Posted by: Ophelia | May 22, 2008

Knock it off 2: Electric Boogaloo

Clinton compares the Florida and Michigan fight to civil rights movement

She said “there’s a reason why so many have fought so hard and sacrificed so much. It’s because they knew that to be a citizen of this country is to have the right and responsibility to help shape its future. Not just to have your voice heard but to have it count. People have fought hard because they knew their vote was at stake and so was their children’s futures.

Those people, she said “refused to accept their assigned place as second-class citizens. Men and women who saw America not as it was, but as it could and should be, and committed themselves to extending the frontiers of our democracy. The abolitionists and all who fought to end slavery and ensure freedom came with the full right of citizenship. The tenacious women and a few brave men who gathered at the Seneca Falls convention back in 1848 to demand the right to vote.”

“If we fail to do so, I worry that we will pay not only a moral cost, but a political cost as well,” she said. “We know the road to a Democratic White House runs right through Florida and Michigan. If we care about winning those states in November, we need to count your votes now. If Democrats send a message that we don’t fully value your votes, we know Sen. McCain and the Republicans will be more than happy to have them. The Republicans will make a simple and compelling argument: why should Florida and Michigan voters trust the Democratic Party to look out for you when they won’t even listen to you.”

I won’t comment on the fight over seating Florida and Michigan’s delegates.  Just, please–please stop analogizing things that just aren’t analogous. There are internet laws that say you just can’t go around comparing things to slavery/civil rights to give your argument merit. It will not suddenly make your argument brilliant but will instead render it illegitimate.

Godwin’s Law for example offer that “overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact.”

Likewise, Tubman’s Law says: “By trying to equate black racial oppression–which involved millions of people being taken away from their countries and carted across the sea, where many died or got horrible diseases, and then were used as free laborers and were more mistreated than animals and then, even after being freed, being basically treated the same, with hundreds of years of oppression, hatred, and prejudice thrust onto them simply because of the color of their skin–to things that doesn’t compare at all, you automatically FAIL AT LIFE. And the argument. Especially the argument.”

Let’s make sure we never have to dust off the rules again? Okay? Analogizing the non-analogous is not what’s hot in the streets, and no one appreciates the devaluation of valid comparisons for the sake of your argument.



  1. Oh, lord – everybody wants to compare themselves to Rosa Parks. You would have thought that Sarah Vowell’s piece for This American Life would have shamed people out of this type of thing by now, but no. Let’s hear it all one more time.

  2. Very well said. To legitimize most social protest today they claim a link to the civil rights movement. Here is a hint if argument truly has merit it should be able to stand without needing to leverage it against something.

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