Monday, October 31, 2005

The Language of Love

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine recently. For the sake of this column, we'll call her Mary.

Mary was brought up in rural Minnesota and was taught from a very early age about morality. There was only one God: a Christian God. There was only one true political party of faith and that was the Republican Party. She attended Oral Roberts Unversity and was told who were God's chosen ones and who were not. She lived in the conservative culture. She knows it well. A few years ago, thankfully, she came to her senses, stopped drinking the Kool Aid and has a more well rounded view of the world.

I have spent much time and many words on trying to figure out why the Republicans get away with everything. How can a party so corrupt and inherently evil get so many people of good faith to vote for them? How have they won the House, the Senate, the Judiciary and Executive Branch? How in, the face of so many facts to the contrary, have the become know as the party of "morality" and "strength."

I was expressing this frustration to Mary one day on the phone about how the Republicans always seem to entice people into voting for them when it is nowhere near in the interest to do so, she said something very interesting to me. It made me understand why they do such a good job at getting people to listen to them. She said that the answer lies in the one last thing that America is still number one at doing. The one thing you can always rely on us for doing right. The one thing no one can resist. Marketing. The Right is really good at marketing. And they know how to use language to get people to believe in them. Mary said that it's all in the language they use and how they market it.

They say things like "Support Our Troops" which means that if you don't agree with the war then......well.......I guess you don't support our troops. The Republicans spent the Clinton era lambasting the Democrats for being corrupt, lying to special prosecutors, and generally being evil. Now, suddenly, when the tables are turned perjury isn't that bad of a crime. It's the "criminalization of politics." They say they are "Pro Life" which means if you aren't Pro Life, then you are.....what? Pro Death? Pro Baby Killin? It's simple messages for simple minded people.

Many citizens in our country have the attention span of a two year old. If you were on TV and someone asked you, are you pro-life and you say yes, well, that's a clear cut, easy answer. If you answer, as I would, that you are against unwanted pregnancy and that you believe that we should try to educate people more in the use of birth control, then more than likely the people watching the show will have tuned out when they heard the first three syllable word. They will think you are to wishy washy and hard to understand. They will think that the first person had a clear cut opinion and stood up for themselves and the second one, well, what were they talking about again?

And that's why the left hasn't figured it out yet. They have complicated answers to complicated problems. The right has simple answers to complicated problems. And the latter is all that people have time for these days. The right makes people feel better with simple language and that is how they get their support even though the problems are still there.

So, here it is! The answer for the Democrats. The left needs to come up with some catchy, quick phrases to win back the government. Here are some suggestions....

*Oil Comes from Terrorists, the Sun Comes from God.

*Like Sex? Wear A Condom!

*Like Uzis? Buy a pair of boots and join the Army!

*Think! It will help you figure out stuff.

*Where is Osama Bin Laden?

Help the Democrats with their language. What other phrases could they use?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Grab Bag Of irritation Volume 2

Time for another grab bag. There was such a great response to the last one that I thought I would do another.

Things that are irritating Mark this week.....

*Fox News....this poor excuse for an "unbiased" news station is an embarrassment. A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were watching Hurricane Katrina coverage. We were mainly watching CNN. I flipped over to MSNBC and they had hurricane coverage on as well. Then I turned to Fox News where they were covering the MOST important story of the day: a black man who robbed a convenient store in Ohio. He was still loose and people were scared. Hurry, everyone, lock up the white women. They's a black man loose! I bet an activist judge let him out of prison....

*People who have ridiculous spellings for their names that should otherwise be normal. Example: people named "Amy" who spell their name "Ammee" or people named "Katie" who spell their name "Catee." God, this irritates the shit out of me! Look, I realize it's hard to be looked upon as unique in today's society and maybe having a cool spelling of your name might make you think you are being an individual but couldn't you find a better way? Like, maybe, letting your personality make people remember you? Hey, it works for me!

*Guys who were dress shirts, dress shoes and THE MOST DISGUSTING PAIR OF JEANS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!! You know these idiots. They all look the same with their dork gel haircuts and really bad aftershave. What the fuck is the matter with you, dude? Are you going to a rodeo? Put on some slacks, for crying out loud, and stop looking like a douchebag.

*Fantasty Football. The other day I was watching a Vikings game at a bar. I saw someone there with a laptop. What the fuck? Can't people just go out with friends, have a beer and watch the game anymore?

*People who drive in the left lane very slowly. The left lane is FOR PASSING ONLY, FUCKERS! If you aren't going fast, then move the fuck over. I can't tell you how many times I have gotten dirty looks from people in the left fucking lane when I pass them. Or the times when there is a phalanx of cars in the left and right lanes. I have asked people about this and, while some express their frustration as well, others say, "Well, we all like to ride together here in Minnesota." I am not a violent man but this statement makes me want to go all Chow Yun Fat with two guns on motherfuckers that think this way.

*And while we are on the subject of transportation...the road construction projects in the West Metro have really gotten out of hand. I expect a normal level of suckage every year but when you literally can't go North (494 and Hopkins Crossroads closed) or East (494 and 62 closed), then why even leave your house?

What is irritating you this week? Thanks as always folks!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Tommy Can You Hear Me?

Well, well, well. It seems my ol buddy Tom DeLay has finally gotten hisself in trouble. What a shame! Two for conspiracy and one for money laundering. Could it be true or is it a left wing conspiracy that is politically motivated? Remember back in 1994 when the Republicans where all ticked off (and rightfully so) at the corrupt Democrats that were in office? Well, now the tables have turned and...oh, wait. These charges can't be true. It's all political! It's all an evil plot by the left! The laws that apply to Democrats don't apply to Republicans.

Let's take a look at some facts. Texas law prohibits the use of corporate money for campaigns. Tom DeLay used corporate money for his campaign. And then he lied about it. He broke the law. So, what's all the hububb about and why isn't our boy Tommy on his way to prison?

It's because Ronnie Earle, the Travis country DA that is bringing the charges against DeLay, is actually the devil in disguise. He and all of his left wing communist pedophile buddies are conspiring against the good Reverend DeLay. It's all slander, I tell you, slander! There is no way any Republican could ever be crooked, right? They are, after all, God's chosen people. And we all know that the Democrats are hell bent on letting rapists run free in our schools teaching kids about how we evolved from monkeys and how the War in Iraq is about empire building.

All (semi) kidding aside, Republicans like to be the ones to stand on the high ground and say that you must follow these laws....only when it is convenient for them. They talk very highly of morals and values and following the letter of the law but when it applys to them...well, they seem to think they are above it. Maybe because God told them it was OK to wriggle out any kind of legality. After all, they know everything that God really wants. They do select his suits for Him, after all.

Republicans talk loud and often about states rights and the federal government staying out of people's lives and yet what happened with Teri Schiavo? They ignored Florida law, which gives the spouse power of attorney, and tried to pass a federal law to save her which, btw, is also against the law.

Another great example of this is Karl Rove. How ridiculous has this whole thing has gotten? Let's see. He broke federal law by revealing the identity of a CIA informant because he didn't like the fact that her husband had some not-so-nice things to say about President Bush and the War in Iraq. Karl Rove is essentially a traitor. Karl Rove should go to jail. He probably won't. Why?

Because once again the Republican PR machine has shifted into high gear and the American people, at least 60 million of them, will believe anything they are told by this administration. You can damn well believe that if anyone in the Clinton administration had done this, the right wingers would be calling for death by firing squad.

I guess Bill Frist is in trouble too for some Martha Stewart type convenient sale of stock. I don't know much about this one but if anyone else want to get into it, feel free.

Tommy, Karl, Bill, and all the rest of your pals need to get one simple message: THE LAW APPLYS TO EVERYONE. I know it has been a pretty sweet deal for you guys these last years but it had to end sometime. And what better place for it to end then prison. Think of it. You can confess all your sins and be born yet again. Hey, it worked for Charles Colson.

Charles Colson was the first man to be arrested in relation to the Watergate conspiracy. Colson's more notorious ideas, according to some reports, included spreading false information about Dan Ellsberg, author of the Pentagon Papers and firebombing the Brookings Institution. When he was found guilty of obstruction of justice he declared himself a born again Christian. He served seven months of a one to three year sentence in Alabama.

He has since become an outspoken member of the religious right and in October 2002, Colson, along with several other prominent American evangelical leaders, was a co-signer of the Land letter to President Bush which outlined a "just war" endorsement of the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. How very Christian of him!

See guys, it all work out for you. Just have faith. Remember, if you are a Republican or vote Republican, the law doesn't apply to you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Taking The Pledge

Well, it seems the Right is all bunged up again up the Pledge of Allegiance. Apparently those wacky judges are up to it again. They are letting the devil into our schools! How? A recent Ninth US District Appeals Court ruling that reciting the pledge in schools is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

A recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune focused on what students thought about saying the pledge. As you can imagine, there were a variety of answers but this one was my favorite.

"This was nation was founded on the belief and trust in God, and if we throw out 'under God', we might as well throw out all the other moral laws this nation was founded on." (Ryan Douvier, 16, Melrose, MN.)

Gee, I wonder what side of the aisle he and his parents are on? This quote is pretty much what everyone else on the right is saying. Think of it. Gasp! Horror! Oh, the humanity! We change the pledge the way it used to be before 1954 and...oh lordy...lordy...they's gonna be chaos in the street. People will be fornicating in public and saying the word "gay" at the dinner table. Yeah, if we change the pledge we might as well just open up all the jails and let the criminals run free. After all, that is what these liberals really want, isn't it?

Let's start with a fact. Are you listening, Mr and Mrs Conservative America? That's right, a fact. I know it's tough to look at these pesky things because they generally point out how totally fucked and hypocritical your point of view is but here it is: The phrase "Under God" was added into the Pledge of Allegiance by President Eisenhower in 1954. Before that time, no one said it. Hence, there wasn't any debate about saying the fucking pledge in the first place.

I also think that before that time most people were more comfortable with their Christianity. These days it seems that the evangelicals don't feel comfortable at all with themselves. They need to tell the world of their glorious faith. They want...sorry, require....the rest of the country to feel that way. Have you ever noticed that many fundamentalists don't even go to church? Odd as this may seem, most of my friends were are evangelicals can't find a church that suits them. Maybe it's because they are so far off from Christ's original message that they can't see the forest for the trees..

Just so we are all clear on this point: our founding fathers didn't have it in the original Pledge and, as a matter of fact, if you knew anything about history (which you don't because that would involve doing something "liberal" called "reading a book" and "learning."), the people that founded this country were trying to ESCAPE RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION!!! They wanted any reference to God as far out of government as possible. Stop trying to rewrite history and save that for 50 years from now when you can explain to future generations why our country took a vacation from intelligence from 2000-2008.

When I said the pledge in school (1973-1985), we never said "under God." And you know what? Somehow..someway (I know this is sooooo tough to understand, conservatives) I still felt patriotic. Yep. That's right. I can love America and keep my religion to myself. I don't need God to interfere with my patriotism. In my mind, the two things have NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH EACH OTHER! Can we please stop with all the founding fathers bullshit and just regain our sanity here, folks?

I have always thought that out of the mouths of babes comes pearls of wisdom and I will leave you all with this final quote from the same article.

"I believe 'under God' should be changed to a second of silence when everyone can think about what they believe in. Some people, Americans or people who come from other countries, don't believe in God. Also, maybe more schools would use it."

"A lot of little kids don't know what liberty and and justice mean. I think it should be changed to freedom and fairness. As a country, I think we should try harder to achieve these goals. "

I believe the Pledge of Allegiance is a tradition and it shouldn't be changed too much. It needs be more true to our changing country as well." (Luke Knoska,12, Wyoming, MN)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Judging Harriet

Well, Bush has made his second choice for the Supreme Court. And you know what? I am kinda happy about it. Now don't worry. I haven't gone crazy. I am not suddenly changing my mind and becoming a Bushite. Don't fret, dear reader, I will not be following a bizarre code of ethics in which the pursuit of wealth through needless death is viewed as being Christian. I will not be ignoring poor people in their time of need and in general ignoring reality.

No, folks I am actually happy with the nomination of Harriet E Miers to the Supreme Court. Do you know why? Because the Christian Conservative voting block is nervous and some are downright pissed off. And anytime that happens, well, it's time to break out the kettle of boiling oil and have ourselves a clam bake!

Apparently conservatives feel betrayed that Bush did not pick someone in the mold of Clarence Thomas or Anthony Scalia (as if even the two of them would overturn Roe V Wade.) They are dismayed that Miers (gasp!) contributed money to the Al Gore campaign and the Lloyd Bentsen campaign. And (oh no no no) Harry Reid recommended her to the president. And, sin of sins, she was the head of the Texas lottery and we all know what a work of the devil gambling has become. Satan himself must be somehow involved.

I know that all of you evangelical Christians out there are dying to force your monochromatic God on all of us but it will not happen this time. The court, while flawed in many ways, is going to stay exactly the same it always has. Your dreams of a world, which bears NOTHING IN COMMON WHATSOEVER WITH JESUS CHRIST, that treats half of our population like criminals will not come to fruition.

The president has made a choice based on the fact that he does not want any kind of fight. With approval ratings in the low 40s, Bush knows if he has any hope of retaining a majority in the mid-terms, he needs a down the middle choice for Justice. And that means, for the time being anyway, ejecting the Fundies from the capsule.

And that makes me a happy man.