Why I, A Democrat, Can Tell You, A Republican, What Republicans Think, Using Only The Taste Of Their Urine

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

One of my conservative commenters tut-tutted me yesterday.  “Ferrett, you wrote this essay on How Not To Be A Political Asshole, which said never to generalize about a person – and then you told me what I thought about the rich in an essay the day before!  It’s fascinating, learning what I think.”
The answer is simple, and consistent: because I believe that all people are individuals, I do not assume that you, as a Republican, believe everything the party line spouts.  But I can believe that Republicans, as a group, generally hold to certain tenets.
Because if a soft drink company had, as part of its advertisements, a consistent emphasis on “OUR DRINK WILL MAKE YOUR PEE TASTE LIKE APPLE JUICE!” – well, you can bet your ass that it’s a drink I’d be reluctant to try.  I don’t really wanna taste my own pee, let alone make it taste better.  But I could certainly see it as an attention-getting novelty factor for a new soda eager to increase sales, and I’d think, well, this is a college craze that will end soon.  Kind of like Goldschlager, but with less gold and more tasty pee.
But if every single major soft drink company had, for the past decade, emblazoned their cans with “NOW 50% MORE APPLE FLAVOR IN YOUR URINE!” – well, then my attitude starts to change.  I think, “Well, certainly they seem to have this bizarre emphasis on urine-drinking, which is very off-putting to those of us who are not fond of aqua vitae.  But since they’re all doing it, and doing it so consistently, I can only assume that the majority of soda-drinkers like to recycle.”
The alternative flies in the face of Occam’s Razor.  Yes, it certainly could be that the soda companies are hammering on this relentless message in the hopes of, say, depressing the sales of the apple juice industry.  Or that most soda drinkers don’t enjoy drinking their own pee, or know anyone who does, but they are nevertheless very concerned with having fruit-flavored urine.  Or that nobody really is all that fond of the urine campaign, but by coincidence both Coke and Pepsi do it anyway.  But it’s unlikely.
Now, this relentless marketing is prone to some misinterpretation, of course.  It could be, quite reasonably, that the soda-drinkers don’t drink their own urine, but they’re all dating urolagnists who long to be showered upon.  Perhaps my specifics are a little off!  But it’s not incorrect to say, “There’s a clearly lot of urine-guzzling going on in the soda community,” even if that pisses off the fine soda aficionados who don’t drink urine, don’t know anybody who does drink urine, and they really just love Coke Zero for its amazing, addictive taste.
(You may think this particular metaphor an excuse to tar the Republican party.  No, it’s actually an excuse for me to link to one of my favorite comedy skits of all time – the League of Gentlemen’s “Aqua Vitae”:)

In any case, no, I cannot assume that all Republicans are, as I so colorfully put it, “fellating the rich,” nor do all Republicans think that all rich are superheroes. But I can say that among the repeated speaking points of the Romney campaign and Fox News, many of them involve:
1)  We cannot tax the rich, because they are all job creators, and certainly none of the rich were involved in the repeated scandals that damn near caused our economic collapse.
2)  It is morally wrong to tax the rich, because they worked very hard for their money and as smart people who worked so hard, they deserve to keep every penny.
3)  If we do tax the rich heavily, they may stop working!, with the heavily implied theme that once the rich stop working, the entire nation will collapse in a Ayn Randian heap and never arise again.
4)  If we do tax the rich heavily, they may even move to another country, which when discussed on the shows I’ve seen is generally approached with the terror of the Daily Planet wondering “If we print this editorial, will Superman ever return to Metropolis again?”
5)  (Also, if we do tax the rich heavily, then poor people will go, “Well, I could earn a million dollars, but if I do, then the government is just going to take half of it.  Fuck it, I’ll work at Taco Bell.”  Not part of my point, but I figure if I leave that off then people will snottily tell me how I don’t get it, man.)
And these pro-rich-person messages pop up again and again in Romney’s speeches, and his policies.  I can only assume that he’s making them because the logic resonates with a large enough portion of the Republican party.  Maybe you don’t buy that logic, but a large number of people do.   Otherwise, he wouldn’t keep saying things like that.  He’s repeating that line of logic because someone – not you, maybe, but a lot of someones – go, “Hey, those rich people are extremely smart and hard-working!  How dare we take away their reward for all of this effort?”
Don’t believe me?  Well, why doesn’t the right wing hammer home about the extremely smart and hard-working poor, who are trapped in poverty for no good reason?  Oh, they’ll definitely make passes at the middle class, and occasionally talk about the poor, but their message isn’t a consistent “The poor work very hard for their little cash they deserve, and yet their mighty intellect isn’t enough to save them!”  Because that stuff wouldn’t fly.  (Nor would it go over particularly well in liberal circles if Obama started discussing, repeatedly, the way the poor are often responsible for their own shitty plight.)
I don’t believe in demonizing people, but the Republican party is led by people who want to repeal Roe Vs. Wade and the lower levels of the Republicans have been supporting folks who want to outlaw birth control.  It’s not fair to say, “All Republicans are anti-women,” but it is fair to say that the Republican party is largely against birth control, and hence conclude that their stance against birth control is symptomatic of the party base’s larger problem with women’s rights.   (That’s not a fact, but it’s a reasonable extrapolation to put on the table, just as it’s a reasonable question to ask, “So do the Democrats actually encourage self-sufficiency, or are they just driven to endorsing it by external forces?”  Both will irritate the party base to extremes.)
So no.  Maybe you’re not all about the rich, man.  But from what I’m seeing, the Republican message is clearly pro-wealthy-people, and I can only assume they’re firing off that message because a large of number of Republicans pump the fist when that gets mentioned.  (Just as, yes, the Democratic message is often that the poor are the people who are more morally correct.  It goes both ways.) And it’s entirely fair to say that about the party you are affiliated with, because that’s part of what they’re selling.
As a special end note, my friend says this (and this, unlike the opening paraphrase, is a direct quote):

“Perhaps you should consider whether you have ‘demonized the enemy to the point where they’re a homogenous slur.’  Hint – if you think of people who disagree with you as ‘the enemy,’ the answer is ‘yes.'”

I don’t think of people who disagree with me as the enemy, but the Republican politicians certainly are.  If elected, they wish to take away rights from people I love.  The people running for election right now are anti-gay marriage, certainly not actively against gay discrimination (at least not to the point where they’d push for laws to enforce it), against Roe vs. Wade, and skeptical of the need for birth control.  If they had their way, people I love could get fired for their sexual orientation, and not have an abortion if they were raped.
Those are extreme cases, of course.  If elected, they won’t get everything they wanted.  But the fact is because their agenda would harm my friends, I have to work against them.  That makes them my enemy.  I do not have to hate my enemy, nor do I have to want to kill them, nor do I even have to assume that they’re evil for doing so.  (“Misguided” is a long-term excuse for doing terrible wrongs.)  I could forgive the fiscal policies of the Republicans – but when you target what I perceive as the necessary freedoms of my beloved, then we’re gonna be at odds.
I’m out to stop the Republican agenda.  And if you support them with your votes, well, we can still be friends, and you can still be good people… but you are aiding and abetting, and I’m not going to lie that it hurts a little.  Sorry if that hurts your feelings.  But we’re at cross-purposes, and I don’t feel like sugar-coating that.

3 Comments

  1. Carolyn Mansager
    Aug 17, 2012

    Well said! er, Well written! In addition, it’s a pleasure to read any thoughts about politics that doesn’t just make me want to bang my head against my desk repeatedly until I am also an object. Thank you!

  2. Jonah
    Aug 17, 2012

    Just as, yes, the Democratic message is often that the poor are the people who are more morally correct.  It goes both ways. – This, right here, bugs me. Do you think that there’s actually a similarity in the way that Republican talking heads have been talking about the wealthy and Democratic talking heads have been talking about the poor recently? Or are you just showing that you can be impartial and see the flaws on your side too? Because I’m getting sick and tired of people suggesting that there’s some similarity in the way the two sides each pander to their own bases.

  3. Miranda
    Aug 20, 2012

    As a non-American watching the political future of the US unfold, I find yours to be a refreshing and succinct opinion! Very well put. And funny!

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