I was speaking with an owner of my gym a couple of weeks ago. He was born and raised in South Korea, and he speaks functional, not fluent, English with a heavy accent. We had never had a long conversation before, only discussing exercises and sports, but when I asked him how business was going, he said it was slow. He then attributed it to the government shut down.
Now I love talking politics, but I know not to bring it up everywhere. I avoid talking politics in non-political situations. And I believe he is not a political person, but he had been successfully sold on the alleged enormous effect of a two week Federal government closure even though the employees were paid.
I could not let it go unanswered.
When discussing fairly substantial policy with those who are not deeply educated in the subject and/or not fluent in English– making comprehension of my arguments difficult or impossible– I often use analogy as a method of communication, allowing the other person to not only understand my point but extrapolate my general point into specific detailed effects they have witnessed personally.
So I asked him if he had to live in North Korea, where would he want to live? He was puzzled at my question, but after repeating it, demanding an answer, I simplified it with “If you had to live in North Korea, would you choose to live in Pyongyang (Capitol city)?” After some thought he responded, “yes”. I asked “why?” He reasoned that Pyongyang’s residents had the only decent quality of life in the country. They had food when the rest of the country starved. They had power while the rest of the country was dark and cold.
I explained that conservatives, particularly Tea Party members, see our Federal government’s growth in power and the centralization of power and wealth as following the pattern of all tyrannical governments and the growing wealth of DC at a time when the rest of the country is growing poorer as a symptom of growing tyranny. Seven of the wealthiest counties in the country are suburbs of DC, a city with no industrial or commercial base. (http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-09-19/local/35496568_1_household-income-census-rankings-counties) The growth of the extremely wealthy– aka 1%ers– is greatest in DC. (http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/washington-dc-surpasses-new-york-la-fastest-growing-region-wealth_767299.html)
Basically I explained that DC has become America’s Pyongyang. Our elected and appointed officials have taken the wealth of our country for their own desires, leaving our citizens poorer, and making our “leaders” and their associates wealthier. People outside of DC do not enjoy the perks of government employment or largesse to the same extent. Our pension funds are not funded and guaranteed by others. We are not essentially guaranteed employment for life- barring an incredible act of racism or sexism. Our government spies upon us. While the extent of government misdeeds are greater in Pyongyang, DC is quickly closing the gap and with advanced technology is gathering and keeping all phone and computer communication for use at some future time. The IRS is being used to attack political dissidents. Obamacare is gathering personal information on every American and allowing several branches of government to share personal information, as well as Democrat groups in the non-profit sector. The ruling party is using the full resources of the government to perpetuate their rule and bypass the restraints of our Constitution. The resources of the government are also being used to attack religion, and historical social relationships. And if the ruling party disagrees with a law, they simply don’t enforce it. In other words, the will of the leader and his party is the law.
I think he understood when I pointed out law means nothing if the government can choose to enforce it, and rights don’t exist if the ruling party can choose which citizens have.