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Sasse: A republic will not work if we don’t have shared facts

Sasse: A republic will not work if we don’t have shared facts

“you’re entitled to your own opinions, but you’re not entitled to your own facts”

America has a problem, a fact problem. And it’s being felt across the political spectrum.

Yesterday morning as tradition dictates, I met one of my oldest and dearest friends for brunch. She’s well-informed, well-read, incredibly bright, and quite liberal. After catching up on all things personal the conversation shifted to the current political climate. She expressed her frustration with having to sift through ten different articles from major, legacy publications, in order to piece together the basic facts of any given story.

We discussed the issue at length and I vented about how the extreme drought of factual reporting makes my work life increasingly risky and difficult. We came to no conclusion, but were left pondering the same questions — what happens when we no longer have access to facts? How are decisions made? How do we know what’s real? And even more importantly, what happens to a country untethered to facts?

Also yesterday, Sen. Sasse (R-NE) joined CNN’s Jake Tapper and discussed this very issue. His conclusion was dire — “a republic will not work if we don’t have shared facts,” he said.

“The reality is journalism is really going to change a lot more in the digital era and we have a risk of getting to a place where we don’t have shared public facts. A republic will not work if we don’t have shared facts.

I’m the third most conservative guy in the Senate by voting record, but I sit in Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s desk on the floor of the U.S. Senate on purpose, because he’s the author of that famous quote that “you’re entitled to your own opinions, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

The only way the Republic can work is if we come together, we defend each other’s rights to say things that we differ about, we defend each other’s rights to publish journalism and pieces that we then want to argue about. I agree with the president that there’s a whole bunch of crappy journalism out there, just as I think you’d agree that there’s a whole bunch of click-bait out there and barriers of entry to journalism are going to go down, down, down.

It is going to be possible in the next three and five and ten years for people to surround themselves only with echo chambers and silos of people that already believe only what they believe. That’s a recipe for a new kind of tribalism and America won’t work if we do that.

We need to come together as a people and re-teach our kids what the first amendment is about.”

While working in grassroots organizing, I learned a very simple truth — it’s much easier to start from the one place of consensus than it is to convert someone on twenty areas of disagreement. I wholeheartedly believe focusing on the common ground is the quickest, best way to close the rapidly widening cultural schism.

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Comments

Analysis: True. The Balkanization of the US leads to a very unhappy place.

Ha, Sasse is part of the problem. Sound like someone is becoming irrelevant very quickly.

Hey Hey Goodbye.

As a Never Trumper, Senator Sasse was himself guilty of creating some of his own personal “facts” last year.

Bit off topic, wondering what the lawyers on this site think of Barack Obama “meeting” with Pres. of S. Korea.

Is Obama in violation of the Logan Act running around bad mouthing our current potus?

U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 45 › § 953

18 U.S. Code § 953 – Private correspondence with foreign governments

“Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.” (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 744; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

    Prosecute him.

    tom swift in reply to LisaGinNZ. | July 3, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    So, I wonder which President the South Koreans want to deal with; the real one, or a fake has-been? Can’t really do both. Make your choice, then live with the consequences.

    Milhouse in reply to LisaGinNZ. | July 4, 2017 at 1:00 am

    (1) There is not the slightest indication that 0bama tried to influence Moon’s “measures or conduct […] in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States”. So there’s not even the beginnings of an issue. 0bama has every right to travel where he likes, and to meet whom he likes, including foreign leaders if they choose to give him their time.

    (2) In any case, there’s a reason the Logan Act has never been used. Everyone knows it wouldn’t survive first contact with a court of law. The only way to keep it on the books is never to bring it to the official notice of any judge.

      tom swift in reply to Milhouse. | July 4, 2017 at 3:57 am

      Eight years experience with Obama … and you figure that just because there’s no obvious report of his skullduggery “resistance” in Korea so far, everything must be just peachy.

      I think I detect an inductive logic “fail” somewhere in there.

      Maybe they were just comparing notes about golf. And the grandchildren. Yeah, that’s probably it.

        Tom Servo in reply to tom swift. | July 4, 2017 at 8:34 am

        I think we should go easy on Obama, he just went there so he could have a big plate of nice Fried Dog, just like he always used to eat back when he was a kid in Indonesia.

There is also an abuse of reporting to make the “facts” sound even worse than they are.

For example, Trump’s tweet on the British child said – “If we can help little Charlie Gard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”

The Washington Post tweeted in response – “Trump vows to help Charlie Gard, the British infant courts say should be allowed to die”.

How the heck did “if we can help … we would be delighted” become “vows”? The response as documented by Twitchy is nasty. http://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2017/07/03/cant-win-backlash-against-trumps-charlie-gard-tweet-suggests-hes-better-off-bashing-cnn/

    “The Washington Post tweeted in response – “Trump vows to help Charlie Gard, the British infant courts say should be allowed to die”…”

    Who still reads that rag, except jeff bezos and carl bernstein?

    The washington post has become the serena williams of men’s tennis.

You can’t even have facts if objective truth is denied.

Republicans like Mr. Sasse need to acknowledge we can NOT compromise with diametrically opposing views. One wins, one loses. No other options available, it’s just to what degree you win or lose. Obama and democrats know that and governed as such. We have a turn again and need to govern as such.

With our dear liberal personal friends we just need to wait on real life to hit them here or there and point out the principles that applied in that situation, but that won’t happen quickly.

Progressive liberals don’t want a Republic. They want a dictatorship. This is clearly evidenced by their policies in their personal and political lives. They want to rule people; they themselves do not want to be ruled. What else are you left with other than a dictatorship? To assume that they want to maintain what we have is foolhardy wishful thinking.

I feel your pain! I am a news/history junkie and I am finding it harder and harder to separate fact from fiction in media reporting.
I have a habit of correcting commentors on the Internet who are right of center, in particular, over how our government works. Those on the Right and Left don’t know even what impeachment is under the Constitution. Many think Speaker Ryan can be impeached and impeachment is removal from office. I usually write that House in impeachment is like a grand jury to indict the charged person and the Senate is the jury with a 2/3 vote to convict and remove from office.
Treason is another thing that is thrown around illogically, IMO. Treason is a constitutionally defined crime, the only one in our Constitution. Per the Constitution in Article 3, Section 3: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.” So were these so called treasons actions in concert with an enemy; and who is the enemy? The Constitution defines enemies based on a Congressional Declaration of War. So who have we declared war on since WWII.
Words have meaning.

    gospace in reply to amr. | July 3, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Let me correct you on the Constitution and the plain meaning of words. An enemy quite clearly would be someone Congress declared war against. But the Constitution doesn’t define enemy as such. And the phrase ““Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” has that “or in there. It is possible to wage war against the United States without the United States declaring a war. What Timothy McVeigh did was quite clearly levying war against the United States. But there were enough other charges that carried the death penalty he wasn’t charged with Treason. Which is difficult to obtain a conviction on due to that two witnesses thing. OTOH, most of the so called lone wolf jihadists have in open court quite clearly made known they were waging war on the United States. As non-state actors, no less, a violation of the Geneva Convention. I think a few treason convictions there and subsequent hangings would do some good. You can be convicted of treason even if you’re not a citizen. Common law definition, and it’s been done in Britain. If you’re in the country legally and have accepted hospitality, you’re obliged not to make war upon the country while you’re here.

      Paul in reply to gospace. | July 3, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      Like flying a couple of cargo planes full of cash and handing it over to a country that repeatedly refers to us as The Great Satan and pays terrorists to kill our soldiers? All while admittedly lying his ass off in order to perpetrate the act. Does that count?

        Milhouse in reply to Paul. | July 4, 2017 at 10:48 am

        Treason requires one of two things:

        (1) Taking up arms against the USA. Motive doesn’t matter. But 0bama didn’t do this.

        (2) Adherence to the enemy, and an overt act in pursuit of that adherence. Giving an enemy literal aid and comfort, such as knowingly harboring an enemy spy in wartime, feeding and sheltering him, finding him a job and a car, is not treason unless it is done out of adherence to the enemy. Doing it for some other reason, such as political gain or family feeling, is not treason. Iran is at least as much an enemy of the USA as the USSR ever was; and 0bama definitely gave it aid and comfort; but his motive was hatred for the USA, not love for Iran, and that makes it not treason.

sasse can kiss my a$$. he’s part of the problem

I too have one of those very close and dear friends who is very liberal or as she likes to say progressive. Our friendship goes back decades. She is very well educated and well read.

She will go apoplectic on a person who admits to being a Republican. Independents and Libertarians don’t fare much better. It’s democrats and no other alternative exist.

She has good ability to argue opinion based on proven facts, but when the argument turns against her, her fall back position is ‘facts have a liberal bias’ as if that ends the argument.

Whatever Trump says no matter how benign is a ‘dog whistle.’ A Happy Mother’s Day greeting to all American mother’s somehow became a dog whistle to his supporters to hate on all alternative lifestyles. I wonder what she told her children and grandchildren when they wished her a happy mother’s day. Was it a heartfelt thank you or an admonishment for being such a reprehensible hateful a$$hole?

    Tom Servo in reply to MadisonS. | July 4, 2017 at 8:39 am

    You need to wake up and realize you do NOT have a “dear and close friend” in such a person – you have a self destructive relationship with a moral monster who for some reason thinks you are useful to her own personal goals, so she maintains ties to you. The instant that you ever try to assert who you are and quit sucking up and hiding your true views from her, she will blow the whole thing up.

    Since this is what power-obsessed abusers do, and that’s what this wretch is. Terminate all ties as soon as you can, for your OWN mental health. Don’t support the abuser.

The problem is NOT that we don’t have “shared facts.” The problem is too damn many liars.

the problem i run into all the time is that the lieberals i deal with only listen to “facts” that support their position on whatever is being discussed, even when such “facts” are disproved.

they absolutely refuse to consider anything that doesn’t fit their world view, which means you can’t possibly reason with them.

Not getting all the hate for Sasse here. I’ve been pretty impressed with the things he’s been saying over the past couple of weeks… and wasn’t really aware of him before that.

What did he do?

    Ben Sasse is and was a never Trumper as*hat that was censured by Nebraska gop convention he is so bad. He needs to go bye bye asap.

      Ragspierre in reply to garybritt. | July 4, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Make your predictions and lay your bets. C’mon. Step up!

        OldNuc in reply to Ragspierre. | July 4, 2017 at 11:01 am

        Nebraska is quite sick and tired of him. I live in far southwestern Iowa and the local NE media is more than done with him. Likewise just about anyone of the NE voting public that I have heard from. He BSd his way into being elected and people here do not take well to being BSd by politicians.

      Ragspierre in reply to garybritt. | July 4, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Waiting, Britt…

      Where are your predictions and bets…???

      C’mon, Mr. Anti-conservative T-rump boi. Step on UP. For Daddy…!!!

        It is no surprise it took you 10 years to do 3 years of law school or that your trucking company went bankrupt. Who would want to work with such a juvenile homophobe. You write posts like a 10 year old using mommy’s computer.

4th armored div | July 3, 2017 at 11:26 pm

what happens to a country untethered to facts?

you become a fakestinian, with no history, only lies.

The really remarkable thing about the First Amendment is that it’s not concerned with fact. The accuracy or quality or value of speech doesn’t matter; it’s protected, and it’s somewhere between un-American and blatantly illegal to try to stifle it. We don’t have to divine the true nature of the universe in order to earn protection; right or wrong, acute or obtuse, we have it already.

The Left doesn’t want to suppress fact. That’s a byproduct, a freebie. The Left wants to suppress thought.

Some of the things that ” Sasse,” says are good. But, to not support your President, of your own Party, makes you ” the Ultimate Rino.” I’m not sure he knows where he stands ?

    Milhouse in reply to bobgood1. | July 4, 2017 at 10:40 am

    He knows exactly where he stands: With truth, liberty, and the United States, not with whichever lowlife managed to get elected president. A political party is merely a means to an end, and deserves loyalty only when it happens to be right.

    For that matter, the whole point of the Glorious Fourth is that the same is true for a country; as the national anthem puts it, “and so conquer we must when our cause it is just“, and not when it isn’t.

Kemberlee:

Where does Yin find common ground with Yang and vice versa?

As is generally referenced in your post, any debate must fundamentally and mutually agree on common facts germane to that debate before the debate can commence. Finding topics on which conservatives agree with progressives is not difficult on a personal level – they may both like the same kind of cuisine, for example. However, the kind of cuisine they prefer is not germane to the debate over the morality and legality of abortion. Therefore, a personal “common ground” will not be of any benefit to establishing a debate regarding principle. This is the conundrum that conservatives do not wish to face: the fact that there is unrelated common ground with the progressives (both are human, after all) does not make the ideological foundation of the progressive movement – and practicing progressives by extension – any less evil.

The differences between the conservative and progressive world views have been well documented by authors such as Mark Levin and Dennis Prager. There is no need to rehash them here. The point is this: conservatism and progressivism exist in two mutually exclusive paradigms. Progressivism seeks the extermination of conservatism while conservatism hopes and works for the conversion of progressivism. It is this hope of conversion that makes conservatives gluttons for punishment. They keep coming back to establish meaningful dialogue with someone who is only looking to silence them. They fail to realize that they are part of the eternal struggle between good and evil that can only end with the complete destruction of one side or the other.

The founders of this republic shared common, but not identical, beliefs and faiths. Their debates revolved around the correct way to do what was morally and ethically right. They DID NOT debate whether or not to engage in immoral or unethical behavior – and that is the primary difference that we see in our society today. A large portion of the debates we see occurring between conservatives and progressives are about whether or not we should be immoral and unethical as a society. More fundamentally, the present debates are about whether moral and ethical absolutes actually exist.

It is time for conservatives to understand that we have no common ground, and we cannot engage in any sort of meaningful dialogue, with someone who is possessed of a reprobate mind.

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