and Twitter.   Although the offenders are largely from Team Trump, there's a fair amount from other camps as well.
With that in mind, I consider it my patriotic duty to improve the political discourse in these United States, and I'll address that obligation in the form of this blog post.  :)  I welcome comments, suggestions, and corrections.

Disclaimer:  I don't pretend to be a grammarian, and some of this writing probably violates at least a few rules in The Little Brown Handbook - but somebody must take the first step - it might as well be me!

Here goes, and may God bless America (and keep her literate).


You're is the shortened form of you are, not  yourYour is a possessive, as in: Your lack of basic grammar skills makes it seem like you should be in summer school instead of commenting on presidential politics.

They're is the shortened form of they areTheir is a possessive - for example, they are wasting their vote if they vote for your guy.  Additionally, there refers to a place, as in, there they go again 


States do not succeed from the union, they secede.   Perhaps they successfully seceded?

Conceded does not mean the same thing as conceited.  All of us cool kids know this already.

If you use loosing when you should have used losing then you've already lost.

Lieing is not a word and I ain't lying.  Same with lier.

The problem with illegal immigration is not boarder security, but border security.  (Unless you're referring to a lack of rooms in your house).

Traders and Traitors are not the same.  Traders trade;  Traitors don't trait.

There is no such thing as a Super Pack unless you're talking about these.  You are probably referring to a super PAC, where PAC stands for Political Action Committee.

A Rhino isn't the same as a RINO (Republican In Name Only).  That thing on my face is a nose, not a horn. (although I can understand the confusion)

i.e. and e.g. are not the same.  i.e. (id est) translates to "that is", and e.g. (exempli gratia) means "for example".


Starting a sentence with The fact is... implies that it will be followed by verifiable facts, not opinions. 

Never use never and always avoid always - Using these adverbs weakens your argument since they are usually logically false.    For example, saying something like "Conservatives never treat poor people fairly" or "Liberals always hate America" is demonstrably untrue.

Don't use strawman arguments (setting up a false proposition and then knocking it down).   "Even though liberals want to take all of our guns, we need those weapons for self-defense!".   "Even though conservatives want poor people to die early, we still need universal health care!"

Calling someone a dumb-ass, liar, or other school yard taunt will not help your cause.  It may make you feel better, and may even be true, but it will shut down any hope of educating your opponent to your point of view.   What is the point of arguing if not to make your opponent see the light (or perhaps learn something)?