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I WOULD LIKE TO extend an olive branch. Those of you who consider yourselves conservative and usually vote Republican have not had a very good couple of weeks. Trust me, I know how this feels.
In fact, those of us on the other side of the fence don't really know what it's like to win, so if we seem a bit awkward right now (were we supposed to vote for the majority leader the speaker said to vote for, or stick to our promise to the other guy?), forgive us.
I know you are dismayed at the results of last week's election. You've got to be freaking out about what this bunch of tree-hugging, latte-sipping, men-kissing-men advocates will do now that the country is in our hands. I don't blame you. We'd never admit it, but we secretly admire you because you know how to chop down a tree, take your coffee black and enjoy watching women kissing women. Good on you!
What I don't want is for you to drop into the deep funk we liberals have been in for two-plus decades. Yes, your Republican revolution is over, but hang in there. And do not despair. I, and the millions who voted for Democrats, have no interest in revenge for the last 12 years. In fact, let me make 12 promises as to how we will treat you, the minority, in the coming years.
Thus, here is "A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives":
1) We will always respect you. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.
2) We will let you marry whomever you want (even though some among us consider your Republican behavior to be "different" or "immoral"). Who you marry is none of our business. Love, and be in love — it's a wonderful gift.
3) We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook too, and we will balance it for you.
4) When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home too. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on some amateur Power Point presentation cooked up by men who have never been to war.
5) When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you too will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that afflict you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family too.
6) When we clean up our air and water, you too will be able to breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water. When we put an end to global warming, you will no longer have to think about buying oceanfront property in Yuma.
7) Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.
8) We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.
9) We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, take up another sport. In the meantime, we will arm the deer to make it a fairer fight.
10) When we raise the minimum wage, we will raise it for your employees too. They will use that money to buy more things, which means you will get the money back! And when women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage too.
11) We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't practice those beliefs. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me"). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism — starting here at home.
12) We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and break the law. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side first. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.
I promise all of the above to you because this is your country too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans — and for the rest of the world.
Now pull yourself together and let's go have a Frappuccino.