Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sadly, No Dice...

Well, it's been four weeks since the Democrats got their clocks cleaned. Other than deciding to start calling myself a Democrat now instead of an Independent, I haven't really done much of anything in that vein, unless you consider continuing to pay attention to politics, choosing what's pragmatic over idealism, and taking the long view doing a lot. More of the same, basically, cooling things down at least least until the fur starts flying for real in the next presidential campaign. Then I imagine I'll be heating up a bit, along with everyone else.

What's surprising is how calm I've remained over the last four weeks. I'm still disappointed, of course, but the only thing I didn't know for sure was how badly the Democrats were going to get clobbered on election day -- at it was pretty hard. If there's a silver lining here, it's that it was the Blue Dogs who got clobbered the hardest -- the progressive types lost a handful of seats in comparison. So as much as I've railed against self-styled progressives since restarting the Medley, I know that the general stock of the Democrats' representation in the next Congress will be an improvement over what they have in the current one. I'm not upset.

Long view. Cooling it for a while. Better luck in 2012.

More surprising to me, although it shouldn't be, is that I've noticed something about the Tea Party folks as well: they're not exactly happy right now. You'd think they would be. They certainly deserve to be happy. Remember when Obama won two years ago? People on the Left were dancing in the streets all over the country. But again, I shouldn't be surprised. After George W. Bush won a second term, they didn't seem too happy then, either. In fact, more than a few of them became boiling mad -- probably because they expected us to just give up, lay down, and die in response to the prospect of four more years of the Bush administration, and we didn't do that. I'm guessing that the Tea Party folks are going to repeat that same routine in the coming months when we don't go away this time around, either.

In fact, I know they will. Look at the makeup of the Tea Party movement. Its members have six factors working against them, and here are five of them: most of them are older than the median American age, they're overwhelmingly white, they're overwhelmingly conservative, they're overwhelmingly Christian, and when you look at the demographic trends in this country over the next few decades, it becomes clear that old, white, conservative Christians are headed the way of the T-Rex.

If this is starting to read like a recent Tim Wise essay to you, that's not coincidental -- I've read it myself, even printed it out. What Wise did was explain why he thinks that, over the long haul, this year's election day rout will prove to be one more empty victory for the "white right." But when I look at this through the worst-case-situation lens, I see the same ultimate result: even if the "white right" spends the next thirty or forty years successfully repealing all of the progress achieved during the 20th century and systematically crushing all of its enemies, they will not only still end as losers, they will end far worse off than they will if Tim Wise's assessment comes to pass.

In other words, it's in their best interests to let their enemies have their way instead. They don't like us, that much is obvious. Many, if not most, of them outright hate us, and we all know that some of them are not above threatening to resort to "Second Amendment remedies" once in a while. Or actually resorting to them.

That's the sixth factor they have working against them. Don't see why?

All you have to do is read the last four hundred-plus years of history on this continent, consider how these "white right" types and their ancestors have treated all kinds of people who were different from them throughout all that time, and you can see why. These people have just completely missed, in biblical fashion, what may be the most important moral lesson their own Bible has to teach them: you reap what you sow. Hell, folks, I learned that lesson a looong time ago, and I started embracing Christianity in earnest just a few weeks back.

Then again, my understanding of Christianity is very, very different from what seems to be teir own general take on it. They pick and choose what parts they will follow, and I'm the same way -- I'll bet that virtually all Christians do this. But the parts I place foremost in my approach are ones a man like Martin Luther King, Jr., whom I admire tremendously, would surely approve of -- keep in mind that you reap what you sow, treat others the way you would want them to treat you, assume responsibility for your actions, and so on -- and I temper it with things that any self-respecting atheist would appreciate, such as "beware of false prophets," along with many of the things Jesus is credited with saying when he walked into the synagogue, knocked over the tables, and told the moneychangers where to get off. (Confession: that's my favorite part of the Gospels.)

The white conservative Christians, on the other hand, have this view of Christianity I find rather distressing. I see mostly gray areas everywhere I go in life; to them, life looks very black-and-white. That's a toxic outlook, but it's one they have clung to for centuries -- the last president didn't say anything new under the sun when he said "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists," he just gave his kind's worldview a new formulation. I say you reap what you sow; they think you can do whatever you want if you have exactly the right set of religious beliefs, which is to say, their own set. I say treat people how you want them to treat you; they say, "Do it to them before they do it to you." (Note: I didn't come up with that -- one white conservative Christian I've known over the years actually described his philosophy to me in that one sentence. As the years rolled by, I realized that he had lots of company in the philosophical department...) I say take responsibility; they say, "Take what you can get while you can get it." (Who among us hasn't heard that one?) I say beware of false prophets; they will gravitate toward anyone who tells them what they want to hear, in much the same way a fly gravitates toward a pile of shit.

I say that they are deeply confused and conflicted Christians; they say that I am un-Christian and in need of conversion at best, evil and deserving of extermination at worst.

Well, all right, let's look at this deserving-of-extermination bit for a minute. This approach has been threatened, and sometimes applied, to so many groups over the last four hundred-plus years more than anyone, "white right" or otherwise, cares to remember or admit -- native Indians, African-Americans, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Koreans, the Irish-Catholics (go figure), Germans, Poles, Italians, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, Latinos, on and on and on this cult chant goes. Tim Wise sort of hinted in his essay that if the "white right" hasn't gone all-in as a White Nationalist movement by now, then it might as well, judging by the way it has not only made enemies in every group of people that is different from their own, it was the initial aggressor in every singly case.

This group has effectively spent the last four centuries painting itself into a corner, and from the way it has been lashing out at others ever since a man with a black father got elected President of the United States, I would say that the fact that you reap what you sow has started to dawn on the bulk of them, they don't like it, and they are desperately looking for any way they can to escape that fate so they can go back to believing they can go on "doing it to them first" without fear of reprisal.

It ain't gonna work, no matter whose side prevails in thirty or forty years. I take the long view, as do many on the Left; they only look back nostalgically to a period that existed on American television in the 1950s. If they were capable of taking the long view, they would see that their best bet is to surrender to us. We're not going to do to them what they have done to us -- we're trying to put an end to this nightmare once and for all, remember?

We're going to offer them a choice: either change your violent, hateful ways and join us in building a better future for everyone and the generations to come, or stay the way you are, go back to your latter-day sundown towns, and leave us the fuck alone. We're not going to shoot or lynch you -- the hate crimes bill Obama signed into law back in 2009 covers you folks, too, so try to relax for a change.

Why? Because you need us. Why? Because you reap what you sow. No? Um... yes.

Because if you did somehow manage to get rid of all your enemies, one way or another... well, let's go beyond colonial times on this continent and look at what your European ancestors were doing to each other for centuries. War, famine, destruction, death -- look familiar?

How about their religious outlook? The one that not only inspired all those unnecessary European wars, but interpreted the New World they found when the fled Europe as The Enemy, and the people they found living there as savages in need of conversion at best, destruction at worst? How many notes can you name that tune in?

That's why you need us, regardless of our religion, our skin color, our ancestry, our sexual orientation, or our whatever -- we're what's keeping you old conservative Christian white numbskulls from killing off each other.

And deep down, you know I'm right -- you won't have any more scapegoats to pick on, so you'll have to turn on each other. You reap what you sow, whether you damn well like it or not.

And hey, y'all brought this on yourselves. The rest of us have been trying to wake you up since the early 1600s. You want to blame us for not trying hard enough, go ahead -- unlike you, we tried to bridge the gap between us.

Sadly, no dice...

1 comment:

This is a First Amendment zone, but I do use word verification now. If you don't like that, well, this is also a Fifth Amendment zone. Take your pick...