Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Are we masochists?

I've done a fair amount of soul searching in the past 8 days as well as read post mortems on the internet and discussed the results w/ friends and acquaintances. What has become clear to me is that I am not interested in blaming John Kerry or John Edwards for anything. I think that the voting irregularities in FL and OH are sufficient to cause most considerate folks to start to demand recounts and verification of the votes. But that is grist for another mill, another time.

What I am truly struck by is the politics of victimization. I read one commentator, whose name is lost in the fog at present, who thinks that Democrats have and are behaving like victims of domestic violence. And I think he has a point there. Democrats have always been willing to take abuse, both from within and without, and turn the other cheek or seriously discuss the merits. The Republicans don't even let it on their porch. I think these differences in approach are telling about the mindsets of the two parties and it is continuing to permit the demonization of Democrats that is going on in the press today.

And the Democrats don't either realize it or they contribute to it themselves. Case in point. There's a very funny rant out in the blogosphere at htttp:// I posted it on a political discussion site and was immediately vehemently denouced by Democrats for conduct unbecoming. Yet not 2 hours previously a rant advocating elimination of the Democrats that the author admitted was modeled on Swift's 'A Modest Proposal,' (which btw advocated eating Irish babies during the height of the famine) with the only distinction, the author said, was that Swift was satirizing and HE was not, garnered not one whit of condemnation.

When I was in college I was on the staff of the school newspaper which at that time was being run by a couple of hard core feminists--very au courant for 1972. We had one male columnist whose weekly column was rejected by the editors when he wrote about how a friend of his had shit in a hat and given it to him as a 21st birthday present, from which he drew parallels about coming of age in the VN era. Too crass was the editors' comment. In that same issue, there was a column by a feminist who led off the article with a definition of 'menses,' and proceeded to talk about that function and its oppression in society. The next week, the male columnist delivered a diatribe, which at least the editors were open minded enough to print, that contrasted the banned column with the published one and asked: why was one bodily function not ok and the other one was?

So why is it ok to trash Democrats in the most unkind and cruel manner, and yet Democrats condemn this same tactic when applied to Republicans? Democrats will remain in the one down position unless they get a lot better at recognizing and attacking Republican bigotry. Democrats can start their rebuilding process by leaving their more aggressive brethren alone to seek out and engage the Republicans nastily and vociferously, and not sanctimoniously condemning them. We need that vanguard.

For additional thoughts, I would recommend:

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