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Op-ed: Republicans Promised I'd Be Speaking Arabic by Now

Op-ed: Republicans Promised I'd Be Speaking Arabic by Now


I was waiting for so much doom and gloom after 2012, but all I got was a lousy Prius (and I still can't speak much Arabic).

Dear GOP of 2008 and 2012:

I thought I'd give you a few days to savor your progeny's big wins last week before throwing a wet blanket over your victory party in the form of a reminder about your unfulfilled promises from the presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012.

I know '08 and '12 didn't really go the way you wanted. Your elephantine ego has no doubt been feeling a little bruised these past six years. Being the good bleeding-heart liberal that I am, I've waited until you were back on your feet to point out how wrong your predictions were.

Oh, sure, you did have 2010. But come on, that wasn't a real GOP victory. We all know what was really going on there: Dick Armey introduced the nuttiest among your ranks to a vague notion of constitutionalism, then picked a random event from American history (the Boston Tea Party) with which to harness and dress up racist rage about an African-American's sudden ascension to the presidency and his success in passing sweeping health care reform after other presidents -- from Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton -- had failed to do over the course of the last century. Then we all watched with jaws agape and eyes wide as the news media breathed artificial life into your Frankenstein monster.

Only now has the political mutation that 2010 spawned finally died. The evidence? The demise last Tuesday of out gay Republican and Tea Party darling Carl DeMaio.

But now, old-guard Republicans, you've got a genuine GOP midterm win under your belts; so, back to those promises you made in 2008 and 2012. You do remember those promises, don't you? Let's start with '08. You guaranteed we'd all be speaking Arabic if then-Sen. Barack Obama was elected to the White House (for many people, that would actually be quite a marketable skill, but I digress).

Now before you lecture me on personal responsibility -- you know, the stuff upon which you based your arguments against what you now call Obamacare -- I didn't just sit around waiting to be magically bestowed with fluency in Arabic. I took a class.

Yet I often find myself sitting in a hot tub with newly settled Syrian refugees at a neighborhood gym in San Diego's "East County" completely incapable of conversing with them in Arabic. In fact, I only know one person who has learned Arabic since Obama was elected. You promised we'd all be speaking Arabic by now if America chose Barack Obama to lead this country in the post-9/11 era. That hasn't happened, not even close. To quote one of your parties beloved sages, Congressman Joe Wilson: "You lied!"

Forget it. Let's fast-forward a little ...

And then there was 2012. Remember that one? Just two years ago, you said if Americans wanted to pay $5 per gallon for gasoline, we should just go ahead and reelect the president.

America did. Heck, I even bought a Prius. I knew there were risks associated with buying a hybrid, like having one of my dear Republican friends chiding me for buying what he "cleverly" and endlessly refers to as the "Toyota Pious." Then there's the potential expense of several thousands of dollars if the hybrid battery goes bad after the 150,000-mile warranty on it ends. There is no extended warranty on the original hybrid battery, just the powertrain and other parts.

But I weighed the risks, did my version of a cost-benefit analysis factoring in the $5 per gallon gasoline price that President Barack Obama's reelection was supposed to ensure, and found that indeed it would be worth the risks and the cost for me to buy the Prius. Maybe I could even secretly enjoy feeling a little superior about saving money on gas, if not about helping cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

But wait. Hear that? That was the sound of screeching Prius brakes and me exclaiming, "WTF?!" when I saw Arco's price for unleaded. Three effing dollars and fifteen damn cents? That's it? It's 2014 -- two years since Obama was reelected. Are you effing kidding me? Where's that $5 a gallon gas you promised, GOP? Huh, where? You promised.

Fine. Fine. That's fine. Cheap gas (well, cheap for us Californians) will help the economy. Hopefully, we won't resurrect the Hummer and all start buying absurdly large SUVs again just because gas is cheaper than it's been in decades when adjusted for inflation. Unless that happens, GOP, I'll forgive you for your unfulfilled promise of $5-a-gallon gasoline.

I'll remove my tongue from the inside of my cheek, where it has obviously been planted throughout this commentary, for a moment to acknowledge that the GOP's sarcastic promise of mandated Arabic under Barack Hussein Obama mirrors another broken promise from elections of the recent past.

Good old Rick Santorum infamously guaranteed that gay relationships with a Supreme Court seal of approval would create a right to engage in bestiality, incest, and more. He also promised that society's very fabric would be undermined: "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything ... "

Since the once-leading Republican made his outlandish prediction, America has become a nation where more states allow same-sex marriage than don't. Yet contrary to his and similar GOP promises, there has been no rush of humanity trying to marry their siblings or pets.

One would think that even with a newly empowered GOP taking over Congress last week, such silly warnings would be things of the past. But a new and unexpected opportunity to derail what had appeared to be an unstoppable train of progress toward marriage equality in all 50 states arrived last week. With the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that same-sex marriage bans in four states are not unconstitutional, predictions of incest and bestiality run rampant will be resurrected in the near future, when that case eventually heads to the Supreme Court.

And in the days leading up to arguments before the country's highest court, we'll soon enough hear guarantees that same-sex marriage causes everything from polygamy to Ebola. I promise. What matters now is how much America has evolved since 2008 and 2012.

THOM SENZEE is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California. He currently serves as The Advocate's world news correspondent and as a Huffington Post signature blogger. Senzee is also founder and moderator of the LGBTs in the News panel series and author of the All Out Politics syndicated column.

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