The Trick Is Not To Mind It

I think Amanda is in large partcorrect here:

Amy has a hypothesis. “If only,” it goes, “Democrats acknowledged that abortion is a difficult decision with moral dimensions and said they were Christians, then they would get all these votes of people who badly want to vote for them, but need to hear these magic words.”

Luckily, you can apply that hypothesis to the real world. Let’s say Democratic politicians quit crowing about their atheism and their love of abort—

What’s that you say? Democrats already talk god and moral complexity. And we haven’t gotten that 40% of the vote yet?

The trick, as I’m coming to realize as I talk to more and more of my Republican family members, is to recognize when someone is offering a point as an argument and when he or she is offering it as an excuse why they don’t agree with you already. To put it less nicely, as I said to someone who pulled the whole “Democrats suck, but let’s not talk politics” dodge on me at dinner recently, “You don’t want to engage in democracy, you just want to gloat.” It’s a big difference, and I’d be willing to argue Amy has no idea what I’m talking about right now.

This isn’t just about Amy, it’s about every Professional Concern Troll hawking a book claiming that if only Democrats listened him and appealed to some mythical constituency they’d win elections by landslides. It’s about every anecdote offered in every story about “soccer moms” “NASCAR dads” “beer and wine voters” and other bullshit faux-trends about how “I would be a Democrat if they’d just pay attention to THIS” which anybody with half a brain realizes isn’t an answer that offers any clues to anything about them other than what they pull out of their ass when the Professional Concern Troll’s research assistant or grad student asks them why they’re not Democrats. The real trick is realizing that they’re not Democrats in the first place (or they wouldn’t be asked the question) and in all likelihood they never will be. If they were gonna be Democrats they’d just be Democrats instead of coming up with reasons why they’re not. Taking their answers to provide clues to the great Mystery of the Unknown Voter is like extrapolating the potential causes of life on Mars by picking through your neighbor’s garbage bins. You might find something useful in there, sure, but you’re not likely to find anything really applicable to the question at hand.

And you know, I’m about done with it. I’m about done with trying to figure out how best to apologize for being right in order to make Republicans like me. We just have to be what we’re about, and if people like us they like us. Judging from Democratic turnout on the trail these days they seem to like us fine. The next time someone comes around with a sheaf of paper proving how we can make a hundred new friends, instead of sitting her down for a very sober interview about how best to fuck ourselves in the political ass, we ought to point to the thousands of friends we already have, and say we’re fine here, now, thanks, how are you?


10 thoughts on “The Trick Is Not To Mind It

  1. Athenae,
    I’ll give it ’til November 08, but I’m about to decide that too many people have drunk the Kool-Aid in this country.
    I’m about to decide doing the right thing won’t work.
    I’m about to decide being decent and humanitarian and tolerant isn’t what this country really wants.
    I’m about to decide that the “I got mine screw you” demographic really is king. And queen. And all the royal family.
    And I’m about to decide that it’s damned well not worth keeping on fighting for, if nobody really wants it.

  2. that’s why i like this crazy hope. maybe we will wake up from the bush nightmare to be america again.
    that would be so nice.
    now if we could only kill infotainment and reality teevee.

  3. If only Republicans would stop calling me names like, “stupid bitch” when I’m trying to tell them a fact about anything, I would bother talking to them at all.

  4. I remember how Janeane Garofalo was so insightful years ago when she said that people like Rush and Hannity allow people to bring out their inner Archie Bunker. (or their inner a**hole). They create inner dialoges that they can use to justify hating and attacking other Americans. They are the ones who repeat the dirt. They are the ones who make being liberal a dirty word.
    They aren’t the only ones who do this. Think about WHO works hard to divide us and who will profit from our split. These people are bad for the country. How to we battle them? Are they the think tankers? The PR consultants? Frank Luntz, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist.They are the people driving the sick underpinnings of our “discourse” they are supported by PR teams and producers who gobble this up.

  5. Amen to all of the above.
    And I think it’s also a sort of weird team identification, like being a Yankees fan or a Mets fan. There’s not rational reason for it (or, if there is, they won’t talk about it in public), so they look for some flimsy pretext to continue enabling people they know are damaging the country every day.
    Because it’s always more fun to side with a winner.

  6. Hi Molly, I’d amend what you said above to say that its the psychology of the playground bully.
    Watch a bully act. Oddly enough, when the bully centers on one person, the other kids stand around , watch, and identify with the bully.

  7. This is exactly why I’ve never really liked the “Big Tent” idea. Because so often it was a thinly veiled attempt to attract bigots to the Democratic party. Want people to blow up abortion clinics? There’s a seat for you right here! Think blacks are subhuman? Come on in! Terrified that one of your children might turn out to be TEH GAY!? There, there, we’ll hate on teh gays with you, at least in private.
    I’ve had people come up to me, knowing that I work for a writer, and tell me that they couldn’t stand her stuff. And they’re usually pretty belligerent about it! I really want to say, “What does your telling me this accomplish? Am I supposed to suddenly slap my forehead and go, ‘OMG! I’ve been so wrong!'” What has become clear to me is that what they wanted was to have their opinion validated. Sorry, but I’m not playing that game. You are entitled to that opinion, but *I do not* have to agree with it, nor do I have to make you feel good about having that opinion.
    That is especially true when your opinion puts you in the racist, sexist, homophobic camp.
    (p.s. Totally, totally OT, speaking of Big Tents, I’m currently rereading Stewart O’Nan’s The Circus Fire, about the 1944 fire that killed 167 people in Hartford in the big top of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey circus. It is really a beautifully written book about a horrific event. Highly recommended.)

  8. I hate to admit that I’m old enough to remember him, but Uncle Adlai Stevenson’s famous quote says it quite well: “If the Republicans stop telling lies about Democrats, we’ll stop telling the truth about them.” Nothing ever changes…

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