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Not too long ago, you were calling these people defective and not like us. What's with the change of heart?
Well, you know why we're not addressing these concerns?
BECAUSE THEY'RE FUCKING BAT-SHIT CRAZY, THAT'S WHY.
It occurs to me that this post and the one immediately above it (the one about cuts in education budgets) are not unrelated.
For fucking crying out loud!
He posted it at 8am today:
The fact is that the Democrats aren't doing that. In particular, Slog-style Democrats, myself included, are seemingly only interested in mocking them as uneducated hillbillies and making fun of their poor retention of facts.
Facts aren't important. Feelings are.
The question you should be asking is, WHY do these people believe so many stupid and wrong things? The answer is, because the people retailing these lies are the only people who deign to talk to them, to really talk to the bulk of the nation. Even the stupid ones. Even the uneducated, the half-educated, the ones who are losing.
Because they ARE losing. Their grievance is legitimate, even if it's directed at the wrong things. But it's OUR job to tell them what the right things are, in terms they can understand.
But any political philosophy that says "only really super-brilliant people like me deserve any attention" is guaranteed to fail. Any political philosophy that says "you're bat-shit crazy, I don't have to talk to you" is doomed to fail.
I'm not talking about arguing politics with these people on the lawn. I'm talking about developing and tailoring a political message in such a way that significant numbers of these people will find it appealing. Remember when Bill Clinton used to talk about "hard-working people who play by the rules"? That WORKED.
"Hah, hah, look at the morons" doesn't work. They'll vote against you. It's good strategy on the Republican's part, actually; they are using these people, putting these people forward, and even though their views are questionable PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THEM. And that gives their views credence. Emotional resonance and recognition is more important than facts.
"Obama is a Muslim" is not a statement of fact. It's a statement of fear. The fact is obviously wrong but the fear is very real. "My God, you're a moron" isn't a counter-argument -- it's just as much an emotional point as the other. And the fear deepens.
All muslims are out there with al Qaida, liberals hate freedom, Black people secretly hate and resent white people, illegal immigrants are the ones bringing disease into this country, corporate power in the U.S. is under too much regulation, up is down, on and on and on.
At least these folks at new left media go out there and talk to these people, ask them what they're all about. These folks don't have to ask a liberal what they're about, because Beck has already told them.
What they're hearing is "Obama is in the pocket of Wall Street". The Dems need a strong narrative that addresses the concerns of the faltering, fragile middle class. What the Democrats should do is say something like "when George Bush passed TARP, the bankers made a promise. They broke their promise". And then they need to say it again and again and again. It has to be an EMOTIONAL APPEAL, not an intellectual one. BUSH passed. BROKE their promise.
I did go to New Left Media's website today and donated a hundred dollars.
I agree that the Democrats and liberals in general are really bad at this, and it's wildly frustrating. They're (we're) terrible at countering Fox. But both sides are preaching to the choir, and that's the problem - neither side is listening to the other, or even hearing them in many cases. When Clinton was president, facts were still facts to some degree. Now facts are opinions.
I'm not advocating a more "fair and balanced" approach; I LIKE biased media. I'm advocating for a BETTER biased media, and one that can talk to the non-elite amongst us better. Some good old-fashioned populism of the left, in other words, to counteract the populism of the right, which is winning.
These people, the ones who will deign to listen to people like us anyway, won't hear our message no matter how we couch it. Have you paid no attention? Politics in this country is delivered by cudgel; morons are always there and always say (and believe) stupid shit like this, but these people feel empowered and enraged right now because the cudgel of victimhood is being wielded on their behalf. When Republicans are in charge, the cudgel of power, divine right, and circular vindication (we're right because we're in charge, we're in charge because we're right) will be wielded.
The issue is not that we mock them, it's that we wield no cudgel. All the ginned-up outrage in the world wouldn't be able to overcome action - if the Democrats currently running things hadn't spent the last two years begging Republican permission to pass castrated bills and had instead brought about the change they'd promised, these folks would just be the angry right, instead of the center of attention. These people will always feel exactly this way about any Democrat. But our weakness has allowed the inchoate anger of the middle - liberals and conservatives who just want something fucking fixed - to be lumped together and given a fat confused woman in a lawn chair as a spokesperson.
And telling them Obama ISN'T "in the pocket of Wall Street" or even showing them for that matter isn't going to do an ounce of good, because not only do they not believe this, they don't WANT to believe this. Because, IF they WERE to believe this, then they'd have to question not only the people who've been telling them this over and over, but they'd have to eventually question their own abject gullibility.
And these are quite frankly people for whom introspection, and critical, objective self-examination are completely alien concepts. I know, I grew up around them.
They can be the salt of the earth, but they simply don't have the capacity to see anyone else's point-of-view but their own, nor, in many instances, can they even articulate that point-of-view in anything other than vacuous platitudes cribbed from a talking head on a TV screen.
At what point does this "Americanism" seem to become a religion of itself?
And the liberals don't have answer for Fox news? Is there an answer for fox news?
The big fucking secret is well, and I've argued this at nauseum (most certainly now that I live in the south)
There IS no liberal agenda? The leftest extremist populist whatever is the most indecisive in-congruent hodge podge whatever out there! At our root, the left does NOT agree on things, and we kind of like that. We like to discuss things, and at best challenge our ideals. Ultimately the only liberal thing we might agree in, is to champion opportunities for social mobility and social justice.
Which is not sexy, and most certainly gets lost in the details. I mean, why is the ACLU sucking wind with popularity.
To a certain degree, we got damn near everything we wanted at one point, and it worked! As one of my friends put it, these people aren't rooting for politics, they are rooting for sports teams. People seem to like the sound of the word "Republican" it's so sexy right?
Whenever there is an anti- war or anti-WTO demonstration the right does the same thing: they find the most bat-shit crazy and/or inarticulate examples of "the left" then Sean Hannity and others air it and everyone laughs at what kooks we are. It does nothing but polarize, when all the while we should be finding common ground. I agree with Fnarf here.
Those interviewed can blather all the unfounded nonsense they can spew but it will not cover up the underlying factor. They cannot square their narrow minds to the fact that the President is black. It's a very sad send up to a Mel Brooks type script. They are in denial. It is the very worst stereotypical behavior exhibited by the species.
It reinforces all of my lost hope (started about 8+ years ago) that indeed this country is on its way to second rate status and perhaps eventual third world conditions but not due to any of the wacky notions espoused by these crackpots. I'm only sorry that I am not able to mock them with any greater degree of eloquence. But I believe I'll go to work on that until I achieve a "Christopher Hitchens like" acerbity.
1) Trying to create "bi-partisanship" (watered-down bills, not passing bills). Sure, the GOP talks about bi-partisianship (ad naseum) but they don't give a flying fuck if the dems don't like what they are doing. They just get shit passed, even if it fucks over the little guy, even if it destroys the economy. No matter, they pass it and deal with the consequences later (blame it on the dems!)
2) Can't create a clear message. The last great dem to do this effectively was clinton, but even his message was muddled. Dems aren't good at sound bites, they are good at long messages that the average person goes: tl;dr and moves on. The GOP has the sound bite to a science.
3) Even with a strong majority, hemming and hawing over stupid details, not being a cohesive unit. Every single piece of legislation gets put through the wringer, even before the GOP can fuck it up. The only good thing about the tea baggers is that they will be the blue dog democrats to the GOP middle conservatives. But still this is an issue.
With those 3 issues, the declining education, horrendous media (BP stopped being a "spill" a week it, don't you think??) and fox news bullshit....I don't know how we can reach these dumb ass scared white people. They are too ignorant to see the life-vest in front of them, the safety net beneath them that dems push to create.
Given these two alternatives, I'd still rather have the former than the latter.
"These people [...] won't hear our message no matter how we couch it." (switzerblog, @32)
"if these people don't have the intellectual capacity to effectively hear and understand what is essentially colloquial ENGLISH spoken at perhaps a college sophomore level, then truly whose FAULT is that?" (COMTE, @33)
"Those interviewed can blather all the unfounded nonsense they can spew but it will not cover up the underlying factor. [...] They are in denial. It is the very worst stereotypical behavior exhibited by the species." (Farbe, @38)
"Well. . . I've had my yearly dose of fat honk" (tifeng, @39)
"I don't know how we can reach these dumb ass scared white people. They are too ignorant to see the life-vest in front of them" (Original Monique, @40)
If someone would like to exercise their lefty-ness, they should probably try a bit of empathy instead of just dismissing everyone attending this rally as fat, stupid, and ignorant. And even if someone is in fact fat, stupid, and ignorant, it's still possible to treat them with respect, and even let them know you disagree with them in a civil manner (and yes, even if they're less-than-civil to you).
I'm all in favor of instituting civics tests as a prerequisite for voter registration. The fact that these brainless fucktards have the right to vote is a travesty.
You can't reason, educate, or rightly inform that mindset. They don't want to be reasoned, educated or informed. They simply want you to reaffirm what they already believe. It's no longer the jobs of "us" to bring them along. They don't want to be brought along. As COMTE made very clear, "they'd have to eventually question their own abject gullibility," and people like this will never bow to being that humble or humiliated. Their pride simply won't allow it. They'll die trying to be right before they'll admit they simply were wrong.
1) republicans talking about "free markets" and NAFTA (despite that Clinton passed this, the GOP majority wanted, and got it) - then show a visual graphic of decline of american jobs in manufacturing.
2) republicans talking about how they wanted to put social security money into the stock market, then with a visual aide of how badly the stock market crashed just like 3 years later, and how much money WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST IF THEY GOT THEIR WAY.
3) republilcans talking about the evils of FDR and social security (there are MANY, I am sure), then show the amount of people who benefit from social security, and that every advance in social security and medicare/medicaid was done be DEMOCRATS
etc, etc, you get the idea. This should be done every day, on major networks, until election day. Highlighting bad republican policy (especially over the last 15 years) that increased wealth in corporations, while simultaneously destroying middle income workers.
Oh, we've got empathy coming out of our ears. I doubt there's anyone here who doesn't, on some level at least recognize that these people are, in many cases, getting the short end of the stick economically, politically and socially. But that neither excuses nor justifies their obtuse, willful ignorance of reality.
These people CHOOSE to be this way; nobody has forced them to be God-fearing, color-fearing, religious-fearing, anything-that-doesn't-look-or-act-exactly-like-them-fearing people who refuse to even consider the possibility there might be some other way to achieve common goals other than the one they've been told is the ONLY way.
Respect is not a gift to be granted; it's a responsibility to be earned. Just looking at many of these people, it's unambiguously clear many don't respect themselves - unless someone cares to argue that all these obese, slovenly, inarticulate citizens collectively suffer from the same glandular condition or whatever. And the politicians they elect have shown no willingness on their part to respect those whose viewpoints differ from theirs.
So, why again are they deserving of MY respect? We've tried that for nearly two years now - and freak shows like this have been the inevitable result.
For myself, I'll stick with Carl Sagan's variation of The Golden Rule: "Do unto others as they do unto you". If respect for their point-of-view is what they want, they can have it; but not if they're going to disrespect my point-of-view in the process.
A liberal believes the purpose of government is to try to create the most level possible playing field, so everyone has the same chances of achieving prosperity.
A conservative believes the purpose of government is to safeguard wealth and property for those who already possess it.
You know, sometimes when I see an especially jarring case of stupid, smarmy 'intellectualism' directed at a well-meaning outsider, I think Bush was re-elected by 'middle America' despite the fact that they knew he was an idiot and maybe even an evil one. Not even most are that stupid, you know. I think they were so fucking sick and tired of being talked down to by 'intellectuals' that they decided to vote in someone who would make the rest of us feel like shit too. Not too forward-thinking, but when you're too pissed off to think straight and you have two bad alternatives, you can see why it could pan out that way. Now, some of these people are real assholes, refuse to learn, and there's no talking to them. Racists and sexists and others of their ilk I especially have no sympathy for (even though rural Republicans don't have a monopoly on them -- surprise!). But please, 'intellectuals', stop being stupid assholes and actually fucking do what you want the world to assume you're doing 24/7 -- THINK. UNDERSTAND. EXPLAIN! If they won't listen to you, maybe it's hopeless, but maybe you just haven't made it clear why they should care, in which case: do you even know yourself or are you just following the party line because of social pressures?
We liberals need to convert allies, not just rely on academia and breeding to deliver us party-line zombies. You can do this every day by just talking to people and making intelligent (not to be confused with 'intellectual'), concise statements off the cuff to people.
Also, I just need to say thank you, Americans. You big crazy ol' country reminds me that Scotland is not, in fact, as bad a lunatic holding tank as it could be.