Friday, February 5, 2010

Why is it that liberals and progessive dirty hippies are always expected to mind their manners ...

... while right wingers can say just about anything they want and never get called on it?

But American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration. Indeed, all the appeals to bipartisanship notwithstanding, President Obama and other leading liberal voices have joined in a chorus of intellectual condescension.
--Gerard Alexander in tomorrow's Washington Post

Where are Our Nation's Pundits who are always wringing their anointed hands over the "loss of civility" in public discourse here? I suppose they are too busy writing columns complaining about liberal left bloggers who are smarter than they are to notice items like the following:

Gerard Alexander can kiss my red white and blue Texas ass! -- he said with liberal condescension.

I remain unmoved by the Tea-baggers. I notice that their angry crowds are overwhelmingly white and middle-aged to elderly. Network reporters seem beguiled by them, as if they are a Norman Rockwell painting come to life and in a frothing purple fit, small town America (at least the elderly part of it) spittin' and cursin' on the teevee. This is Sarah Palin's "Real America" gone 'round the bend. Never mind that El Barrio, Harlem, the Lower East Side, and the Village are also very real and in America (and much older than "the heartland," the first people to settle New York were the Dutch, Africans free and enslaved, and Jews fleeing the Inquisition; the English didn't arrive until much later; my German ancestors, who would sire a whole dynasty of political and religious "heartland" conservatives, arrived in 1849 at the South Street seaport as unmarried teenagers with an infant son and no papers and no money; sound familiar?).

The Tea-baggers are twins to the crazy people in Russia who publicly wax nostalgic for Stalin. Those crowds are predominantly elderly and angry too (the elderly Russians are a little more openly antisemitic). Both groups hate liberals just as much as Stalin did. Stalin lived the ultimate teabagger fantasy and murdered liberals by the trainload.

As far as I'm concerned, they are the same bitter old cranks I've known since I was a boy. I knew a lot of them. I couldn't help it. I lived among them and was related to a lot of them. I remember vividly all the "he had it coming" comments when Dr. King died. None of this is new. They are direct descendants of the folks who called Eisenhower a communist after the Republican party leadership gave their champion Robert Taft the bum's rush in the 1952 party convention. They are the same folks who punched and kicked Adlai Stevenson in Dallas in 1963 just weeks before JFK was assassinated. They are in a froth because they know their day is over. The world is changing in ways that no one can stop. They are battling against the tide.

A lot of pundits speculate that this anger comes from hard times. Maybe, but those suffering some of the worst of it are the very brown people these folks blame for the whole crisis.

There was a great African American historian and pioneer of African American studies whose name, alas, I do not remember, who said that poor whites were always promised that they would never be on the bottom of society. The privilege and the safety of being white is over. In the current economic crisis, the experience of a lot of folks is downward mobility, stoking very deep and ancient resentments on top of new anxieties.

Hat tips to Digby and Tristero at Hullabaloo.


June Butler said...

I faced off with the tea-bagger types at Mary Landrieu's town meeting. To treat them with condescension is to treat them far better than they deserve. One woman waving her sign so close to my face that I thought she might hit me and another telling me, "Fuck you, you bitch!", and I'm wrong to treat them with condescension?

Counterlight said...

I remember that. You were a lot braver than I would have been. I spent most of my boyhood trying to avoid such people, and my youth trying to escape them (which I finally did).

Rick+ said...

     There is a double standard, but the fact that there is tells me there is a recognition that we stand for something better. The teabaggers would never hold themselves to the same civil standard they would impose on others. That tells you the "others" have a higher standard.

     The one comfort I take in all this behavior is that the more strident they are, the more they alienate moderate Americans.

     "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing personal opinion." - Proverbs 18:2

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

To the point as always, dear Brother!

JCF said...

The thing is, what if this shite-fer-brains Gerard Alexander was right? So the f@ck what?

Liberal "condescension" never killed anybody.

The thing about the Wingnuts, is that they always want to ANNIHILATE their opponents. Figuratively, in the most EXPLICIT terms. But if they can get away w/ it (see re Klan, Nazis, gay bashers, "Lone Wolves" like Tiller-killer Roeder, the guy who shot up the Unitarians, the guy who shot up the Holocaust Museum, etc etc.)

The mere EXISTENCE of dissent---nevermind "illegitimately occupying" the White House!---almost literally makes them sh*t themselves in fear&loathing (or the even more autonomic reaction: their Trigger Fingers!)

...and we liberals just keep standing in the cross-hairs, w/ nothing stronger than "I know that My Redeemer liveth".

Don't get me wrong: that IS still my Eschatological Hope. But doesn't mean I'm not tempted by the imagined image of a "Wingnut Hunting Permit"! ;-/