Monday, November 07, 2011

A Simple Guide to the American Two-Party System

On the political left, Ralph Nader once said, “The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That's the only difference.” On the political right, George Wallace once observed, “"There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats." I beg to differ. There are several dimes worth of difference between the parties and it is impossible for your knees to hit the floor when your head is up your ass.

It’s a year before the presidential election so I plan to teach my students about the deep ideological divides between the country’s two major corporate subsidiaries, er, I mean political parties.

Republicans are 100 percent owned by Wall Street and aggressively push for free trade treaties that destroy American labor unions, lower domestic incomes, increase the exploitation of child labor and the use of foreign workers who earn less then a living wage.

Democrats, on the other hand, are only 90 percent owned by Wall Stree. They slightly less aggressively push for free trade agreements. However, they make up for it by supporting increases in the minimum wage. Which is wise since that is soon what we’ll all earn.

Republicans value party unity. All their major candidates want to return the country to Robber Baron capitalism because then a businessman could shoot union leaders without worrying about big government pressing murder charges. They all harbor serious doubts about evolution, global warming and the heliocentric model of the solar system. They all think people who work two jobs and earn too little to pay income taxes are loafers and get real jobs like hosting right wing radio talk shows.

Democrats value independence. They show it by throwing the poor, labor unions, blacks, teachers and gays under the bus and acting like Republicans.

Democrats are ashamed of their party’s achievements and want to roll back Social Security, Medicare, and the progressive income tax.

Republicans, on the other hand, are extremely proud of what they never accomplished.

Republicans invoke God as a Machiavellian ploy.

Democrats invoke God as a craven pander.

Republicans have aggressively sought to erase a woman's right to choose.

Democrats aggressively support a woman's right to choose as long as they think it won't be unpopular.

Democrats believe that pollution and global warming are really serious issues and they must be handled in an aggressive but thoughtful way, maybe in the next term or so.

Republicans think oil is a renewable resource and that trees cause pollution.

Democrats believe in compromise. They define it as "surrender."

Republicans believe in compromise too. They define it as when Democrats apologize for existing.

Republicans believe they have the backing of most Americans, which they define as having the support of 30 percent of the public.

Democrats deeply want to have the support of the majority, which they define as having the support of 80 percent of the public.

Republican politicians hate gays, blacks, immigrants, minimum wage workers, Muslims, and people who believe in the Bill of Rights.

Democratic politicians hate the members of their own party.

Republicans believe that anytime soon the world will be ruled by the anti-Christ, consumed by fiery Armageddon and be a burnt, empty shell of ruin. This is why they call themselves the party of the future.

Democrats believe they are also the party of the future because they think that’s the only time anyone will vote for them.

I hope that clears everything up. Enjoy voting while you still can.

Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001 (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(with Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013). 

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.

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