Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Look Around You - WE Are Not Who We Are....

Protip: We're not Winning
I've always slotted more comfortably into the 'lefty/liberal' slot when it comes to political, economic and social ideology. I came by it quite honestly - raised in Northern California with virtually no indoctrination in tribal hatreds - true, very little in the way of diversity, but that's one way to cut down on ingrained bigotry. My mom was a devout Catholic, but never even mentioned it at home, and when I stopped going to church it wasn't seen as a big deal. When I was small my mom warned me that homosexuals might 'try to hurt me', but as I grew up it became increasingly obvious that wasn't true. And my dad taunted me that my long hair made me 'look like a girl', but c'mon, we had mirrors in the house and I most certainly did NOT look like a girl, regardless of the length of my hair.

It was just obvious to me - you lived in a community, you helped the people in your community when they needed it, and they helped you when it came time for that. Why shouldn't a community use it's pooled resources to protect and care for everyone, before ever looking outside? And that was a worldview that scaled well, from neighborhood to city to state to the entire nation. If we were going to ask the people in our community to contribute resources via taxation, those resources should first and foremost go back into caring for the community.

From these simple observations, an entire ideological worldview emerges fully-formed. The answer to any question is always either 1.) does it contribute to the well being of the community or 2.) if it does not, is there any better application of those resources we should consider before committing them to any given initiative?

Most - if not all - of my friends are similarly aligned politically, mostly because conservatives and libertarians find me insufferable, adroit enough in my grasp of political history and economics to be equipped to poke an endless series of holes in their assumptions and fallacies. For that matter, I find anyone who is forced to believe false 'information' and fallacious assumptions in order to hold a clearly untenable worldview to be insufficiently intellectually curious to be tolerated.

But here's the thing. When we talk to each other, and we listen to each other, and we collectively point and laugh at the malicious mean-spirited buffoonery on the other side, we start to believe that EVERYBODY believes the things we do. After all, we talk on Facebook, we read Daily Kos and Kevin Drum and TPM and Vox, we see the ridiculous bile spewing from Fox and Limbaugh, and we just know that America is coming around to seeing things the way we do.

So here's a little reminder - think of it as a PSA, or maybe just a reality check. America is a place where diversity and tolerance are considered toxic, where tribal, racial and sectarian hatreds are taught from birth, where concepts like education and health care are socialism, that most un-American of concepts, where war and violence and incarceration and capital punishment - even torture - are American 'values'. "Liberals" are increasingly hated and feared - the leaders of the far right decry 'secular progressives' as their most dangerous and hated enemy. The stand united against everything America is supposed to be, and they stand under a banner that un-ironically says FREEDOM.

Whether you look at state and local government, abortion, guns, human and civil rights, even at something as uncontroversial as peace, we are not winning. Bernie Sanders has almost a million donors. Setting aside that ALL money in politics is bad, no matter who's money it is, there are 140 million registered voters in the US, and the vast majority of them HATE Bernie Sanders with a passion that even exceeds the hatred we felt for GW Bush. We keep thinking that demographics will eventually turn the US into a place we would recognize, but look around you. How's that working out for us?


  1. Speaking from the depths of a state that has been totally overwhelmed by caterwauling and overwhelming race-based redistricting, you have a point. But it's not an entire point.

    For our part, Wisconsin is a state filled with people, many of them are racist and reactionary. There are many, centered on the urban areas of Milwaukee and Madison, Green Bay and Janesville and La Crosse, who are friendly toward the ideas of unions. Many of the people in the other sides of the state are respective of the ideas about conservation of the much popular status of forests and lakes in the state.

    1. What I think is that the Democratic Party needs to recognize that local and state politics are worthwhile, and they need to support local candidates who can challenge the twisted trolls that the Republicans have installed in state legislature. As well as just making it a challenge at every level; I know a couple of people who are starting such at a local level. We need MOAR

  2. I look at that map and I see vast swaths of uninhabited land. The real problem for 'the left' is voter apathy in non-presidential elections- 2010 was an unmitigated disaster. The right doesn't have wide grassroots support, but they sure as hell get out the vote, having an organizational advantage coming from megachurches and astroturf organizations.

    I think the most telling development in the short-term future is the revelation that the mortality rate among non-college educated whites 45-54 has spiked. Will the blue-collar 'Reagan Democrat' GOP base realize that it's been played, that the policies their representatives espouse are a race to the bottom? More likely, will they be played by people blaming (as Victor Davis Hanson tried to do) Lena Dunham for the loss of the will to live among Heartlanders?

    I've been turning over a blog post about that demographic bombshell for a week, but it's kinda daunting.

  3. I'd agree with B^4.

    But I'll be more specific about which (potential) voters are apathetic: They tend to be young and/or poor and completely uninvolved with the political processes and press.

    Very often, on the liberal blogs I read, I see Obama and Hillary fans telling their lefty critics to shut up because Ralph Nader/Supreme Court, yada yada.

    But reality is to get those uninvolved voters out in midterm elections, you have to give them more than speeches.

    Wall St. Dems aren't interested in that. They'd rather lose elections than control of the party and the corporate payola that goes with it. Ralph Nader didn't create this, Obama and Rahm and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Steve Israel did.

    Bernie Sanders has a much better chance of reaching these people than another Wall St. whore/warmonger like Hillary.