Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Civility Watchdog: Mayor Julian Castro's Keynote Address to Democratic National Convention

On September 4, 2012, Mayor Julian Castro (D-San Antonio) gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. Below are some of the highlights concerning civil, productive debate:
"Now, in Texas, we believe in the rugged individual. Texas may be the one place where people actually still have bootstraps, and we expect folks to pull themselves up by them. But we also recognize there are some things we can't do alone. We have to come together and invest in opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow."
Comment: This is a platitude. Republicans, like Democrats, agree that there are some things people can't do alone and need government for. But they disagree with Democrats on which things people need government for, and how government should provide certain things. To say otherwise is a derisive distortion.

"Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn't get it. A few months ago he visited a university in Ohio and gave the students there a little entrepreneurial advice. "Start a business," he said. But how? "Borrow money if you have to from your parents," he told them. Gee, why didn't I think of that? Some people are lucky enough to borrow money from their parents, but that shouldn't determine whether you can pursue your dreams. I don't think Gov. Romney meant any harm. I think he's a good guy. He just has no idea how good he's had it."
Comment: If Castro is implying that you can't come up with policies that are good for the poor if you haven't been poor yourself, then this is a faulty appeal to authority. And, does suggesting to people that they try borrowing money from their parents somehow make Romney "out of touch"?

"We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others. What we don't accept is the idea that some folks won't even get a chance. And the thing is, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are perfectly comfortable with that America. In fact, that's exactly what they're promising us."
Comment: This is a derisive distortion. Republicans aren't perfectly comfortable with the idea that some folks don't get a chance to prosper. That a caricature just as much as saying that Democrats are perfectly comfortable with the idea of some people becoming an underclass dependent on the government. The real issue here is that Republicans and Democrats disagree about what constitutes getting an adequate chance to prosper, and how much of a role government ought to play in providing that opportunity.

"Of all the fictions we heard last week in Tampa, the one I find most troubling is this: If we all just go our own way, our nation will be stronger for it. Because if we sever the threads that connect us, the only people who will go far are those who are already ahead. We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it."
Comment: This is another derisive distortion. Republicans aren't advocating that we sever all the threads that connect us, any more than Democrats are advocating that we eliminate all individual initiative and liberty.

"Either way, their theory has been tested. It failed. Our economy failed. The middle class paid the price. Your family paid the price."
Comment: This is "failed policies" rhetoric.

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