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Fake news! Confronting conservative social media

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I have a lot of very conservative friends on Facebook. And I had my chance to delete them years ago when “if you think (insert shitty opinion here), then just delete yourself from my page” posts were ubiquitous on the platform, but I chose to keep the Right in my feed. For me, I didn’t see the benefit of axing them from my sphere, even if that meant I was exposed to racist, sexist, and homophobic ideas. If anything, I was afraid that removing them would leave me in a bubble —  the same bubble that, in 2016, contributed to nationwide shock when Trump became president. Plus, it gave me a chance to insert my liberal ass into their feed from time to time, in the hopes of, at the very least, planting a seed of thought. Maybe.

But sometimes the things they post really get my goat. So, here I am, delving into their shitposts to set 👏 the 👏 record 👏 straight 👏.

Enter Exhibit A.

Astro Pittman | The Seattle Collegian Fake News!

Tsk, ah.

First, I would like to thank this person for posting something so ironically incorrect that it inspired me to write a whole damn article on it. This post is accusing liberals of blindly following President Biden and the Democratic party, which to be fair, there are undoubtedly plenty of people who do vote Blue without doing their due diligence, but the points listed here just don’t really nail that argument home.

“Joe Biden cut 70,000 jobs.”

Yes, Biden cut jobs but it wasn’t 70,000 and it wasn’t without reason. On Biden’s first day of office, he signed an executive order canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, which was in response to President Trump signing his own executive order to revive the pipeline back in 2017. However, the true number of jobs lost is actually closer to around 1,000 permanent jobs, and 10,000 temporary construction-related jobs.

Astro Pittman | The Seattle Collegian Keystone XL Pipeline Plan

But why would Biden want to cancel the pipeline in the first place? Well, for one, the idea is to transition the US away from fossil fuel, that is if we value the planet and life as we know it. And building a 2,147 mile pipeline that crosses over 1,000 natural waterways, human water sources, pristine nature, privately owned farmland, and native Sioux territory is probably not the way to do it. It would be like saying you want to quit eating cake but then building a giant cake-machine in your kitchen. It’s counterintuitive. Plus, the pipeline has already had 21 spills between 2010 and 2019, and it’s bound to have many more. 

So yes, Biden canceled jobs, but the benefits for the environment, Native Americans, private landowners who don’t want a leaky pipe on their property, people who drink water sometimes, and countless others far outweighs the cost of 11,000 jobs. Does our economy need some work? Yes. But there are wiser options out there that will benefit everyone better in the long run.

Biden “increased the price of insulin.”

Again, partially true. President Biden paused all pending federal rules for 60 days until he and his administration have time to review “any questions of fact, law, and policy the rules may raise.” Given the disaster that was Trump’s presidency, this actually doesn’t seem like a terrible idea. However, one of those rules was Trump’s Executive Order 13937, Access to Affordable Life-Saving Medications, which would lower the cost of insulin and other important medications.

It would seem that the Orange Nightmare did something right for once, and the pause on this order should be temporary, but it’s definitely something we need to watch Biden on.

Biden “destroyed women’s sports.”

If by “destroy” you mean make the sport more inclusive to trans women, then yes, Biden obliterated it. Biden’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation was signed on his first day of presidency.

The order covers a lot of areas in protecting the LGBTQ+ community, including non-discrimination in education, employment, medical care, and housing. Because being a professional athlete is a job, the order includes preventing discrimination against trans individuals who want to work with their own gender.

The main argument against this is the worry that trans women would have a biological advantage over non-trans women, therefore upping the competitive level of the sport in a way that makes it unfair for cis-gendered women.

But do trans women have a biological advantage? First, let’s remember that people transition at different ages and some people choose to transition before or during puberty (note: the risks and benefits of this are still unknown and being studied.) If someone transitioned to female before male-specific biological changes start to occur then this makes the whole argument moot for them.

For everyone else, it would seem that there are some advantages, though most seem to decline a year or so after the transition. Some things that don’t change are their bone structure, larger lungs, and a larger heart. A male also develops more nuclei in their muscles because of testosterone, and this doesn’t go away after transitioning. The additional nuclei give them better “muscle memory,” allowing them to return to a similar state of fitness after a period of inactivity more quickly.

Despite these possible advantages, there are many trans women athletes who are competing and not winning trophies, though some definitely do. At the end of the day, regardless of gender, individual variation of both physique and mental fortitude matter more than what chromosomes you were born with.

When Joanna Harper, a trans athlete, was asked how to move forward fairly by WIRED magazine she responded, “Fair is a very subjective word … [Fair] to billions of typical women who cannot compete with men at high levels of sport?” Or “a very repressed minority in transgender people who only want to enjoy the same things that everybody else does, including participation in sports?”

Obviously, there is a lot to consider. Although trans women are not new, our path to inclusion is. I’m inclined to think that there are solutions out there that can both include trans women and ensure that people can compete fairly. 

For example, wrestling includes weight classes to allow people of different biological builds to compete equitably. Perhaps something similar could be included in women’s sports. Or better yet, perhaps we do away with gendered division altogether and allow individuals to compete in their “class” regardless of identity.

I trust that the ingenuity of humanity can figure this one out, but we must move forward in a way that makes the world a better place for everyone, and Biden’s executive order is a wonderful leap in the right direction.

Biden “made us energy-dependent again.”

Wait, weren’t they just talking about how we should keep the Keystone pipeline regardless of its detrimental environmental effect? What are they referring to here?

Well, they appear to be referencing Biden’s re-commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, a global pact of 189 countries that vow to lower carbon emissions to prevent global warming.

The argument against joining the agreement seems to center, again, around jobs. Senator Ted Cruz cites a study that states a family of four would lose $20,000 over a 20 year period if we were to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement. That’s right. 20000/20= 1000. Hmmm, let’s see. Either we save the planet from global warming and lose $1000 a year, or well, just read this terrifying article to get an idea of what’s at stake.

But $1000, or $88 a month, can be quite the sum for a lot of people, so perhaps we should worry. Again, I think there are other avenues to take to fix this problem. If we need money to save the earth we could cut a slice from our ginormous military spending, or I dunno, tax the rich. What we definitely shouldn’t do is ignore the climate problem and find ourselves on a very different planet 50 years from now. 

Astro Pittman | The Seattle Collegian Sorry, bub, but we humans have our priorities.

Biden “increased tensions in the Middle East.”

Can you recall a time when there wasn’t tension in the Middle East? I can’t. And until we become oil-independent there may always be tension. The United State’s involvement is muddied by profit and imperialism, and each president, in turn, has supported this system, including Trump and Obama. So, I both agree and disagree. At the end of the day, Biden is still a politician, like the rest of them, and needs to be watched.

Biden “signed the most executive orders of any president in his first ten days in office.”

Executive orders are a legitimate way to create immediate change and are commonly practiced by all modern presidents. The record is held by Franklin D. Roosevelt who signed 3,721 orders in his 12 years of office. Now, whether they are the BEST way to create change is an incredibly complex question. As we can see from Trump’s Keystone XL order, they are easily undone by the next president, but choosing that route shouldn’t reflect badly on the president himself. 

In fact, Trump himself signed 220 executive orders during his term. An argument could even be made that the shorter and more tenuous nature of executive orders are healthy for a more fluid republic. Regardless, it’s a weird jab to make at Biden. How dare you try to change anything, Biden!

Joe Biden Reaction GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

Look, social media can be a strange, awkward beast. The perceived protection of our computer screens fosters an environment where we can air our grievances without worrying about that icy glare or cold shoulder. I think ultimately, this freedom does more good than bad —  Ideas are being churned out and digested faster than before. But because of this, it’s more important than ever to question the ideas that come before us, one stupid meme at a time.

Harlow Poffenberger is a Visual Media student at Seattle Central College where she works as an editor at The Seattle Collegian and curates the weekly ART SPACE column. Harlow also likes thru-hiking, traveling, and other adventurous pursuits, and once lived in a house with a bear.

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