So, I’ve seen this gem floating around the interwebs after the election. Apparently it came from 2008, but it got trotted out again this year, along with a lot of “Obama won because he promised free stuff.”
The most eye-opening civics lesson I ever had was while teaching third grade that election year.
The presidential election was heating up and some of the children showed an interest.
I decided we would have an election for a class president. We would choose our nominees. They would make a campaign speech, and the class would vote.
To simplify the process, candidates were nominated by other class members.
We discussed what kinds of characteristics these students should have. We got many nominations and from those, Jamie, and Olivia were picked to run for the top spot.
Jamie went first.
He had specific ideas about how to make our class a better place. He ended by promising to do his very best.
Everyone applauded, and he sat down.
Now is was Olivia’s turn to speak.
Her speech was concise. She said, “If you will vote for me, I will give you ice cream.” She sat down.
The class went wild. “Yes! … Yes! …We want ice cream.”
… How did she plan to pay for the ice cream? Olivia wasn’t sure, but no one pursued that question. They took her at her word.
Would her parents buy it, or would the class pay for it? Olivia didn’t know. The class really didn’t care. All they were thinking about was ice cream … Jamie was forgotten … Olivia won by a landslide.
Every time Barack Hussein Obama opened his mouth, he offered free ice cream, and 51.4 % of the people reacted like nine year olds. They wanted ice cream.
The other 48.6% percent know they’re going to have to feed the cow, and clean up the mess.
So what “ice cream” exactly, was I promised? Free birth control? Oh, you mean birth control as part of my *health insurance*? Half of which I’m paying for and half of which my company is paying for, as part of my total compensation for the work I do? If that’s my ice cream, I’m already paying for it.
*Not* privatizing Social Security or Medicare? Again, already paying for it. Wall Street Reform? Also already paying for it, or, more accurately, paying for it not having been done sooner, though I’ve gotten back to the point where I can look at my 401k again without whimpering.
Same-sex marriage? Well, that ice cream isn’t even for me*, but everyone it is for, is, again, already paying for it. Unmarried gay couples have a higher tax burden than they would if they were married, while the hubby and I get tax benefits from being married. Plus, everybody’s taxes go toward all the structures that support the benefits marriage confers—everything from the clerk’s office where you get your marriage license to the people writing and enforcing the tax code to the courts that enforce the property and other legal rights that go along with marriage.
So same-sex couples have basically been buying my ice cream for the last six years while having to spend tons more to buy crappy frozen yogurt for themselves. (The crappy frozen yogurt being powers of attorney, living wills, etc. that are a second-rate substitute for marriage.)
Like it was in 2008, the “we lost because of free stuff, people are greedy and dumb, wah” meme is just a convenient way of ignoring the actual problems with conservative politics as a whole. And it has the side benefit of villainizing and demeaning your opponents, which is always way more fun than actually listening to them.
*This is as good a place as any to note that I’m not actually 100% straight (“mostly straight” is probably about right), and there’s a slim chance that if my husband were hit by a bus or left me for Felicia Day, I might conceivably date women. So, it could at some future point affect me, but at this moment and for the foreseeable future, that ice cream isn’t for me.