"I do not like this Uncle Sam. I do not like his health care scam." As Sarah Palin reworked Green Eggs and Ham in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) over the weekend, her audience cheered while the rest of us sent up a collective wail of, "Why are you ruining our childhood?" Because seriously, it wasn't enough when Ted Cruz read Green Eggs and Ham during his ridiculous filibuster to shut down the federal government? Now we have to listen to Sarah Palin misuse Dr. Seuss, too?
Yeah, pretty much the only silver lining here is that Sarah Palin still hasn't announced if she's interested in a 2016 presidential bid, which hopefully means she's going to do what she did in 2012 and use the speculation to stay in the limelight but never actually run. All of which begs the question why a failed vice-presidential candidate and half-term governor from Alaska gets to be a major player in conservative politics and mangle our beloved childhood classics at national conferences. But I digress.
The point is that if this use of Green Eggs and Ham by conservatives becomes a trend, it will be awful. To try to prevent this, here is a handy reference guide to Dr. Seuss books that conservatives should absolutely not use on the grounds that doing so would be disastrous and also not align at all with the Republican cause.
Oh, The Places You'll Go!
Dr. Seuss's last book published before his death, Oh, The Places You'll Go! is also possibly his most hopeful, and encourages kids to explore, to dream, and to go far in life. Which is all a far cry from a conservative agenda which by definition means things are fine the way they are. Besides, the Republican Party, with its fairly xenophobic approaches to immigration and foreign policy, are not really the sorts of people you'd expect to champion either literal or figurative world traveling.
Horton Hatches The Egg
This book is obviously not a good fit for anyone who believes in upholding a "traditional family." In the story, Horton the elephant agrees to help Mayzie the bird by keeping her egg warm while she's away. When the egg finally hatches, it reveals an elephant bird who clearly has features from both Horton and Mayzie. Republicans might be attracted to Horton's catchy "I meant what I said and I said what I meant" line, but if they can't even embrace the idea of two adult, consenting, same-sex humans raising a family together, they really have no business using a book with inter-species parents.
The Sneeches and Other Stories
In the most famous story in this collection, "The Sneeches," we learn that some sneeches have a star on their belly and some don't which leads to all kinds of discrimination until various machines that can take stars off or put them on make everything so confusing that everyone gives up on acting like it matters. It sounds like a great metaphor for dismantling white privilege if you ask me, which is why Republicans should avoid this volume, at least until they cool it with the covertly – and overtly – racist rhetoric.
The Lorax is explicitly a book about environmental destruction. There's really no other way to argue it. In the book, we see a greedy business tycoon wipe out an entire ecosystem, all while ignoring the advice of the Lorax. So as long as Republicans refuse to accept the reality of climate change and put the needs of business ahead of the environment, I'm going to say they shouldn't even think about co-opting the "I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees" mantra, no matter how they re-work it.
Horton Hears a Who!
I guess Horton just isn't all that friendly to the conservative agenda. But then, he is an endangered species after all; it makes sense they wouldn't get along. In Horton Hears a Who he has to protect a community of tiny people who live on a spec of dust and whom only he can hear. The message of the book is to stand up for those in need, even if other people don't believe there's a problem. And the Republican attitude towards everything from food stamps to Social Security to expanding health care access makes it pretty clear they are not Horton in this analogy.
Green Eggs and Ham
Even though conservatives seem enamored of this book, I don't think they actually understand what it's about. As has been pointed out, Green Eggs and Ham is about not rejecting things until you try them. Things like, say, Obamacare or renewable energy or marriage equality or equal pay. The list goes on. So I know the definitive "I do not like... " line is attractive, but until they are willing to try these things they are so convinced they do not like, they just look ridiculous.
On the other hand, if they must ruin our childhoods with Dr. Seuss books, maybe they could go with Cat in the Hat, the story of a crazy cat who wrecks an entire house along with his zany companions. Because I probably would disagree with their decision of who the cat might relate to in the real world, but at least that analogy would make some sense. Then again, the cat does clean up his mess in the end, so maybe not.
Yeah, just stay away from Dr. Seuss, okay?