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The Onion, or the Post? ‘One Nation’ Article an Exercise in Parody

A Washington Post article describing the latest progressive response to the tea party movement may be the most unintentionally hysterical reporting of the year.

by
John Rosenberg

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July 13, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Rather than explain why I say that both the Washington Post article and its subject are unintentionally humorous, let me instead try to show you by writing a brief parody. Ahem:

Progressives hope ‘One Nation’ coalition can recapture grass-roots fervor

In an effort to replicate the tea party’s success, 170 liberal and civil rights groups are forming a coalition that they hope will match the movement’s political energy and influence. They promise to “counter the tea party narrative” and help the progressive movement find its voice again after 18 months of foundering.

The groups involved represent the core of the first-time voters who backed Obama, including the National Council of La Raza, the Service Employees International Union, the NAACP, the AFL-CIO, and the United States Student Association.

Leaders of the groups have been meeting for about three months in a planning process that some participants called arduous, debating everything from the name of the coalition to what the branding and logo should look like.

In forming the coalition, the groups struggled to settle on a name. Even now, two of the major players disagree about who came up with the idea of holding a march this fall.

Despite the friction among liberal groups, the effort behind One Nation was born of a certain necessity. Indeed, a promised overhaul of immigration law is virtually dead this year. Legislation that labor unions say would make it easier for them to grow their membership is stalled in Congress. The jobless rate is 15.4 percent for blacks and 12.4 percent for Hispanics, compared with 8.6 percent for whites.

The coalition’s first goal is to plan a march to “demonstrate to Congress that these agenda items have support across multiple demographics,” NAACP president Benjamin Jealous said. “This is a way to create some intensity,” said Eric Rodriguez, vice president of the National Council of La Raza. “Month after month, we spend time pointing to these employment figures, and we’re still not breaking through on the disparities in a way that we think is important.”

At their national conventions this week, NAACP and La Raza leaders will talk to their members about “One Nation,” and they are seeking money from foundations for the effort.

Kidding! I could never come up with something that amusing. The above, from the title to the last word, is not a parody at all but direct quotes, some rearranged, from the Washington Post article. It requires a writer with far greater talents than mine to parody an article that reports with a straight face, without a hint of irony, the birth of an organization

  • that attempts to “imitate” an eruption of grassroots activism by convening months of meetings with leaders of groups;
  • that after months of inter-group wrangling, comes up with the umbrella of “One Nation” to cover a bickering coalition of racial, ethnic, gender, and other special interest groups;
  • whose member groups typically are more agitated by the “disparities” of racially and ethnically unequal unemployment than by unemployment itself;
  • whose leaders can discuss what they mean by “One Nation” only by claiming to have support “across multiple demographics”;
  • is an ostensible grass roots organization that can pay for itself only by “seeking money from foundations.”

“One Nation,“ not only divisible, but risible. You can’t make this stuff up, but at least you can laugh at it … unless you’re a Washington Post reporter.

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John Rosenberg blogs at Discriminations.
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