I’ve spent a lifetime firmly believing in equal rights for a society’s other; growing up extremely conscious of my own people’s status for two thousand years. The first songs I wrote as a 15-year old were about equal rights.
After the election of Trump I avoided reading or viewing the news for the first time in very many years. I avoided contact with homo sapiens who weren’t family or close friends – a species seemingly as alien as any insect or crustacean. My first bit of reading was Mark Lilla’s article in the NY Times, The End of Identity Liberalism, calling attention to the Left’s decades-long narrow focus on identity politics that eventually alienated so much of the white working class. For decades they’ve been cast as the evil bigotry cell in America’s DNA. We gave them to Trump.
Howard Dean – the Bernie of the 2004 presidential primaries – pointed out that the Dem strategy of skipping the Red states was not only idiotic strategicallyy buy morally wrong. He said the economic plight of the African American and immigrant poor was the same as rural and Rust Belt whites. He got a lot of nasty pushback from the Left and I’m sure Mark Lilla will get worse. Hillary Clinton got an electoral reality check for not heeding Dean’s wisdom.
Lilla did a proper callout to the equality movement. I believe the identity movement was necessary and the sustained commitment created historic breakthroughs. It also made a colossal mistake. Lilla and Dean were saying something that should be obvious but it’s the first reality zone truism to get buried in the storm of passionate activism.
I’d put the axiom this way: For Every Helping Hand There Is The Other Hand. We don’t let our left hand atrophy because we pick up our fork with the right.
Let me pause for a sidebar here to
explain that in no way do
I imply or feel that left-handed people are in any way deviant
or inferior or that people born with only one hand or had lost
a hand or arm in an accident or in service to our country…
Just a sidebar to the sidebar here to
thank our veterans
of all wars for their service.
Viet Nam and Desert Storm were
errors of judgement and decency and crimes
against humanity as perpetrated by politicians.
…are any less capable or important to our nation and to humanity.
What I’m saying, and what Lilla was getting at, is that in any social movement it’s a strategic necessity to consider the logic and needs of the opposition. In the ancient world a conquering nation would adopt the gods of the conquered to give them a positive connection with the new regime and a sense of commonality with that society.
Imperial conquest is a predatory evil.
That strategy was lost on the victors of WW1. The adrenaline rush of vengeance against the asshole Germans who set off a global apocalypse is understandable but that vengeance should have been left in the hall at Treaty time. Instead the victors composed the treaty with one hand while the other hand was fondling their nut sacks. They had no consideration for the millions of citizens who may have been deluded by their preening leaders. Even if many, or even most, of those citizens were too busy with daily labors to get some education about civilized life on Earth… even if a million were bigoted, wife-beating jerks, why not show them what decency looks like? It might have prevented WW 2.
Instead the harshest terms were set. The German economy and industry were devastated. Humiliation and hunger fed bloody resentment. The standard set-up for a charismatic psychopath convincing everybody that they were not losers, but were, in fact, the Master Race. It was those damn Jews who made this happen; screw the treaty. Now compare that scenario with with the Marshall Plan.
Keeping the Other Hand in the mix doesn’t subtract from the mission. I suppose it might be a damper on some of the passion factor without some strategic passion amp in place. So get strategic. A zero-sum victory is a future defeat. The legislative and cultural victories for African Americans, women and LGBTQ could have been celebrated and spread further without the vengeance drug aimed at all those bigots out there, many of them not evil – just uninformed. And unexposed to a diverse social ecology in a place where the local economy isn’t hinged to a single factory or industry. And many weren’t bigots at all but were assumed to be because they lived in the South while being white. Our side treated them for decades with elitist, academia- and media-weaponized bigotry, cemented into the fabric of pop culture with PC condescension and stereotyping.
The Left and the Democratic Party – the party that fought for unions, decent pay and workplace safety regs – dropped the white working class at a time when global and cultural shifts turned their lives upside down. We handed them to Republican party and now Trump, Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon and his neo-nazi freaks. And we continue to provide Fox News, talk radio and Breitbart with all the propganda and code words they need to keep this craziness in play.
PC became weaponized by the opposition. Here’s some evidence: watch Trump in the primary debates and rallies on youTube. He’d say dispicable bigoted things that had become taboo for a time – evidence of the success of the identity movement. Then he’d say, “Yeah, I know it’s not politically correct…” and the love shower poured down.
Trump was right in that he could have murdered someone on 5th Ave – could have murdered babies and kittens on live TV – and his base would still be there with him as long as he said political correctness while wiping the blood off his tie.
The election of 2016 will create a potential global mess probably beyond what my too-dark imagination can muster. Yeah, part of me would love to see every predatory scumbag CEO, banker, lobbyist, politician, right wing media screamer and their millions of deluded playthings permenantly disenfranchised and boiling together In a cramped little trailer park in hell. But on the other hand…
— Polar Levine, News Goo Dissection, November 18, 2016
© Polar Levine 2016 content should not be reproduced elsewhere without prior permission