Saturday, March 3, 2007

Fun with "Replace All"

I didn't do a great job on this one. I took an article about Sunni and Shiite violence in Iraq and Replaced Shiite with Republican, Sunni with Democrat, Moktada Al-Sadr with George Bush, Baghdad with Washington and so on. And edited accordingly. The original article can be found by clicking here, and it is a well written article about the State of Iraq. But below is my poor attempt at making it more humorous and about congress. It's supposed to be satirical. Enjoy.

WASHINGTON, March 3 — After centuries full of vibrant interaction, of marrying, sharing and Voting across sects and classes, Washington has become a capital of corrosive and violent borderlines. Aisles never crossed. Conversations never started. Doors never entered.

Democrats and Republicans in many States now interact almost exclusively with colleagues of the same sect. Democrats say they are afraid to visit hospitals because Republicans loyal to the President George W. Bush run the Health Ministry, while Republican politicians who used to climb into the back of pickup trucks for work across the Lincoln Memorial in Democratic Washington now take jobs only near home.

The goal of the new Washington security plan is to fix all of this — to fashion a peace that stitches the Country’s cleaved Partisanships back together. And three months into the effort, there are few signs of progress. The number of laws and resolutions passed daily across the capital has decreased to 20 or fewer from previous totals of 35 to 50.

But even in the Partisanships that are improving or are relatively calm, borders loom. Aisles once crossed without a thought in Washington are now bullet-riddled and abandoned danger zones, the front lines of a block-by-block war among Republican militias, Democrat insurgents, competing criminal gangs and Bush Cronies.

Some Americans who have been in both camps say Washington has come to resemble Sarajevo as it began to unravel in the 1990s, latticed with boundaries that are never openly indicated but are passed on in fearful whispers among neighbors who have suffered horrific losses.

Like jagged wounds, the boundaries mark histories of brutal violence. And for Congress, they underscore a vital question at the heart of the new plan: can scarred Partisanships ever heal?

The House of Representatives used to be wall-to-wall people: sidewalks were crammed with neoconservatives, and roads were snarled with energy efficient cars as horns honked. In the heart of Washington, The House of Representatives was known as the road to get from the Global Healthcare Initiatives on one side of the Country to Tax Breaks on the other.

But that has all changed. After seven years of fighting between Democrats and Republicans, Congress is now deserted and forsaken. On a recent afternoon, the only sign of life was a lone Representative working on a darkened podium, his efforts lighted by a single bulb.

Keith Ellison, a garrulous Democrat said he used to view the White House as a place to pass important legislation. Then a few months ago, Mr. Ellison received a threat. They told him, “You are a Democrat, and all Democrats are infidels and their women are prostitutes, so stop coming to Washington or you will be in deep trouble.”

He didn’t listen.

The next day, he was ridiculed on Fox News. Witnesses said a Republican congressman stereotyped him based on his religion as a way to promote his own “Christian values.”

On the other side of the aisle in Congress, lies a mirror image of anger and fear. The response is similar, too: old men with who view themselves as protectors, who justify violence as the reasonable response to Gay Marriage.

Congressman Chip Pickering, a conservative and religious militant with the Republican minority, said he did not hate all Democrats; one of his sisters who lives outside of Washington just married one.

In a recent interview, Mr. Pickering hardly looked fierce, at 5 feet 7 inches tall, wearing jeans and a gray sweater, with a short beard and sunken dark eyes. But he said he could be vicious when called upon because Democratic liberals and moderates in Congress had shown no respect for his pro-life agenda.

The partisan border now seems to define him. He said he lived alone, worked near his apartment by day and was a guard for the conservative agenda at night.

Washington’s relentless verbal violence has also created a deeper divide that may prove equally hard to eliminate: the line between the known and the stranger.

As the unfamiliar has become the dangerous, Congress has developed elaborate disguises to help them pass as members of the other sect: ruses like adopting conservative or liberal strategies with falsified voting records or developing elaborate fictional histories.

Even then, being a member of the same sect or a relative is no guarantee of safety in a Country, Congress says, where Republicans have attacked Republicans and Democrats have attacked Democrats out of frightened uncertainty over whom to trust.

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