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press 1 for xenophobia

I have been getting pretty interested in politics lately. I find myself thinking a lot about why different political groups support different things, what the historical motivations for those things has been, and why different coalitions between groups have formed. If I ever get a chance I'd like to try to make a post about how I see the different political groups and what kinds of things I associate with each.

As a part of this newfound interest, I decided to go read some of the platforms for different political parties. The most humorous thing I've found so far is on the Republican Party's website, describing their stance on National Security. Part of their stated platform is to "encourage" immigrants to learn English. Encourage is a pretty vague word, which could mean anything from something good (helping them adapt to our culture and be able to get along without being able to understand anyone), to something in between, to something really bad (forcing everyone to speak english, or forcing companies to only use english in any public interactions). While they probably mean something somewhere in between, they also included this music video right next to the text describing their platform, which indicates to *me* that they may mean something very bad by it. The name of the video is "Press 1 for English" and I find it incredibly scary and offensive:



(from http://www.gop.com/2008Platform/NationalSecurity.htm)

Basically, the singer in this music video is so outraged that she has to literally "lift her finger" to press the button "1" at the beginning of a message left by some company (who obviously has non-english speaking customers who are paying just as much as the english speaking customers to use the service) that instead of having to do this she would rather ask whole communities of people to stop speaking their native language and spend years learning to speak her language. I guess they don't usually have Native American languages on there anyway, but does she not remember that the English were immigrants originally too? They just expect the people who were living here first and still speaking their language to give it up and convert to the language of the imperialists? I guess I'm not surprised that they made the video, but I am outraged that the GOP decided to display it prominently on their website. What an awesome monument to American laziness and nationalism this song is... and how proud and boastful of our laziness we are! Again, I find it scary and offensive... but I also admit to finding it incredibly humorous and entertaining.

Oh, and one more interesting thing about this video... if you look closely at 3:08 minutes in, there is a giant American flag in the background, with a Christian cross superimposed behind the blue square where the white stars are. Hmmmm. Apparently, the immigrants should go ahead and learn our religion too, not just our language... is that going to be on the platform in another 4 years? I would suggest someone make a parody video called "Press 1 for Christian" but I'm too afraid that the Republicans will actually take it as a serious idea.

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spoonless
Dec. 17th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)

is the thing where people will either assume that I have to either take a libertarian "property is all" party line, or a socialist/communist "everything should be public" party line.

that bugs me too, so I think we're on the same page there. a lot of people tend to have an "all or nothing" approach to every problem they run across in politics, and it's really annoying. I think it's one of the reasons you end up with such radical groups who get polarized to the point where they are ready to commit terrorist acts to try to have their way.

Regarding the alleged differences and similarities between immigration and stealing underpants... I also agree. They seem like pretty different things, and we don't need to treat them the same :) (on a side note, I find it pretty entertaining that debating this difference is what the conversation has come down to.)

I guess the main reason I asked what I did is because I felt like your statement about not understanding why crossing an imaginary line could be a crime was a bit too all-or-nothing for me. I also think our intuitions differ a bit on that... I'm more okay with there being laws against crossing different lines. Some of them to protect private property, and others to define which set of laws applies to which people. The private property issue seems more important (especially if the property is something close to your body, or worn on your body) but I don't think that makes crossing national borders completely unimportant. More in another comment...

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