An Amazonian View of American Politics

American Political Dictionary

This is an explanation of American political terms, taken from a weekly newspaper published by a tribe in the Amazonian Rain Forest.  (Ok, that’s a joke.  Amazonian Indians don’t print newspapers.  They publish them online like everyone else.)

President: a man who manages to keep his worst mistakes hidden from the public, avoids having to vote on controversial national issues, runs for election when the other party is unpopular and either has powerful friends, lots of money or both.  Must be either Protestant or a young, charismatic, good-looking Catholic running against Richard Nixon.

Congress: men and women who represent the interests of the people who elected them, otherwise known as corporations, wealthy donors and labor unions.

Elections: a regular contest to see who can get enough money to buy the most ads on TV.

TV: a picture box powered by a gas generator, like the box that the stuck-up Maxingiru tribe down the river put in the middle of their village.  It’s what people used to use before they could hook up to the internet with solar-powered computers and a satellite connection.

Supreme Court: a group of nine people who don’t have to buy TV ads to get in power.  Nevertheless, they must also keep their worst mistakes hidden, avoid having to decide on controversial issues and have some powerful friends.  Additionally, they must be able to go before Congress on national television and say with a straight face that they have no idea whatsoever how they would vote on the hypothetical case of the Devil v. God, Family and The American Way.

Politics: an inedible product that comes from cows, specifically male cows.

Political Party: a group of people who agree on a number of major issues, such as their mutual re-election.  The two main political parties are the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

Democrats: a group of people who claim to be for the common man while they pander to their wealthy donors.  Would have been renamed the Party of Lincoln’s Second-Coming in 2008, but someone remembered Lincoln was a Republican.

Republicans: a completely different group of people who claim to be for the common man while they pander to a slightly different group of wealthy donors.  Would have been renamed the “Party of God” in 2004, but the name was already taken.  (Curse you Hezbollah!)

Minor party: a group of people who refuse to cooperate with the two-party system and run for election based on what they actually believe.  Also known as “hobbyists” and “crackpots.”

Libertarians: a group of mainstream Americans who support things like allowing segregation or maybe repealing the constitution.  Also known as Kentucky Republican primary voters.

Greens: a group of people who think the Democrats should actually enact their party platform, apparently so the Democrats could be booted out of office and be replaced by a newly moderated and suddenly flexible Green Party.  They are an endangered species, mostly due to the fact that liberals don’t want to just hand the country over to the Republicans.

Conservative: someone who wants things to remain exactly as they are by cutting taxes, growing the military, creating a world without trade barriers, invading other countries to bring democracy to an entire region, privatizing Social Security and overturning long-established judicial precedents on campaign finance and gun control.

Liberal: from the Latin word meaning “giving freely,” which preferably involves other people’s money.  Their motto: “If it sounds good, do it!”  The movement is known for its popular leaders like George McGovern and Walter Mondale.

Primary: when the annoyingly committed and involved members of one of the political parties decide the winner of the next election and the annoyingly committed and involved members of the other party pick its next sacrificial victim.  Advice to candidates: primaries are known for their strict codes for language and behavior.  Dirty words like “moderate” and “reasonable” must never be uttered (except to slur your opponent).  Save them for the general election.

Red State: once referred to Communist countries like the Soviet Union, China or Vietnam.  It now refers to a U.S. state whose voters generally prefer Republicans’ lies to the Democrats’.

Blue State: a state whose voters generally prefer Democrats’ lies to the Republicans’.  Named for the mood of their residents, who are constantly blue because either Republicans are in charge or Democrats aren’t living up to their expectations.

Donors: people who give politicians money in case they actually win an election.  Their donations are completely different from bribes.  Completely.  They are only buying access to politicians.  Their money has no influence whatsoever on how a politician votes.

Access: the ability to sit down with a Representative, Senator or President and tell them how completely and totally unfair their latest proposal is to downtrodden victims like yourself, while unintentionally–completely unintentionally–reminding them that they can only win the next TV ad contest and stay in power if they get enough money from big donors like you and your 100 closest friends.  It may also include the ability to sit in on the meeting where they write the legislation.  If you have enough “access,” you get to hold the pen and take the notes.

Lobbyists: former Congressional Representatives and Senators who saw they were going to lose the next election and suddenly announced they were going to retire so they could spend more time with their families.  Also includes former Cabinet members and generals whose mistakes were discovered and widely covered by the media and who, as a matter of complete coincidence, had been planning to resign so they could spend more time with their families.

Civilian Control of the Military: a system where the man elected as President by corporations, wealthy donors and labor unions is put in complete charge of the nation’s warriors, so that he can follow the advice of his generals.

Generals: leaders of the nation’s countless warriors.  They must be able to go before Congress and say with a straight face that the advice they give the President is the result of long experience, careful consideration and well-honed instinct, and no, the notes they are using did not actually come from the White House.  They just happened to run out of stationery at Headquarters and were lucky enough to be able to borrow some from the Oval Office just before the hearing began.

First Lady: a woman who puts up with a bad marriage for years and helps her husband become president, so that one day she can run for president herself, lose to a man and then in a surprise announcement be named his Secretary of State.  (The surprise is that as Secretary of State, she gets to go to foreign countries, enter rooms surrounded by heavily armed men and plainly tell them that “Your policies are idiotic.  If you don’t change them, you’ll be sorry,” without using the words “idiotic,” “policies,” “your,” “are,” “if,” “you,” “don’t” “change,” “them,” “you’ll,” or “be”.)

American: someone who was born in the United States or has adopted the country as their own.  They hold the cherished right to vote for the next American Idol.

Dictionary: a long book that explains in great detail the meaning of words you already know and understand perfectly well.  Written in such a way as to make it seem that the authors know a great deal more about them than you do.

Political Dictionary: see “Politics.”

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