While we’re all suffering without the magic of the internets, have a read of this fancy rant from one of our Intrepid Reporters. They’re all fired up. -Jake
It’s always cracked me up to hear conservatives toss about terms like ‘bipartisanship’ and ‘civil discourse’– not because of what they mean, but because of what people on the right think they mean. Not too long ago I had the joy of being on the receiving end of an email from a family member who is, put nicely, right-leaning, and chose to respond, not in kind, but with an email of my own creation, so as to better avoid the rampant factual errors and lack of citation that was presented to me.
As you might imagine, the sender offered no immediate response, but one other family member came back to me with a variation on a very common theme of those on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum from myself–obviously I had fallen into the trap of wanting to help the little guy, but the Democratic Party was merely a vehicle of corruption, and this was going to be the last conversation we were going to have about politics because we were family and we shouldn’t fight.
I won’t deny, the Democratic Party does corruption as well as anybody. Look at William Jefferson, John Murtha, and Steny Hoyer. We’re still waiting for real press on most of those, by the way. But that logic– and that he did not want to slug it out with me via e-mail– was not really why we were having our last conversation about politics. Really, it was because freezing the debate in the name of unity is the oldest trick in the conservative book.
Read the rest after the jump…
See, there’s this thing about liberals– we’re almost inherenly unsure of ourselves and our status. We’re aware of the social construct of norms and mores, and how flexible it is, and recognize that if everbody indeed has a voice, that ours really isn’t that special, and so when we speak, we are bound to have confidence issues. Conservatives don’t think that way. Social norms and mores are law, and they operate with an absolute certainty of purpose (I doubt any self-respecting liberal would claim anything less), but of the rules of world they live in as well. When we get agressive, we’re almost always operating outside of these, so they merely invoke them, create doubt and hesitation, and wreck our proverbial shit. We can’t say what we feel about what’s happened to our country– extreme anger and sadness for many of us– because of the mastery with which the ideological right executes this maneuver. Why else, instead of answeing the charges made against him, would Mitch McConnell get the vapors when told he was one of the most corrupt men in Congress?
Why else, when cornered for having some women that were so forward as to actually hold a political rally, would a conservative talk radio host say not that he was wrong to paint them as socialist babykillers, but that his listeners were wrong to threaten them because it didn’t contribute to the civil discourse?
These things, you see, make those of the liberal mind freeze, hesitate, pause, stutter, explain themseleves, give such an opening that the conservatives, operating as automotons as they so often do, may march right through and display the assertiveness that the public latches on to. The public cares far less about your being right than about your being certian in doing so.
George Bush’s lack of nuance was never an issue. You were, and are, with us or against us. John Kerry, however, was a flip-flopper and his hesitancy left him doomed. So, liberals, Democrats, progressive Republicans even– when it is presented to you that you should lay down your arms and comprimise, in the name of unity, or putting country first, or maintaining the civil discourse, hold your ground. You can fight your cousin. You can accomplish great things– or at least prevent great harm– in a do-nothing Congress.
And what of civil discourse? Call them motherfuckers all you want, because if you don’t, they’ll ruin your country.