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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 08:59 am (UTC)

Sorry about misinterpreting your position. I had gotten the impression that you advocated something very close to the libertarian positions on both immigration and welfare.

nope, I think I was careful in this thread to leave it ambiguous what my position was. And that's honestly because it's "I don't know". If you look back in time several years, then yes... you'll find that I was once a pretty hard core libertarian, and would have agreed with them on both of these issues. 8 years ago, I would have agreed without qualifications. 5 years ago I would have agreed but with some hesitation and uncertainty. 3 years ago, I was mostly uncertain about it but still leaning towards wanting to reduce welfare. And only this year or last have I gotten to the point where on many issues like that, I'm comfortable saying that I *suspect* the libertarians are wrong... and my uncertainty extends the other direction just as much as in that direction. I guess I see myself as closer to the values held by the Democrats now, rather than the Libertarians... and I wouldn't have said that until this year. Watching the Obama campaign unfold really inspired me, and made me realize that Democrats are not nearly as bad as I always thought.

But the truth is--and you can take this as a huge compliment--discussing politics with you, onhava, and pbrane have probably done more to shift my political beliefs in recent years than anything else. I really do sense that you have, overall, a better grasp on politics than I do... but that said, I still feel the need to argue with you when I disagree rather than accept what you say unquestioningly :)

Edited at 2008-12-17 09:03 am (UTC)
easwaran
Dec. 17th, 2008 09:37 am (UTC)
It wouldn't be any use to me if you didn't argue! A few weeks ago a friend posted something about gay marriage on her lj, and someone left a comment suggesting that governments shouldn't be endorsing any relationships, and I gave a counterargument for why we might want a government to give benefits to one marriage-type-relationship per person, but she just caved, and I felt cheated of a challenge that would raise new issues for me to think about!

I used to be pretty libertarian myself - in 1998, in the first election I could vote in, I just voted Libertarian for every position that had such a candidate, and decided somewhat randomly between Republicans and Democrats otherwise. (When I was a kid I liked Republicans more, but probably mainly just because I thought Time magazine was biased against them.)

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