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Category: Politics

A matter of message

Joshua Micah Marshall exhibits some uncommon insight in this essay:

> I think I can tell you what the Republicans are for and without referencing hardly any policy specifics. They’re for lowering taxes in exchange for giving up whatever it is the government pretends to do for us, (at a minimum) riding the brakes on the on-going transformation of American culture, and kicking ass abroad.
> That’s a clear message and a fairly coherent one, whatever you think of the content — it’s about self-reliance and suspicion of change. And Democrats have a hard time competing at that level of message clarity.
> What’s the Dems’ message, boiled down to as few words, and framed in terms [of] simple imperatives and aspirations, rather than policy? And which are the do-or-die issues, and which are expendable?

I recommend the entire article to those who, like me, are disappointed both with the results of last week’s election and with the aftermath, and are wondering what happens next.

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Two Americas? This is not what I had in mind…

So part of the goal of this blog was to allow me to vent my spleen by adding my voice to the throng. Hopefully I can learn to make a pithy comment and leave it at that, instead of my usual style of pondering each phrase trying to make it say exactly what I mean.

The problem with commenting on an article like this one (“courtesy” of Atrios via Josh Marshall), written by a Mr. Mike Thompson, “past chairman of the Florida Conservative Union” (and apparently Ann Coulter’s godfather) — is that I hardly know where to begin, or where to leave off.

Read the linked article if you dare. No matter how the author tries to cast it as Swiftian satire, his “modest proposal” of “expelling” the twelve bluest states betrays more bile than wit. I’ll try to resist the urge to respond point by point, because I don’t make my living doing this. But let me observe that expelling Illinois, along with California and the Northeast, is going to come as a shock to a lot of people living outside Chicago. (For that matter, a lot of people living in New Hampshire are going to be pretty p*ssed off too. Has Mr. Thompson ever travelled outside Florida?)

After reading comments like “liberals … are spiteful enemies of civilization’s core decency and traditions” and “the genes of liberals have rendered them immune to all forms of filth” (among the milder ones), it’s difficult to come across “When they tire of showering conservative victims with ideological mud” without laughing out loud. Pot. Kettle. Black?

The point-by-point comparison of “Bush USA” vs. “Gore/Kerry USA” is also entertainingly bewildering. Mr. Thompson makes Bush USA sound like Mayberry USA, while Gore/Kerry USA sounds more like the Lower East Side of Manhattan (“ethnically diverse”, “multi-religious”, “very artsy, and Babelesque, with abnormally loud speakers”). Again, this will come as a surprise to my neighbors in the small town in Maryland where I live, many of whom are not actually gay or Jewish.

(Also, Bush USA is “economically sound (except for a few farms), but not drunk with cyberworld business development”, while Gore/Kerry USA is “both high tech and oddly primitive in its commerce”. Huh? Thog give Grog two goats for Grog’s iMac G5?)

But in the end, I’m not entertained, or enraged, so much as saddened by this commentary. Has the state of the nation deteriorated to the point where an author can write that people who disagree with his point of view should be expelled from the country, with the apparent expectation that his readership will nod approvingly?

Apparently Mr. Thompson and his ilk would happily return this country to the 50’s — the 1850’s.

It would be easy if glib to agree that I’d prefer not to live in the same country
with Mr. Thompson — but that’s wrong. Likewise the memes running around the net about moving to Canada or Australia for the duration — jokes, I know, in the aftermath of crushing disappointment; but wrong.

This is my country, too. And nobody — not Mr. Thompson, not Karl Rove — is going to tell me that I’m unfit to live in it, because of where I live or what I believe or who I am.

[On that note, let me give a shout out to my coworker Dave and his friend Kevin, who have started a blog called Still Fighting. As soon as I figure out how to make a blogroll, they’ll be on it.]

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Words fail me

Quoted on BoingBoing:

“I got a very clear picture of [Bush’s] base constituency when having a discussion over lunch with some co-workers about our favorite children’s shows. I was commenting on how much I liked Sesame Street, and one woman (a very vocal Christian conservative) said, ‘Oooh.. Sesame Street is too tolerant for me.’ To my horror, several other women nodded their heads in agreement. I guess I didn’t even think there was such a thing as too tolerant.”

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