Really, truly, last week was the last political post I planned to do for a bit. I wanted to think of more pleasant things (because this is the kind of comic where only happy things happen). Then the Democratic party sent me a 2016 election survey in the mail.
I didn’t think a single piece of paper that wasn’t a bill could get me this mad.
Look, guys, I know we’re all scared about Donald Trump having a magic button that shoots out nukes, but this is not the way to respond. Because the “survey” wasn’t a survey. It had nothing to do with what might get me more engaged in liberal politics, or what I wanted to see from the Democrats. It was a treasure map to turn my fear into anger.
I can understand the impulse to rally together when we’re frightened and want unification in both a belief and a political party, but I cannot think of a single thing that loses more sight of what liberalism and democracy are supposed to be about – and that’s what the Democratic party sent me. When the section header read “The Republican Threat”, I knew I was in for a treat. This is the very first question on the survey:
“Which elements of the radical Republican agenda are most dangerous to America’s future?”
Options include the obvious who’s who of “dismantling the affordable care act”, “reversing LGBT marriage status” “denying climate change” and “opposing minimum wage increase”. Now, there are liberals reading this stuff, already readying their “But it’s true” responses. But look at how the question is framed. It’s not “Which causes are most important to you” or “What do you most want us to keep working on”. What kind of dialog can be founded if right out the gate, you ask which vague threat gets your piss boiling the most?
Following that are questions like:
“Which aspect of Donald Trump’s candidacy do you find most disturbing?”
“Which of the following election outcomes would be the most catastrophic to our nation?”
“Which group of GOP backers do you think will have the highest impact on the 2016 election?”
“How do you view the Republican refusal to even consider confirming Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court?”
You also will not be surprised to find out that not a single option allows Republicans to be anything but demons; instead, it presents different shades to color the bad guys in.
Eventually, they do get to the Democratic Election priorities. When? Page 2. That’s right, page 1 of the Democratic survey is about the evil Republicans. The actual beliefs and goals of the Democratic party are an afterthought. The most obvious omission is that there is literally NO mention of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. I mean, if you wanted to take the temperature of the party, why not ask what about each of their campaigns you respond to most or want to see focused on more. But fuck that; Donald Trump is mentioned more in a Democratic survey than the Democratic candidates up against him.
So just remember the slogan of the Democratic party this election: “TRUMP SUCKS btw Hillary”.
I know that the point of this survey was to get me mad. But here’s the thing – I’m not mad at the Republican party anymore.
I’m mad at the Democrats.
Here’s my point: this is not in defense of the “poor misunderstood Republican party”. This has nothing to do with them. I am talking to the Democrats. The way this survey and Democrats in general portray and treat the other side is not only appalling, but belittles the message of equality its greatest champions have rallied behind. Realize that the sinister mustache we’ve painted on Republicans looks a lot like the one Mr. Trump has painted on (certain) foreigners; parading them as this radical end-all-be-all reason why America isn’t as great as it could be. And I’m not saying that to be racist or to be mean to Republicans is exactly the same thing – I’m saying that stereotyping your foes as cartoon characters is WRONG.
Democrats – you need to be better people. Because shit like this, riling people up, stoking their anger, is the same garbage that got us into this mess to begin with. People feeling disenfranchised by empty promises, that the government and country they supported does not have their back. The term “United States” is feeling more and more like a joke, considering how fucking divided we have been lately. Stop scapegoating. Stick to your beliefs and fight like hell for them, but don’t take us to hell in the process. And stop making that gap between us wider and wider. It’s not helping. It seriously is not helping at all. I don’t know how much clearer I can be about this.
Just stop it. You can be better.