we are young and stupid and raised by wolves
(this is not real life. these are not pictures of me. I am 25 years old and a woman and passionate about politics and fanfiction and, as far as you are concerned, I only exist online.)
After Mitch McConnell jumped on an ad to pass a rifle to Tom Coburn, there’s a really interesting conversation about how certain objects are used as very simple, direct means to communicate to a base that you’re on their side for a wide range of issues.
Conservatives have lots of these kinds of identity markers that can easily and quickly communicate a whole set of beliefs to an audience when they’re mentioned, like the Bible or Ayn Rand or country music.
The fact that Democrats don’t have these things is probably because their coalition is more diverse, made up of people with a variety of cultural backgrounds and life experiences. The markers that may unite certain portions of the Democratic coalition—like, say, the music of the recently departed Pete Seeger—are not anything close to universal within that coalition, so politicians can’t use them so easily.
Conservatives have guns, pocket copies of the Constitution, and the Bible to use as really handy props that instantly demonstrate their tribal affiliation. So why don’t liberals have similar, universally-recognized totems? Waldman may be right that it’s because our coalition is more culturally diverse, but I’d toss out one other possibility: almost by definition, conservatives are in favor of tradition and liberals are in favor of change. So it’s easy to find simple conservative props because every culture has lots of recognizable traditional icons that it’s developed over the centuries. It’s a lot less easy to find liberal props because icons of progress change every decade or two.
Without getting into too much backstory, here’s an excerpt from this adorable elderly Democrat (Carl) in my area who has a mass mailing list, which he just copied on his response to this infamous trans politician (we support her as a person and as a woman, but she is unfortunately not a good politician, does not campaign wisely and has burned a lot of her support) who has expressed support for a particularly odious Republican, Michael Kubosh (in a Republican run-off, not over a Democrat).
So yeah, this is Carl’s way of bitchslapping her for supporting such an odious Republican:
Here is the picture of Keryl Douglass at her infamous press conference with her explanation of what was going on with the homophobic letter sent by the dead preacher using her campaign email. You will notice the only Fat Anglo in the picture is none other than Michael Kubosh, who was quoted as saying that people should look to Lane [the county Democratic party chairman, who defeated Keryl Douglass last year] as the originator of the piece. this is where Douglass told those assembled to look to me as I had a history of such things.
…I have told Lane that you have told me that you have not endorsed Kubosh, have not personally campaigned for him or asked anyone else to do so. I also reiterated my statement to you that any Democrat who publicly endorsed a Republican could kiss future credibility and support from many Democrats out the window. He will be awaiting your call tomorrow [number redacted].
ahahaha god damn, I love local politics. So many stories here!
You know I rag on J.K. Rowling for giving names like one that means “Strangelove” to the guy who’s interested in weird things, or one that means “Guy who was raised by wolves, the wolf” to the werewolf
But then I remember that there’s a politician named “Anthony Wiener” who seems either unable or unwilling to stop texting people pictures of his penis
So here in West Virginia, I have not had any bad experiences yet with the locals (the young waitstaff I’ve met have been particularly cool, including one black waiter with several tasteful and deliberate pink accents, including small flower earrings), but I’m stuck working closely and riding an hour and a half each day with the most stereotypical white, old, red-blooded Republican Texan
His name is literally Rex, which is actually the most apt name I can think of
Within our first conversation:
Rex: “Where did you grow up?”
Rex: “Oh, that’s a shame. My favorite view of Houston is in the rear view mirror.”
And then he asks me where I went to high school (little-known private school), then proceeds to deliver a diatribe on how Texan public schools are really too liberal, but they’re better than most in the country (oh my God)
But it was okay again until today (which, of course, is the first day we started carpooling), when he asked me if I own a gun
I said no and talked for a bit about how I’m a martial artist and have learned some disarming techniques and other ways to handle violent confrontations, and also guns are dangerous and tend to get people killed in the wrong situations (i.e., not always in self-defense of the owner)
In the most unsurprising turn of conversation ever, he informed me how the government is bent on disarming America (at least he never mentioned Obama’s name)
And unfortunately, gun control is a sensitive spot of mine, because of everything, but especially Sandy Hook and Aurora and Tuscon and I read that letter the six-year-old Sandy Hook student wrote his murdered best friend
Which is to say, I did not choose the wisest course of non-engagement, of mm-hmming and turning the conversation aside. I talked about Australia (he countered me with - surprise! - Nazi Germany and Communist Russia) and how there actually is no legislation to disarm Americans, that even a bill for more background checks was shot down in the normal democratic process of America, and he’s all “oh just wait, it happens one step at a time,” and finally how this disarmament was still a hypothetical but the reality of mass public shootings is a reality(in short, doing my best to paraphrase every impassioned speech Jon Stewart has made on the subject)
to which, he told me that the reason these shootings happen is because liberals have weakened the justice system and if only there was a clear law telling criminals that if they do this, they will be killed (so now I know his views on the death penalty, too), no one would shoot anybody (he didn’t say the last part, but apparently that’s what he was inferring), and I was just dumbstruck because most of these shooters go out by killing themselves anyway, or with gang members, they face more certain death on a daily basis anyway, so somehow I don’t think they’re going to be moved by some legal threat
and also, he informed me, prisoners don’t actually mind being in prison because most of them live better than they did outside and they can get anything they had out there
and then, fortunately, our third coworker asked me to tell him more about my years of martial arts, saving us from the downward spiral. Ugh. I will be more vigilant over the next week and a half about refusing to get engaged in this bullshit. Really, mostly he’s a nice guy, but with such stupid political opinions and that godawful old-white-man entitlement that makes him think he can declare his opinions as fact, and it makes me want to snarl, Well guess what, you’re going to be dead soon, old man. Your generation is over.