Don't ask me where this came from... it just finergled into my head.
Along with countless (millions?) conservatives, I do not claim the current buffoon sitting in the office of the President of the United States as the representative of my party. In fact, I dearly hope to god that he and his moral-minority (without even the formality of a made-up litmus test that even they couldn't pass) are an aberration on the party rather than the wave of the future. (As a Reagan Republican, I find myself a moderate democrat now, not a republican, it tears me up to see what one uneducated man can do to an entire party...)
That being said, I do not hate him, only the things he has done. It’s the same way I don’t hate a puppy for shitting on the floor, until they are taught not to. I’m just not sure this guy could be taught how to not fuck everything up? I don't hate Dick Cheney either, in fact, I respect him for being able to either a) be the puppet master or b) be the guy who is keeping the government running while the bull lays waste to the china shop.
In recent memory, from the republican view, the last time I saw such vitriol landing at the feet of a President was when Bill and his traveling road show were in the office. Please understand, I think Bill Clinton will ride through history as a great president who had some bad advice now and then and a few personal troubles. But of course, as the out-of-power party at the time, I heaped as much scorn and vehement disgust at him as I could. I mean, really, blowjobs in the oval office? Why couldn’t he have had a little decorum... or at least silence the bitch like a real man (money people... money... Sicko’s).
As I see the shoe change feet, the democrats now smell the blood in the water and are able to (rightfully) throw much hatred at the current office-holders. I am reminded of the relief I felt as Clinton started his last year in office. Trouble is, I don't ever recall this being the case until the Clinton/BabyBush era. This hatred, scorn and disrespect seems, at least to me, to be relatively recent.
Question - Are we, as a nation, so polarized now that every time a president is elected, the other side will become more and more hateful?
I truly feel bad for Obama, as much as I like and respect the man. He looks to be the winner now, and will most likely sweep McCain under the rug in a Reagan-esque landslide. His problem will be a totally tanked economy and a war he cannot win to deal with. Unfortunately, he’ll be branded with both and he might be a Carter/Bush Sr. and just give up on a second term.
I just hope if 5 years, we aren’t looking forward, with a nation half hateful and half mirthful as the impending inauguration approaches. Are we that far apart?
The Christian right has been a steadily and effectively growing demographic in the Republican Party since Reagan came to office. In fact, he ushered much of that initial influence into the party. They wrested control from big money, and built a remarkable grass roots political base after getting trounced from backing Robertson as a an independent presidential candidate in ’88. What we are seeing now is big money taking the party back.
I’m not a democrat. I don’t have a great deal of love for Clinton either, although the image of him getting a blowjob in the oval office while talking on the phone to Newt Gingrich will always bring a smile to my face (btw, I’m alone as I type this, I assure you.) I do believe that the two parties have abandoned everyone without the money to keep them in office (read: virtually everyone.)
To my mind, This hatred and scorn comes from a core feeling of have lost control of our lives, dehumanizing those with opposing viewpoints, and something I refer to as Identity, which I’ll elaborate in a second post. Take the events and names off of politics, speak hypothetically about them, and nearly everyone will acknowledge that politicians lie as a matter of course, money keeps them in office, and their vote doesn’t account for much.
This hatred and scorn is a smoldering fire, fanned certainly by presidential elections, but there all the time.
Don’t write McCain off just yet. As I recently heard mentioned on the air, people aren’t voting for a black president just yet, only the chance to vote for one. Once the nominees are in place, a 71-year-old white man may be all the change the voting public may need.
PS. Thanks for the blog. I miss these discussions.
There is a corollary to this from the antebellum south. The cotton economy of the time benefited a small minority of wealthy white families. Most of the southern population was quite poor. The majority of the white population; however, vociferously defended this way of life. Why would so many people suffering under such a society defend it? Because no matter what, no matter how poor they were, no matter how miserable or hopeless their lives were they could still say that at least they weren’t slaves. Being white meant something special, and for the above mentioned, it was probably all they had.
Cut to today. People are losing control of their lives; their economic prospects get bleaker every year like some fatal disease. The American dream as we are presented with it has become at best an anachronism. But, however bad our lives may be, however hopeless they may seem, however out of control they may have become, we’re still Americans. We’re still part of something that we were brought up to believe is the greatest thing this planet has ever seen since sliced bread. For many, it is the last positive thing to hold on to, the last thing from which dreams of a better life may come.
This makes criticizing America or its institutions, the oval office or military in particular, not a critique of those institutions per se, but rather an attack on one’s core identity. This leads, for example, to accusations of betraying the country for criticizing the war or the president in time of war. When I say the war is wrong and we should get out of there, I’m not criticizing the war, I’m attacking you (“I” and “you” being hypothetical subjects and objects.) In many ways, Identity has co-opted patriotism.
The only way out of this mindset in the short term that I can see is to strip us down to our most fundamental non-negotiable beliefs. Once we do that, we will find out that we have more in common, re-establish ourselves as human in the eyes of each other: removing the dehumanizing masks of despised labels. Then we can slowly layer back on our secondary, tertiary beliefs and so on, and find out where our differences truly spring from, and, more often than not, how those differences represent different paths to getting to the same place.
This solution is a cultural one, not a political one.
And yes, you're right, these discussions are sadly missed. I think you and the whole gang should move to New Mexico. The weather is better here :)
Which is, I suppose, partly what Tony is saying.
-A co-worker and I were discussing Clinton and I was chagrined to say that I thought she would be in a very different place right now if she did not have the public speaking voice she does.
-Don't feel bad Bill. In an interview this morning on CPR, a news editor from RI kept referring to to Senator Obama, Senator McCain, and Mrs. Clinton. I wondered if he even knew he was doing it.
-Tony, expanding on your point about Obama, if he is elected, (and I hate even putting this in print, but since nobody reads Bill's blog anyway ;)...), I just hope down to my marrow that the secret service can keep him safe for 4 years.
-The weather is different in NM. Not better. And 5 years from now, we should still have some water left in CT. Pffffftttthhhhhtttttt!!!! Now excuse me whilst I wipe the spit off my monitor.
-None of this will matter anyway when this planet shakes us off like the painful, disease ridden, infestation of fleas that we are.
-Can we please find a way to get together sometime?
Can any of that happen under the existing power monolith that is capitalism?
Unlikely, and it’s those who’ve evolved to the top of that food chain that will make sure. We (I) talk about how many of the present-day systems have failed. This is not entirely true. For a very small minority, these systems work quite well and this minority has accumulated over 90% of the assets as its reward. Are people who’ve accumulated so much power and wealth the type who would simply let it go? Even if the electorate were to suddenly stand up and demand from it’s politicians what is truly needed, would those behind the throne simply slap their foreheads and say, “Oh my. What ever have we been doing all this time. Oops, I guess you’ve caught us?”
Ironically, it’s activist circles to whom I’ve mostly posed this question, and most people have never even considered it, well enough posed a solution.
Would Clinton or Obama live through one term? Both are targets for those who cannot live with the prospect of a black or a female president. The Secret Service has been hemorrhaging since the expansion of the air marshal program; they pay a lot better. If either became the sort of president I would actually vote for, someone on the inside would off them. But, as Aragorn often proclaims, there is always hope.
The first time I went to NM, there was snow on the cacti, which really messed with my visual sensibilities. Btw Bob, CT has had how many stage-three drought emergencies in the last eight years? You may want to carefully collect that spit and put it an airtight container.
My image of the earth clearing up its flea problem involves a tanning salon.
I’ve an idea about getting together. Why don’t we meet someplace in the middle. Danbury is in between Danielson and New Mexico, so…problem solved.