I received an email the other day from a family member that told a parable disguised as a political joke. It takes on a distinctly biased approach and misrepresents the other side completely. Annoyed and frustrated, I did the only thing I really could: I parodied it.
“Why Janice IS a Republican”
Janice was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words redistribution of wealth.
She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.
One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.
Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.
Her father listened and then asked, “How is your friend Marina doing?”
She replied, “Marina is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She’s always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.”
Her wise father asked his daughter, “Why don’t you go to the Dean’s office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.”
Janice, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, “That’s a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I’ve worked really hard for my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Marina has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!”
The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, “Welcome to the Republican party!”
And here is my version…
“Why Janice IS NOT a Republican”
Janice was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a liberally-minded individual, and among her ideals was the idea of raising taxes in a responsible and deliberate manner in order to redistribute wealth in a financially polarized society.
She was deeply ashamed for believing this because her father was a staunch Republican, and she had been raised to think that gays were evil, liberals were stupid, and poor people deserved their lot in life. But she was learning that most people, liberal and conservative alike, tend to spin the truth in order to fit their belief system. Based on the lectures she had received from her father and the occasional chat with her mother, she knew her father harbored a selfish desire to squander his earnings on petty materialism while ignoring the rest of the world’s problems.
One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to–among other things–higher taxes on the extremely rich and the importance of programs designed to help the less fortunate. He insulted her intelligence by ignoring her side of the conversation, cast doubt on the teaching abilities of a school that he continued to pour thousands of dollars into, and when he felt he was in danger of realizing some truth to what she said, turned the conversation around on her.
“How are your grades?” He asked.
Irritated by her father’s refusal to listen, she answered rather proudly that she had a 4.0 GPA. She let him know that it was tough to maintain, especially because the material was so monotonous and soulless. She felt like she was constantly studying, which was why she never got to enjoy her life like most other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend (which was actually fortunate because she was a lesbian).
Her father let her finish talking and then asked, “How are your friend Marina’s grades?”
She replied, “Marina is barely getting by with a 2.0. She’s a Chemistry major, after all. None of the classes I take are that intense. She studies more than I do, but still finds time to be social. She is so popular on campus because she actually interacts with other people, volunteering at the shelter and working part-time at the laboratory. Even though it’s the hardest thing she’s ever done, college is a blast for her.”
Her father, whose wisdom almost made up for the compassion he lacked, asked his daughter, “Well, why don’t you go to the Dean’s office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA. You know, like taxes.”
Janice, quietly irritated by her father’s completely unrealistic and unhelpful comment, responded, “Dad, I need actual advice here, not some half-assed and completely ridiculous suggestion! GPA is an indicator of a student’s ability to jump through the proper hoops, not how hard someone works. I study a lot for my grades, but I compared to Marina, I am taking almost childishly-easy classes. Besides, my GPA doesn’t reflect how society will treat me once I’m in the work force, especially since I’m a woman! Marina will probably be happier than me because she’ll get a career she actually wants rather than one prescribed to her by her family.”
Her father smiled, leapt to his feet, clipped his heels together, stared straight ahead, stretched his arm outward, and exclaimed, “Welcome to the Republican party!”
Janice got up and left to call Marina for drinks.