New ways to exclude yourself from the realm of intelligent public debate crop up everyday. Tin-foil hat theories about Katrina and 9/11 seem to have subsided. But that doesn't mean we can rest on our laurels and allow people with half-a-brain syndrome sully the sacred arena of ideas. Hence:
*If you think the phrase "military/industrial complex" was a recent invention, designed to either bolster or scandalize the current administration, you're out. You are to congregate in the parking lot with the "pundits" who wondered or worried if the nuclear explosion on the season premiere of 24 would "help" Bush. Avoid high fives and handshakes: You may be allowed back in, if the gate staff can still read your stamp when you come back.
*If you get your news from the Daily Show and then dismiss out of hand the millions of people who get theirs from FOX, then goodbye. Don't return until you have recorded yourself and can hear the condescension in your voice. You don't have to watch FOX news (I don't) unless you're going to scoff and deride people who do. You are not enlightened because you avoid or stereotype people who disagree with you. The fact that conservatives have adopted the ages old liberal mantra of "I accept and respect people from all walks of life . . . unless they disagree with me" is not an excuse. Note: There are some tailgaters barbecuing out there who were dismissed after refusing to watch CNN because Rush Limbaugh called it the "Clinton News Network." Go ahead and hang out with them. They've got some really delicious treats (if you like meat) and they are really nice about sharing.
*If you think the Iraq war is going well, then your ticket is permanently revoked. There may be some room left on the departing bus of people who think Iraq has been an unmitigated disaster. Good riddance to all of you.
*While it isn't new to state that protesters (flag waving, sign carrying, or otherwise) are excluded, management is excited to offer them the opportunity to return after attending "Protest Camp," where you will be allowed to scream your angry, impotent vitriol into the faces of counselors who will patiently wait until you've gone hoarse, and then sing Kumbaya around a fire made from your stupid pro or anti whatever signs until you can interact without shouting and venom.
*If you have ever uttered, printed, or agreed with the phrase "STOP GLOBAL WARMING" you are out. But because you have a good heart, you can be let back in after engaging in a little non-political research. While it is understood that "STOP CONTRIBUTING TO AN INEVITABLE CYCLICAL PROCESS" is a little cumbersome, telling mankind to "stop" a warming trend that has been ongoing for 8,000 years (7,800 of them pre-industrial) represents an ignorance that devalues environmentalism. If you accepted without research every claim put forth in Al Gore's movie (many of which, it turns out, are spurious), you are likewise excluded. It wouldn't be fair to send you home on same bus as the willing polluters, unconscious consumerists, and idiots who used the term "TREE HUGGER" to dismiss people who care about the environment. In fact, it wouldn't even be possible. They left so long ago we can't track them. Simply wait in line at the "Science Is About Facts and Should Not Be Railroaded by Partisans from Either Side" kiosk. You can get a new pass there.
P.S. Keep caring. And keep in mind that someone who doesn't hop on the corn plastic bandwagon doesn't necessarily despise their Mother Earth. They might have just done a little research and found out what people with corn plastic brains mean when they say "compostable."
While it would be delusional to hope that someday all people can participate in the ideological melee, it is hoped that the above dismissals will at least make the debate worthwhile to an increasingly jaded republic.