Ben Shapiro / May 19, 2010

Democrats: Learn to Read

The literacy rate in the United States is 99 percent. That means that only 1 percent of people in the United States above the age of 15 are incapable of reading and writing. Apparently, all of them are members of the Obama administration.

Attorney General Eric Holder admits that he has not read the Arizona immigration law, which requires law enforcement officers to check immigration status upon stopping people based on reasonable suspicion of illegal activity. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano says she hasn’t read the law, either. You can also lump State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley into that group.

That did not stop any of them from opining at length on the Arizona law; Holder called the law “a slippery slope” leading to racial profiling, saying he based that opinion on “television, talking to people who are on the review panel.” Napolitano called the law “bad law enforcement law.” Crowley defended a U.S. diplomat who actually apologized to China for the immigration law – as though American states should apologize for enforcing their borders to a country that routinely excises and sells the internal organs of its political prisoners.

Democrats didn’t bother reading the massive Obamacare law, either, before passing it. The official actuary of the Obama administration didn’t even have time to do a cost analysis of the health care bill before the vote. In fact, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told Americans “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

To be fair, the health care bill was almost 2,500 pages long and clocked in at almost 400,000 words. (By contrast, the Old Testament contains about 80,000 Hebrew words, which means the Democrats’ attempts to play God fail on both a practical and rhetorical level.) The Arizona law is 15 pages long and runs about 8,000 words. An ADHD-addled teenager could peruse it in an hour. It’s been approximately one month since Arizona passed the law, and the Democrats still haven’t read it.

Which means one of two things: either they prefer to remain ignorant so they don’t have to honestly appraise the merits of the bill or they can’t read. If it’s the former, they’re disingenuous liars. If it’s the latter, they’re ignorant boobs.

I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say it’s the latter.

With that in mind, I now offer these boobs a linguistic Wonderbra. Because they obviously can’t read, I suggest that someone who can read – Sasha and Malia? – sit these Democrats down and read this to them out loud. Slowly.

Dear Democrats: Think of reading as a text-based thong-clad intern. Reading, like that thong-clad intern, can be fun, so long as you ensure that you stay on the page. Here are a few basic rules to help you achieve that purpose.

First, you must learn what words mean. The word “literally” means the plain, unvarnished truth. Yet you guys somehow use that word as though it means its precise opposite, “figuratively.” During the 2008 election campaign, Joe Biden said that Obama would be able to “literally, literally … change the direction of the world.” This is untrue. The only Democrat with the ability to literally change the direction of the world is Michael Moore, who can do so using his gravitational pull. Rev. Jeremiah Wright, one of Obama’s former best buddies, misused the word in classic fashion this week, claiming that “When Obama threw me under the bus, he threw me under the bus literally!” If only.

Second, once you know what words mean, take them literally when it comes to the law. This means that you should read laws as doing what they say they do, not what you wish they did. The Constitution does not say anything about a right to abortion because there is no right to abortion in the Constitution. The Arizona law explicitly bars racial profiling, which means that it does not allow racial profiling. Law is not poetry. It is law.

Third, read the laws before you pass them. This one isn’t tough once you realize that it’s important. All it takes is a quick call to Hooked on Phonics. Their number is 1-800-ABCDEFG. Sasha and Malia can dial it for you – judging by your spending habits, you have as much trouble with numbers as with letters.

We elected you to do your job. That job entails thinking about policy prescriptions, then codifying those policy prescriptions in law. So far, it seems you are skipping both of these elements, and focusing instead on the perks of your office. If you refuse to read, we’ll send you a piece of paper you can understand: a pink slip.

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