Do the chickens have large talons? -Napoleon Dynamite
Question #93512 posted on 03/10/2021 7:02 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Candace Owens tweeted today that the Democrat party is what is plaguing black and brown people in this country. I have not yet read her book “Blackout” but following her on Twitter and listening to her various videos, I get the impression that the Democrat party and blacks people simply not working hard are the causes of any suppression.

I try to get opinions and facts from various sources. I’ve learned about redlining and gerrymandering and seen stuff that usually doesn’t get talked about that much in history books (they can’t possibly fit it all in). United Daughters of the Confederacy and their role in creating history books, Juneteenth, Gasoline baths at the southern border (and the US Government using propaganda to say Mexicans were dirty). The Missing Chapters series on Vox is super cool.

Do you know Phil Vischer? He created Veggie Tales. I’ve seen these videos from him. If you watch them, as well as the Missing Chapters, my ending question will make more sense. You’ll see why my brain is kinda freaking out. It doesn’t know what to do.

And I’ve seen many videos like this too:

In the opening thing he says Democrat policies make you not be able to choose to go to school in another district. I’ve never lived anywhere where this is the case and I’ve lived in CA my whole life. Where I currently live it’s Title I. We are 40miles from the nearest big city. There are no charters or private schools. You can even go to either of the school districts in town no problem. And what happens when you take a kid out of the lesser quality school? Why wouldn’t you fix that school instead?

Anyways. My head is a mess. Are Democrats truly the downfall of so many things? Cause right now that’s all I hear. But it doesn’t line up with gerrymandering, redlining, how and why suburbs were created.

I’m trying so hard to live in such a polarized world but things don’t line up. How do I make sense of it? There are great Republicans and great Democrats. A church member says our town was great until all the Mexicans moved here. My sister was raped by a recently returned missionary at BYU. My grandma reminded me there are lockers in the temple. I truly believe life can be pretty nuanced and good can be found in either party. I have a hard time believing the Democrat party is soooo responsible for some problems black people face. Yes, I know historically it’s caused problems. I know Biden’s involvement with the drug stuff in the 90s is what lead to many fatherless homes. I also have seen videos about drug issues through the decades and know he’s not the only one and the Democrats aren’t the only ones who have done things.

But now I’m second guessing myself. I’m also wary of people who are not able to find the good in the other party or who can’t find fault in their own party. I think both parties have made crappy policies through the years and both have made good ones.

Please help.

-My Name Here


Dear Friend,

At the end of the day, having parties AT ALL is a problem. If you've read my answers, you've probably come away with assumptions about my political affiliation, but you're probably wrong. 

My personal philosophy is Policy over Party. I've taken that from my fave sociology professor. 

There are a LOT of problems in the world. Most of them, like you seem to understand, are pretty complicated. Poverty - for example. Bill Clinton was responsible for a lot of the welfare slicing that happened. Welfare spending went down like crazy, and people called it a "success" because the number of people on welfare went down.... OF COURSE it did! And it looked really good for the economy for a little while. But now we see how much more complicated poverty is. You can't just abandon people. You can't just assume that it's "their fault." You can't stereotype the welfare queens (because they really don't exist). 

I think as you venture into the world of nuance, you pay special attention to the narratives that people are telling. You are recognizing a flaw in the narrative of far-right republicans - they like to blame the Democratic party for problems in the country (same as the democrats like to do). It doesn't work like that. Both parties SUCK at fixing social problems. But if Candace Owens and Prager U are telling you that it's the "fault" of the democrats, they're trying to sow seeds of hatred to get you to be on their side. If you care about solutions more than parties, you'll be disappointed with them too. 

Both parties are flawed and have contributed to problems rather than fixing them, or at least failed to act when they should have. So don't pick a party. Be a critical thinker! 

Spend more time understanding the problems that you're concerned about. Fatherless homes exist in large part because of mass incarceration and drug laws. Poverty continues in part because conservative states prioritize "marriage classes" over assistance programs, putting the cart before the horse. Intensifying border security actually created an urgency and higher rates of undocumented immigration than when border security was relaxed. 

When you are fully able to describe and explain the problems you are seeing in the country, you will realize that republicans tend to ignore problems/fail to even address them/not do enough/hurt and harm and insult people who are suffering and democrats tend to think they know what they're doing, throw money at a problem, and ultimately make it worse because they didn't know what they were doing to begin with (i.e., they didn't understand the problem). 

Before you get sucked into the finger-pointing, contentious, hateful narrative of both parties, figure out how you feel about the problems. What are your values, principles, and opinions OUTSIDE of the two-party system? Don't think about the problems in terms of who caused them. Think about them in terms of the people who are experiencing them. No blame, just trying to really understand the combination of personal and structural components that create social problems. Then consider what sorts of institutions and solutions might exist. 

Hope that helps,