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The Democrats said, “We don’t know what’s wrong with America, but we can fix it.” The Republicans said, “There’s nothing wrong with America, and we can fix that.” ~ P.J. O’Rourke

Remember when the joke was that Gore and Bush were essentially the same guy? Of course you don’t.

The 2012 US Presidential Election is. at heart, a referendum on the same thing it’s been about since the Industrial Revolution: the capitalist system. More to the point, the constant tension between those at the very bottom who think the machine of capitalism is grinding them into the dirt, those at the very top who think it needs to speed up, and that vast majority in the middle who think it’d work just fine if we just tweaked it this way or that.

Unfortunately, the Republicans, in order to speed up that machine, decided 30 years ago to make a very ironic deal with the devil, forming an alliance with fundamentalist Christians, Southern racists, war hawks, Tea Party “patriots,” and economic absolutists like Grover Norquist. A coalition of fanatics, in other words, and while it worked in its goal of bringing the GOP back as the nation’s dominant party, it necessitated a shit ton of groupthink, the creation of a hivemind so cast-iron inviolable that facts eventually became twisted to fit its perceptions, instead of the way it usually works.

This eventually meant throwing black, gay, Jewish, female, and Muslim conservatives, not to mention anyone with a thought process, under the bus. But now that the movement’s overreach has resulted in the overthrow of logic, logic itself is being redefined. It’s another classic Karl Rove play: accuse liberals of your own greatest flaws, and watch them bend over backwards in an attempt not to offend. In this case, they’ve been hit with the scarlet I of Intolerance. This was recently summed up for me by a discussion on Facebook (bad idea, I know), in which I was called out for automatically rejecting the other person’s belief… that there are no such thing as rape pregnancies.

The Libertarians over at Reason.com are experts at deflating Republican hypocrisy, but they also embody The New Tolerance: the idea that red vs. blue, Democrat vs. Republican, and liberal vs. conservative are simply two sides of the same corrupt coin. This theory holds that the relentlessly ugly culture war blazing between the two sides — a war started by Roveand protege Lee Atwater, happily implemented during the Reagan-Bush years, then ramped up to ridiculous levels under George W. —  is the real problem, and a consensus can only be reached if we strike a middle position between the two extremes.

No shit. That was a real thing.

It was true once. But the GOP’s veered so far from the realm of common sense by this point that they resemble the liberal extremists of the hippie era — you can’t reach a consensus on national defense with people who think all wars are always wrong and unnecessary, and you can’t reach a consensus on tax reform with people who think all taxes are always wrong, either. There has to be a real balance, and it has to be arbitrated by the actual facts. You know, that “reality-based community” the Bush administration sneered at.

Here’s a quick quiz designed to test whether you believe that the Democrats and the Republicans are equally offensive and/or insane. In all but one instance, I’ve focused on people who actually make laws, and in no case have I used quotes from celebrities, talk-show hosts, or “pundits.”

True or false?

  1. Ten US states have put forth Democratic-sponsored legislation to end skydiving deaths*, citing them as a major threat to the nation’s democracy. A Democratic Representative has declared that this legislation will help Barack Obama to be re-elected President in November.
  2. A Democratic Governor has introduced a bill into the House of Representative that defines life as beginning two weeks after childbirth, thereby making it legal for a woman to kill her newborn baby up to two weeks after she delivers it.
  3. 97 percent of scientists have reached a consensus that the bright thing in the sky every day is actually a star burning 93 million miles away. Democrats dispute this, however, declaring that the “science is still out” on stars.
  4. 25 percent of Democrats think Mitt Romney is the Antichrist as foretold in Biblical prophecy. 40 percent think that, as Governor, he did “many of the same things Hitler did.” Nearly half of all Democrats think Mitt is a cyborg, depite his medical records. Nearly 60 percent of Democrats think that Romney, who professes to be a Mormon, is in fact a snake-handler.
  5. Mitt Romney will, if elected, immediately enforce Mormon law, assisted by his fifteen conspirators in the US Congress. Citizens will be forbidden to drink coffee or tea, and must not gamble or masturbate, and must wear temple garments under their clothes, and follow The Great Plan of Happiness.
  6. Declaring that a woman’s body rejects all attempts to conceive through rape, a Democratic lawmaker introduces a bill that would reclassify all consensual sex “rape” when not resulting in pregnancy. Boyfriends, johns, and husbands are rounded up throughout the country. The Democratic national party platform orders abortions in cases of rape. 
  7. President Obama refuses to legally recognize any heterosexual marriages, claiming them all null and void because England’s “Clandestine Marriage Act of 1753,” which made it a state-controlled act in the first place, was actually a redefinition of Biblical marriage. “This is America,” he states.
  8. Democratic lawmakers in at least one state have instituted “show your papers” laws for all people who look disturbingly non-red, since only Native Americans “look” as if they were born on this continent.
  9. Mitt Romney plans to make it mandatory for all citizens to own a gun, imposing stiff penalties for non-compliance. He has made no such law while Governor, and it’s not in his party platform, and he’s actually tightened gun control laws, but that’s just a trick.
  10. Many Democrats believe that the sun is the source of all life, and that public school children should be allowed to lead a worship of it every morning with an epic poem during homeroom. They also think that all creation stories should be taught as plausible scientific explanations as to the origin of Earth and man, including but not limited to the great six “divine sparks” of Ahura Mazda, Hesiod’s Theogony, the Rendezvous with Brahma, and the the Cosmic Egg of Pangu.

Finished? If you realized that all of the above statements are laughably untrue, then congratulations! You — conservative or liberal, moderate or extremist, progressive or Libertarian — have just realized that the Republican Party is not simply a mirror image of the Democratic Party. Please, for the love of real reason, vote accordingly.

*Skydiving deaths max out at about 30 per year in the US, which is approximately the same number of people convicted of voter fraud.