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Both Parties Are Exactly The Same, Part I

I hear this nonsense a lot, so I thought I would start a series of posts highlighting how completely untrue this mantra is. "Both parties are exactly the same" is truly the view of someone who doesn’t like to think, but enjoys having an opinion nonetheless.

By the way, correcting that fallacy does not mean that the person who is doing the correcting is doing anything other than correcting the fallacy. That leap to, "you’re crazy if you think democrats are awesome" isn’t well reasoned. Telling you you’re wrong about the false equivalency isn’t the same as saying that democrats are eighteen flavors of awesome. That would be the leap of a lazy thinker. I’m aware that neither party is laser focused in the poor and the middle class. I’m aware that democrats aren’t fabulous. But pointing out that every decade or so, democrats do something meaningful to help you is a fact. It’s a fact that isn’t true of republicans. Do I think that throwing me a crumb every ten years is sufficient? Not even remotely, but it’s a difference that makes the "they’re exactly the same" argument a lie.

No one I’ve ever gotten into this conversation with has ever been able to come up with a single thing that republicans have done to improve their lives. That should be a clear indication that the "exactly the same" argument isn’t true. And yet, the person who makes the claim usually soldiers on with their losing opinion.

So I’m going to highlight differences as they come up. Part one starts in Texas. Oh Texas, how I love you.

We have all seen copious amounts of footage of cops behaving badly in the past year. As a result, we’ve all spent the past year or two talking about outfitting these cops with body cameras to ensure that we have video of every incident involving any cop. The public seems to be in agreement that body cameras are a good idea. Everyone doesn’t necessarily agree that the body cams alone will solve the problems we’ve been seeing, but everyone agrees that they need to be more widely used. There are a small minority of people who don’t agree with putting body cams on cops.

That small minority includes cops, their unions, and a handful of legislators. One of these legislators is state representative Jason Villalba of Dallas, who introduced house bill 2918. This bill makes recording a cop a class B misdemeanor. You can’t record from within 25 feet, or 100 feet if you’re armed. Let’s be honest here, this is Texas. Who isn’t armed (don’t email me, I’m kidding)? Anyway, he’s getting lots of shit for this bill from freedom loving Texans (and Americans at large).

He claims that the bill is designed to prevent videographer from "interfering" with law enforcement. I guess he’s concerned about citizens interfering with incidents of misconduct, police brutality, and murder by a police officer.

Did I mention he’s a republican? YAY small government conservatism!

At virtually the same moment that freedom loving Jason Villalba is attempting to make taping cops a crime, state representative Ron Reynolds from Missouri City filed a bill that would require all police officers who come in contact with the public to wear body cameras. Reynolds introduced his bill a week after the video of Walter Scott’s murder came out and completely contradicted the murdering cop’s fanciful account.

Did I mention that Representative Reynolds is a democrat? 

His bill didn’t make it out of committee, by the way. Killing it appears to be a joint effort by both republicans and democrats.

But still, Reynold’s bill was a natural (and widely held) reaction to the Walter Scott video. What was Villalba’s bill a reaction to? 

Villalba got so much shit for his bill, that he’s retracted it for now. If you think he learned something from the reaction, think again. He’s going back to rewrite it. The Dallas Morning News spoke with him. What he had to say them was interesting. From the article;

The Dallas Republican conceded flaws in the bill, written by outside police groups, and he takes responsibility for not properly vetting it before filing.

So he got a bill from an interest group (police union) and just filed it without reading it? Okay that’s not unusual even though it’s always outrageous, but republicans really are much more comfortable with this process. They’re used to just putting a bill out there, as it was written by a special interest. They’ve been selling out for much longer than democrats have.

But wait, listen to what he thinks the problem was with his bill;

Villalba said he’ll fix the biggest problem — that the legislation would subject a citizen to arrest if the citizen photographed his own encounter with police……….Of course, he said, a person should be able to video his own detainment. He said the bill should have made clear the proposed 25-foot cordon around a police scene pertained only to third-party onlookers.

Oh, well that solves the problem and preserves freedom. So if you’re witnessing a cop beating the shit out of a homeless man, you would still be committing a crime by taping the incident. But if you’re the one who’s being beaten, by all means, get out your iPhone and tape away. Is this asshole serious? 

Does this new version sound more "conservative" to anyone? Does this bill sound like it’s aim is to serve anyone other than dirty cops?

Please spare me the "they’re all the same" mantra. While I’m at it, I’m also tired of that "republicans want smaller government" bullshit too. Can we finally put that to rest once and for all?

As I said earlier, I will be posting more examples of the differences as they come up. I wanted to write about these two bills because they were both introduced within three weeks of each other. The bill protecting the public isn’t going to go anywhere because members of both parties have been paid off by police unions. But at least someone (a democrat) tried to protect the public.

Republicans are always in 100% lockstep with throwing the public over in favor of the special interests that serve them. Okay that’s not actually true. There are a handful of republicans on a local level that aren’t 100% corporate shills, but on the national level, my 100% figure is entirely accurate.

Wanna prove me wrong? Awesome. Show me something republicans have done for you in the past forty years. Until then, stop telling me they’re exactly the same.