The burdens of conservatism in the Obama age.
Oct 5, 2009, Vol. 15, No. 03 • By P.J. O'ROURKE
Whew, I'm pooped. Jimmy Carter has got me run ragged with all the hating I'm supposed to do. Jimmy says I'm a racist because I oppose President Obama's health care reform program. Even Jimmy Carter can't be wrong all the time. And since Jimmy Carter has been wrong about every single thing for the past 44 years, maybe--just as a matter of statistical probability--he's right this time.
I hadn't noticed I was a racist, but that was no doubt because I was too busy being a homophobe. Nancy Pelosi says the angry opposition to health care reform is like the angry opposition to gay rights that led to Harvey Milk being shot. Since I do not want America to suffer another Sean Penn movie, I will accept that I'm a homophobe, too. And I'm a male chauvinist due to the fact that I think Nancy Pelosi is blowing smoke--excuse me, carbon neutral, biodegradable airborne particulate matter--out her pantsuit.
Also, I'm pretty sure Rahm Emanuel is Jewish, and you can't be against (or even for) President Obama without the involvement of Rahm Emanuel, so I'm an anti-Semite. Furthermore, although I personally happen to be a libertarian on immigration issues, I do agree with Joe Wilson that you can't say you're expanding health care to the poor and then pretend you're going to turn those poor away if their driver's licenses look a little Xeroxy and what's on their Social Security cards turns out to be a toll-free number for a La Raza hotline. Thus I'm prejudiced against Hispanics as well.
I'm a 61-year-old man with three young children and a yard to rake. While I appreciate the attention from our most ex- of ex-presidents, I'm really too busy to properly accomplish all this loathing and detestation. I quit smoking so I don't even have a lighter to set crosses on fire. We don't happen to own white bed sheets and I'm five nine and--dressed in Ralph Lauren candy stripes and tripping on fitted corners--I'd feel like a fool at Klan rallies (and Tea Parties and Town Hall meetings, to the extent that there's a difference).
Then I have the task of finding people to disrespect, denigrate, and discriminate against. I know people who are black, gay, Jewish, and Hispanic. But, unfortunately, I like them. When you like a person it's difficult to treat him (or even her) with the kind of vigorous and unrestrained bigotry that Jimmy Carter expects me to engage in. I have to go looking for people (people of the proper race, creed, and ethnic origin) whom I can't stand. That jackass from the gas company who kicked my dog (even though Valkyrie hardly broke the skin) won't do. The meter reader is a New Hampshire Yankee.
This is exactly the problem. I live in rural New Hampshire and we are, frankly, short on people who are black, gay, Jewish, and Hispanic. In fact, we're short on people. My town has a population of 301. When it comes to bias we're pretty much reduced to an occasional slur against French-Canadians. But my grandfather was French-Canadian, so I feel that it is somewhat inappropriate for me to express scorn for Frenchies. That is, liberals have a monopoly on self-loathing as a result of neurosis entitlements and affirmative anxiety programs for which I, as a Republican, do not qualify. Thus it is that I have to drive all the way to Dorchester and then out to Provincetown and down to New York City and back to be narrow minded enough to satisfy Jimmy Carter, Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emmanuel, and their friend Hugo Chávez.
When it comes to oppressing those who are differently gendered, I have the opposite difficulty. With two daughters, a wife, and a female dog that bites, I'm badly outnumbered. It's all I can do to make an occasional wisecrack about time spent in the bathroom (or kennel) with the hairdryer. Even then I end up sleeping in the car. (The dog gets the couch.)
I thought about going to a "Hate Coach" to help me focus my insensitiv-ity and anger. But all the radio hosts were booked months in advance. In--stead I've decided to follow the example of large capitalist institutions (which are themselves famous for racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, maltreatment of illegal aliens, and glass ceilings for Nancy Pelosi, who will become a senator from California about when Arnold Schwarzenegger gets the Billy Crystal role in a remake of When Harry Met Sally). I am outsourcing my hate.
I have contracted with al Qaeda, Russia, and Cuba. When it comes to treating women and gays like hell (not to mention Jews), it's hard to beat the Islamic fundamentalists. The Russians are no slouches with a pogrom either, and they are racists par excellence. Russians not only vehemently despise blacks, they believe Africa begins at the Ukraine border. And when it comes to repression of Latinos, Cuba takes the gold, tyrannizing 11,184,022 out of 11,184,023 Cubans.
Fortunately for me the Obama administration has taken time out from its pursuit of health care reform to go wobbly in Afghanistan, cuddle up to Havana, and scrap the missile defense system in Eastern Europe to appease Moscow. This puts Osama bin Laden, Raúl Castro, and Vladimir Putin in a position to destroy the minorities and the disadvantaged in America. Of course, they'll destroy the rest of us too. But, meanwhile, I'm spared a lot of effort and aggravation. And I may have time to get all the autumn leaves bagged before the apocalypse.
P. J. O'Rourke is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.