Boy howdy, I likes me them essay contests. Trouble is, I think they're rigged. Like a couple of years ago, when the DNC had an essay contest on the theme of "Why I Am a Democrat." Even after emailing them my entry twenty or thirty times, and after several hundred follow-up phone calls, I still don't know which prize I won.
Still, I just can't resist the thrill of the competion, the intoxicating aroma from the arena of essay combat. That's why I was excited to learn (through Logical Meme) that The American Prospect magazine is soliciting 30-word or less "elevator pitches" for The Liberal Agenda:
Well, we all know the basic outline of conservatism's elevator pitch: "We believe in freedom and liberty, and we're for low taxes, less government, traditional values, and a strong national defense." But what is liberalism's? We at the Prospect have, among us, attended or sat on about eleventy hundred panels since the election at which someone invariably says something like the following: "We know what conservatives stand for. But what do we stand for?" No one in Washington seems to know. So we turn to you. Give us liberalism's elevator pitch.
Will any of my entries win? To ask the question is to misunderstand the soul of the essay competitor. For, at the end of the day, the true essay contest warrior does not look to the scoreboard; the true victor wipes off the blood of the battlefield, limps to the sideline, and says: "I gave my all."
DAVE'S ELEVATOR PITCHES FOR THE LIBERAL AGENDA
- Feel how this elevator is moving up? That's what Liberalism is about: moving people up. Hey you zombies, stop looking at the door! I'm talking to you! About Liberalism.
- Unlike jingoistic Conservatism, Liberalism is complex and very hard to boil down to thirty words or less, but I will: The essence of Liberalism is freedom. And progress. And... wait a minute. That first part doesn't count against the thirty word limit, does it? I'm sure there were some hyphenates, and think I used 'it' and 'in' a couple of times, so they really shouldn't count. C'mon dude, do-over.
- I'll tell you what it Liberalism doesn't stand for: Bush. And you can just take that to the bank, mister. Damn straight. Mmm hmm. Okay, how many words is that?
- Liberalism means unfettered freedom of speech, relentlessly speaking your mind, without... hey man, you're getting off on the wrong floor! This is only 8! I saw you push 32!
- If not for safety laws passed by Liberals, this elevator would now be plummeting helplessly to the bottom of the shaft. And a fat lot of good your precious Jesus would do you.
- Even in your advanced gestation, Liberals stand for your right to a safe, legal abortion. You're not pregnant? Whoaaa, my bad. tch-tch-tch-tch-tchoot... I hate these uncomfortable silences, don't you?
- What do Liberals stand for? Just look around this elevator: braille buttons for the blind; official elevator permits; and this brave African-American passenger, finally freed from her slavemasters -- by Liberals.
- Liberalism means expanding marriage rights to gay couples like you. Not gay? Oh. I just thought, well, you guys looked, umm, tch-tch-tch-tch-tchoot...
- Liberals believe that everyone deserves a ride on the elevator of freedom. Let us now push each button as a testament to our commitment to inclusion.
- Let's move beyond the old tired arguments about who's to blame for the fart. Liberals, like me, want to work together to find a vent to our common elevator car.