It can now be revealed. After countless hours and untold millions – all spent in the pursuit of truth – the self-appointed guardians of morality have finally uncovered the faceless, ubiquitous source of modern malevolence. Our guardians are now ready to go public and put both a name and a face to that nefarious force of evil that daily turns otherwise patriotic, upright Americans into traitorous pacifists and – even worse – supporters of immoral alternative lifestyles.
Yes, it can now be revealed. That force of evil is . . . (drum roll, please) . . . none other than the American Association for the Advancement of Retired People – the seemingly staid, uncontroversial A.A.R.P! How, you may well ask, was their villainy unmasked? What false step finally brought their deviltry to light? Turns out, we never would have discovered their dastardliness if it had not been for their stance against personal retirement accounts. Once they began revealing their opposition to the president’s proposal, the cat was out of the bag: A.A.R.P. showed themselves for what they truly are: a pack of traitorous debauchees.
Charlie Jarvis, president of USA Next and former deputy under secretary of the interior in the Reagan and first Bush Administrations, accused A.A.R.P. of being “the boulder in the middle of the highway to personal savings accounts.” Extending his stony metaphor, Jarvis went on to say that his USA Next minions will be “the dynamite that removes them." Founded in 1991 by direct-mail king (and conservative Republican sugar daddy) Richard Viguerie, USA Next has a well-documented history of pouring millions and millions of dollars into ad campaigns that promote a far-right, big business agenda. In 2002, USA Next spent roughly $9 million on television commercials and mailings supporting the Republican prescription drug plan – a plan to which AARP also gave its enthusiastic support.
USA Next’s frontal assault on A.A.R.P., its former ally, came in the form of an ad on its Internet site featuring a photograph of a soldier in camouflage, crossed out by a red X, juxtaposed against a green check mark over two tuxedo-clad men kissing. The caption read, "The real AARP agenda." Although the ad was pulled in less than 24 hours, it has taken on a life of its own, displayed on countless news shows as “exhibit A.”
Where in the world did Jarvis and USA Next get the idea that AARP supported gay marriage? Well, Jarvis states, the Ohio chapter of AARP did oppose an amendment to that state's Constitution that banned such marriages. That is true. However, a few minutes worth of research would have turned up the reason: the second clause of the proposed amendment blocked legal recognition of any union, potentially including unmarried heterosexuals that approximated marriage rights.
Once again, we observe that those who publicly disagree with a Republican proposal are likely to be tarred with the brush of pro-gay-marriage immorality. It has gotten to the point where the Bushies will seek to halt any legitimate political debate by resorting to the ad hominem device of crying “Pro-gay! Pro-gay!” Not only does this stifle meaningful dialogue and frustrate attempts at democratic discussion; it panders to base instinct. Where will it all end? As David M. Smith, vice president of policy for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, said, "These groups think that the debate on any issue can be dismissed by bringing up gay marriage. We're probably going to see the cancellation of the N.H.L. hockey season blamed on gay marriage next." I can’t wait for that disclosure.
It only goes to show the truth of H.L. Mencken’s old barb: “No one ever went broke underestimating the bad taste of the American public.”