iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
David Kronke

David Kronke

GET UPDATES FROM David Kronke
 

Republicans Seek to Ban Sympathy, Even in Cases of Incest or Rape

Posted: 04/ 7/11 12:05 PM ET

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Declaring that "Enough is enough," Senate and Congressional Republicans today brought forth new legislation that would ban sympathy toward one's fellow humans, even those who were victims of rape and incest.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, in introducing the legislation, said, "This is a sweeping measure that will not only prevent Americans from having to express remorse or attempting to act upon all manner of social injustices, from bank failures to natural disasters to smart kids whose futures are endangered by stupid teachers to that homeless fellow with hair that looks like dirty ropes who hangs out on my street in a wheelchair with a boombox playing Motown classics who cadges change by amiably telling jokes I don't get. The American people do not want to care about anyone aside from themselves, and this bill gives them the freedom to do so."

"To those despots who would force us to share a modicum of empathy for those brought low by the tragic exigencies imposed by a random universe -- no, no, a thousand times no!" bellowed Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, adding, "Americans are a strong and formidable people who need not be weakened by base emotions for the plights of strangers, or even their closest friends and family. This bill gives Americans the freedom from the enslavement of thinking about neighbors shackled by debt from insidious health-insurance companies, or from thinking at all."

The bill, nicknamed Freedom from Understanding Calamitous Knowledge Affecting Young and Old Ulike (Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia, who drafted the legislation, is a notoriously bad speller) was hailed as "a landmark piece of legislation" by conservative commentators across the political spectrum, from Rush Limbaugh to Glenn Beck and back again to Limbaugh. It forbids Americans from putting themselves in the shoes of the less fortunate, because, as former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a 2012 presidential hopeful noted, putting oneself in another's shoes is tantamount to theft.

Another 2012 presidential hopeful, Sarah Palin, commented in a Tweet, "I know President Obama may not believe in American exceptionalism, but only because that means we can take exception to values that our European enemies embrace, such as helping the downtrodden. Passage of this bill will add jobs -- mainly to people who already have jobs and not the un- and under-employed, but who cares about them?" Palin imprecisely gauged the 140-character limit imposed by Twitter, but, Twitter founders, kind of scared by her, let it go.

Democrats hoped to definitively frame the Republican initiative as amoral and unconscionably at odds with American values. Nevada Senator Harry Reid opened the Democratic salvo by saying, "Well, really. I mean, I just don't know."