You might be a Democrat if ... - Island of Sanity

Island of Sanity

Liberals & Conservatives

You might be a Democrat if ...

A friend of mine recently forwarded me a copy of a cute little article called "You might be a Republican if ...". I don't know who wrote it; I presume it's been floating around the Internet. It is, as you shall see, a series of brief statements apparently intended to reveal conservatism to be full of contradictions and illogic. But I just couldn't help replying to it point by point, out of the shear joy of it. So here I present two columns: The first is the original slam against conservatives, and the second is my defense or counter-slam.

(P.S. My friend is pretty liberal, but we're both fairly tolerant people so that's never gotten in the way of us getting along amicably.)

You might be a Republican if ... You might be a Democrat if ...
You believe that the nation's current 8-year prosperity was due entirely to the work of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, but that yesterday's gas prices are all Clinton's fault. Obvious: You believe that Mr Clinton deserves all the credit for an economic boom that began eight years before he took office, and Mr Bush deserves all the blame for the economic downturn that began a year before he took office.

Alternative: You believe that President Clinton deserves the credit for reducing the welfare rolls and putting people back to work, even though he vetoed these reforms twice and only signed it on the third try under heavy pressure.

You believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all on their own. You believe that anyone who is wealthy must have acquired that wealth by cheating or oppressing others. (Except, of course, for rock singers, Hollywood, and Hillary Clinton, who deserve every penny they have.)
You're against government programs, but expect your Social Security checks on time. 1. You're under 50 and you expect to receive Social Security at all.

2. You believe that the only limit on how much money the government can give away is the stinginess of mean-spirited Republicans. If only those people would disappear the government could give every American $1 million a year, a/nd there'd be no need to worry about where the money came from. (Oh, I forgot, it would come by taxing the rich.)

You believe that pollution is OK, so long as it makes a profit. You believe that if a company closes down a factory to move production to a country with cheaper labor, this will have a devastating affect on the economy, is grossly unfair to the oppressed workers, etc. But if the government forces a factory to close down because it produces barely-measurable amounts of pollution, the workers will find other jobs and, hey, they'll be grateful, because they want clean air and water too.
You believe in prayer in schools, as long as people don't pray to St. Mary, Allah, Krishna, or Buddha. You believe that Protestants would be appalled at the idea of hearing a Catholic prayer, that Christians in general would be offended to hear Ramadan discussed in school in the same way that they would like to hear Christmas discussed, and in general that religious people are just as bigoted and intolerant of each other as you are of religious people.
You believe that only your own teenagers are still virgins. You believe that no teenager in the world is still a virgin, and that the very idea of virginity is somewhere between quaint and absurd.
You believe that women cannot be trusted with decisions about their own bodies, but that large multinational corporations should have no regulation or interference whatsoever. You believe that the government must license and regulate hairdressers to protect society from the disastrous effects that would no doubt result if women were permitted to make decisions about such things on their own; but that taking the life of a helpless, innocent unborn child is a personal matter that each individual woman must be allowed to decide for herself.
You know you love Jesus and that Jesus loves you and that Jesus shares your hatred of AIDS victims, homosexuals, and President Clinton. You believe that Tolerance is the highest virtue, and therefore that any expression of disagreement with your views of tolerance should be declared a "hate crime" punishable by fines and imprisonment, or at least that the offender should be required to attend "sensitivity training sessions" until he learns to agree with you.
You believe that it was wise to allow Ken Starr to spend $50 million dollars to attack Clinton because no other U.S. presidents have ever been unfaithful to their wives. You believe that when Jimmy Swaggart or James Baker or some other right-wing minister is caught in immoral acts, that this not only proves that they were the worst kind of hypocrites, but also discredits all right-wing religious people. But when Jesse Jackson or some other left-wing minister is caught in immoral acts, we should be understanding and forgiving and pray that this does not interfere with their ability to continue their important work.
You believe that a waiting period for purchasing a handgun is bad because quick access to a new firearm is an important concern for all Americans. You believe that the Constitutional guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms should simply be ignored, without going to all the bother of amending the Constitution or anything, because, hey, liberal activists and judges know best, and little things like Constitutional rights should not be allowed to interfere with doing things that we just know are for the good of the country.
You believe it is wise to keep condoms out of schools, because we all know if teenagers don't have condoms they won't have sex. You believe that teenagers should be provided with condoms and full instruction on their use, because we all know that teenagers will have sex regardless of what their parents or teachers tell them about the wisdom of such actions, but of course teenagers will be incredibly impressed and follow without question any instructions that parents or teachers give them about "safe sex".
You believe that the American Civil Liberties Union is bad because they defend the Constitution, while the National Rifle Association is good because they defend the Constitution. You believe that the National Rifle Association is bad because it calls for adherence to the plain reading of the Constitution, while the American Civil Liberties Union is good because it "interprets" the Constitution to mean whatever liberal political activists want it to mean or wish the framers and remembered to include.
You believe that socialism hasn't worked anywhere, and that Europe doesn't exist. You believe that socialism results in more wealth and freedom for the common people than capitalism, even though you cannot actually point to any place in the world at any time in history where this has actually happened. Socialism has failed wherever it has been tried because capitalists sabotagued it.
You believe the AIDS virus is not important enough to deserve federal funding proportionate to the resulting death rate and that the public doesn't need to be educated about it, because if we just ignore it, it will go away. 1. You believe that it makes perfect sense to spend ten times as much on AIDS research per infected person as on any other disease that receives federal funding, even though the spread of AIDS could be virtually ended at zero cost tomorrow if people simply stopped engaging in promiscuous homosexual acts, while almost every other disease is spread by factors over which human beings have little or no control.

2. You believe that the proper response to AIDS -- a disease which is spread by homosexual acts, which are known to be dangerous and which many people believe to be unsavory or even immoral -- is to spend millions of tax dollars searching for a cure while defending the dangerous behaviors that spread it as a fundamental human right. You also believe that lung cancer -- a disease which is spread by smoking, which is known to be dangerous and which many people believe to be unsavory or even immoral -- is to discourage if not outright ban the dangerous acts, and denounce anyone who protests this an infringement on their rights.

You believe that biology teachers are corrupting the morals of 6th graders if they teach them the basics of human sexuality, but the Bible, which is full of sex and violence, is good reading. You believe that a television program which shows a 5-second scene of someone putting on a seatbelt or mentioning use of a condom will save thousands of lives because viewers will be impressed by this example and follow it, but a television program that shows 60 minutes of wanton violence and irresponsible sex will have no effect on the viewers, because after all, this is just a work of fiction and people's behavior is not affected by what they see on television.
You believe that even though governments have supported the arts for 5,000 years and that most of the great works of Renaissance art were paid for by governments, our government should shun any such support. After all, the rich can afford to buy their own and the poor don't need any. You believe that government burocrats must be entrusted with deciding what constitutes great art, for of course the common people simply have no idea of what art is and what is worth supporting. The simple proof of this is that when the common people support art with their own money, they overwhelmingly support art that strives to show skill and beauty. But of course the sophisticated people in the art world know that the purpose of real art must be to "challenge the mores of middle-class society", that is, to deliberately insult and offend the people whose money you are taking to produce it.
You believe that we should forgive and pray for Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde, Bob Livingston, and numerous other Republican politicians both past and present for their marital infidelities, and other indiscretions, but that bastard Clinton should be impeached. You believe that any moral failing on the part of a conservative should be denounced as proof of their hypocrisy, and indeed as proof that conservative ideas in general are evil, but any moral failing on the part of a liberal should be treated with understanding and compassion, and in any case his personal failings aren't relevant to his public policy positions.
You believe that the Federal Government should always respect the sovereign rights of the States to determine and define their own laws, except when you need to elect a Republican as El Presidente. You believe that it is the proper role of the courts to intervene whenever judges decide that a law passed by a freely-elected legislature is a bad idea, and that it is a shocking affront for a higher court to say that maybe a judge's idea of what the law should have said should not automatically take the place of what the law actually says.
Marc Rich, pardoned by that bastard Clinton was evil and indicted because his corporation did business with that other evil bastard Saddam Hussein. Dick Cheney's company Halliburton did the same thing, but they're OK. 1. You start out an article with a simple pattern of parallelism, such as putting a statement like "You may be a Republican if ..." at the beginning and then making each paragraph complete this sentence in a grammatically correct fashion, and then near the end you suddenly abandon this pattern for no discernable reason.

2. You believe that companies that did business with regimes hated by liberals, like South Africa or Nazi Germany, were helping to support the evils of these governments, and profiting from the misery they caused. But companies that do business with regimes liked by liberals but disliked by conservatives, like communist China and Cuba, are helping to build bridges and bring democratic influences to these places, and if they make money in the process that's okay.

3. You believe that if a tyrannical government -- like, say, the government of communist China -- makes campaign contributions to a candidate for president -- let's call this hypothetical person "Bill Clinton" -- and after being elected this president overrules his national security advisors and sells all sorts of military technology to the tyrants, and turns a blind eye when they are caught trying to steal yet more military technology, that this is okay and nothing to worry about.

Presidential pardons should be severely limited, unless you are a REPUBLICAN president and you are pardoning your defense secretary to prevent a publicly embarrassing trial that would implicate YOU. You believe that efforts by Democrats to charge Republicans with crimes because they disagreed over policy, such as the charges brought against members of the Reagan administration in the "Iran-Contra scandal", are perfectly valid and necessary to preserve the separation of powers and other vital safeguards of democracy. But efforts by Republicans to charge Democrats with crimes because they flouted the law for the personal gain of themselves or their cronies, such as Mr Clinton's trumped-up charges against travel office staff so he could replace them with people from a company owned by his cousin, are the lowest sort of partisan political attacks.

© 2001 by Jay Johansen


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