Political Mad Libs

Political Mad Libs

Jan 16
Political Mad Libs

I have concluded that practically every social media post, press release, or op-ed piece written about politics can be reduced to an equation:

(Phrase A) , (Evil Entity), (Phrase B) by billionaire (Evil Billionaire), are/have (Evil Act) to push their (Radical Adjective) agenda.

  • Phrase A  — this should be something like “They’ve done it again” or “Once again.”  It should indicate that this is nothing new and that the reader is being reminded that the evil entity is still a threat to everything the reader holds dear.
  • Evil Entity – insert the name of the organization that the reader needs to act against.  This is the entire point of the article or post.  The writer wants to convince the reader that this organization must be opposed.  Some examples are:  Planned Parenthood, the NRA, Big Oil, the EPA, Democrats, or Republicans.
  • Phrase B — a relationship between the Evil Entity and a billionaire.  Everybody knows that billionaires are evil, so establishing a link between an Evil Billionaire and the Evil Entity is a great way to ensure that the reader equates with the Evil Entity everything he or she hates about the Evil Billionaire.  This is especially necessary if the reader may not realize that the Evil Entity is, in fact, evil.  Phrases such as “led by,” “funded by,” or “backed by” are good examples to use here.
  • Evil Billionaire — insert the name of a specific wealthy individual.  Ideally, the name invoked is linked to scandals or agendas that the reader is likely to oppose but this isn’t entirely necessary.  Simply invoking the name of an Evil Billionaire is often sufficient to establish the fact the Evil Entity is also evil.
  • Evil Act – this isn’t really that important but it is necessary for the post to make sense.  Feel free to make up anything you want as part of the Evil Act – truth is completely irrelevant at this point.  The most important thing about the Evil Act is to inform the reader that something he or she loves will be forever destroyed by the Evil Entity.  It doesn’t have to make sense.  It doesn’t have to be realistic or even possible.  Assume that the reader will believe with all their heart that the Evil Entity will perform this Evil Act if nobody stops them.  Nobody ever fact checks the Evil Act – it has to be true because the Evil Billionaire is behind it.  Note:  sometimes a Stupid Act works just as well here — readers are also outraged by sheer stupidity (the more outlandishly stupid the better).
  • Radical Adjective – insert any word or phrase to indicate that the Evil Entity is an extremist group and not part of the mainstream of ideas.  This should be an adjective that the reader associates with everything wrong in the world.  Some good examples include:  liberal, progressive, conservative, racist, elitist, fascist, and socialist.

Important:  under no circumstances should one ever remove the words “push” or “agenda.”  Everybody knows that pushing an agenda violates a Constitutional amendment.  Readers will resist any pushed agenda simply on principle, even if the agenda would be in their best interests.

Here are a few examples to help you get started:

Up to their old tricks, Democrats, funded by billionaire George Soros, are seeking to ban professional football in order to push their radical agenda.

They’re at it again.  The Tea Party, led by the billionaire Koch brothers, want to require everyone to pray three times per day or face legal fines as they push their Christian agenda.

Once again, Big Hollywood, backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, has announced that everyone should eat babies as part of the push for their socialist agenda.

Still not convinced that the equation works?  Here are some actual excerpts from articles I found on the Internet:

“Once again, national gun ban groups, led by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, are exploiting the issue of domestic violence to push their extreme agenda,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.  (source: http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/15/politics/rick-snyder-bucks-nra-vetoes-gun-bill/)

Next week, hundreds of business executives and wealthy conservative donors will arrive in Palm Springs, California, at the behest of Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist and older half of the Koch brothers duo. The occasion is the latest Koch donor retreat, dubbed the “billionaires caucus” by some, an exclusive, two-day confab with a speaker list that features governors, senators, and members of the House Republican leadership. It is the first Koch retreat since the 2012 elections.  According to a previously unpublished preview of the April 28-29 gathering, the Kochs will unveil a new plan to recruit and train political candidates who will advance their free-market worldview.  (source:  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/04/koch-brothers-donor-retreat-agenda-hispanic-candidate-recruiting)

“What this report shows is that eco-left billionaires, including those like Tom Steyer who made their money in fossil fuels, have managed to hijack an entire government agency,” said Michael Sandoval, an energy policy analyst at the free-market Independence Institute in Denver.  (source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/30/gop-report-billionaires/)

While the name “Minneapolis Progressive Education Fund” lends the group an air of boots-on-the-ground campaigning — chairman Daniel Sellers describes himself as a “Minneapolis resident and parent” — there is nothing grassroots about it. In fact, the Progressive Education Fund, as reported by MinnPost, is an offshoot of 50CAN, the right-wing education group founded by Connecticut hedge fund managers and heavily bankrolled by school privatization interests, such as the Walton Family Foundation.  (source: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2014/11/12673/hedge-fund-managers-push-alec-agenda-minneapolis-school-board-election)

Those familiar with his thinking expect him to pick up the drumbeat this month. Possible fresh fodder includes last month’s Supreme Court ruling against labor unions, in which the anti-union plaintiff was represented by an arm of the National Right to Work Committee, which has received support from Koch-linked foundations and nonprofits. And Reid is planning this month to bring up a constitutional amendment intended to reduce campaign spending — an effort he’s pushed by citing the Kochs as the poster children for big-money political spending.  (source:  http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/harry-reid-koch-brothers-108632.html)

In the interests of full-disclosure, I didn’t pay any attention to the websites on which these stories appeared nor did I pay any attention to the political leanings of the post or the source.  I just looked for articles that essentially fit the equation and did so in the span of about a paragraph.  While these don’t fit the equation perfectly, I feel like they demonstrate the principle closely enough to confirm the pattern.

Something else to consider is use of the word “Big.”  When placed in front of another noun and capitalized, the word Big is synonymous with “Evil.”  Examples include Big Oil, Big Hollywood, Big Government, Big Money, and Big-Box Retailers.

Please don’t fall for the ridiculousness of these patterns and the way they are being used to manipulate you.  Don’t share them.  Don’t repost them.  This is a repeated pattern of intellectual dishonesty that needs to stop.  No matter your political bias, I find it hard to justify the way we are allowing talking heads to tell us what to think and how to feel about it.

We have become far too trusting in our news sources and far too willing to share stories that agree with what we already believe.  One that sticks in my mind is a story from 2013 that gained huge traction when a gay waitress shared on social media that a family had stiffed her on a tip, claiming it was due to her sexuality.  It was completely fake — the accused family came forward with a receipt and a credit card statement showing that they had actually left a tip.  But the post gained steam because so many people were quick to assume that a (assumed conservative) family would be so cruel.  I mean, who would make that kind of thing up, right?

It has become a sad truth that we are quick to believe the worst about people with whom we disagree.  Tell a liberal a story about something stupid a conservative supposedly said or did and they are quick to believe it.  Tell a conservative a story about ridiculous that a liberal supposedly said or did and they are quick to believe it.  Both sides spread it and retell it.  Very few even stop to consider if it sounds like something a “normal” person would do — because in our minds people who disagree with us can’t be normal.

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