Thursday, May 19, 2016

Most Texans Are Gay, According to a Grammatical Error in Texas GOP Platform

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2016 at 5:12 PM

click to enlarge WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
This writing thing is tough sometimes. All these damn rules about grammar and style are tough to track (something that would be apparent if you saw our first drafts).

But a good editor can weed most of those mistakes out. Whoever composed the Texas Republican Party Platform last week at their biannual convention needed one.

The platform is the party's statement of principles — the beliefs which guide its members, and the standard by which its elected officials are judged. At least that's how it's advertised — in practice, politicians junk some of the platform's planks, cling tight to others, and probably never crack the thing open after the convention.

Here's the 84th item on the platform, pulled directly from the document. Read the first sentence and see if you catch anything fishy:

click to enlarge screen_shot_2016-05-19_at_4.58.24_pm.png

So reading that literally, the platform states that "homosexuality is a chosen behavior ... shared by the majority of Texans." Most Texans are gay, they say.

What the sentence probably meant to say is that "fundamental unchanging truths have been ordained by God in the Bible ... and shared by the majority of Texans." That's not a high logical leap to take, because it's what the party wrote in the previous version of the platform. Here's the same plank copied from the 2014 version:

click to enlarge screen_shot_2016-05-19_at_5.05.43_pm.png

Maybe the party switched scribes? Maybe the copy/paste functions broke? Maybe the GOP, like so many newsrooms, faced a budget squeeze that forced it to lay off copy editors?

To be fair, most news outlets (this one included) didn't catch the error at first either. It wasn't until those sharp-eyed grammar hounds at the New Civil Rights Movement blew the whistle that other folks wrote about it.

But once you see it, it can't be unseen. Literally, the plank means that Texas Republicans believe most of their fellow Lone Star Staters are gay. While this is probably not true, perhaps it signals a new course for the party.

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