...as the Very Serious Mental Disorder That It Is?
I’ve written enough about the “extremes on Both Sides®” and the differences between them, and the infuriating double standard in modern politics that inures the worst rhetorical and behavioral excesses of the “extreme left” onto the Democratic Party itself, its elected officeholders, candidates, and electoral fortunes, but somehow doesn’t hold the Republican Party responsible for its own wingnut fringe lunatics, that I don’t need to go through all that again here. (If you’re so inclined, please review the aforelinked diaries for a primer on what is to follow.)
Two things have happened in the past week that have me thinking about this all over again.
Yesterday, der Drumpfenführer pardoned a pair of right-wing arsonists-slash-child-abusers much to the delight of far-right anti-government extremists and militia-types everywhere. This happened two days after I watched Bill Maher’s latest stand-up special on HBO, in which he broke out the inscrutable Both Siderist chestnut that Democrats will never win elections again until far-left-wing liberals knock off the political correctness and the safe spaces and the trigger warnings and the obnoxious behavior on college campuses and all the other buzzphrases that get trotted out every time someone needs to defend, deflect or mitigate the latest political, social or economic atrocity committed by actual elected office-holding Republicans by pretending that Both Sides® are Just As Bad.™
At the risk of provoking yet another hysterical passive-aggressive sh*tstorm from the Maher haters on this site (which only prove his point), I like Bill, I thought the show as a whole was pretty good, and will continue to watch Real Time as I have since it started. But Jeebus Fleebing Cripes. As most of us know, Maher has always been hard on liberals and he’s not always right or fair in criticizing them/us. Sometimes, he is. Yet as I was watching the show the other night and hearing him talk about all of those alleged rhetorical/behavioral excesses of left-wing liberals, irrespective of whether the behavior is real or imagined and irrespective of whether the criticism thereof is right or fair, I couldn’t help but think that nothing he was describing, none of it, is attributable to the Democratic Party itself, its policy platform, any actual living serving identifiable current or recent Democratic elected official or officeholder, or any current or recent Democratic candidate for public office. Not in my experience or observation, anyway. Every time I hear some version of this I have to ask, What does any of this have to do with Democrats ??
Yet somehow, as I’ve written ad nauseam, the Democratic Party, its elected officeholders and electoral candidates are somehow held directly responsible and, supposedly, punished electorally for the worst rhetorical/behavioral excesses of far-left liberals as described and perceived in political punditry, and no one has a problem with that. No one thinks it’s even a wee bit sociopathic for anyone, of any political stripe, to either not vote Democratic or vote Republican because they once heard or saw on TV that some random, unidentified, even hypothetical or imaginary, left-wing liberal(s) said or did something really, really obnoxious that one time.
I wish I could remember who wrote it, or what the exact words were, but I remember reading about the cast of Hamilton publicly confronting Mike Pence after a show in late 2016, that this is how and why Democrats lose elections and they will never win again if it continues. As if the Democratic Party or any of its electoral candidates has control over Broadway casts or Broadway audiences, or the incident was somehow attributable to any local, state or federal law or policy that Democrats either enacted while holding elected office or proposed while running for office.
There is no logic or reason to this. None. It is insane.
Meanwhile, while far-left liberals are being obnoxious or saying mean things about Republican Vice Presidents-elect and invited right-wing college-campus speakers, or (Maher’s favorite example) freaking out over a male actor tweeting that a gentle pat-on-the-butt is not equivalent to rape, for all of which Democrats apparently must take the blame and suffer the electoral consequences, what are right-wingers doing and saying? What are the worst rhetorical and behavioral excesses of the far-right?
Do I really have to answer those questions?
The question that really needs to be asked and answered is, again, for the umpteenth time, Why is this shoe never on the other foot?
Is the Republican Party itself responsible for the militias and the racism and the hate crimes and the religious fanaticism and the gun-buggery and the other excesses of the far-right, in the same way the Democratic Party is supposedly responsible for the political correctness and campus-safe-spaces and other purported excesses of the far-left? Put another way, are the far-right’s worst rhetorical and behavioral excesses attributable to Republican political campaigns, governance, enacted policies, and/or elected officials and candidates?
Does anyone think that the militias and the racism and the hate crimes and the religious fanaticism cause, have caused, or will cause Republicans to lose elections? Are there any pundits out there saying, or who have ever said, that Republicans will start (or keep) losing elections until the far-right militias and racists and religious fanatics knock off the hate and the racism and the misogyny and the homophobia and the proselytizing and the jingoism and the gun-buggery and every other crime against humanity and society they commit on a daily basis?
And that’s without even delving into the question of whether and to what extent the far-left politically-correct safe-space trigger-warning campus-thought-police liberals, to the extent they exist, even support or vote for Democrats and the Democratic Party itself … versus whether and to what extent the far-right self-admiring religious fundamentalist racist chauvinist homophobic gun-stroking militia cohort supports or votes for Republicans or the GOP itself.
Let me say one thing before I conclude. As insane as I think it is for anyone to not vote Democratic because one finds [real or imagined] politically-correct safe-space trigger-warning left-wing college-campus liberals annoying (as opposed to any other, less-insane reason), that is not equivalent to not voting Republican because one finds militiamen and religious fanatics and racists and homophobes and gun-strokers dangerous or threatening. There is an honest debate to be had over the respective parties’ degree of influence over the political spectrum’s respective fringes, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that these are neither equivalent nor proportionate nor reciprocal.
At the end of the day, this idea that Democrats will keep losing elections until far-left liberals stop being so annoying and obnoxious about stuff, has to go away. And until it does, it has to be treated as the insanity it is. If you either vote Republican or allow Republicans to win, thereby enabling inter alia the befouling of the planet and a lot of needless and avoidable human suffering, because some unnamed left-wing liberals that you never met were obnoxious or annoying that one time on campus somewhere that you heard about, the problem is not the Democratic Party, its officeholders or its candidates. The problem is you. Get help. Now.