NOTE: People have become pretty aware of harsh rhetoric lately after the shooting in Tucson. Yes, that had nothing to do with rhetoric, but it’s hard to go into long partisan diatribes about random crazy people, so “harsh rhetoric” is an easier meme to seize. Also, there are tens of millions of armed, angry conservatives out there; they didn’t kill anyone last year or the year before, but we just know — KNOW — that one of these days, Sarah Palin will put a secret message in something she says and cause them to break out in an orgy of violence.
Keeping this in mind, I’m going to try to write this column very carefully to make sure that no one could possibly interpret it as a call to violence or hate. Columns can be very dangerous; do you know how many murders Paul Krugman’s columns are responsible for? One hundred and forty-seven. Yeah, I know; that’s fewer than I would have guessed, but the number is about eight times bigger if you include people who committed suicide while reading him.
Anyway, here is my political column guaranteed to not incite anyone to violence:
I think the health care law the Democrats passed is a bad law. Before I go any further, I just want to make it clear that I don’t think they were trying to hurt the country by intentionally passing a bad law. They thought it was a good law when they passed it and were trying to help the country. And I’m not saying they’re deranged in thinking that a bad law was good and therefore need to be locked up; they just had a different opinion.
I believe that the best option going forward is to repeal that law. And that “repeal” isn’t some dog-whistle codeword urging some violent action; I mean only that it should be repealed through normal legislative means. The reasons I think it should be repealed are many. For one, despite White House claims to the contrary, it will be extremely costly and add to the debt, which is like stealing from our children.
I said like stealing! It’s not actual stealing. Don’t go out and shoot politicians, saying, “They’re thieves, and you shoot thieves! Frank J. told me that!” Let me make this clear: That’s what I’m telling you not to do. No shooting. This is a policy dispute.
Another problem with the Democrats’ health care law is that I believe it’s unconstitutional.
Wait; why did you just shout, “TREASON!”? That isn’t treason. Yes, I know the punishment for treason is death, but that isn’t treason. Constitutional issues are supposed to be settled by the Supreme Court.
No! I’m not saying hang the Supreme Court justices for treason! Why are you tying up nooses? Stop that! I’m saying we have legal, non-violent ways to settle constitutional questions like this. I was merely giving my opinion on it. I’m not going any further until you demonstrate you understand that by untying those nooses.
Also, the health care law is leading to a government takeover, which would be harmful to health care. No, I’m not saying all government is bad. And no, I’m not saying we need a revolution and that we should overthrow the government.
Yes, I know the Founding Fathers shot the British with muskets when the government got bad, but that was a completely different situation. We’re fine with non-musket solutions here. You understand that? Show me your hands; show me you don’t have any muskets in them.
Put that away. Bayonet, too. Again, I’m making criticisms that can be handled through democratic means without shooting or stabbing. I don’t care if the shooting or stabbing is quicker; that’s wrong. We’re not doing that.
As I was saying, there are a number of problems with the health care law, which is why I think it was such a bad idea for President Obama to focus on it instead of the economy. And to be very clear, that’s a policy dispute with him; I’m not criticizing him because he’s black. It’s certainly not a criticism of all black people.
Why are you putting on a sheet and hood? Why do you even have those?! Don’t tell me it’s a Snuggie; I know what it is. We’re not hating black people; take that off! I don’t care if it’s comfortable!
Moving on, I really think in the long run that the health care law will hurt the economy. No, I’m not saying Obama was trying to hurt the country. Stop shouting, “Terrorist!” Yes, I know what his middle name is, but passing a law I disagree with doesn’t make him a terrorist. Stop grabbing a washcloth and a water bucket; we’re not going to waterboard him! Plus, that’s a hand towel, not a washcloth.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, despite the political difficulty, it’s worth it to the country to try and repeal the Democrats’ health care law.
You look contemplative; I don’t know how to take that. Are you contemplating my point? Wait … I know that look! You’re contemplating murder! No! Bad! No murder contemplating! How many times can I tell you this is a policy dispute and has nothing to do with violence? We can disagree on things like this and not hate or use violence. I want you to prove you understand that and go hug a liberal despite his disagreeing with you.
No! Don’t break into his house in the middle of the night to do it!
Well, in summary, the Democrats — despite being good people who sincerely wanted to help the country — passed a health care law that I think is bad — though again, that doesn’t make anyone involved with it a bad person — and we should repeal that law through democratic means while still being respectful of each other and certainly never being violent. You got it?
Why did you wink when you said you got it? There was no wink there; there was no hidden message!
I give up. If you commit violence, at least tell everyone you were inspired by a Dave Barry column and not me.