A Liberal Responds to a Conservative’s “Divorce Agreement for America”
There is a pretty awful, but amusing piece of writing being sent around in chain e-mails and praised to high heaven on various conservative boards and blogs. Appearing with minor variations, it purports to be a “Divorce Agreement” for dividing the United States between conservatives and liberals. It is supposedly written by one “John J. Wall”, who may or may not be a real person and may or may not be studying law in what may or may not be an accredited U.S. law school. I’ve heard of it before, but having received it in an e-mail this weekend past, I thought I’d write a response.
Dear John J. Wall a/k/a “Conservative John”:
This liberal lawyer is in receipt of your proposed Divorce Agreement. First of all, for reasons too many to catalog, your feeble grasp of legal principles is surprising in someone who goes to law school. For your own sake, John, go harder. Second, as far as substance, I think you are getting ahead of yourself, as demonstrated below.
We have stuck together since the late 1950′s for the sake of the kids, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has clearly run its course. Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right for us all, so let’s just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.
A marriage is a relationship founded on compromise and fair co-existence. Sometimes, you and your spouse disagree; sometimes you get your way, and sometimes you don’t. That’s just the nature of the beast. You can’t expect to dominate your spouse all the time. There have been long periods of time when your side held political power and passed legislation that I despise. But, although this on occasion made me feel very frustrated, I never gave up on my country. And what do you do? You lose an election, and your reaction is to huff and pout, and renounce this country and its democracy, demand that your land be hacked to pieces. Shame on you. Marriage — and, incidentally, divorce — are serious adult matters. They aren’t there for petulant children to dabble in. Grow up.
Also: was I wrong in assuming this marriage was a democracy? You may have learned in school once upon a time, that democracy means different views get political representation, and views you don’t like sometimes prevail over yours. If you don’t like something, you rely on the democratic process to change it, and if you can’t change it, that’s your clue about being out of touch with the majority of your fellow Americans. You don’t always get to win. And, in a democratic society, you certainly don’t react to losing by threatening people, calling for mass slaughter and proposing to destroy the country. What do you think a democracy is? A one-party rule, where the majority of adult population is disenfranchised, and only those who adhere to a certain narrow set of ideas get exclusive political representation? That’s not democracy, John, that’s Stalinesque authoritarianism. Perhaps you need a refresher course in political science and American civics.
But, if you insist on a divorce, I will be happy to go through your proposal point by point.
Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a similar portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.
Your list of assets has a glaring omission: education. Since you don’t believe in public education, and you hate universities and educated people, we are going to keep all of those. Already, this country’s best research organizations and institutions of higher learning are overwhelmingly located in liberal areas of the country. There are a handful of those in liberal enclaves within “red” states, but I guess they’ll just move to us. We’ll gladly take them. You are welcome to retain trailer-park diploma mills, home schooling by semi-illiterate housewives and fundamentalist parochial schools, whose curricula will consist of Selective Scripture, Creationism and Flag-Waiving.
We don’t like redistributive taxes so you can keep them.
Thank you, we will. It’s a well-known fact that conservative areas of the country pay less in taxes than liberal ones, but consume a greater share of public funds. (Update: you can find more recent information about red states’ dependency on federal dollars here and here.) That means that once our divorce is complete, we’ll keep more of our money, while you will have to cough up more to support yourselves. Good luck with that.
Incidentally, how are you going to do it? What kind of taxes are you going to have? A regressive system, I suppose, where the more money a taxpayer earns, the less tax he is required to pay? One where you enrich the rich, while reducing the middle class to penury? Or perhaps a system of sales taxes, because nothing will revive a failing economy like imposing penalties on spending money? Whatever, it’s your business — but understand, if your citizens flock to us across the border to buy their necessities without the burden of a 20% sales tax, we sure as hell ain’t gonna enforce your stupid tax laws. And no other country will, either. In other words, I’m sure you have a fine tax plan in the works, except it’s going to send your economy spiraling down the crapper, and it’s going to deplete your tax base. Within a few short years,, your Bible-thumping joke of a government won’t be able to pay its electric bill, never mind finance the War of Civilizations. More on that later.
You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.
Thank you, I like liberal judges; they remain true to the Framers’ spirit of social progress. As for the ACLU, need I remind you of all the times that conservatives have turned to that organization for help when their rights were threatened? In any event, watchdog organizations are indispensable in a democracy. They prevent abuses of power. I will gladly keep the ACLU.
Since you hate guns and war, we’ll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military.
You can have the NRA and war. As for firearms, take good care of the ones you have now, because with your shitty economy, and your lack of industries and research capabilities, you won’t get any new ones for a long, long time.
As for the cops and the military, we’ll keep them, since we pay more than you do towards their upkeep. You are welcome to raise your own forces. Incidentally, how are you going to do it without taxes? Law enforcement and national defense — not to mention overseas military adventures — represent the two most expensive areas of public expenditure. No amount of chicken hawks flapping their chicken wings is going to will the police and the military into existence. The most conservative and jingoistic of soldiers still believe in a social compact — they expect society to pay them decent wages, provide retirement and disability benefits, and healthcare for them and their families. In addition, you will need weapons, vehicles, ships, planes and other technology to compete in modern warfare. How are you planning to raise the money to pay for all that? Charity? Pressing able-bodied men into service, like in the days of good old Queen Bess? Billing individual citizens and selling those who don’t pay into slavery? Good luck with all that.
You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O’Donnell.
Ah-huh. Now, that’s just anger talking. I think it goes without saying, American conservatives should be the last people on the planet to make fat jokes.
We’ll keep capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street.
First of all, nice try, but no, you can’t have New York. Second, pharmaceutical research institutions, including universities, are overwhelmingly located in liberal areas of the country, and you can’t have those either. (If, however, the term “pharmaceutical company” includes meth labs in the Ozarks, I would prefer that you keep those.) Go ahead and try to convince Wall Street to move to Bumfuck, Tennessee. I suppose you will have a system that is best described as socialism for the rich, and feudalism for the rest. We are going to have equitable, well-regulated capitalism, where private gains accompany private losses, and nationalized losses lead to nationalized gains.
You can have your beloved lifelong welfare dwellers, food stamps, homeless, homeboys, hippies, druggies and illegal aliens.
Lifelong welfare dwellers: If I take them, that will severely depopulate your half of the land. How about, I take mine, and you take yours. Except now, your welfare recipients will be your problem, not ours.
Homeless: I take it, homelessness will be illegal in your country? That’s funny, because you also plan to enact economic policies that will increase homelessness manifold. How will you punish those who cannot afford a dwelling? Jail them? Enslave them? Kill them? Just curious.
Homeboys: I guess hoodies will be illegal too? Man, I know how you feel. Whenever I see a mullet, I think “Jesus Tapdancing Christ, my eyes! This should be against the law.” But then, I respect the First Amendment.
Hippies: Yes, thank you.
Druggies: Ah, no. YOU are keeping Rush Limbaugh, and that’s all there is to it. Him, and all the redneck meth-heads.
Illegal Aliens: First of all, people you call “illegal aliens” are overwhelmingly Amerindian, so the label you slap on them is ironic, to say the least. Also, they are hard-working in a way that defies belief. We’ll take them. Your loss, our gain.
We’ll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms,
Oh? Later on in your essay, you say something about “Judeo-Christian Values”. If memory serves, the Bible prohibits coveting another man’s wife. And the hot Alaskan hockey mom you are referring to is a married woman. Notice, adultery stands alone among the Bible’s “high crimes” in that you may not even think about it. I realize, pointing this out may make me sound a bit like a prude — except, this isn’t about me. I’m a godless liberal. You are the one claiming to abide by Judeo-Christian values — and here you are, not merely transgressing against some obscure Levitical prohibition, but violating one of the Ten Friggin’ Commandments. Ogling women and commenting on their physique does not make you sound “cool” — it just exposes you as a huge hypocrite. All that said, you can take her with you.
That’s fine, except I don’t think they’ll want to go with you. These guys seem to prefer New York, southern Florida and coastal California.
We’ll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood.
Fine. We’ll have literature, art, theater, opera, music and movies. Your entertainment will consist of talk radio, prayer meetings and public executions. All-in-all, I think it’s a fair trade.
You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we’ll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protesters.
Is peaceful protest going to be against the law in your country, too? I guess we are the ones keeping the content of the Constitution, while you can have the fancy covers — since you obviously don’t care what’s between them. You can do whatever you want. I don’t think Israel would be too happy about you invading Palestine, and if you attack Iran, you’ll ultimately have to fight Russia. And, as a former Russian, let me tell you — words cannot begin to describe what a tough motherfucker Russia is. That’s not ethnic pride talking; I’m merely relating a simple fact of life. But, I’m sure, you’ll want to find that out for yourself.
When our allies or way of life are under assault, we’ll provide them job security.
You don’t have any allies. All those countries I suppose you are referring to are our allies. Even Israel, where the majority of the population leans liberal and likes the liberal part of America more. Our allies are your allies only as long as we come as a package. Once our divorce is finalized, however, they’ll want nothing to do with you. No one likes you; the whole world finds you dull, ignorant and vulgar. Maybe you should take that as a sign.
We’ll keep our Judeo-Christian values.
And what might those be? Is greed a Judeo-Christian value? As I vaguely recall, Jesus said something about Mammon and how a man can’t serve two masters. How do you interpret that to agree with your economic principles and moral beliefs?
As your own essay demonstrates, you despise the meek, the merciful and the peacemakers — the very kinds of people who, according to Jesus, will be rewarded and blessed. You are diametrically opposed to them, so how is your morality consistent with Judeo-Christian values? (Not to mention, as your comment about Alaskan hockey moms exemplifies, you are not pure of heart, either.)
Is it consistent with Judeo-Christian values to rape the environment? God told you you could use the Earth he created to meet your basic needs, but where in the Scripture does it say that your pleasure, and the desire to prop up your sagging ego, justify poisoning water and air, and driving whole species to extinction? It would seem to me, the story of the Flood at least implicitly confers upon Man the responsibility to safeguard all animals and plants. Certain things are, granted, outside of your control, but don’t you think you are defying God when you deliberately destroy his creation?
Is it a Judeo-Christian value to hunt for sport? Consider the stories of Isaac and Ishmael, and Jacob and Esau. God twice withheld His blessing and the Covenant from a hunter in favor of a farmer. And Leviticus imposes kashrut rules that all but explicitly prohibit hunting. Sure, Jesus supposedly repealed Jewish dietary laws, but do you really think it was so you could satisfy some perverse machismo by killing a weaker creature?
Later on, you claim that health care is a luxury. Is that a Judeo-Christian value too, withholding an easy cure or prevention from children, the elderly and the impoverished, unless they can afford to pay market rate? Can you point me to a passage in the Bible that establishes it as a moral imperative that people should die from preventable or treatable diseases, because not dying is like owning a pleasure boat?
Is it a Judeo-Christian value to pull out a gun and kill someone for hitting you? As I recall, the Bible says “an eye for an eye” — which is an explicit limitation on payback to the magnitude of the harm suffered. And that, only after there has been a trial, with due process afforded to the defendant. How in the world do conservative “stand your ground” and trespass laws comply with Judeo-Christian values? If anything, they are antithetical to those values.
In fact, is there anything to your so-called Judeo-Christian values besides reducing women to the status of chattel and beating gays to death? What a bunch of hypocrites you are. You use religion as a thin justification for your self-indulgence and your hatreds. And you may certainly keep those if and when we part ways.
You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, political correctness and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U.N, but we will no longer be paying the bill.
You don’t pay much of the bill as it is. And inasmuch as you suggest that you are going to establish a theocracy, where all systems of thought except your own doctrinal version of Christianity will be outlawed, you once again confirm that you are rejecting the Constitution. As I’ve said previously, I’ll follow the tradition of religious Jews who, when they move from a dwelling, leave the pretty mezuzah case on the door frame, but remove the actual mezuzah — that is, the sacred scroll — from inside the case. So too with the Constitution, we’ll each take what we most value — you, the pretty cover, we, the contents.
We’ll keep the SUV’s, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Subaru station wagon you can find.
Lest we forget, those cars are mostly designed and manufactured in liberal areas of the country, or abroad. That said, you can buy whatever you can afford — which won’t be much.
And incidentally, the fact that you consider it a virtue to burn non-renewable resources and pollute the environment just to satisfy your obvious need for compensation is yet another example of your moral and intellectual inadequacy.
You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors.
I don’t know what makes you think you are getting all the doctors. You are going to have no schools or universities, so you won’t be able to educate your own. As for drawing doctors from other countries, that’s a problem as well. You’ve been pushing legislation designed to restrict doctors from practicing good, evidence-based, ethical medicine, so no decent doctor would want to work in your country, anyway. Sure, you can promise them riches, but with most of your population poor as dirt, how will you deliver?
We’ll continue to believe healthcare is a luxury and not a right.
You can continue to believe whatever you want to believe, including that the Moon is made of green cheese and that Baby Jesus had a pet dinosaur. Your beliefs expose you as inhumane. Putting saving someone’s life with a week-long course of antibiotics in the same category as drinking Crystal champagne or bedding a high-class hooker does not shame us — it shames you. If your morality demands that an underage rape victim die on the street giving birth in the name of fetal life, and then the child must also die on the street because health care is a luxury — what can be said of such a morality? Nothing that would be printable, I think.
We’ll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem. I’m sure you’ll be happy to substitute Imagine, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, Kum Ba Ya or We Are the World.
Actually, we’ll keep most of art and music. You’ll keep a number of tunes that can be counted on one hand.
We’ll practice trickle down economics and you can continue to give trickle up poverty your best shot.
Practice whatever you wish, but experience has exposed trickle-down economics as utter bunk. The theory of so-called “trickle-up poverty” still awaits proof, however.
Since it often so offends you, we’ll keep our history, our name and our flag.
History isn’t an “asset” — it’s a fact. History is what happened. You can lie about it, and be a liar. But you don’t get to change the past.
As for the name and the flag and so on, here is something for you to ponder: this country won its war of independence against the most powerful European power without a name, without a flag, and without a national anthem. The Colonists did not need any of those things, because they had something much stronger that inspired them. Desperate adherence to symbols, which transform into sacred totems separate and apart from context and meaning, is a sure sign of a decaying, morally adrift society.
Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete.
Ahh, time for some passive-aggressive cowardice. You write a bunch of inflammatory drivel, then pray — in the spirit of friendliness, no less — that those liberals who disagree “just hit delete”. Sorry, that’s not how it works, John. You don’t get a delete, you get a response. Freedom of speech isn’t freedom from consequences. With your professed belief in taking responsibility, I’m sure you’ll understand that.
In the spirit of friendly parting, I’ll bet you Answer which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.
Oh? And how much are you willing to bet? One thing, though: I won’t accept Confederate currency.
P. S. Also, please take Ted Turner, Sean Penn, Martin Sheen, Barbara Streisand, & Jane Fonda with you.
Fine. In fact, we’ll take virtually all artists, actors and intellectuals. You’ll be limited to Kirk Cameron, Chuck Norris, Kurt Russell and Ted Nugent. I think we’ll survive the loss.
P. S. S. And you won’t have to press 1 for English when you call OUR country.
I doubt we’ll be calling, but in any event, that will probably be the sum total your country will have to offer. How many calories does one expend pressing a button on a phone, by the way? Whatever the number, thanks for the savings.
Incidentally, when you conservatives travel to other countries, do you speak the local language? Based on my experience living and traveling abroad, you expect everyone to speak yours. Wherever you go, you believe you are owed English-speaking doctors, nurses, government officials, postal workers, police officers, waiters and hotel bell-hops. You expect foreign governments to have English-language websites, and for their phone systems to maintain English-language menus. And you get very, very angry when you are not provided with a fluent English-language environment in which to function. You treat anyone who does not speak fluent English as either an idiot, or worse, an enemy, whose use of a different language is an act of personal affront and disrespect to you. And yet, simultaneously, you are offended by the fact that certain immigrant and tourist groups in the United States have access to services in their own language. You claim that if they come to an English-speaking country for whatever reason, they should speak English! Fine — but then, when you go to any country in Latin America or to Spain, practice what you preach and bloody speak Spanish! Then and only then, will I take your complaint about pressing “1” for English seriously.
Also, if you persist in your absurd belief that English is being displaced by Spanish in this country, I suggest you apply some of that social Darwinism you love so much and — instead of relying on protectionist legislation — learn Spanish already. Being able to speak another language won’t cause your brain to explode, and it won’t otherwise harm your health. I promise.
I hope this gave you some food for thought, John. That is, if thought is something you are capable of.
Love and kisses,