If I read one more blog post about how we shouldn’t associate with dirty hippies or people who are like this or like that, I’ll scream, and I don’t care where you are, you’ll hear it.
Could there be a greater illustration of our battered wife syndrome than all the bellyaching going on in blogtopia (yes, skippy coined that phrase) about Saturday’s anti-war march and the portions of it C-Span chose to show? Jesus, people, get off the mat already.
By blatant neglect, we allowed ANSWER et al. to put a radical, extremely controversial, and politically disastrous face on the otherwise increasingly mainstream opposition to this war.
And while we can be thankful that hardly anyone was paying attention, rest assured, our political enemies were.
Sigh. It never occurs to anybody, does it, that the louder we bitch about ANSWER, the more PR they get. And that this need to disavow six things before we can get to what we do believe in is what keeps us on the defensive all the fucking time.
And the bitching continues, as evidenced by this comment, to a post about Cindy Sheehan getting arrested:
What does it symbolize? I broke a zoning law and got put in the poke for it? Its silly because arrests can be taken out of context and often are. Average America is going to see it and say “those damned hippies are getting arrested again” and not think anything past that. There is little point to getting arrested merely for the sake of getting arrested.
Look, I entirely understand if you disagree with this or that speaker at any given rally and say so. That’s one thing. And it’s not that I’m all that interested in Mumia or Cuba or whatever. I’m not. I kind of tuned out the speeches after that shit all started. But I am interested in how we’re making this immensely successful protest on Saturday into yet another stupid left-meta stroke session over who we want at our parties.
I so very deeply don’t want to play this stupid game where we sit around and before every action try to divine what housewives in Utah are gonna think. I linked to this editorial over the weekend, but I think a lot of people need to read it again. Here’s my favorite part:
What is it that the Republicans do that enables them to manipulate the images of Republican vs. Democrats in the minds of Swing Voters? George Lakoff says that the Republicans are especially talented at choosing words & associations that work for them. True as that may be, it becomes apparent with a little more reflection that it’s not really the words or value-associations that matter so much; it’s the emotions that are expressed when words are used. How is it, after all, that the word liberal acquired the negative connotation that it has today? The Republicans created that negative connotation by repeatedly expressing scorn and derision whenever they used the word to describe their Democratic opponents. They expressed disgust for anyone who would be foolish enough to be such a person. (Whenever politicians express strongly felt emotions, Swing Voters tend to grant them a greater measure of authenticity. After all, why else would they be so upset?) Think also of the times when Republicans laugh at Democrats. They don’t just laugh in a way that shows they have a good sense of humor; they laugh in a way that communicates their contempt for Democrats.
This is the most important part:
Human Nature 101: people depend on you to tell them how to perceive you.
So you know how people perceive us? As a bunch of wimpy whiny soul-searchers worried about how people perceive us. Scared to take a single step out of the lines lest Republican Daddy have to come in and spank us. Looking around all the time, always, over our shoulders, one eye on the polls, another on Maureen Dowd’s blood pressure, what are they gonna say about us this time? Hold me, I’m frightened of John Tierney, of Charles Krauthammer, of men so white you can see right through them. Hold my hand, some jackhole in Congress is upset with me.
Anybody remember Justice Sunday? Bill Frist spoke at that rally, that stunningly ignorant hatefest of religious fanatics and mouthbreathing Bible-beaters who are so out of the mainstream that they’d need a searchlight and a posse to find their way back. He sent them a pretty little videotape, all done up in red white and blue, telling them what loyal Americans they are. Did he sit around worrying that Democrats were gonna call him a religious lunatic? They did. Did it hurt him? Not that I could see. He pulled out his political penis and slapped it on the table, and if he does tank that presidential run he hopes so highly for, it’ll be because of the insider trading allegations, not because he was comfortable taking his dick out in the Religious Right’s kitchen.
If we start every speech by denouncing the things they tell us to denounce, we might as well give them our ball and go home, because simply by pretending we give a flying fuck about their opinion, we’ve already conceded two outs and two strikes.
(Oh, and just for fun? If they did bring up the hippies and the angry Filipinos and the Palestinian activists? If they did ask why we’re associating ourselves with “those kinds of people,” those ANSWER clowns and such and the people with the puppets? There’s a really good short reply: “Why are you afraid of hippies? Why are you afraid of people’s opinions? You think the Phillipines is gonna invade or something? What kind of a scaredy-cat are you, anyway? Jesus, grow a pair. The big bad hippies with their tie-dye and their dreads aren’t gonna hurt you. Sheesh.” Some derisive laughter would also be good here.)
And I can hear you thinking it. But oh my god swing voters women in the suburbs office park dads red staters rush safire krauthammer middle america real america red state america wal mart america nascar america BBQ !!11!
It’s a habit, and it’s a bad one. You spend all your time worrying, and you won’t have time to run for office. You won’t have time to march on Washington, and you won’t have time to put your pumps and pearls on before you do so you look normal enough not to offend anybody. Does it ever occur to anybody that maybe the anti-war movement in the ’60s and ’70s succeeded because when soulless fucks like John O’Neill talked about dirty hippies and traitors, people said screw it, and protested anyway, and kept protesting until the housewives got pissed off enough to ignore the patchouli smell and get on board?
My darlings, Eleanor Roosevelt said it. Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. Stop consenting. Stop worrying. Start attacking.
Those Republicans who got us into this war? Where were they on Saturday? Why didn’t they answer the questions? Why did we invade Iraq? Huh? HUH? I asked you a question, BITCH. In their lives these people have never answered questions. That’s how we perceive them, that’s how we tell others to perceive them. As the arrogant, deluded fools they are. Answer my question. Answer Cindy Sheehan’s question. Answer it. If you can’t stand up to Cindy Sheehan, how can you stand up to the terrorists? Still think those missing WMDs are funny, George? Why can’t you go to a military funeral? Are you too busy? Are you scared of dead soldiers? If you can’t stand up to dead soldiers and their families, how can you stand up to the terrorists?
W hat exactly are you smirking at, anyway? You people liking your small government these days? You guys who voted against Katrina relief, man you must hate poor black people. Man, you must hate grandmothers. Man, you must hate AMERICA, because you sure as hell hate AMERICANS. Those were American citizens, standing on rooftops, reaching for help. Why did you leave them to die?
Hey, Bill Frist, how’s your stock deal working out? You okay for money, Bill? I got a five you can borrow if you need it. You know, just to cover your LAWYER’S FEES. Because you’re gonna need a good lawyer. I hear Ken Starr’s not doing much these days. Maybe you two can hook up. By the way, I hear you murder cats for fun. Do you keep their pelts around? Because I have a floor in desperate need of a rug …
I swear, sometimes we need to spend less time listening to our party message massagers and image consultants and more time listening to the bleacher section at a Cubs game.
Farther down in TocqueDeville’s post, he has the perfect anti-war rally planned:
If I had produced it, I would have had a giant American flag draping the backdrop. I would have assembled a cast of mothers and grandmothers as featured speakers and hosts. I would have tried to bring in as many soldiers and military personnel as possible, especially those who have advocated immediate withdrawal. It would have framed the opposition to this war as an all-American, red, white and blue patriot fest. Just short of serving apple pie to the huddled masses.
Awesome idea. Couldn’t agree more. Love it. I’d gently suggest, though, to everybody who’d rather see that rally, that it’s not like there’s only one Rally Day in America. Let’s learn from what we don’t like, and move on. Tell me when and where that rally is. I’ll get you some people there. Can’t vouch for the length of their hair, but they’ll be there.