Monday, January 25, 2010

Litmus this

Boy, it sure was swell this morning, having my coffee with my biscuit, gravy, grits, sausage, bacon, eggs, oatmeal (gotta watch the ole ticker), chocolate cake, milk, and orange juice for breakfast, followed by a half-pack of unfiltered Camels. A big, Southern boy breakfast like that hits the spot when I am trying to become angry. After all, every white man is an angry white man. An angry, right-wing, tea-bagging white man, though I usually hold off on tea until the afternoon. Wait, tea? Why, that would mean that this angry, white, Southern, right-wing Jesus freaky dude would actually be a lefty commie pinko frog-licking figure skating fan. What's wrong with me? Maybe it's because I don't meet all of the litmuses (or is the proper term litmi) of the supposed litmus tests many folks in this country would apply to me.

I am Southern and proud of it. When I say that to some people, they assume that I have a giant Confederate battle flag outside my house, a flag to which the entire family salutes every morning at daybreak as we sing "Dixie" (well, the toddler sings "Mississippi Mud", but we're working on that), while the hired help makes our breakfast and washes all my white hoods. You haven't lived until you hear a Canadian wife sing "Dixie." We draw beards and hats on our dollar bills so that George Washington resembles Robert E. Lee, and we never, ever buy Northern toilet paper, even if it's half-price. Ludicrous? Of course, but you wouldn't believe how difficult it is to convince some people that being a Southerner doesn't mean you long for the days of "Roots", the Ed Asner/Chuck Connors side of "Roots" anyway.

Stereotyping like that shouldn't happen in 2010, but it does and not just to Southerners. There are a legion of folks who believe that President Obama at this moment, at least after he prays to Mecca and shreds his real birth certificate one more time, is using the Folgers Crystals commercial formula to secretly insert Instant Islam and Karl Marx For Kiddies into the school lunches of every child in America. He then holds his daily meetings with the Eternal Flamers, the gay and we don't mean happy gay lobbying group, to conjure up ways to turn half the population into homosexuals through mass exposure to musical theater and women's softball. It must be working, because I checked out two Fred Astaire movies and two Gene Kelly movies from the library last week and also have a strange urge to pitch underhanded.

On the other side, there are folks who faithfully believe that Rush Limbaugh is about to give marching orders to millions through headsets that look like Bluetooth but were actually installed by Cybermen imported from a "Doctor Who" episode. Those people don't eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, vote, or root for their favorite sports team unless Rush tells them to, which would explain the alarming number of Pittsburgh Steelers fans in the South. Of course, Rush can't do this until he comes back from his daily cross burning with Glenn Beck, the skeletons of Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, and Strom Thurmond, Michael Steele, and Clarence Thomas, the latter two being white dudes in blackface, of course.

As silly as that sounds, we sadly live in an era where you are virtually banned from being part of the daily discussion of issues unless you believe in some stereotypes. Just this week, when expressing agreement with the Supreme Court's decision striking down the ban on some corporate and union campaign contributions, some folks thought I had suddenly emerged from the broom closet as "Tea-Bagger Man", fighting to ensure that all liberals are fed to the billy goats, or at least have underwear that is two sizes too small. I am still amazed that, because I believe everyone regardless of their politics should be able to say whatever they want and spend whatever they want to get their message out, some believe that necessitates an anti-gay slur, as if it is okay to use an anti-gay slur as long as you use it toward the right people.

Litmuses (or litmi, I need to look that one up) sadly don't discriminate, regardless of your politics. There are many Democrats who do not believe you are one of them unless you believe there should be no restriction on abortions at all, even if you agree with the Dems on every other issue. At the upcoming Republican National Committee meeting in Hawaii, while a handful of nutjobs hold the state's department of health hostage until they provide Obama's "real birth certificate", there is an actual litmus test proposal on the table. If it is approved, the RNC will not give money to political candidates unless they agree with the RNC on at least eight of ten "conservative principles." "You ain't a Republican unless you say Obama is a socialist poopy head. Say it, son. Say it!!" No wonder independents are so disenchanted with Washington right now. It is too bad that, even though independents have all the political power, the two major parties will never let a meaningful third-party take away the fun they have jerking us around.

Don't get me wrong. People should have principles. You don't have to compromise over everything a la Lindsey Graham, whom I always liked but who will bend over for just about anyone. But if we disagree on a few things, that's okay. You shouldn't be labeled a Klan member if you don't believe in affirmative action. You shouldn't be told you are going to burn in Hell if you don't have a problem with two guys being in love with each other. This is America, after all. I think it is anyway. Or maybe I'm just a jingoistic, flag waving, xenophobic dummy being controlled by Jeff Dunham, who, as anyone who reads the 'internets' can tell you, is actually George W. Bush in disguise.

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