Santa Claus is white!

Here we go again.  People are still debating whether a make-believe character can be a color other than their own.

The Mall of America — you know that place, America? Home of the widest variety of people on the planet? — anyway, the Mall has a Santa Claus this year who isn’t white, and that is making racists’ heads spin.

Many conservatives cannot stand the idea. Ronald Reagan would have never stood for it. nancy_reagan_mr_T_12(Here, of course, is where I insert a picture of Mr. T performing as Santa at the White House in the Reagan administration. Come on, you all knew that was coming.)

Santa is, of course, based on St. Nicholas, who was from Turkey, and thus was a darker skinned middle eastern man (just like Jesus!).

The idea that a fictional character like Santa must be white fits in with the conservative bubble, where everything involves them and has to fit into their world view or it either doesn’t exist (climate change, evolution) or it is changed to be just like them (Jesus and Santa).

But it’s not just Santa. I’ve seen science fiction geeks get all crazy when someone suggests that Superman could be black. “But he’s not!” they scream.

Well why not?  Geez, he’s not even from earth. He could be green with yellow polka dots. Why would that distract from truth, justice, and the American way? (OK, well, admittedly it would make it harder to pose as mild-mannered Clark Kent…)

There are indeed instances where the race or gender or sexual orientation of a fictional character is important to the story — but if it’s not, who cares? Why does it matter one bit what race Santa is?

For that matter, artistic license allows you to change the race of real people. Look at Hamilton, the wildly successful play. There was a conscious choice to cast people of all races to make an artistic statement even while the story itself tried to be accurate. So what? It’s art. Enjoy it and stop insisting that everything has to revolve around you.

black-santa-clause-star-tribune-800x430

Look how happy this kid is and how he doesn’t care about the Mall of America Santa’s race

Liberal’s worst nightmare?

They really don’t get it, do they?nightmare

Despite losing the popular vote in five of the last six Presidential elections, some conservatives still think that the way to win the White House is to be even more radical and to lean even farther to the right.

Are there any Democrats who are that deluded?  OK, maybe a few who think that Bernie Sanders would be the best candidate, but they are few and far between.  (I think Sanders would be a great President but a terrible candidate, by the way, and I want to win.)

Maybe 40% of the voters will always vote for their party, leaving 20% in the middle who really decide elections.  The way to win is to appeal to the middle, not the extremes.  The liberals on the left will never vote for a Republican and the conservatives on the right will never vote for a Democrat, so the way to win is to get the ones between those two extremes.

That is why the GOP keeps losing the big elections. In a gerrymandered district full of people just like you it’s easy to win, but when you look at an entire state and then at the entire country, they have a real uphill battle  (especially when the majority disagrees with them on almost every single important issue).

So to those conservatives who think that Palin is our worst nightmare:  Oh yes indeed.  I am so afraid of Palin being your candidate.  Oh, please, do not nominate her.  I beg of you.  It will make me so unhappy if you do so.

Green Eggs and Spam

You keep using that book.  I do not think it means what you think it means.

Republicans have a habit of rewriting Dr. Suess‘ “Green Eggs and Ham” while emphasizing all the things they do not like about Obamacare.  Numerous internet memes have done the same thing.  I’m not sure if that is because they assume their intended audience has the minds of children or if they think it’s funny.   GreenEggsDetail

What they keep missing is that the story is about how wrong it is to be stubbornly against something you know nothing about.  The main character finds out he actually likes green eggs and ham once he tries it.

And that’s what is happening with Obamacare.  The more people learn about it, the more they like it.  The more people who have been able to get better and cheaper insurance, the happier they are with it.

Seriously, the thing people don’t like is the word “Obamacare.”  One study asked people what they thought of Obamacare as opposed to the “Affordable Care Act” and overwhelmingly people preferred the Affordable Care Act over Obamacare.  (Since you’re reading this blog, I assume you are smart enough to realize they are the exact same thing.)  Other studies show that when you take the Act bit by bit, people really like it.   (“No pre-existing conditions?  Great!  Kids covered while college age?  Wonderful!  No more caps on benefits?  Excellent!  No more charging women more for health care?  We like!”)  What they dislike is the mandate, which liberals also don’t like (We wanted medicare-for-all).  The mandate was the part of the plan proposed by Republicans way back when Bob Dole had it in his platform.

So as Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz continue to read from “Green Eggs and Ham” the rest of us can laugh at them, aware that they are blind to the irony of quoting a story that has a moral which directly contradicts everything they are saying.

Mixing religion and politics? How dare he!

Outraged! Right wing columnists and reporters are outraged that the Pope is speaking out about inequalities in our system. papaOutraged that he thinks governments should do more to stop the huge divide between rich and poor.

Rush Limbaugh warned of this Pope promoting “pure Marxism.” Fox News’ Stuart Varney criticized the Pope’s mixing of religion and politics. Sarah Palin called the Pope the worst name she could think of: “Liberal.” All of them said that the Pope had no business discussing politics.

You all remember how mad these right-wing pundits got about religion intermixing with politics when churches lobbied for laws against abortion, fought to prevent gays from getting married, and pushed to have creationism taught in public schools? (If you do remember, please remind me, because I can’t think of a single example — but clearly there must be, or else these people would be raging hypocrites now, wouldn’t they?)

Meanwhile, the Pope, ignoring them all, is doing his job, which includes sneaking out at night dressed as a normal priest and administering to the poor. Clearly, he is an evil, evil man that must be stopped.