Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Here's something that probably won't surprise you:

I’m not entirely non-partisan.

While I’ve certainly been pretty critical of the Democratic Party lately, I’d like to make sure you all remember that the Republicans have some problems too.

Earlier today, Chris Woods mentioned a Civic Skinny column in Cityview that referenced the Iowa GOP platform, in all its crazy glory.

I don’t think most Republicans are crazy. In fact, I know some Republicans who are great people, more so than most Democrats I know. But it seems rather obvious to me that reasonable Republicans avoided this event like the plague, or were shouted down on a wide variety of right-wing, homophobic, xenophobic, bible-thumping issues.

In his post, Chris asked for readers to look over the platform, pick a favorite crazy plank, and post it in the comments. I read over the platform, and copied down my favorites to narrow down to one. I can’t. Here are my favorite 33. I haven’t doctored them at all, except fixing the typo in 1.6.

1.6 We support agriculture and value added agriculture products in Iowa; therefore, we support the livestock industry in this state and support those who engage in it while recognizing the need to protect the environment, but no(t) at the expense of a vibrant livestock industry.

Or, to shorten: “We’re sorry about our pig shit, but the industry is more important.”

2.6 We support a landlord’s right to refuse leasing property and business owner refusing service based on moral grounds of individuals not covered by the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

The biggest group left out of the Iowa Civil Rights Act is the GLBT community, so apparently, if you’re gay, the Republican Party wants the right to kick you out of your home.

3.4 We support the teaching of alternative theories on the origins of life including Darwinian Evolution, Creation Science or Intelligent Design, and that each should be given equal weight in presentation.

In high school, a friend of mine decided to create a religion to see how many people he could force to react to it. It was Captain Crunchism, the belief was that Captain Crunch was the supreme entity in the universe. I don’t know about that, but I will say this: He’s been a Captain since 1963, isn’t it time to promote him?

Anyway, when public schools accept my friend’s assertion and teach Crunchism on equal footing with evolution, then they can also teach Creation Science and Intelligent Design. Until then, not allowed.

As an aside, there’s lots of bitching in the education section about how our schools don’t get anything done. Maybe they’d get more done if they weren’t mandated to teach creationism and intelligent design?

These three go together:

3.5 We believe that educators should stress abstinence outside of marriage as the surest way to prevent pregnancy, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and associated psychological problems. We also oppose the distribution of condoms in tax-funded schools.
3.6 We oppose the teaching of sex education in any form, at any grade level without written parental consent.
3.8 We oppose the teaching of homosexual behavior as a normal, acceptable or alternative lifestyle, and believe that sex education must emphasize traditional heterosexual lifestyles.

So, ideally, our schools should not teach what people do, but if they do, they should teach and above all else encourage not to, but even if they can’t do that, they are absolutely not under any circumstances allowed to be accepting and/or understanding of homosexuals.

3.12 We believe that all public employees should receive equal treatment for all employee benefits and policies regardless of organizational affiliation.

I agree. Being in a gay pride group shouldn’t bar you from working as a public employee. I don’t think that’s what they had in mind, though.

3.15 We believe increased funding should not be the measure of support for the education in Iowa. Rather, support for policies and curriculum that returns the focus of Iowa K-12 education to basic academic achievement and appreciation for Western Civilization should be the measure of excellence in education.

This is pretty awful. We’ll measure the excellence of our schools by their appreciation for Western Civilization? What’s the xenophobia standardized test going to look like?

“I’m sorry Billy, we know you were looking forward to fourth grade, but we’re going to have to keep you back a year, you haven’t developed a significant hatred for foreign culture yet.”

3.17 We call for the repeal of the ban on reasonable corporal punishment in Iowa schools, and for legal protection for teachers and principals who reasonably punish students for misbehavior. We believe that students’ civil liberties are not being infringed upon by punishing wrong behavior.

Do I really need to say anything about a movement to reinstate corporal punishment?

3.19 We oppose scholarship programs that exclusively benefit homosexual students.

I bet you do. Heave forbid we’d let gays get educated. Someday they might try to overthrow us.

Of course, the “Family Values” section:

5.1 We support an amendment to both the state and federal Constitutions defining marriage as the exclusive union between one man and one woman.

5.2 We support the elimination of no-fault divorce.

5.3 We support adoption by heterosexual married couples only.

I think those three speak for themselves.

5.4 We oppose the creation of a protected class based on sexual orientation.

Ok, so gays can’t get married, adopt, their lifestyle can’t be portrayed as “normal, acceptable or alternative,” and if they’re discovered as being gay, they can be fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes. Is there really any danger of them becoming a “protected” class?

5.5 We believe that parents are responsible for their children, and we support the rights of parents to discipline, protect and educate their children.

Discipline translates to “I’ll beat my kids if I want.”
Protect from what? Gays? Foreigners? Dr. Phil?
Is there any limit on how parents can educate their children now?

6.6 We support building new prisons, as necessary to protect the public from violent criminals.

Less than 20% of Iowa’s prison population is there for a violent crime. So in reality, to protect the public from violent criminals, we need one wing of Fort Madison. No new construction necessary.

6.10 We support the right of employees to organize, and to not have dues used to support political candidates, and requiring unions to receive written permission from each member before collecting funds for political purposes.

Translates to: We support the right to form unions, as long as they remain as powerless politically as they were before they organized.

6.13 We assert that the phrase, “the separation of church and state” as is commonly used, contradicts the original intent and practice of the Framers of the Constitution.

Many of the founders of our country were Deists. I’m pretty sure this is exactly what they had in mind.

7.10 We are opposed in principle to Universal and/or Nationalized Health Care, believing that common sense and the market place can do what government can not: bring customers, health care providers and health care professionals together in a mutually beneficial union.

I really honestly don’t think the problem most Americans face is a total lack of common sense. I think the people who say that are usually saying it because they’re upset over someone else’s views on an issue.

Health care, like education, is a right, and the second we rely on the market to provide us with a right, we give the market the opportunity to do something unexpected and cause a crisis.

8.3 We believe in a strong national defense.

Democrats, on the other hand, would take away guns from our armed forces and give them daisies to hand out to would be attackers.

8.6 We support a physical barrier along the entire Mexican/American border.

Democrats should offer to compromise and build a 6-inch tall tripwire along the border.

8.10 We believe the government should not reimburse families for the loss of a loved one due to an act of God, natural disaster, or terrorist attacks unless the individual was a member of the armed services or in the employ of the United States Government.

Is this happening somewhere?

9.12 Our judicial system should not use precedents or rulings from any source outside of the United States.

Because only legal proceedings held here in the United States are worthwhile. I feel like I’m using the word xenophobia a lot in this post, but can you really argue with it?

9.14 We support the repeal of state and federal “hate crimes” legislation.

Translation: If I want to string up a black or a gay, that’s my right.

9.15 We support a parental rights amendment to the United States Constitution stating that parents have the right to direct the upbringing and education of their children.

Because they certainly aren’t allowed to raise their children now. I'm getting close to demanding a constitutional amendment banning these people from having children, much less raising them.

10.2 We oppose any further financial obligations being placed upon the United States by the United Nations.

International organizations are full of foreigners. We can’t be paying for that.

10.4 We support the mission of the troops in the war on terror and full prosecution of the war until our goals are achieved.

I think “full prosecution” is what a lot of Americans want.

10.11 We oppose reinstating the draft.

Even the farthest right wing of the Republican party isn’t this crazy.

10.13 We support development of controls so that foreign governments are never in a position to influence the outcome of an American election.

Xeno...oh, what’s the point?

11.6 We believe that the Department of Natural Resources should stop the protection of cougars, bobcats, wolves, bears, porcupines and other dangerous animals in state parks and timbered private property.

Porcupines? PORCUPINES? Are you out of your mind? Who the hell sat down and decided that porcupines are dangerous? What next? Are the squirrels attacking?

13.5 We resolve that the income tax be repealed on Social Security and pension income.

Before this session, it had been mostly done, with only the largest pensions and Social Security payments being taxed. Then another law was passed during session making it all tax-free. Now, there’s definitely no need for this plank.

14.15 We expect political campaigns to be conducted in a positive and truthful manner.

Much like we “expect” to find WMD’s.



bacon said...

Gee, when you put it that way you make it all sound so crazy.

Christina said...

Speak it.

I concur, for the most part. Just a couple minor issues with your analysis.

9.14 We support the repeal of state and federal “hate crimes” legislation.

Translation: If I want to string up a black or a gay, that’s my right.

Not quite. Most people who are against hate crimes legislation argue that the crime itself is illegal, and therefore making it a “hate crime” is getting precariously close to criminalizing thought. And indeed, stringing anyone up IS a crime (assuming, of course, that it's against their will).

The obvious counter argument is that we already make a distinction based on intent. Anyone who’s every watched Law & Order knows that there are multiple levels of murder (manslaughter, 1st, and 2nd degree). If killing someone isn’t just killing someone, then why is stringing someone up always just stringing someone up?

The unfortunate thing about stringing up someone who’s gay or black is that you’re going to run into some problems with the investigation inherently in the nature of the crime. First, local law enforcement aren’t always terribly excited about prosecuting because, well, unfortunately they do think it’s ok to string up someone who’s black or gay. If we truly lived in a society that was blind to an individuals color, sexual orientation, religion, etc, then it’s true. We wouldn’t need hate crime legislation. Unfortunately, that’s not reality. And in order to rectify that, it’s important for other levels of government to have the ability to step in and see that justice is served.

Second, even if the local law enforcement is willing to investigate, they’re not always fully capable of dealing with the nuances in an underprivileged minority community, or the massive expense of investigating and prosecuting such a crime. To make yet another unnecessary reference to Law & Order, there’s a reason there’s a Special Victim’s Unit. There’s also a reason why there’re additional resources for prosecuting Hate Crimes.

Anyway, a better rephrasing of this stance is, “If I want to string up someone, and the local law enforcement decides that because that someone was black or gay then it’s ok, then we’re ok with that too.”

Of course, I still don’t agree with it.

9.15 We support a parental rights amendment to the United States Constitution stating that parents have the right to direct the upbringing and education of their children.

Because they certainly aren’t allowed to raise their children now. I'm getting close to demanding a constitutional amendment banning these people from having children, much less raising them.

Now, now, let’s not be hasty, Kyle. Without them having children, I wouldn’t be here. There’s always the hope that the poor souls forced to be brought up in under these regimes will have their eyes opened to the great big world around them someday. It just makes our job a little more exciting.


Bob said...

Great Post.

I was bitten by a squirrel as a young girl. Definately add squirrels to the dangerous animals list. And kittens and puppies who have no self-control when it comes to scratching the hell out of me. Oh, and mosquitos!!!! I am bitten approximately 12,354,829 times each year by mosquitos, but I've never once been pricked by a porcupine.

Chris said...

Good post, eh!