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I'm writing a diary in response to another diary, which is almost always a bad idea.  But I'm a sentence in, so too late to stop the train now.  The diary in question was about entitlement and privilege felt by a seemingly infinitely regressive series of lower rungs of the American landscape.

Why does this bother me?  Is it some deep seeded guilt over my own participation in the wheels of oppression?  No, because I got run over by the bus enough times to realize I wasn't the one driving it.

It is because at a base level, I believe that my political position and political party are here for all the rungs, and there isn't a test you have to pass.  We are the party of the lower rung.  No matter how many times the world knocks you down, we will be here trying to make things better, for all of us.  Our strength has always been that we are a party of coalitions.

So, no, I don't think sorting out the proper level of contrition to be felt by any group is productive.  In no way do I suggest stories of the plight of groups in this experiment should be silenced, quite the opposite.  I think we should tell people 'This is what is happening in your country.  This is what is happening to your fellow citizens.'

But we should be trying to persuade them, not extract some twisted validation for every injustice.  Sure, maybe someone deserves the blame, but it just makes everyone harder... colder.  That isn't my utopia, and that is the only real sense we have about matters of politics.  Does this behavior get me closer to what I see as a fair society?

The right is turning derision into a god damned art form, and it's made this country mean.  It didn't use to be like this.  We didn't used to speak in terms of real and fake Americans.

I don't think the left should play that game.  We want America to be a place where everyone gets a chance to succeed.  We want to invest in our people.

This is not to say we live in some post-racial, post-sexist, post-homophobic or post-anything society.  We don't, and we have to solve those problems.  We have to solve many problems, and as a matter of simple practicality, we have to solve them together.

Fighting each other is not productive.  Hate is not productive.  Anger is not productive.  Blame is not productive.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yep All the Rungs and the Bottom One Too (9+ / 0-)

    It's what we've been, at our best.

    And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 07:07:17 PM PST

  •  Change does not happen... (3+ / 0-)

    when we are comfortable, though...

    We humans need dissonance in order to grow...

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 07:07:36 PM PST

  •  I just read... (10+ / 0-)

    The exchange you had in the other diary.

    I don't blame you for rejecting the approach that commenter decided to take. No one likes to be talked down to or taken for an idiot.

    Good on you for stepping away and putting your thoughts into their own diary.

  •  If you want the left to embrace you (5+ / 0-)

    you have to engage in ritual self-denunciation. It doesn't accomplish anything, but it's how you get admitted to the tribe.

    You don't have to do it. People will call you names, but that's okay. Who are they, anyway?

  •  It's like.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth

    when I cheat myself, I don't really feel cheated.

  •  I disagree that "anger is not productive". (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, ActivistGuy

    Anger motivates people. The question is what to do with the anger. Of course, I say this as a person of relative privilege who rarely gets angry, so I may not know what I'm talking about.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 08:34:28 PM PST

  •  I read the commentary (12+ / 0-)

    between yourself and some others in that diary and I think I came away from it thinking 'shut up and listen' from one of the comments back to you comes from the same place as "Third, "fair"? You don't get to have "fair." That's not a word that happens in reality. You get to have "reality" instead" in the diary. There is a disconnect, a dissonance, between the goal and the attempt to achieve the goal that is sabotaging it. It was a weird experience for me. I actually agree with the meta picture painted, but understand how it would turn off the people that it needed to hit home with the most because of the tone and strident nature of the pushback that followed pushing back on it.

    Once you have hit that "stop talking to me like I'm stupid" point, the discussion is over. Once you have hit that point where you feel accused of being a racist, the discussion is over. You can keep talking, of course. But you might as well be talking to yourself in the car alone in traffic.

    As somebody whose penchant for being vulgar has semi-sabotaged some of my best work, and rendered some of the most persuasive and impactful things I have written otherwise less effective, I'm the last person who can cast stones in this department. You can be right, and still lose because the person you are talking with is no longer listening to you because they are done.

    Your cause or your politics can be right, or better for all considered all the way around if it held sway, and you can still lose an argument, and lose it by a landslide.

    Movement Conservatism is strident. You aren't in a debate with Movement Conservatives. You are wrong by default if you are not a conservative. So. A "debate" with a Movement Conservative is often not a debate at all, but an exercise in spoken word comment thread trolling.

    Maybe it is possible that the evolving reaction to the successes and dominance of Movement Conservatives, and Movement Conservatism, over the last 30 years specifically, is inadvertently making non-Conservatives a kind of mirror strident and rhetorically reactionary in making their cases.

    It's not about changing minds as much as it is about being right. Once you are talking to somebody and it comes across like you think they are stupid, you are kind of hosed if your ideal goal was persuasion.  

    Which can lead to winning the battle, "I won the comment thread!" but losing the war "I'm never listening to that jerk again. Ever." outcomes.

    I want people to find liberalism approachable. Inclusive. My biggest beef is a cold-blooded political one with the Democratic Party as a organization. In my wanting the Democratic Party to embrace it's best legacies and in that vein make an ideologically driven argument against Movement Conservatism and a partisan argument in favor of itself as a better alternative. Because the alternatives haven't worked, conservatism has never been this dominant, and conservatism is proving over time to be fundamentally dangerous to the health of the nation it sabotages for the gain of a tiny group.  

    I pick my battles along those lines. Mostly.

    I juxtapose that with two decades of liberals who are self-hating and let conservatives or very serious centrist establishment types drive them to navel-gazing and shame, strident liberals who want to shame and scold people into liking them and wanting them to succeed, and liberals who realize they are the closest thing the rest of the bunch have to play the role of catherder and they don't even like cats.

    Conservatives have it easy. They appeal to people's greed. Their vanity. Their selfish desires. You can dramatically change your nation's power structure and challenge the inequity of it's economic engine, or, you can blame black people you don't know who live someplace else for taking stuff that rightfully should be yours not theirs.

    Liberals have to appeal to people's greater more altruistic senses and higher purposes and causes while somebody else nearby is telling the same audience what they want to hear and cheap and easy solutions on the fly that are all about feeling good right now.

    Oh, and they have to do it in a way that doesn't piss off people who believe some pretty wrong-headed things, and could use somebody setting them straight, but who also have been conditioned to see liberals as weak and elitist and scolding before they even open their mouths by bad faith driven conservatives and feckless Villagers.

    I might as well have opened up a new age crystal pushcart in the center of Vatican city or the bible belt some days. "Hello Cardinal, want a healing crys- OUCH!"

    I used to be a conservative. Not a Movement Conservative, ever, but a fiscal conservative and a social libertarian. I evolved into a pretty surprisingly lefty liberal for where I was at, say my late teens. I say that to people and they look at me funny. But. It's true. I had to be driven like a glacier to liberalism. I became a liberal when it was no longer faced with an alternative. I've become more and more liberal over time because, over time, conservatism has proven to be a massive epic failure. In every avenue of human governance and economic endeavor I have encountered it in.

    If that is what it took to make me a lefty?

    I don't know how to turn around Archie Bunker's grandson in a fast-case scenario.

    Scoldingly or blisteringly telling working class to working poor white people who have buckets of debts let alone no wealth or power that they are fundamentally entitled because they might get hired to do a miserable menial job over a similarly situated person of color may be something that is so, but it simply doesn't resonate with those actual poor white people as being an entitlement or a privilege of note or record. They certainly don't see it as a benefit rising to being worthy of them personally being labeled entitled or privileged and feeling lumped in with more affluent and clearly privileged white people. If it did, the GOP would be fucked.  

    It's a resistance that is fundamentally hardwired and baked into that demographic. It is going to take majority minority to overcome it in policy. I have seen that for two decades as a reality.

    I can't really ever forget that this is how I became a liberal. No other alternatives left.

    You can't scold or shame people into being liberal. You can scold or shame people into never wanting to talk to a liberal about anything ever again.

    “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” — Auric Goldfinger

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 09:28:20 PM PST

    •  Had a similar reaction the other day (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlaskanAnt, Dr Teeth, LeftHandedMan

      when I wandered onto an article from Pandagon of a feminist theme.  Ended up perusing the comments and finding the liberal wing of the exchange engaging in viciously hateful rhetoric whenever an opposing viewpoint was aired.

      I, not so smartly, pointed out to one commenter that he spent 2/3 of his comment lucidly and rationally dismantling another commenter's argument only to lose the intellectual and moral high ground when his last paragraph devolved into a personal attack.

      Conservatism certainly has no monopoly on viciousness; it's been part of the liberal movement for decades...though I'd like to think that the liberal majority don't accept and pander to it quite as much as mainstream conservatives.

  •  There is a Zen saying (6+ / 0-)
    Life consists of falling down seven times and getting up eight.
    I have no time for those who won't help others get up, or who say that we have done all the getting up there is, there ain't no more. I'm too busy getting up again, and lending my own hands to others.

    But then, I get to make presents for millions of children around the world every day to help them get up and learn how to help millions more, too. It's called One Laptop Per Child.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 10:08:46 PM PST

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