With the presidential election nearly upon us, and the Democratic convention just next door, politics are once again resurfacing in Joe Q. Mass-Consciousness’ daily field of vision, beyond the hateful, pun-filled world of bumper stickers.
So I ask why, kind reader, should you get embroiled in the tired squabbles of a couple of fly-by-night, bumpkin parties like the Democrats and the Republicans, when you could be enjoying the perks of America’s largest political party — the Hypocrites.
As a member myself, I assure you it’s by no means exclusive. Our society seeks to define us through division — what party you belong to, what gender, what sexual preference, what income bracket, what religious affiliation. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the sense of belonging such self-definitions provide, but avoid the burden of morals and obligations they entail?
Supporting the Hypocrite party is as easy as believing in the ideals and principles this country was founded on, then leading the average American life — brimming with conveniences and behaviors antithetical to our supposed Bigger Picture, built on the sturdy backs of faraway peoples that you and I don’t really care about.
I can tell you’re all still skeptical, so to put you at ease, friends, I’ll provide some examples from my life and if you recognize anything from yours, give a big ol’ huzzah to our great party and its many unwitting members!
This country was birthed with a declaration of belief in certain self-evident truths, and I, like any red-blooded American, like to think “that all men are created equal” and are endowed and, you know, other stuff. But despite believing wholeheartedly in the unalienable rights of the rest of Club Human, I still can’t seem to get enough of those sweatshop goods provided by the Third World’s many generous manufac-juntas.
China is one of the worst human rights abusers in the world, and yet that doesn’t stop me from buying all the crap I can find with their name on it (their evil is name brand!), which continues to help them pants our Olympic athletes and become the first global superpower to achieve military dominance by screwing the heads onto Dora the Explorer dolls.
Further, I don’t buy fair-trade chocolate. I gobble down malevolent peanut butter cups wrought from the suffering of some Chilean serf, and polish it off with a box of blood truffles that were coated in the sugary tears of his children. In my defense, the manufacturing of the peanut butter was entirely humane.The founding fathers knew this democracy would work only if its citizens saw themselves as the country’s wards, its sole protection against the oppression and tyranny that power creates. This meant that it’s our civic responsibility to not only stay informed about politics, but to get involved and hold the people in office accountable.
As a nation we ceded that responsibility once something better came on.
I’d love to watch a couple hours of C-SPAN a day and be able to tell you why House Bill 209-D-Yadda-Yah is a steaming load, start up my own grassroots letter-writing campaign and maybe save one of the few scraps of daily existence that hasn’t been ceded to the accountants, bureaucrats, and marketing departments of the world, BUT, “I Love the ’80’s Strikes Back” is on. Again. And I want to know what Michael Ian Black’s thoughts are on the Smurfs a bit more than I want to, you know, actually do stuff. You do stuff, I don’t want to do stuff.
I never write my congressman. Ever. Which is a shame, because the Jimmy Stewart classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” culminates in Mr. Smith filibustering for 23 straight hours to stop a bill from passing.
If skinny little Jimmy Stewart could filibuster for a day straight, imagine the endurance some of today’s huskier, well-fed congress-persons could show if galvanized by the populous.
Working off of stored body fat made possible by the trust of their voters and the checks of their corporate sponsors, our brave representatives could theoretically postpone Congress indefinitely. Fun fact, on the metric Filibuster-Body Fat Index, Colorado scores an impressive seven!
Yes, my fellow patriots, I am what’s wrong with America. But then, you are too, probably. Most of us are. And together, the Hypocrite party has helped turn America from the world’s great bastion of humanism to a nation-wide contest to see who can pack the most red meat into their colon.
So come celebrate with us! Have your cake! Eat it!
Ryan Nowell is a senior English major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.