Pushing you away from me

I’m not the NOLA expert around here, so I won’t say anything…

was my first thought after readingScout’s excellent post but goddamn if I wasn’t committing one of the Stupid Liberal Tricks* that chaps my ass more than almost any other:

“I’m not a woman so my opinion on abortion or birth control doesn’t matter.”

(alternate version: “I’m not straight so my opinion on abortion or birth control doesn’t matter” or “I’m 87 so my opinion on abortion or birth control doesn’t matter.”)

“I’m not gay, lesbian, bi, trans, queer so my opinion on GLBTQ issues doesn’t really matter.”

“I’m lucky to have a comfortable job and benefits so my opinion on poverty issues doesn’t really matter.”

“I’m only 17 so my opinion on political stuff doesn’t really matter.”

(fill in the blank, rinse, repeat)

All of those are just another way of saying “I don’t want to get involved.”

The thing about not wanting to get involved is not really that it’s almost always a morally bankrupt cop-out, not really that it’s a luxury progressives can’t afford in this day and age, it’s that it’s a complete and utter refutation of reality.

We can say it, and we can even think for a bit that we’re getting away with it, the way we can look at pictures in a magazine of a hole in the ozone, pick up our coffee cups, take a sip, and turn the page. 

We are involved. We were born involved, remain involved even if we are unconscious of it, and we’ll die involved even if we never wake the fuck up. We are involved with other Americans and with every other person on the planet. We are involved with the rest of that big family in the same way that our each individual hand is involved with our each individual kneecap and they both are in turn involved with all the fingers and toes.

If my hair catches on fire, my hand doesn’t have a choice but to reach up, my feet no other choice but to run for water, a blanket, help. To say I would do otherwise in that situation is ludicrous. To believe I would do otherwise in that situation is insanity. Todo otherwise when the situation actually happens is symptomatic of something even graver: catatonia, quadriplegia, a persistent vegetative state.

What’s our side, our party, our country’s diagnosis folks? When it’s so easy to think that way, when it’s the norm, when the words come out of our mouths without even thinking. When aWill Bunch looks at the track of Gustav and just sees the bright colors, lines and arrows, just sees a hypothetical, a scenario, a good opening paragraph for a story about the Republicans he could have written a month ago, that doesn’t fucking need another disaster to make it real?

And about that paragraph? When you say “I hope, for the sake of those, you know, airquote peopleairquote it will overwhelm, injure, maybe even kill, that this humanitarian crisis doesn’t happen, BUT…” see, already, there’s a problem. You’re not just saying you don’t want to get involved, you’re saying there can be a context wherein involvement is irrelevant. And that, Will, is somefuckmookery.

And thediary over at Kos? Already aDNR.

 *Stupid Liberal Tricks-No, I’m not saying liberals are stupid, or even that liberals are the only ones that do this, but I sure do keep seeing this stuff lately in all the old familiar places.

13 thoughts on “Pushing you away from me

  1. One of the things that bothered me about this convention is the preamble of unity.
    Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for Obama. I think he’s the great next hope. He’s flawed, somewhat corrupt, inexperienced, charismatic, has a beautiful family, is open to new ideas and is able to talk to people who are currently our enemies and still come out on top.
    But in conventions past, there were many delegates. They would campaign one by one, usually across the country, never showing up more than once in the same place, and bash one another Even ones in the same party.
    At the convention, they would all sit in a room, smoke cigars, stare one another down, probably have their lackeys go beat up one of the other guys lackeys. Then they would file out, state their case for why they should be president, and everyone would make a vote. And sometimes, even their candidate would win.
    Now, we have what I consider to be a dangerous precedent. “Speak for the party never against the party” “The pre-selected nominee will decide who speaks on what”. This isn’t an issue exclusive to the democratic party. It is an issue with both parties. It reminds me of a couple other countries we haven’t been very friendly to.
    My take at the moment, and this may change, is that let the Hillary group speak their mind. Let them blow kazoos and disrupt things at roll call. Let them scream, shout yell etc. We tend to overdramatize these days. Kerry lost to Bush and we didn’t even have Nader to blame this time. 2 days after Bush defeated Kerry, a man went to Ground Zero and committed suicide. People actually moved to Canada. Things got bad, but we’re still here. Nukes haven’t been dropped. We’re not in FEMA regulated internment camps for showing dissent. Maybe McCain wins. We’re (probably) not all going to die. It’ll suck, but we’d be remiss to blame a specific group.
    I agree with virgo. Let everyone have a voice, especially the Hillary supporters. While I Joked about the old woman that Maureen Dowd interviewed, she has a right to say what she feels. Considering how many people (myself included) tend to judge how smart a person is on how often they agree with your own position, “too X” (x being straight, gay, old, rich, poor, educated, etc) makes us complaisant. Too willing to stand off to the side.

  2. Yesterday for the first time in months I felt a bit pleased. I even dreamed a joke! I haven’t done that in years. And I believe that I’ve getting the positive vibes from the people I’m connected to at the convention. When I think of New Orleans I think of Gentilly Girl. Her new house is up high, but she might still have to leave town and not know about her neighbors. I’ve never met her, but I feel connected to her. And Loki and Maitri and a few others whose blogs I read. They are real people to me, not stick figures in a location to be used to sell and idea. But if I can help them by selling an idea to the media about NOLA I will.
    The news media whine about “no news” but there are other reasons that people go. And at your end in “The Big Tent” they are making the connections and contacts that will lead to the future infrastructure that will carry us forward. The rich corporate people are doing the same in their parties. And the bloggers are the old press. They aren’t given a seat at the table with the corporate media because you are more like press in the olden days. Those people came from the working class. It wasn’t a respectable job, ink stained wretches all.
    I couldn’t be a journalist because I was bad at grammar and I hated writing (but I loved reading and writing letters). What I didn’t realize until later is that I had the heart of a good journalist.
    And part of that heart is connecting with people that are afflicted. (As in comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.) When you start identifying more with your multi-million dollar politician because you make the same amount of money and live in the same area and go to the same clubs, something is wrong. But you wouldn’t see it because for YOU NOTHING is wrong. You are making good money! What is wrong with that? You are hanging out with your subjects, you are making good connections for your stories! What is wrong with that? Isn’t that what you need to do for your job? But then you become Tim Russert and everything with your buddies is “off the record”.

  3. In fact, you should be writing fucking LOVE LETTERS to Will Bunch for writing that column, because a) Gustav might go hit Mexico or some other place irrelevant to reminding people of Katrina, b) he himself reminded people of Katrina, by writing that column, c) his column didn’t mention how a Gustav strike of New Orleans might actually HELP McCain, if the response was better this time. That’s MY nightmare scenario.

  4. I have to disagree with liberalrob on the issue of time & distance.
    I live in Chicago, 1000 miles from New York, 1000 miles from Katrina.
    We’ve had no attacks in our city. We’ve had no Hurricanes. We had a nasty lightning storm a couple weeks back, and we had the “Does such and so terrorist have a Chicago connection” stories, but that was about the extent of it.
    However, we do have a rich media tradition, at least in press. Katrina and the failure of their infrastructure affects us. We saw the WTC towers fall on tv, and it affects us.
    We’re a major metropolitan city. We’re on a short list of al-quaida targets. We implemented security measures to prevent things like truck bombs downtown. Concrete planters all over that will prevent a truck from driving into skyscrapers. We saw Katrina and saw failures in infrastructure. As I speak, they’re ripping up major streets not 3 blocks from me to install wider, more efficiently built sewer systems to handle natural attacks against the city. We see cities with crumbling infrastructure and think “well, this could easily happen to us. Lets do something about it.”
    And it’s not just Chicago. Other cities are beginning to prepare for the worst. It’s slow going, but we’re paying attention. Individuals can help out with Katrina Efforts. We mourn the loss in New York. But the lessons aren’t lost on us. Other cities have learned that FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers cannot be relied upon. We’re preparing.
    It may not be national news, but with individual cities, it is still news. At the very least, we can *learn* from it.

  5. liberalrob, It appears you’ve missed the point of the post.
    By quite a bit, actually.
    But by all means, do carry on. That caps lock key is indeed a seductive mistress.

  6. Actually, this is a touch off topic, but.. Who else on this blog is handling the convention? Are you folks handling the RNC?
    Sorry – noob here.

  7. I thought the point was, “Will Bunch is an asshole because he mentioned Gustav hitting New Orleans might remind people of Katrina and he didn’t seem to care that it also might mean thousands more dead and lives ruined.” Wasn’t that the point, there at the end?
    You started out by wondering a) “what are you people, on dope?” and wound up with b) “Will Bunch=fuckmook.” So I responded to that. Answer to point a, yes. To point b, no.
    Nothing wrong with capslock to emphasize your points. That’s what it’s there for.

  8. Pompeo, it’s just me in Denver, but everybody’s on top of the news. I’m not going to the RNC, only so much vacation time!
    But we’ll crack van the McCain speech, for sure.
    Virgo, hell of a post.

  9. liberalrob, re this post (not speaking for scout’s)
    I used the word “we” about 10 times, “our” about the same amount. Will Bunch is one of “us”,
    I am he and he is me and we are all fuckmooks. The “target” is all of us. Me too.
    Yeah, America is, from time to time, a country of fuckmooks. For a lot of reasons, some of them very understandable, some of them not so much. And there are degrees of fuckmookery.
    And we need to do better. It’s about doing better, it’s about aspiring to be mindful that we are all connected and when we forget that, we are actively being fuckmooks.
    See, I don’t agree with you that ‘this is just the way it is, get the fuck over it.’ It’s ironic you keep saying we think about it because it’s what we live every day. I’m in Texas, Scout’s in Wisconsin, A. is in Chicago, Spocko is in California, etc.
    What we think about, what we remember, everyday is a choice. We can all be more mindful. We won’t always succeed, but we can, and should, try.
    As for you getting that none of us want anyone to be reminded of Katrina, I don’t think you’ve read this blog much. I don’t disagree with what Bunch said about Nola and Katrina and the failure of government. If he wanted to write about Katrina every day, and if there was a NOLA story on 60 minutes every week, on the news every day, I think that would helpful, yes.
    The problem, as I see it, is in the callous and tone deafappropriation of those events in a context where it wasn’t necessary.
    It’s somewhat parallel to how John McCain’s overuse of his POW status at every available opportunity devalues its currency.
    Please feel free to reply again and tell me that I don’t understand my own point. it’s kind of fun.

  10. The problem, as I see it, is in the callous and tone deaf appropriation of those events in a context where it wasn’t necessary.
    should have said “of those events and another impending disaster. ” (ie, “using” Gustav)

  11. I don’t see Will Bunch’s column as an example of his being callous and tone deaf. And following as it did hard on the heels of scout going off the rails about what a jackass Will Bunch was for daring to make a political comment even vaguely related to Katrina, and given your comment under that post declaring Bunch and the Kos guy and any others who might not display the appropriate level of reverence “fuckmooks,” it seemed that in context you were joining scout in whining about how Americans have forgotten the tragedy of Katrina and just are generally worthless. So I just have to say, welcome to the real world where most people don’t pay more than lip service to issues that don’t affect them directly.
    Yes, “we can all be more mindful.” But, we aren’t. And the fact that we aren’t doesn’t necessarily mean that every “unmindful” word from our lips or keyboards is a purposeful and direct act of disrespect. Will Bunch made a perfectly valid point in his column. He even went out of his way to emphasize that he did NOT wish it would happen. And yet you and scout let him have both barrels anyway. That’s not right.
    I wasn’t telling you that you didn’t understand your own point. I don’t know where you got that idea; I even agree with you, conceptually. But lay off Will Bunch’s column, that’s not a good example for illustrating it.

  12. liberalrob—I strongly disagree that I went off the rails or referred to Will Bunch as a jackass. In fact I resent how you make comments that do not reflect what I said.
    I linked to what NOLA bloggers were posting. One can read those posts and agree or not. But I link so people can be informed.
    I then took exception to the idea from the Kos diarist that we need a “perfect” reminder of another hurricane in order to remind whoever of Katrina. I was asking a bigger question of what is it that we need any reminder. I never even commented on Will Bunch’s piece much less “let him have both barrels anyway.”
    You can criticize me for what I write but don’t fabricate what I write

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