Contrary to popular belief

For quite a while now, the always-excellent This Is True newsletter has been advertising writer Randy Cassingham’s latest (?) project: JumboJoke, a weblog-style daily joke post. I finally took a look at it, and thought I’d share the following pair of lists based on our political parties’ often contradictory platforms and rhetoric:

12 thoughts on “Contrary to popular belief

  1. Daniel

    Hmmmmmmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I have to take issue with the statement that these lists are based on our parties’ “platforms and rhetoric.” Many of the ideas presented in these lists are blatant misrepresentations of mainstream Democratic and Republican beliefs, such as:

    On the Dem side: “You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Robert E. Lee, and Thomas Edison.”

    Gloria Steinem and Margaret Sanger are important to know about, but only a radical would suggest that the histories of feminism and reproductive rights precede the histories of science, our nation’s founding, and the civil war.

    On the Rep side: “If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex.”

    The conservative argument is that putting condoms in schools signals approval of underage sex, not that banning condoms guarantees abstinence.

    And the only way to make most of the ideas listed here self-contradictory is to oversimply them to an extent that fundamentally misrepresents them. For example:

    Dems: “You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.”

    This is contradictory only if you equate opposition to capital punishment with opposition to killing of a) any living organism or b) any living organism with human DNA, which ignores all consideration of what might give life its value.

  2. Kelson Post author

    Ah, but haven’t you heard these exact misrepresentations in the opposing party’s rhetoric?

    To take one of your examples, many conservatives see abortion as murder and many liberals see capital punishment as murder. Consider a conservative trying to reconcile the liberal position against capital punishment with the liberal position for abortion. From that perspective, it really does look like a contradiction.

  3. Daniel

    From the perspective of a really dumb Conservative. . . but I repeat myself.

    Seriously, though, you’re correct, and I suppose I’m happy as long as these ideas are accurately represented as misrepresentations of the party platforms.

  4. Kizi

    Is is just me, or does the bloody sidebar keep on obscuring the text?

    Also, I was wondering if someone could tell me why the American government doesn’t like Cuba?

  5. Katie

    Can we please do something about these long “Hmm”s breaking the page? I can’t even see the gravatar for the sidebar.

  6. Kelson Post author

    The sidebar appears to be a problem with the way Internet Explorer deals with Daniel’s first comment here with the extremely-long “hmmmm…” The sidebar is set to a specific width. What Firefox and Opera do is let the line run past the edge but keep the box at the correct size. Internet Explorer stretches the box instead. Once it drops off the list of recent comments it should be OK.

    As for why the US government hates Cuba… mainly because it’s Communist and practically in our backyard. There’s also large, very vocal Cuban expatriate community (particularly in Florida). And then there’s the little matter of supporting that revolutionary Castro in overthrowing the evil dictator so he can set up a — what, he’s going Communist? The bastard!

    (Sadly, we have a long history of supporting the enemy of our enemy, only to discover that, old sayings aside, they aren’t our friends. Helping Saddam Hussein fight Iran, helping bin Laden and the people who became the Taliban fight the Soviets, etc.)

  7. Daniel

    Ack. Sorry about that over-lengthy “Hmmm. . . .” I wouldn’t be remotely offended if someone with the power to do so truncated it.

    Kizi, I don’t have much to add to what Kelson said, except that often it seems like our intentions are not just to antagonize communists, but to prevent any communist nation from demonstrating that a communist economy can be successful (or even viable). We accomplish this by using our international clout to discourage other countries from trading with the commies, with the result that commie governments have to do without certain essential commercial and raw goods, or pay dearly for them.

  8. Kelson Post author

    Think of it this way: America is an Evangelical Capitalist. We not only believe capitalism is the best way for us to run our economy, but that capitalism is the best way for everyone else to run their economies. It probably comes third after Freedom and Democracy. Add to that the fact that most economically communist regimes have been politically totalitarian, Communism (as practiced throughout the 20th century) is fundamentally incompatible with and opposed to our own fundamental ideals. (Naturally, like Evangelicals of any stripe, we’re somewhat blind to our own failings where those ideals are concerned.)

    Also, there’s the Cold War influence. Any communist nation was a natural ally of the Soviets. In addition to political power, the Cuban Missile Crisis (wow, I can’t even think of it without capital letters) highlighted the military danger. As a result, we’ve propped up some really nasty dictators in Central and South America, just because their opponents were communists, to prevent them from taking over and becoming staging areas for Soviet armies/missiles/etc. The Cold War may be over, but the associations remain.

  9. Katie

    Come to think of it, we tend to be against any governmental “-ism” except capitalism and any “-cracy” except democracy. Seems a bit loony when the uninsured poor are voting against national health care because it has a faint odor of socialism…..

  10. Kelson Post author

    To be honest, I’ve never watched The West Wing. For some reason political drama only appeals to me in a sci-fi/fantasy context, like Babylon 5 or Transmetropolitan. I guess I get enough of real-world politics in, well, the real world.

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