Rick Santorum threw in his two cents on Nelson Mandela's life and works yesterday when he told Bill O'Reilly that just as Mandela fought apartheid, so too does Rick Santorum fight Obamacare. Hoo boy. No. No, Rick Santorum. Obamacare is not like apartheid. That is not how analogies work. Not liking a thing doesn't mean that the thing you don't like is the same as every bad thing ever. And that goes for the rest of the right wing, too.
Whether it's Sarah Palin comparing Chinese debt to mass enslavement of black people in the Confederate states or Rush Limbaugh comparing pretty much anything he doesn't like to rape, conservative pundits have demonstrated, again and again, that they'd get a hearty side eye and an F on my 8th grade English teacher Mr. Carley's chapter test on analogies. Here's the clip:
For years I've been responding to misfired right wing figures of speech with a Huh? so violent that I don't even have the energy to get mad about how offensive their false equivalencies are, and now, I think I've finally figured out how the sausage is made.
1. Pick a thing you don't like (suggestions: Obamacare, Benghazi, Keynesianism, atheists, abortion, Islam, losing at football). Call this a Very Bad Now Thing.
2. Pick from this list of historical things that most people currently agree are bad, a Very Bad History Thing:
- the Holocaust
- apartheid (newly added to list)
- the gulag
- Jesus Christ's crucifixion (maybe too obvious? Save for extreme Obamacare stuff)
3. Anything — literally anything — from item one can be compared to anything — literally anything — from item 2. All Very Bad Now Things are exactly like Very Bad History Things. This proves to your audience that thing one is bad, equally as bad as thing two, a thing everyone agrees is bad. The world is black and white. Nuance is as bad as the Holocaust.
4. Appear on Fox News and say Your Very Bad Analogy over and over again until it becomes true.
Getting serious again for a second, if Santorum wanted to compare his fight against Obamacare to something involving Mandela, it might have been more accurate to say that just as Rick Santorum opposes Obamacare, so too did Conservative Saint Ronald Reagan actively fight against Nelson Mandela's freedom (for the unfamiliar, Reagan put Mandela on the terror watch list on the 1980's and actively supported apartheid). History!
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