Friday, March 18

Caveat Emptor

The discussion at Rox Populi from which I appropriated ellroon's comment involved Michelle of A Small Victory. In fact somehow it focused on her for awhile, as she became what über commenter Chris Clarke called a synedoche for the thread.

Michelle has both a lively style and a lively blog, and by the time I'd seen the link to her reply there were far to many comments to attempt any meaningful discussion.

Roxanne was writing about Bush voters with "Buyers Remorse". My own comment, posted before Michelle entered the picture, was to the effect that there'd be no welcome mat on my door; that people who now found themselves with a different administration than the one they thought they were getting could have a decent interval to think about why they'd gone wrong and why. Here's Michelle, on her own blog:

I've also left similar sentiments in comments on various blogs and, for the most part, they were met with a flurry of clenched fists and righteous indignation, with calls for me to go out and start protesting (or something like that) to prove my regret. It's not like that. First of all, I am not sitting here admitting to the world (ok, just the minuscule part of the world who reads this) that I regret my vote so I can, oh, get a pat on the head or a clap on the back or a wide-armed welcome back to the fold. I'm not going back to any fold and I don't seek anyone's approval.

As I said later, I didn't see any fist clenching, not by blog discussion standards, anyway, and what there was was more aimed at Rox's general point than Michelle specifically. I'd never considered this a discussion about welcoming people into any "fold". The question is if we can find some place to have a decent, civilized discussion. Like the Paris Peace Conference, we're going to spend a long time arguing about the shape of the table, folks. It's a chasm, not a crack in the asphalt. Michelle again:

There are others out there like me. I talk to them at work. I talk to them in the parking lot of schools, waiting for our kids. I talk to them in email or instant message, people from across the country who feel that twinge of regret. What we all have in common is this: we feel used. We feel taken advantage of. We feel manipulated.

I mean to be concilliatory. I've lived in a "Red State" all my life. I know Republican voters beyond the silly stereotypes of our chattering class. It's impossible to accept that a Republican in 2005 had no understanding of the power of the religious right, no inkling that the party favored big corporations over average Americans, no awareness that Republicans were every bit the Big Spenders and Nanny Staters they claim Democrats are, merely with different alignment. The Republican party has never been anything else. The cognative dissonace and the political cacophony that covered this over has got to be addressed. Michelle:

There are people who have seen this “confession” from me already who assume this means I think George W. Bush is an evil person, that I’ve finally joined the BusHitler crowd. No. Hardly. I don’t hate George Bush, much as I don’t hate John Kerry. I just don’t think that either of them is what America needs.

With all due respect, I can't accept the sentiment. I don't think there's any sense on the right of what sort of President John Kerry would have been; there's simply an ongoing meme that dates to Carter. The "BusHitler" business is just the product of a party which has been talking to itself for twenty-five years, and a media which has facilitated, where it did not promote, the the right's defining every argument on every political issue we face. Those chickens are back home to roost. We do not have a disaster in Iraq, and zero international credibility, because you backed the wrong horse, or because you weren't offered a suitable alternative. We have a disaster because of the hubris displayed when you bash those cardboard cartoon Democrats. We have a disaster because we do not have a fair and honest hearing of the issue for a free an informed electorate. We have, instead, these bumper-sticker caricatures that cut off all debate on any issue, including the invasion of a country that posed no immediate threat to us or anybody else. Until and unless people recognize that failure, until they can acknowledge what is simple, hard truth, that there are legitimate points of view on the left side of the spectrum, and engage those views, there can't be any port for drifting Republicans in the Democratic party. If you don't want one, fine. But at least stop and think about which party has shut off all options and pulled up all the lifeboats.

1 comment:

Chris Clarke said...

Überkommenter? Are you referring to my außerordentlicher Ausgang, my Sturm und Drang, or just my general Gemutlichkeit?