Join 3,436 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


schama divided America
November 5, 2004 12:41 AM   Subscribe

Onward Christian soldiers or the Divided States of America "In the wee small hours of November 3 2004, "a new country appeared on the map of the modern world: the DSA, the Divided States of America." But is this really anything new? In his novel "Sybal"or "The Two Nations" Benjaman Disraeli described the England of his day and said that it comprised not one but "two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws." Out of the divisions of Watergate and the Vietnam war the modern American Right Wing built it self up from the ashes of the Nixon downfall and the party has labored for the past 30 years to build a powerful and united party with the help of of its very own homegrown American mullahs. And of course, no one has been better at surfing this Republican wave than the Bush family. And for the right wing the revolution has just started.
posted by thedailygrowl (71 comments total)

 
Today, I contemplated the possibility of taking a Greyhound bus trip across the South. I would expect from such a trip nothing less than an epiphany that would allow me to comprehend the views of those that are my countrymen - views so disparate from my own. This is a romanticized idea. But, I will inevitably choose to hibernate in my own liberal bastion for fear of disliking what I will find out there. My best to those that feel this is a victory. I wish I could understand your enthusiasm.
posted by quadog at 1:12 AM on November 5, 2004


I say we nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by dong_resin at 1:43 AM on November 5, 2004


Every yeahoo and his undersexed kid brother has posted the jesusland pic now.
Yet every time it's posted it still appears soooo original.

/sarcasm
posted by Trik at 2:27 AM on November 5, 2004


I'm already tired of this shit. Let's move on and try to do what we can for the next few years.
posted by damnitkage at 3:26 AM on November 5, 2004


It's really not so bad down here in Jesusland. We have indoor plumbing and everything. And just the other day I met a real live homosexual! He was nice.
posted by sklero at 3:26 AM on November 5, 2004


Simon Schama's got mad skillz.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:31 AM on November 5, 2004


This week, the nation had the highest turnout of under-30 voters in 30 years. Kerry won 375 electoral votes worth of states' 18-30 voters.

Thoughts like that should keep Mullah Rove up at night. If liberals and moderates hold onto the youth vote and their trends, then this isn't going to be that long a "revolution."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:54 AM on November 5, 2004


We need a happy medium people... Of course we're different and that's a good thing, but these extremeties we force on each other need to cease. It doesn't always have to be a your-side-sucks or take-that mentality, does it? What we need is to start talking to and not at each other already. Respect. You don't have to like me, but please don't hate or fear me to the point where you'd prefer to deny me the same your seeking, that being life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness.
posted by LouReedsSon at 4:20 AM on November 5, 2004


"Mullah Rove" - so the left is now using islamic titles as abuse? kettle, black?
posted by andrew cooke at 4:31 AM on November 5, 2004


Since the first article calls him "St Karl the Rove", it's only fair.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:50 AM on November 5, 2004


You nailed it, andrew. It's obvious I'm making fun of Muslims. I'm such a racist, and you're not willfully obtuse at all. (sigh)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:10 AM on November 5, 2004


I contemplated the possibility of taking a Greyhound bus trip across the South.

*shudders*

Save yourself the agony and go find this movie:
Where Are We? Our Trip Through America
posted by Otis at 5:26 AM on November 5, 2004


I never understood why the gay community decided to push for same sex marriage so close to the election. It seemed like it would galvanize people against them in the upcoming election, and it did, arguably the one issue that pushed it over the top and gave Bush 4 more years.
posted by stbalbach at 5:27 AM on November 5, 2004


America's really two nations, one like Canada the other an aristocracy like Iran. Oh well....
posted by disgruntled at 5:32 AM on November 5, 2004


I never understood why the gay community decided to push for same sex marriage so close to the election.

Gay people didn't "push" for anything. They weren't the ones filing petitions to put bigoted ballot initiatives up in 11 states. They weren't the ones sending GOP-sanctioned flyers claiming Kerry would ban the bible. They weren't the ones telling priests to give endorsements from the pulpit. If defending against that by saying they want their equal civil benefits is "pushing" for something, I'm very saddened by America's interpretation of inalienable rights.

I'm not accusing or attacking you, stbalbach, but I really wish people would look at statements like "why did the gays do this now?" and realize how frightfully similar they sound like "what do those uppity negroes want now? We already freed them!"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:03 AM on November 5, 2004


the other an aristocracy like Iran.

ummm ... theocracy?

I'm not accusing or attacking you, stbalbach, but I really wish people would look at statements like "why did the gays do this now?" and realize how frightfully similar they sound like "what do those uppity negroes want now? We already freed them!"

Exactly.

To better understand and identify with what XQ is saying try reading MLK Jr's "Letter From A Birmingham Jail."

Let's don't go blaming the victims of discrimination for the actions of the bigots.
posted by nofundy at 6:09 AM on November 5, 2004


This "divided country" bullshit meme, with the "blue states" full of enlightened, kind people, and the "red states" full of evil, ignorant fundamentalists, is already played out, and wasn't remotely true to begin with. In 1996, Bill Clinton won Iowa, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada.

It was the candidate and the campaign. Anyone with a clear message, effective communication skills, and a personality that projected energy and hope would have won this election in a landslide.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:28 AM on November 5, 2004


Onward! Onward!

I think of the possibly dying Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has held on these extra years by the skin of her teeth, and I remember all too well what it meant in the years of my young manhood to search for a back-alley abortionist, and then I wonder what the Bush court of 2006 will say when the next set of Guantanamo-like cases reach it, or when other U.S. citizens, even perhaps some without names like Hamdi, find themselves jailed on the President's whim. I think of the hideous and useless new weapons systems on which our money will now be squandered. I think of the administration's race to militarize space, as if there weren't enough advanced weapons on our own planet. I think about the neocons, hidden away these last months, who will undoubtedly return oh-so-eager to take a whack at Syria or Iran or North Korea or who knows where else.

From Tomdispatch
posted by acrobat at 6:31 AM on November 5, 2004


I don't see where I said specific states were full of ignorant bigots, pardonyou. My point is that they're in all of them, and that's the demographic the GOP appealed to to win.

"Candidate and the campaign?" Give me a break. Did support for the war increase 10%? Bush's economic plan, 7 or 8%? Health care? No one's mentioning it, because it has just as little approval as it did last week. Everything you're saying about why Kerry didn't win in a landslide applies exactly to Bush. The difference is Kerry didn't appeal to the worst in Americans to win.

I never said Bush won by targeting the red states. I said Bush won because he targeted the homophobe vote. And you don't have a single set of numbers that can logically refute that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:33 AM on November 5, 2004


All things aside, as a Canadian I'm getting pretty sick and tired of that stupid United States of Canada map. It's presumptuous to think that Canada shares the values of places that have elected, among others, Rick Santorum and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also, if you really want to express a kinship with Canadians, you're not getting anywhere by calling it the United States of Canada either. How about just "Canada" with the new provinces of California, New York et al? Frankly, Canada's doing just fine at the moment, and if we were to add territory, it would be Turks and Caicos ahead of Western New York, thank you very much.
posted by loquax at 6:39 AM on November 5, 2004


Anyone with a clear message, effective communication skills, and a personality that projected energy and hope would have won this election in a landslide.

If only we could get a guy like that Zell Miller. I hear he really wowed them at the RNC.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:43 AM on November 5, 2004


Wasn't necessarily directing that at you specifically, XQ. It's the meme, and the implications behind it, that bother me. You may claim not to view it that way, but can you really deny that many people are making that exact same argument?

What troubles me most about blaming this result on the "fundamentalist uprising" is that it diverts attention away from where it's badly needed: What did Kerry and the Democrats do wrong, and how can it be fixed? You can't control die-hard fundamentalists. You can control how you go about fielding a candidate that will win over moderates and tip the scales in some of these close states. Don't say it can't be done: It was done by the last President.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:47 AM on November 5, 2004


I still don't understand why everyone is ignoring the reality so hard: If you don't like Bush, then you don't like 53% of Americans.

If you don't like losing an election, then you don't like democracy.

jeeze.
posted by ewkpates at 6:51 AM on November 5, 2004




Come on, the reason that the country is so divided (or appears so) is that we are more alike than not. Making people fearful of "teh gay" is a useful tactic in driving a wedge between us. Let's revisit a memo to Richard Nixon in 1972 by Pat Buchanan, then a White House staffer about 'positive polarization':
"In conclusion, this is a potential throw of the dice that could bring the media on our heads, and cut the Democratic Party and country in half; my view is that we would have far the larger half." (source)
The GOP has a well defined strategy of dividing the nation over wedge issues, I had hoped we wouldn't be divided that way, but I was wrong. But I also agree that Kerry et al had not articulated a simple set of themes vs Bush's simple set of themes. But elections are complicated, so I am sure that it is a combination of many factors.
posted by plemeljr at 6:51 AM on November 5, 2004


I think Dack has the best explanation for the election results - as well as the best plan for our two separate nations to co-exist.
posted by bk at 6:59 AM on November 5, 2004


Should American churches continue to be tax exempt?
posted by four panels at 7:23 AM on November 5, 2004


"Anyone with a clear message, effective communication skills, and a personality that projected energy and hope would have won this election in a landslide."

Saying it won't make it so. Time to read the writing on the wall. We enjoy our little liberal conclave here and think most of the country sees the world pretty much like we do. It turns out they don't. Most of the country prefers Bush. Not because they're stupid, but because that's just what they prefer.

It's a fact - Most people in America think gays are bad, bombing Arabs will make us safer, and we need more God in government. And they vote. End of story.

I understand you disagree. Good luck with that.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:23 AM on November 5, 2004


You can control how you go about fielding a candidate that will win over moderates and tip the scales in some of these close states.

Kerry did win the moderates (57%). He won the liberals as well. He won the under 30 vote, too. But too many older evangelical right-wing Christians came out for it to matter. Conservatives made up 33% of the electorate, liberals only 21%.

It has less to do with the candidates this time, and more to do with the electorate, and the way the right has positioned itself as the Christian party. There is no message Kerry could field to compete with that, short of accepting Jesus as his personal savior, in prime time on the 700 club - and even that would likely not be enough, because after all, he speaks French, and has actually visited heathen lands on occasion.
posted by bashos_frog at 7:28 AM on November 5, 2004


Should American churches continue to be tax exempt?

No fucking way. Tax them, and allow them to do what they want politically. It's not like they aren't doing it already.
posted by bashos_frog at 7:32 AM on November 5, 2004


from the last link in the FPP:
Sarah Chamberlain, a spokeswoman for the Republican Main Street Coalition, a group of Republican moderates, said that high-profile moderates on social issues like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California; Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York; and Senator John McCain of Arizona also played a pivotal role for the campaign in Ohio and elsewhere.

"Frankly, he wouldn't have been elected without us either, and the conservatives need to remember that," she said.


a large number of republicans and other bush voters aren't right wing loonies. i've got a few in my family who voted for bush once or twice, and i still talk to them (and they aren't afraid of catching the gay).

courting the religious right to get into office is like playing with fire: it can be useful, but if you aren't careful with it you're likely to get burned. any push too far to the right is going to hurt the republican party, because the moderates aren't going to like it. one solid example - the log cabin republicans i'm sure were a large percentage of the ones who sided with kerry in the election. yes, victory for bush is going to continue to tilt the country in a conservative direction, but it helps to remember that the "moral majority" is still a minority in this country.

and seeing that the youth vote makes me feel better. "luckily for America, old people die"... heh heh...

anyone else feel that the current political trend is in large part due to the fact that the baby boomer generaiton is so self-centered? i mean, from my perspective, it looks like this:

1960's, all about them: fuck the government 'cause it ain't us, and save the environment 'cause we are the future. free sex for everyone, 'cause our parents don't like it, but fuck them, they're old and oppressive. ps: smoke pot, it rocks.

1980's, all about them: go big business, go stock market, 'cause we are the ones investing - fuck social security, we need more cash for our coke habits. oh and sex is wrong, 'cause now we have kids that are having it and we're afraid.

2000's, all about them: save social security, 'cause now we're starting to need it, and now that we're the government fuck the youth, and fuck the environment, 'cause we won't be around to benefit from it. drugs are now bad because we're too old to keep taking them, unless it's viagra. and sex outside of marriage is wrong, and we never had it, and you shouldn't either. (ps: now that we're starting to die we've found jesus, and so should you.)

that's the me generation. hooray. maybe by the time the current crop of 30-somethings start running the government we won't have abandoned the ideals we hold now. who knows.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:40 AM on November 5, 2004


Anyone who looks at a map of election results by county for the last 12 years can see where the divisions in America lie. It's not North vs. South or Coasts vs. Heartland.

It's Urban vs. Rural.

All of these red/blue maps show vast swaths of light red dotted with little pockets of blue. It makes sense, too - people who want to be more worldly, wealthy or social tend to flock to where the people are. People who want to withdraw and feel more self-reliant live away from all that.

And their perceptions feed their politics. If you're surrounded by humanity, you tend to be more humanist, more progressive. The population density feeds a belief in multilateralism, cooperation, that the environment is threatened.

Someone who lives the small-town life feels more sheltered by their community. Their perceived "self-reliance" makes them distrust government, taxes or outsiders. They flock to religion, not because they're gullible, but because their lifestyle instills a sense of manifest destiny and patriotism. They see so much open space, they can't fathom environmental problems or that guns could be dangerous. The problems of the cities don't relate to their lives.

I don't think anyone will ever be able to change attitudes; our all-encompassing media hasn't even made a dent. The question for Democrats is, I think, how do you get these two Americas to relate to eachother?
posted by fungible at 7:49 AM on November 5, 2004


Kerry did win the moderates (57%). He won the liberals as well.

Win more. This is about what you can and can't control. The last President won many of those states. It can be done. Why say: "The country's full of bigots. There's nothing we can do. We're fucked"? It's just not true.

But you're right, maybe we just disagree.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:51 AM on November 5, 2004


"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt......If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."

-- Thomas Jefferson, from a letter he sent in 1798 after the passage of the Sedition Act
posted by papercake at 7:52 AM on November 5, 2004


It doesn't always have to be a your-side-sucks or take-that mentality, does it?

Obviously not. But sometimes it does, and this is one of those times.

If you don't like Bush, then you don't like 53% of Americans.

Probably a lot more than that, actually.
posted by rushmc at 8:28 AM on November 5, 2004


"The campaign over, Americans are expecting a bipartisan effort and results," he said. "I will reach out to everyone who shares our goals."
George W. Bush, Nov, 4, 2004


A uniter.

Right.
posted by Danf at 8:37 AM on November 5, 2004


If you don't like Bush, then you don't like 53% of Americans.

53% percent of all Americans didn't vote for Bush.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:49 AM on November 5, 2004


pardonyou nailed it.

I've been talking to Bush supporters off and on for some time now. Certainly, some of them are highly partisan assholes, just like discussion here on mefi seems to be dominated by highly partisan assholes on the left. On the other hand, there are quite a few who were won over to Bush by the "lesser of two evils" argument.

They rationalize the WMD snafu as an honest mistake based on bad intelligence. They consider Saddam Hussein as a very bad man who should have been removed from power no matter what the rationale. They believe that the slumping economy was triggered by Clinton policies, and expect an economic turn-around in the next 4 years.

On the other hand, there were a heck of a lot of people who voted for Kerry without especially liking him. I still don't have a clear vision of what a Kerry presidency would have looked like, other than not being a Bush presidency. John Stewart's comment on Kerry was enlightening. Asked multiple times if Kerry was a good candidate, his comment was, that Kerry was selected by the process.

I suspect that there are a fair number of people who voted in the presidential race, and who held their nose while doing it.

Seriously, I'm strongly feeling the need to take a break from mefi for a few weeks because this habit of putting on polarizing glasses when most of you look at America isn't healthy to watch, much less engage in. Most of you look at the South, or look at the West and you see only what you want to see.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:59 AM on November 5, 2004


>> If you don't like Bush, then you don't like 53% of Americans.
>
> Probably a lot more than that, actually.

I'm going to indulge an a longish quote from Sam Smith over at Progressive Review:

As a skeptic who neither partakes in the blood of Christ nor has danced with a Sufi while, say, making the slow transition from Presbyterianism to Buddhism, I sometimes think of what is happening as a struggle between two sects, rather than between the faithful and non-believers. On the one hand, we have those enveloped in a retro version of Christianity devised by some highly successful hustlers and charlatans and, on the other, we have liberals who seem to believe that politics begins and ends with abortion and gay rights, and in a cargo cult that delivers salvation through Botox injections, the right wine, and Vanity Fair. It is rare anymore to hear liberals speak of things like pensions, health care, or labor issues. Thus they have little to talk about to the fundamentalists save the issues that divide them so sharply.

The common thread across all forms of faith these days - conservative and liberal - is certainty and a contempt for those who do not share it. Our recovery, however, will begin not with triumph over our tormentors but with the discovery of tolerance for them.

Tolerance is a word much out of favor these days yet its organization and promulgation is the underlying genius of the American system. It has been also described as the concept of reciprocal liberty: I can't have my freedom unless I give you yours. It is based not so much on shared values as indifference to unshared values.

.....

The decline the Democratic Party has been accelerated by the growing number of American subcultures deemed unworthy by its advocates: gun owners, church goers, pickup drivers with confederate flag stickers. Yet the gun owner could be an important ally for civil liberties, the churchgoer a voice for political integrity, the pickup driver a supporter of national healthcare. Further, the greatest achievements of the Democratic Party, both in terms of good legislation and votes, came under presidents who were willing to deal with southern politicians far more retrograde than your average Falwell follower. Today's liberals never could have created the Great Society; they would have hated too many of the people whose votes were necessary to make it happen.


I hope the mass of Kerry Democrats here grasp that the doctrinaire lefties we know so well (and hear so much from) would rather see the Democratic house burn than have to share it with anyone who doesn't pass their delicate smell test. Which is, of course, fine with me, I'd be happy to see the Dems become a marginal, regional party which can't elect anybody outside of Martha's Vinyard and San Francisco. But the rest of you might want to give ol' Sam's points some thought.
posted by jfuller at 9:16 AM on November 5, 2004


If you don't like Bush, then you don't like 53% of Americans.

I think that's probably a pretty low estimate. I'm sure there's just scads of Kerry voters that I don't like, either. And to be perfectly honest, I'm going to bet that there's a lot more than 53% of Americans that would hate me right back.
posted by majcher at 9:18 AM on November 5, 2004


Kirkjob: well at least you had an experience of partisanship that will be useful in recognizing partisan behavior in future ; that'll be handy outside politic discussion, as well in "real life" (expecially at work) in which, I think, from now on you'll automatically notice partisan behaviors far more quickly then before, because you experienced lots of it from many sides.

I think experiencing partisanship isn't unhealthy as long as one is able to recognize why and how one was attracted to certain partisan arguments and notions, why others were summarily rejected..it's a kind of experience that could reveal you more about yourself and how you actually think.
posted by elpapacito at 9:28 AM on November 5, 2004


The Day the Enlightenment Went Out
posted by homunculus at 9:33 AM on November 5, 2004


I had an interesting experience yesterday.

I live in Oregon, and work in an office in which most of the people, I am assuming, voted for Bush.

There are a few like minded people in the office, and apparently I was overheard using the *B* word for people who voted for Oregon's ban on gay marriage. (My dauther is a gay teen and she was devastated by the fact that even in our county, this was passed.) My wife and I put in many hours both to defeat this measure and to elect Kerry.

My office mate yesterday asked me how I define "bigot." Uh oh. I gave it five seconds of thought and said that I define it someone who has certain rights but would deny those rights to certain other groups.

He looked it up in Websters, while sitting there, and read the definition as someone intolerant to other's opinions. And then he asked me whether I was also a bigot for being intolerant to HIS opinion. We have not really spoken since, and I worry that the rift will stay there and make it very uncomfortable.

So I am living a little microcosm of this cultural divide. It sucks. I do not know how to repair it, even on my small level.

My office mate is not a bigot, I think that he knows I know this, but he was very offended, even though my comment was over heard and not spoken directly to him. And his guy won. His issue won. Let me whine a bit, I'll get better soon.

And I still feel that anyone who voted for a gay marriage ban (at least ours is not as draconian as the ones in Ohio and Lousiana - sheesh - golden retrievers arguably have more rights now than gay people in those states) is doing so based on prejudices and that gay people marrying legally does nothing to diminish their lives or dishonor choices they make. And the organized efforts to ban gay marriage in state constitutions were hateful and damaging to society as a whole.

But it sucks to not be on speaking terms with someone I generally like a lot and respect.
posted by Danf at 9:38 AM on November 5, 2004


Gay people didn't "push" for anything. They weren't the ones filing petitions to put bigoted ballot initiatives up in 11 states...

Not really true. There were many court cases brought by gay people and organizations which brought the whole thing to a head. If they hadn't pushed as hard at this time, Kerry might have won. That said, I can't blame them one bit -- it's the bigots, those who pander to the bigots, and those who support the panderers who deserve the blame.
posted by callmejay at 9:40 AM on November 5, 2004


Today's liberals never could have created the Great Society; they would have hated too many of the people whose votes were necessary to make it happen.

I think that's absolutely true, and I want to comment on caution_live_frogs' assertion that not all Republicans are the stereotypical red staters.

There has been little talk of the fact that one thing the Democrats could do and should seek to do is split the Republican coalition. Right now we're not seeing it as a coalition, we're seeing it as some big stereotypical group of nutballs, but the fact that is that there is a large group of moderate Republicans out there who are about to learn that the religious right is more than happy to have their votes at crunch time, but otherwise they can f*ck off.

Look at what happened with Arlen Specter - as Josh Marshall says, you can bet he was told by the president that if he didn't back off, there simply was no way he was getting the chairmanship. And he backed off. But you know what? I bet he's pissed.

There are quite a few economic conservatives who are made queasy by the implication of "Jesusland," and the fact is that the Democrats are the party of the moderates, are the party of fiscal sanity. The point needs to be driven home with moderate Republicans - "What do you really have in common with the Bible thumpers? You know they don't give a sh*t about you, don't you?"
posted by kgasmart at 9:41 AM on November 5, 2004


kjs (is it okay to abbreviate your name like that?), you had some wise things to say, but i have to say that i am so sick and fucking tired of comments like this

just like discussion here on mefi seems to be dominated by highly partisan assholes on the left

that i'm about to put my fist through my monitor.

i am 100% convinced that people who make this complaint do so because of confirmation bias.

in other words, "Most of you look at [metafilter] and you see only what you want to see."

there's a wide range of behaviors and philosophies represented on the blue, and the discourse is very calm and reasoned (and reasonable) for the most part. it's not uncommon to see left-leaners call other left-leaners on their shit (i've been called on mine several times).

if you thought about it, i think you'd agree; and you'd agree that while there are some left-partisans who are quite assholish and quite loud and prolific in their postings, they don't "dominate" the discussion, they're just loud.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:03 AM on November 5, 2004


Danf, I dont think that it can be repaired. Are you going to change your mind about his vote? Are you going to win him over to your viewpoint? Are you willing to sincerely apologize to him for your comment?

The real difference (IMO) is the "mind your own business" factor. He voted to prevent somebody from obtaining equal treatment under the law. You didnt vote to force him into a gay marriage, or even to believe that it was right. You voted to ensure everyone was able to obtain the aforementioned equal treatment.

As an aside, this is why I never take any side in any discussion of anything remotely controversial in my workplace(s). It's too dangerous and too easy to get into deep water.
posted by Irontom at 10:06 AM on November 5, 2004


A post election day anecdote:

I was on the bus the day after the election. My bus driver is a pretty loud and brash guy who has 4 boats, 14 tackle boxes, and an unknown number of guns and his favorite conversation topic revolves around how many fish he caught, how many mushrooms he picked (mushrooming is a serious sport in morel season), or what he killed over the weekend.

Anyway, something set him off about the election, and he spent 20 minutes complaining to a rider about how his retirement fund is suffering due to Bush, how the deficit is like writing bad checks, how the war is too expensive, and 10 minutes alone on "My Man Mitch" (former Bush administration official Mitch Daniels).

So when people from democratic strongholds on the coasts express profound contempt for the spaces in between, that is political fodder that the Republicans have managed to run with quite successfully.

lord_wolf: if you thought about it, i think you'd agree; and you'd agree that while there are some left-partisans who are quite assholish and quite loud and prolific in their postings, they don't "dominate" the discussion, they're just loud.

You are entirely right. It is possible that I need to take a break to chill out for a bit.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:12 AM on November 5, 2004


I hope the mass of Kerry Democrats here grasp that the doctrinaire lefties we know so well (and hear so much from) would rather see the Democratic house burn than have to share it with anyone who doesn't pass their delicate smell test. Which is, of course, fine with me, I'd be happy to see the Dems become a marginal, regional party which can't elect anybody outside of Martha's Vinyard and San Francisco. But the rest of you might want to give ol' Sam's points some thought.

You know, considering the denial so much of the moderate right is in today about who really won the election for their party, I've become really sick really quickly of it thinking it still has the authority to pretend it knows how the Democratic Party works.

Hard-left liberals conceded to Kerry's moderation on a slew of issues, from Israel to the death penalty to abortion. The Republican Party embraced outright bigotry to score a few percents in key states and yet you're fabricating some mystique of us wanting to "burn our house down?" The Party of Lincoln just endorsed segregation, dude. As a liberal, I'm really not taking the lead in the soul-searching race here. Sorry.

Look at some of the trends since the 2000 election. The Democrats have a lock on 190 electoral votes, with an increase in leaning for another 48. Petty drivel about "anyone outside of Martha's Vineyard and San Francisco" is cute for a snark point on a message board, but Bush needs support from at least a handful of northern states as much as the Democrats need from a few in the south. Fifty million people saying they didn't want Bush to be president makes anyone babbling about "liberal enclaves" look ridiculous.

Gimme a break. Democrats are sitting down today and discussing what they have to do to organize their agenda for the next cycle. Republicans are sitting down and pretending to ignore what their agenda was for this one. So please, with all due respect, kindly cut the shit about my side having compatibility issues, m'kay?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:30 AM on November 5, 2004


> So please, with all due respect, kindly cut the shit about my side having
> compatibility issues, m'kay?



Uh, check.
posted by jfuller at 10:45 AM on November 5, 2004


caution live frogs ... i've said it before ... the baby boomers are a generation of vipers ... and i was born in '57, i should know

not all of us, of course ... but too many ... way too many

if our country's going to be fixed, it's going to be gen xers and millenials that will do the fixing
posted by pyramid termite at 10:53 AM on November 5, 2004


Jesus. Do you really think that way, jfuller?

Thank you for proving my point completely. You don't refute anything I said, instead, look- a picture of an angry DEMOCRAT! That must mean Bush didn't win by pandering to homophobia! It all makes sense now! No need to address the open bigotry of your party at all now! Democrats' fault! Stupid democrats! Look at the silly monkey! Look! What

I wish I could convey how sad your response makes me. Smart people pretending to be stupid for the sake of feeling like they won. Congratulations.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:14 AM on November 5, 2004


Meanwhile, in Saskatchewan...
posted by homunculus at 11:41 AM on November 5, 2004


danf: your coworker said he was offended by your alleged bigotry. Fine with me..therefore he should be offended by bigotry in all of its manifestation, if he's consistent in his outrage.

Don't you find it a little curious, that he's offended by your bigotry, but he's not offended by the evident bigotry of a proposal to BAN gay marriage ?

Quite evidently, two persons that are willfully getting married are not being forced into marriage (self-evident). They still can refuse to marry if they so wish because each of them, individually, is free to decide and that is not found to be otrageous by anybody, except by those who can't coinceive the existence of a couple without a marriage.

Those who believe in the equivalence couple=marriage are free to marry and to follow any opinion they choose to no, as no law is forcing them NOT to marry.

On the contrary, those who support BAN on gay marriage are going to force a gay couple NOT to be married ..and that's usually done on the grounds that they find gay marriage to be "wrong" or "bad" , therefore gay marriage should not be tolerated.

Now isn't that bigotry ? But while YOUR bigotry wasn't going to harm nobody except the sense of your coworker self-esteem , the ban on gay marriage bigotry is going to affect all the gay people living in the states, regardless of the fact that some of them don't hold any bigot stance against the marriage of anybody.
posted by elpapacito at 11:49 AM on November 5, 2004


Gimme a break. Democrats are sitting down today and discussing what they have to do to organize their agenda for the next cycle.

Give me a break. At least judging by MetaFilter and almost everything I read, that's not at all the case. In fact, my problem is that things are startlingly the opposite: There does not appear to be any introspection or self-criticism. Instead, it's so much easier to foist all of the blame for the loss on some perceived heightened reactionary strain in the country. Bullshit! There hasn't been some huge sea change since 1996. There were bigots then, there are bigots now. The Republicans simply did a better job of getting more people to vote for their candidate.

And on the subject of "compatability issues," how about this piece of drivel, XQ? Perhaps the most condescending piece of shit I've ever read. (And I liked "A Thousand Acres"!)

The error that progressives have consistently committed over the years is to underestimate the vitality of ignorance in America. Listen to what the red state citizens say about themselves, the songs they write, and the sermons they flock to. They know who they are—they are full of original sin and they have a taste for violence. The blue state citizens make the Rousseauvian mistake of thinking humans are essentially good, and so they never realize when they are about to be slugged from behind.

* * *

Progressives have only one course of action now: React quickly to every outrage—red state types love to cheat and intimidate, so we have to assume the worst and call them on it every time. We have to give them more to think about than they can handle—to always appeal to reason and common sense, and the law, even when they can't understand it and don't respond.


I hope Jane Smiley gets used to Republican power. Climbing up to join her on her high horse will guarantee it.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:53 AM on November 5, 2004


I think the bait and switch pulled may backfire. If people voted for moral issues, but are getting flat taxes, reduced redress for corporate crime and misdeeds, and privatized Social Security, etc, what happens?

If Bush doesn't deliver on the moral issues, what happens? Some Bush Supporters Say They Anticipate a 'Revolution'--"But I believe it is a short reprieve," he continued, adding that conservatives now had four years to pass an amendment banning same-sex marriage, to stop abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, and most of all to remake the Supreme Court. "I believe that the Bush administration now needs to be more aggressive in pursuing those values, and if they don't do it I believe they will pay a price in four years," he said.
posted by amberglow at 12:05 PM on November 5, 2004


The JesusLands need to form their own political party and the neoconservative Likudniks need to form their own political party and the corporate whores need to form their own political party and the racists and homophobic haters need to form their own political party.

That should leave Republicans to be their own political party at long last, the party of Abraham Lincoln instead. And the Democratic party doesn't need any free f*cking advice from their opponents, thank you very much.

This two party system is broken.

What really pisses me off is that the so-called "christians" in this election are truly the party of the haters in disguise and are giving others who actually practice the faith a bad name.
posted by nofundy at 12:27 PM on November 5, 2004


So when people from democratic strongholds on the coasts express profound contempt for the spaces in between, that is political fodder that the Republicans have managed to run with quite successfully.

KirkJobSluder, it seems to me that you are a good man living in a "red state" that is getting frustrated with hearing your part of the country being denigrated. That's okay, and I admire your ability to compartmentalize the people from the politics. However, apparently most of the people in your corner of the world have no hesitation to make brash, sweeping, negative judgements on the "coastal areas". It is the land of the elite, the godless, the sodomites, all of whom need to be smited by the wrath of their religious ambassador, George Bush. So, yes, coastal people should probably try to understand that there are nuances in the 'heartland' just like everywhere else, but perhaps you should also be confronting the people in this area that you love and telling them the same thing.

(I'm giving this advice, but for the record I personally am done with nuance. This election is just an ugly symptom of the rise in global fascism over the past decade, and I refuse to spend any more energy trying to be understanding over people or states or countries that generally seem to hate the people I love for petty, mean reasons. Also, Oregon with its anti-gay marriage legislation is not exactly a shining bastion of liberal freedom either at the moment.)
posted by jess at 12:38 PM on November 5, 2004


jfuller: I'd be happy to see the Dems become a marginal, regional party which can't elect anybody outside of Martha's Vinyard and San Francisco

You know what? Fuck you (and I mean that in respect to your smug sterotype of liberals, not you as a person). I am both a liberal and a San Franciscian (native). I am also a beer drinking, pro-second amendment, country music loving (as in Hank Williams Sr., Buck Owens and Patsy Cline, not that Toby Keith/Shania Twain bullshit - hey, I get to be a snob about something, don't I?), woman from a blue collar background who has little patience for navel-gazers who want to argue about whether or not wimmin or wyminn is the more PC term for woman. You know what I worry about ?

- Making sure that the water and food I consume won't give me cancer because of pollutants from dumping from big corporations who gain a free pass by donating assloads of cash to political bigwigs (both parties).
- Giving people a living wage so that they don't have to work 3 jobs just to keep them and their famlies from ending up on the street, as well as making sure they have access to affordable healthcare so that they don't show up in an emergency room with a systemic infection from an untreated ear infection - something that could have been easily and inexpensively taken care of days or weeks earlier.
- Having an education system that actually educates kids and sex ed classes that gives them science based, medically accurate information on how people get pregnant or catch an STD, and the best ways to prevent those things from happening INCLUDING talking about abstinence.
- Getting the homeless mentally ill off the streets and into treatment, supportive housing AND employment - services that will pay for itself in terms of reducing costs due to expensive PES visits and involuntary hospitalizations as well as the use of jails, police, fire, and paramedic departments as de facto social workers and inpatient facilities, not to mention reductions to SSI payouts AND increased revenue from the payroll tax AND increased revene from people who would prefer to shop and do business in a place that doesn't have disheveled people wandering about screaming at the voices in their head.
- Making sure that the overwhelming majority of state, federal and city funds for social programs are actually going to providing services to the community, not getting sucked up in some inefficient, bloated bureacracy.

I could go on and on but the point is, don't you dare sterotype me, or my hometown. While you may have a point that working-class center-left Democrats have to regain control of the party if it's to survive, you obviously don't know enough about San Franscians or liberals past the tired stereotypes the right cynically uses to hoodwink people into thinking that they are the party of the common man. I'm not saying that there aren't some walking stereotypes running around, just that most of us don't fit that description.
posted by echolalia67 at 1:16 PM on November 5, 2004


Bullshit! There hasn't been some huge sea change since 1996. There were bigots then, there are bigots now. The Republicans simply did a better job of getting more people to vote for their candidate.

Holy shit! So you're saying Bush won because he got more people to vote for him? Well that settles it, then. Man, you haven't even tried to put up a set of numbers or any modicum of factual evidence to clarify your blanket statement that "they just all decided to vote for him." No shit, Sherlock. That's my point- you don't want to address the breakdown, because you know it as well as I do.

If you can show me an exit poll mandating the economy, or the war, or anything else on Bush's agenda, that got even within 5% of the support his anti-gay policies did, put 'em up and you'll have a sliver of a point. But there was no mandate of support for Iraq, no mandate of support for a health care plan. Did EVERY bigot vote for Bush? Is EVERY Bush voter a bigot? It's insulting that I even have to elaborate that the answer to both of those questions is "absolutely not." But the key victory demographic- the demographic that leaned heaviest toward one side with one intention- the demographic that put Bush in the White House and came out to vote because they were specifically targeted was the demographic that hated the homos, and you're in complete. fucking. delusional. denial if you think that's not the group Bush is going to exercise his "political capital" to pay off. Not rewarding his war supporters. Not assisting his health care backers. It's payback time for the homo-haters, and you know it.

And it's burning so many Republicans up inside that they don't like it either and have no one to blame but their own goddamn party. So instead, let's attack the Democrats and their "hate speech" for pointing out what they won't.

I'd love to see these so-called "moderate Republican" warbloggers- the ones who say they support gay rights and choice- actually join Democrats to oppose Bush's right-wing policies and appointments now that they feel secure their position on the War on Terrorism will stay the course. When they do that, they can stop bitching about how we're all pointing out their embracing of the homophobe demographic. I'm not holding my breath.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:47 PM on November 5, 2004


I could go on and on but the point is, don't you dare sterotype me, or my hometown. While you may have a point that working-class center-left Democrats have to regain control of the party if it's to survive, you obviously don't know enough about San Franscians or liberals past the tired stereotypes the right cynically uses to hoodwink people into thinking that they are the party of the common man. I'm not saying that there aren't some walking stereotypes running around, just that most of us don't fit that description.

Very true statement. And it applies in spades to all of the broad-brush lambasting of the backwards "red states" that's the distraction du jour.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:01 PM on November 5, 2004


country music loving (as in Hank Williams Sr., Buck Owens and Patsy Cline

right on! i'm a black male born and raised in the south who likes those artists and who proprosed a moment of silence in number 3's honor when i went out drinking with my friends on the day he died.

i'm also a card-carrying (well, i would if i had such card) liberal.

here's to defying stereotypes! (and that shout-out goes out to my sisters and brothers on the other side of the aisle and everywhere in between who do so, too!)

(btw, preach on, XQUZYPHYR, preach on)
posted by lord_wolf at 2:42 PM on November 5, 2004


Tolerance is a word much out of favor these days yet its organization and promulgation is the underlying genius of the American system. It has been also described as the concept of reciprocal liberty: I can't have my freedom unless I give you yours. It is based not so much on shared values as indifference to unshared values.

Clap. Clap. Clap.

If these are your values, why do you vote for those opposed to them? Why do you defend them? It's quite simple: those who will not tolerate cannot be tolerated. It's the caveat to the principle, without which the whole ethical framework will crumble.

If I believe A and you believe -A, and after free and open debate neither of us can convince the other to change his position, then fine. I will shake your hand and we can agree to disagree. But if you go further and try to force me (through social pressure, legislation, or other means) to adopt your -A, then you must be destroyed, because you are not a democrat (small d) and are a poison to the SYSTEM, regardless of the specific issue you are trying to bully me on this day.

Accepting the imposition through force of that which cannot be gained by persuasion is not "tolerance." It is capitulation.
posted by rushmc at 3:12 PM on November 5, 2004


...proprosed a moment of silence in number 3's honor when i went out drinking with my friends on the day he died


For a moment I got a little panicky, thinking that you were referring to this "number 3". I don't think my heart could take another blow so soon after the election. Just remember kids, every generation gets the Hank Williams they deserve.
posted by echolalia67 at 4:12 PM on November 5, 2004


Read this.
posted by rushmc at 5:53 PM on November 5, 2004


Meanwhile, in Portugal...
posted by homunculus at 6:59 PM on November 5, 2004


ewe people are all dummassis. teh map is bullshit. teh boogyman is your next door naybore.
posted by quonsar at 8:14 PM on November 5, 2004


It's Urban vs. Rural.

Spot on. The origins of the conservative/liberal split is traceable to the rise of the Medieval town in the 11th Century.
posted by stbalbach at 9:14 PM on November 5, 2004


Today, I contemplated the possibility of taking a Greyhound bus trip across the South. I would expect from such a trip nothing less than an epiphany that would allow me to comprehend the views of those that are my countrymen - views so disparate from my own. This is a romanticized idea. But, I will inevitably choose to hibernate in my own liberal bastion for fear of disliking what I will find out there. My best to those that feel this is a victory. I wish I could understand your enthusiasm.

Ahh come on down. It's safe. Some southern people have accents, but I'll translate for you. And we have running water. The food's not bad, and the music in certain areas is fantastic. We even have a starbucks or two!

And some people, like me, actually work side by side with black people!

Come to think of it, your whole 'I'll stay in my little world with my own ideas' would fit in perfectly with the cliched south you'ver read about in books, and metafilter of course.

I contemplated the possibility of taking a Greyhound bus trip across the South.

*shudders*


Come on otis. you being from the great mecca of comlumbus ohio, I'd think new orleans alone would be worth the trip (but what trip wouldn't?).
posted by justgary at 4:56 PM on November 6, 2004


Wisconsin school officials have revised the science curriculum to allow the teaching of creationism
posted by homunculus at 10:46 AM on November 7, 2004


Another chapter of the two Americas
posted by amberglow at 1:57 PM on November 7, 2004


And how does Chief Justice Clarence Thomas sound?
posted by amberglow at 5:45 PM on November 7, 2004


« Older QRIME...  |  The British Steam Car Challeng... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments