Recently I received the message below from a member of my family. I've watched over the years as she has slipped further and further into a morass of fuzzy-headed nostalgia for a world that never existed, and fear of a future she can't even understand. It saddens me.
But my sadness is mixed with anger. I am tired of the unending Baby Boomer Civil War. I am tired of watching the same old arguments grow and ossify into edifices dedicated to causes that have been superseded by events. Dogma threatens to flatten practicality at every turn.
We live in a world of such enormous potential, yet there are people in the year 2012, in the most powerful nation on earth, who insist on turning off their brains, favoring instead to recycle other people's culture war target lists. I understand that this message isn't a serious proposal. I get that it's venting, a means of dressing pent-up frustration in a cloak of humor.
I get all that, but I'm still pissed off. I am so weary of this kind of brain-dead nonsense. That adults read and enthusiastically spread it drives me to respond, even though I know it will not change even one person's opinion.
THIS IS SO INCREDIBLY WELL PUT AND I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT'S BY A YOUNG PERSON, A STUDENT!!! WHATEVER HE RUNS FOR, I'LL VOTE FOR HIM.
You don't seem to have much faith in your own country if you are surprised that a young person (or at least someone purporting to be young) could write something well? Or is it that you are surprised a young person would agree with you, who ostensibly see yourself as old? I do like the bolding, though. It says, "Hey, look at me! I'm serious about this!"
Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al:
I see what you did there. You dropped the entire left wing of American politics in the same bucket, and for good measure you put President Obama in there, too. You even went so far as to include Marxists. All 15 of them are probably happy just to be noticed. Anyway, it's obvious that this is going to be an Us v. Them thing, which is why you aren't including centrists and Independents. What about the few remaining moderate Republicans? I know, all this thinking gets in the way.
We have stuck together since the late 1950's for the sake of the kids, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has clearly run its course.
Wait, what? Everything was going peachy until the late 1950s, then everything started going downhill? Wasn't there a big tussle at the end of the 19th Century? Something about slavery? Whatever. Anyway, what happened in the 1950s that created the need for a divorce? What started the ball rolling? Was it the publication of On the Road? Was it the Civil Rights Movem... oh, now I get it. The relationship was going just fine, give or take a brutal Civil War, until the Civil Rights Movement reared its ugly head.
Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right for us all, so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.
Two ideological sides? Has the entirety of American politics come down to two monolithic entities? Is America now embroiled in a tussle akin to the Cold War, in which two irreconcilable ideologies face off for complete domination? And what's this about smiling and going our own way? I'm going to go out on a limb here and infer that the writer of this message considers himself to be politically conservative, which would imply alignment with the Republican Party. There is some irony in the fact that the first Republican President fought rather vigorously against dissolution of the Union, which is where this friendly little message seems to be headed.
Here is a model separation agreement:
Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a similar portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.
Both sides. To paraphrase an old movie actor, "There you go again!" On which side is a fiscally conservative, social liberal supposed to land? What about senators from Maine? In which camp does a confused soul like Joe Lieberman belong? Who decides? Do individuals get to decide, or is there a Grand Arbiter? I'm sort of worried about the logistics of all this.
We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them.
You haven't really read up on how taxation in American now compares to taxation in the Halcyon Days of the Eisenhower years, have you? Nobody can keep what doesn't exist.
You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.
What do you mean by "liberal judges"? I think you mean judges that disagree with you on social issues. But which ones? I mean, judges rarely amass records that conveniently fit Left/Right political categorization. Perhaps what you really want is for all judges who do not have records that perfectly conform to a Republican ideal (I'm still not clear on where centrists and independents fit in here, but it's your world, I'm just living in it), to be rid from your new Republic. At the Appellate level and above, that would be pretty much all judges. What about the judges who came down on the Republican side of an issue that the Republican Party later changed its mind about? OK, OK, I'll stop asking questions. As for the ACLU, they can be annoying as hell, but a democracy without people standing up for individual rights isn't a democracy.
Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military.
Hey, that was a neat trick. You just lumped everyone who isn't a Republican into a single camp again. But what does that mean for all the soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors who don't vote Republican? What about cops who don't? I deployed to Somalia during Operation Restore Hope, and eventually left the Army as a Captain. I voted for Bush Sr., and since then have voted Democrat in every Presidential election. I do hate war, and I think the world would be better without guns, but I served my country. What does that make me to you?
We'll take the nasty, smelly oil industry and you can go with wind, solar and bio diesel
I'm guessing you don't want geothermal or hydro, right? What about nuclear? I'm sure you want coal. It is the cleanest fuel, after all.
You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell. You are, however, responsible for finding a bio diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them.
Hah! That's a fat joke, right? You're so awesome, dude. Oh man, I have to regain my composure. Still laughing. Whew.
We'll keep capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street.
Sorry, you don't get capitalism, greedy corporations, Big Pharma, or Wall Street. Here's why: They're all chock full of non-Republicans. You've heard of Apple, right? They make computers and stuff. They are headquartered in Northern California, heart of the Vast non-Republican Conspiracy. Most of the Big Pharma companies are located in San Francisco, which is the heart of the heart of the Vast non-Republican Conspiracy. And though I'd love for you to keep Wall Street, the truth is that there are truckloads full of greedy hedge fund managers who put their money behind Democrats and other non-Republicans. You can keep Wal-Mart.
You can have your beloved lifelong welfare dwellers, food stamps, homeless, home boys, hippies, druggies and illegal aliens.
We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO's and rednecks.
We'll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood.
It is telling that you lumped homeless people, drug abusers, welfare recipients, and long-haired counterculture folks with "home boys". I'm guessing you mean urban minorities when you use the term. What you're saying is that you have no tolerance for those who are less fortunate, those who have made different lifestyle choices, those who have become hooked on drugs, those who have fled dire poverty for a shot at a reasonable existence, or those who are urban and not white. Not only that, your scornful use of the term "beloved" makes it quite clear that you find it despicable that anyone might have sympathy for them is worthy of nothing but contempt. Then you talk about the Bible. It sounds like the Bible you're reading is full of bile and hatred. More importantly, without Hollywood, how will Chuck Norris make movies?
You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us.
Your blood started stirring when you wrote that part, didn't it? Come on, fess up! You can certainly invade Iran if you'd like, but you'd be going against precedent. Carter (he was a Republ... uh, Democrat) tried a raid in Iran and it went wrong, so Reagan (the badass Republican who kicked the crap out of those dangerous... um... Grenadians) gave Iran weapons. That seemed to work better. Since then three terms of Bush Presidents haven't lifted a finger at Iran. As for Palestine, would you "invade" or "hammer" the area, and if so, who would you target? Would you kill only the "bad" Palestinians, or would you kill them all and let God sort it out? P.S. - How did the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan go? Also, does your brain turn to Silly Putty at the thought that invading Afghanistan was a good idea, but we jacked that up by diverting enormous resources to a stupid and wasteful Iraq mission for several years?
You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help provide them security.
"Peaceniks"? Now I know this wasn't written by a college student, at least not one from this century. Our way of life is directly threatened by the war in Mexico. Should we invade? If so, when? Should we nuke first, or only as a last resort? I'd like to suggest that Cancun would be an excellent location for a Green Zone. Also, if you think America is somehow less bellicose after Dubya's departure, you haven't been keeping up on current events.
We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values.
You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, political correctness and Shirley McLane. You can also have the U.N. but we will no longer be paying the bill.
What is it with you and ancient history? Shirley McLane? Is she still alive? Anyway, you want to keep the Judeo-Christian values. Gotcha. But does that mean you keep the actual Jews and Christians, too? All of them? What about the liberal ones? What about the dreaded New York liberal Jews? What about Latino Catholics? What about the Westboro Baptist Church? If you keep the values but leave the undesired Jews and Catholics, do they still get to keep their Judeo-Christian values, or do they have to cast them aside? If so, how does that actually work? What about Muslims who fight in the US military in places like Iraq? I'm getting really confused. Again, will there be a Grand Arbiter?
We'll keep the SUV's, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Volt and Leaf you can find.
You can give everyone health care if you can find any practicing doctors.
We'll continue to believe health care is a luxury and not a right.
We'll keep "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "The National Anthem."
I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute "Imagine", "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", "Kum Ba Ya" or "We Are the World".
Small point of order: If you leave the Union, shouldn't you do what you did the first time, and select a different national anthem? I mean, it's only right, given that you're the moving party. As for health care being a luxury, if that's what you want, that's what you'll get. As an anthem, we'll be using the Chuck D./Anthrax version of "Bring the Noise".
We'll practice trickle down economics and you can continue to give trickle up poverty your best shot.
You do know that David Stockman, the architect of "Trickle-Down Economics" in the Reagan Administration, has discussed at length just how far Republicans have gone off the deep end on tax policy, right?
Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our flag.
You did that clever thing again, where you pass off a redonkulously broad assumption as fact. American history belongs to all Americans. It's not yours to take, or mine to take. What you really want to say is that you'll keep your interpretation of American history as series of unvarnished triumphs, and you'll let everyone else maintain more nuanced interpretations. That sounds like a good idea to me. As for the name and the flag, no. You don't get to keep the symbols of the political union you want to destroy. Talk to the folks at the statehouse in Jackson, Mississippi. They can hook you up with some appropriate symbols.
Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like-minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you answer which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.
No, I won't agree to it. I also won't "just hit delete". This kind of insidious crap deserves a rejoinder. As for which party in your hypothetical will need the most help in 15 years, your Us v. Them game has gone on long enough. We'd all suffer from such a sundering.
John J. Wall
Law Student and an American
Sincerely, Erik J. Schmidt (actual name of actual, identifiable person), American
P.S. Also, please take Ted Turner, Sean Penn, Martin Sheen, Barbara Streisand, & Jane Fonda with you.
Who are all these people? Is Martin Sheen related to Charlie Sheen?
P.S.S. And you won't have to press 1 for English when you call our country.
Hey, that was clever! You are really subtly saying that you don't like it when people speak languages other than English in America. Damn, that's funny. Oh man, that's awesome. I guess that means we get all the immigrants, right? P.S. - It's actually P.P.S., at least in American English usage.
Forward This Every Time You Get It!
Let's Keep This Going … Maybe Some Of It Will Start Sinking In.
Putting it in mangled title case Doesn't Mean It Makes A Lick O' Sense.
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