Red State Update Meets Westboro Baptist Church genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek

Sometimes contrast creates nothing but conflict; other times it highlights the absurd positions some people hold. The following video is an example of the latter. This encounter, between the folks of Westboro Baptist Church and Red State Update's Jackie and Dunlap, is clearly intended to make us laugh. While it succeeds in doing just that, it also demonstrates the complex distinctions that defy our attempts to generalize and categorize each other.

Clearly, Jackie and Dunlap are caricatures created for comic value. Regardless, they represent one of the many mindsets we find in our American culture. One could say the same about the Westboro clan, although their actions aren't intended to make us laugh and they undoubtedly hold a uniquely controversial viewpoint. In watching this interaction, we realize the dangers that come with labeling.

Perhaps in seeing the exchange between these two groups, we are able to see the things that connect us with those we would otherwise reject. In fact, one could argue that the extremity of the Westboro Baptist ideology helps the rest of us find the common ground we share but so often fail to acknowledge. As we see in this video, Jackie and Dunlap may well have more in common with the gay couple they interview than with a group like Westboro...a group we would be more inclined to associate with the red neck personae they exhibit.

Sadly, the video also highlights the divisive nature of our political process. In the pursuit of power, all too often those who seek office choose to exaggerate our differences while downplaying our similarities. In this way, they simply raise the barriers that separate us from each other. The more this happens, the more antagonistic we become to each other...seemingly accepting the one-dimensional depictions we've become accustomed to as a result of the relentless rhetoric that rolls off the tactical tongues of our politicians.

In the end, we see that a seemingly light hearted video may have a greater capacity to foster understanding than those who spend their time behind their pulpits promoting propaganda or those who traverse the country telling us the intend to unite us; not divide us.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Humor, McCain, Obama, Red State, Religion, Saddleback, Westboro Baptist Church

Daniel DiRito | August 21, 2008 | 9:05 AM
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