Instead of rationally examining a particular issue, today I want to try to explain how I feel by combining common themes from every political discussion I've ever had into one imaginary conversation. It starts with something common sense, such as “look both ways before you cross the street.” It is so common that I think everyone must have heard and accepted it, and it is so sensible that I think that no one could ever legitimately argue against it. Then people do.
Democrat: Looking both ways before crossing the street is ridiculous! The safest thing to do is to cover your eyes and run across as fast as you can; if you can’t see them, they can’t see you.
Republican: Don’t be silly. I’ve seen lots of people who had their eyes closed or were turned away from me. I saw them even if they didn’t see me. The cars can still find you.
Democrat: When I was four and had monsters in my closet, I covered my eyes and they went away. I know because I checked in the morning and they were gone.
Republican: There are no such things as monsters!
Democrat: You have your religion; I have mine. You cannot force your beliefs on me. You’re a racist!
Me: Hold it; you’re both missing the bigger picture. The cars aren’t trying to hit you; they’re trying to avoid you. We want them to see us.
Democrat: Huh? I don’t understand.
Me: Cars go very fast and might not be able to stop in time if you run right in front of them. If you look both ways, you can see when there is a large enough gap in traffic so that you can get out in the road while giving plenty of space for the cars to stop.
Democrat: When is there a gap in traffic? Do they close the roads between 1am and 2am or something?
Me: No. There are gaps all the time. You just have to wait for them.
Democrat: If they happen all the time, you don’t have to wait. You’re stupid.
Me: Look, the important thing is that the cars see you.
Republican: He’s right! We want the cars to see us. That’s why we need to immediately mandate that all people wear heavy neon signs everywhere they go.
Me: Wait, everywhere? I’m not wearing those to bed.
Republican: What if a car hits you while you’re sleeping?
Me: There are no cars in my bedroom.
Republican: There might be. They could be hiding under your carpet or in your refrigerator. Your pillow could be one in disguise. You could be one!
Me: I’m not a car.
Democrat: He’s right! He could be a truck or a motorcycle! You’re a racist!
Republican: They’re all cars to me, and if I see one, I’m going to shoot it.
Me: Whoa! Don’t shoot cars! There are people inside.
Republican: The cars have taken hostages? This is war! We need to bomb their factories, cut off their metal supplies, and take control of all the oil!
Me: War is totally unnecessary here. If you just look both ways…
Democrat: You don’t win wars by fighting! Why not feed the cars? Free food should be a right! You’re a racist!
Me: Cars don’t eat. They only drink gasoline or diesel.
Democrat: Petroleum addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. My mother was addicted to petroleum when she was pregnant with me.
Me: That explains a lot, actually.
Democrat: You’re a racist!
Libertarian: Hello gentlemen, I’m a Libertarian. I’m much smarter than you.
Me: What do you want, Libertarian?
Libertarian: Everyone should be free to cross the street however they choose, eyes open or closed, fast or slow, with or without neon signage.
Me: Hmm, that actually kind of makes sense.
Libertarian: And cars should be free to run anyone over that they want! That’s true freedom.
Me (facepalming): Ugh!
Democrat: You’re a racist!
Republican: I like you, but you can’t possibly win the general election.
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.