There Is No Cat

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Thursday, November 4, 2004

The people have spoken, the bastards

I saw David Gergen on PBS last night expressing concern that a huge portion of the electorate will now be completely alienated from America. I thought that was spot on. I don't recognize this America. Bruce Springsteen said something at one of Kerry's rallies the other day about how the America we hold in our heart is waiting for us. Well, the America I hold in my heart is still waiting, because it lost yesterday. And the America that won is one I simply don't understand. Not as America, anyway. Maybe as Iran or Argentina.

Part of me thinks the only solution is to split America in half. Give the God-fearing parts of the country to Redistan, and those of us in the reality-based community can live in Bluetopia. Redistan can develop their economy based on the impending arrival of the Rapture, and Bluetopia can return to the values of tolerance and understanding that define what I thought America was supposed to stand for. The irony, of course, being that this would mark the failure of both tolerance and understanding toward the people who won this election.

So be it. "Values"-based voters worry about the immorality of men kissing men. People like me worry about the immorality of letting the less fortunate among us fall through the cracks, about the immorality of the continued existence (and over the last four years, the growth) of poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth.

George Lakoff, in his book Moral Politics, talks about the difference between conservatives and progressives being best defined in terms of two models, the "strict father" model and the "nurturant parent" model. He does an excellent job of describing how people who subscribe to these two models are talking past each other, almost in different languages. Their ruling philosophies are based on two entirely different interpretations of morality. Honestly, I found the book utterly fascinating and extremely depressing when I read it a few months ago.

With the strict father having taken the nurturant parent out back of the house for a good horse-whipping, maybe it's time for the abused spouse to seek a divorce. Because I don't recognize this household, this America, any more. I don't know that the America I hold in my heart exists any more, but if it does, it may take tearing America apart to preserve it.

Posted at 12:29 AM


Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

You know, listening to NPR last night, I heard a piece by Robert Reich that was basically open strategy for the Democratic party of what was missed. I thought he was spot on because what he was talking about was that the language of morality has been missing in Democratic dialog. That's not to say that Democrats aren't talking from a moral position. But in talking mostly about facts and plans, they aren't *moving* people.

Let's face it, much to our sadness the majority of America isn't filled with intellectuals. So what needs to be talked about is how it's immoral to let children go starving because these programs are cut, or to let our eldery descend into poverty, or blahdebladeblah. It's not that religion has to be injected on their side too; but I think that the language of secularish morals does. I don't think that Kerry could have pulled off talk like that, but given that so many people are thinking about who's the moral man, it obviously needed to happen.

So we look ahead. There's talk of Hillary in '08; I sure do miss the Clintons after all. I think we should also consider Obama, either for prez or Veep. Obama was pretty damned kick ass when he spoke. All of this may be the precursor that allows *that* swing to happen.

Posted by sis at 8:42 AM, November 4, 2004 [Link]

Oh, and I thought you might be interested in the purpling of America... This map is more of a continuum based on how the states were split. Yeah, there's a bit of a reddish tinge to it. This time.

Posted by sis at 9:49 AM, November 4, 2004 [Link]

If you read the Lakoff book I mentioned in my post, you'll find that the voters concerned with "moral values" actually believe that it's perfectly moral to let children starve and the elderly descend into poverty. If those people have problems, it's clearly their own fault, and they should pull themselves up by the bootstraps. That seems immoral to you and to me, but it fits in perfectly with their world view.

There are two different definitions of morality. The definition you're talking about is the one that liberals embrace. The definition that conservatives embrace is completely different. Lakoff's book is all about this. Appealing to this view of morality won't reach the so-called "moral values" voters. I've read Reich's book, and I know what he's saying, but after reading Lakoff I don't believe his approach will work.

Hillary won't run. She's too much of a polarizing figure, and she knows it. New York is one of the only places in the country where she could win an election; that's why she's Senator from there and not from Arkansas. She's an excellent Senator, and I think she knows it and that she'll stay in the Senate.

Posted by ralph at 11:58 AM, November 4, 2004 [Link]

The moral values voters aren't the ones that you would be going for. Injecting a bit of what's morally right into the rhetoric isn't meant to go after *those* people. The Democrats have no hope of capturing them anyway; not without selling out at least.

What it's meant to do is to touch upon the larger picture. The Democrats have to stand *for* something, not just be the not-Republicans which is how it sometimes seems. They need a vision for what they want the world to be more like and they need to articulate in a way that captures the hearts of Americans.

I felt like there was a bit of that fire with Dean, and why I so very much wanted him to win. It's why I'm drawn so very much to the Green Party for local politics as well. Ultimately Kerry's problem was that people didn't want him for what he stood for, they had him in there because they thought other people would like him. That didn't capture enough of the swing voters for it matter because they couldn't articulate well enough why they liked him. Far too many didn't know what he was for in the end.

That said, still I think Kerry would have been an ok president.

Posted by sis at 1:01 PM, November 4, 2004 [Link]

I am waiting breathlessly for the Rapture to arrive so that all Born Agains can be pulled up to wherever it is they go (the Asshole Plain?) and leave us the hell alone!

Posted by mamacita at 5:09 PM, November 4, 2004 [Link]

I tend to think that a lot of men who support Bush are afraid that we liberals are out to steal their masculinity away, what with us getting along with African Americans and homosexuals and helping women to be strong and independent. They assert their masculinity by being bullies.

I suppose that some women who support Bush want to live in a Disney-fied world and want to be led by these strong men, but some are also bullies. Perhaps they're afraid that we want to make them into something other than a traditional woman.

And then there are the "moral" people who put up a front and go to church every Sunday then commit as many sins as they can cram into a week. Maybe they want to believe that they're good and pious because realizing the truth of who they are would break their hearts. Having a president who pretends the same thing helps maintain their fantasy world.

I don't know how to deal with the last example, because like "sis" says, they're out of our reach, but we can deal with the bullies by standing up to them and doing what Robert Reich suggests.

Posted by Kylie at 6:33 PM, November 4, 2004 [Link]

I'd like the rapture to hurry up and arrive already so I can raid the homes of the sanctimonious and upgrade my home entertainment system.

Posted by Mike at 12:13 AM, November 5, 2004 [Link]

Or the United States of Canada in this illus. going around the web

Posted by Swlistenter at 3:23 AM, November 5, 2004 [Link]

I agree that right-wing morality is just code for fear-of-otherness. It is based on exclusion rather than inclusion. It's view is provincial rather than global. There is no rational way to break through this mindset.

Chris Matthews opined that when all is said and done, the election was really a popularity contest and that the captain of the debate team doesn't get to be king of the prom. Bill Clinton was both, but that combo is rare.

Oh yeah, another thing -- if Jesus were suddenly to pop on down, the zealots wouldn't get it. They'd probably try to stone him to death. So don't hold your breath Mike - you're better off clipping coupons from Best Buys.

Posted by Mamacita at 8:29 AM, November 5, 2004 [Link]


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"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

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