Monday, September 14, 2009

The Political Hypocrisy Test

Most people I know aren't mindless political ideologues. In fact, they have secret litmus tests to measure the appropriateness of their joy or outrage at the latest political event.

In light of several recent political events, I thought I'd share my top three.

Test #1: If you could wave a magic wand and make every member of the House and Senate into members of your party--as well as have the Presidency and the Supreme Court tilted your way--would you do it?

My answer is no. My party has its own whack-burger element that needs to be tempered by the opposition. Besides, majorities don't matter with Democrats; they still can't get anything done.

Test #2: If there is a heaven... or at least some place you go when you die where you can find out The Truth about everything (including where you lost that contact lens in 1987), are there any political issues you think you could be wrong about?

My answer: Yes, nearly all of them. I could be wrong on capital punishment. I could be wrong on abortion. I could be wrong that there's a happy medium between economic anarchy and European socialism. The two I know I'm right about: 1) creationism is bunk; and 2) homosexuals are 100% American and have no fewer rights than heteros.

Test #3: When you disapprove of the opposition's behavior in a given situation, would you feel the same way if the situation were reversed?

This is the most useful test on a day-to-day basis. Let me say this regarding recent events, imagining that George W. Bush were still president:

I would not question the President's birth certificate.

I would not keep my son home from school if Bush were addressing his class (in fact, I'd encourage him to be excited that the democratically elected leader of his country was speaking to him).

I would, however, take some sort of glee if a member of my party had shouted "You lie!" at Bush during a joint address to Congress. Sure, I would condemn the behavior and think it was immature and bad decorum. But truthfully, if it were in regards to Bush conflating Iraq and 9/11, denying global warming (or saying it "needed more study"), or denying that we have condoned torture, then deep down I would probably have been happy that someone, as the kids like to say, "spoke truth to power."

That I will admit.

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