Comments

1
Is it 8:00 this morning again already?
2
Instead of mocking them, why not at least make an effort at addressing their concerns?
3
I think they did have one point - my great-grandmother's tribe should have kept illegal immigrants like Beck out of this country.
4
Yeah...posted already.
5
dan posted this yesterday
6
@2, addressing their concerns will NOT get your video goin' viral.
7
Seeing this once yesterday was one too many times for me already.
8
jinx schmacky you owe me a coke
9
@2,

Not too long ago, you were calling these people defective and not like us. What's with the change of heart?
10
Still just as funny as yesterday!
11
Wearing the constitution as a tshirt is as classy as it gets!
12
@2 - I'm curious about how you think we should be addressing their concerns. How do you address these concerns without validating the misinformation they contain? If their concerns are based on verifiably wrong information, how do you address them without telling them they're wrong?
13
Their main concern is a black man in the white house. Haven't we addressed that?
14
I'm not real sure what their concerns are myself...
15
I made it to 5:06 in this video before being overwhelmed by the stupid. "I can't believe America would elect anyone so anti-progess..." Are you fucking kidding me?
16
United States Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, ยง8 d. "The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery."

Juuuuust sayin'.
17
What concerns would those be @2? Their concerns that Obama, a non-U.S. citizen and an avouched racist (although every single one of them appear to have had their TV's turned off the day their messiah Beck called him ou…) who carries Islam "in his heart", is leading the United States down a path toward a communist/muslim/socialist/caliphate, thereby wrecking our economy and handing over our coveted #1 ranking among nations to the Red Chinese?

Well, you know why we're not addressing these concerns?

BECAUSE THEY'RE FUCKING BAT-SHIT CRAZY, THAT'S WHY.
18
Democracy in action, it brings a tear to my eye...
19
Max@8: Will do.

It occurs to me that this post and the one immediately above it (the one about cuts in education budgets) are not unrelated.
20
Did Will just claim Native American heritage?

For fucking crying out loud!
21
Islam is not just a religion, you guys! It's a lifestyle, just like Christianity. There are judicial and financial implications! you guys!
22
"dan posted this yesterday"

He posted it at 8am today:

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…

23
@12, you start by recognizing how their pathology works. This isn't about bedbugs and Muslims; it's about profound economic insecurity, and the conviction that no one is looking out for their interests. When I say "address their concerns" I'm not talking about taking up their talking points with each of them individually; I'm talking about addressing what's really concerning them, what's making them feel that way.

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.
24
Here is the problem in my view: these people do not understand liberals, minorities, immigrants, muslims at all. And they do not even CARE to understand them. They have extreme right wing talk show hosts, authors explain & interpret the liberal/muslim/minority mindset for them. Who of course get it totally wrong, probably on purpose. For example: hardcore liberals want Sharia law imposed on the U.S. Such a set of laws is as far from liberal as you can possibly get, but look:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/0830/new…

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.
26
@25, you mustn't pretend the burden of reaching them is Obama's alone. His fair-weather friends might wish that were so, but it isn't.
27
@25, you're hearing it because it's addressed to you, in your language. It's not addressed to them. That's one of the frustrating things about Obama, even as it is also one of his strengths: he's calm, but sometimes he's a little too calm.

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.
28
I admire the steady and uninsistent manner by which Chase and Erick (New Left Media) get these people to open their bag of woes for the camera. I listen respectfully but cannot connect-the-dots between their concerns and my own understanding of reality. As Fnarf points out, though, I do see their fearfulness in opening that bag of woes for the interviewer. Asked by Chase to be specific, they cannot say one relevant, true thing. No wonder they're frightened.

I did go to New Left Media's website today and donated a hundred dollars.
29
I agree with @25 - It's the messenger, not the message. It's not 100% about racism, though - a BIG difference between the situation now and when Bill Clinton was saying those things is Fox News. It fundamentally changes the landscape. It's become the only source of information for millions, and it's selling them the fear you're talking about. As @25 points out, the messages (the very messages they claim aren't there) are out there, but they're not being heard.

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.
30
@27 - Yes, I agree that Obama's style doesn't come off well to many people, and that their writing stinks, but I don't think that's all it is. I think the change in the media landscape is a big factor.
31
@30, but we do it too. For instance, did you know that there were both Jewish rabbis and Muslim imams speaking at the Beck rally? No, because you're hearing stuff that's reinforcing a preestablished point of view. You're hearing from fat uninformed slobs with low IQs because it's flattering to your side to think that "they're all like that", just like it's flattering to them to think "they're destroying family values" or whatever it is.

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.
32
@Fnarf - You first, and let us know how it goes.

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.
33
Fnarf, 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?

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.
34
@FNARF ... I hear what you are saying ... you are 100% right that their feelings aren't being addressed.

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?


35
Actually, Obama IS in the pocket of Wall Street.

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.
36
Couldnt' get past 7:40.
37
re we measuring the crowd in total number of individuals, or total tonnage?
38
Indeed, I could not stand anymore after the one pictured in the yellow tank top sprawled like a walrus at low tide at about 5:40.

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.
39
Well. . . I've had my yearly dose of fat honk
40
The 3 biggest problems of the democratic party (and they are pretty much all problems with SEATTLE politics too):

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.
41
What you're describing Monique is, at its core, the difference between allowing multiple points-of-view into the debate versus demanding lock-step adherence to only a single point-of-view.

Given these two alternatives, I'd still rather have the former than the latter.
42
Fnarf, I agree with you, though I think your point @31, that we need some "good old-fashioned populism of the left" gets your point across better than @2. That many of the commenters in this thread can't understand what you're saying is probably a good example of why democrats/the left/etc are having trouble. Let's take a look at some of these:

"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).
43
@2, that's like saying someone needs to address the concerns of 9/11 Truthers, Birthers, or Holocaust deniers. These people are morons, and they should be fucking ignored.

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.
44
I can empathize with Fnarf's reasoning to reaching out to these people, but honestly, I just don't believe it possible. Why? Take for instance the whole Birther issue. I've seen countless example of people stating they "still doubt" the President's eligibility to serve as POTUS. Even when presented with the idea of seeing the "actual" birth certificate, many have said they'd still doubt the authenticity of the document.

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.
45
QHH @42 - Your selective editing of my comment @38 is really missing the ENTIRE matter: "They cannot square their narrow minds to the fact that the President is black" (which you left out) is central to all the Tea Bagger crap. The color of Mr. Obama's skin is their blind spot. Beck's co-option of the "Dream Speech" alluding to the "content of their character" is entirely disengenuous. I hope that doesn't require further explanation for you. It's got nothing to do with "lefty-ness" or "righty-ness"; they (teabaggers) are unreconstructed xenophobic hominids. Don't try confuse them with facts.
46
If I'm hearing Fnarf properly, what we on the left have to do is invent a better brand of snake oil than the far right, is that it? Acknowledge that most of the people on that lawn have a 3rd Grade reading comprehension level, and present them with emotional talking points designed to appeal to their bigotry and various phobias? And I believe the other commenters (sargon bighorn, comte) have it right: People ARE talking to them, they just don't hear it, mainly because those people are being led by a smart black man, and they can't relate on either count.
47
As a Canadian, this sort of thing really hurts my head!
48
@45, of course it was selective editing. The point of my exercise was to point out that absent context, the type of language in use here doesn't sound all that different from tea partier rants (admittedly from tea partiers with decent spelling and grammar).
49
I think if we really want to get serious about trying to reach the teabaggers, then we need to play audio/video clips of republican leaders saying things that go against the best interest of middle america.

For example:

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.
50
Comte: I agree, in theory with you...but there are certain items that honestly just need to be DONE. The whole "everyone has a voice" thing is cute and nice, but it doesn't always work. We need to find out what needs to be done. The best way to do it (maybe 1 study, not 15), and just get it done. People need to see action and work, and we show them neither and it makes us look weak and like we can't get anything done.
51
@42:

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.
52
Someone needs to remind the "He's a Muslim cause his name is Hussein" crowd that Barak was one of the Judges - i.e. Jewish.
53
There's a simple message that works for most people. Ask what the purpose of a government is. Not what they think the current government is doing, but what they think it should be doing. Then explain the difference between a liberal's philosophy of government and a conservative's.

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.
54
Address what concerns? This is just a bunch of white people who are running scared and some stupid moron from fox news keeps feeding them the tainted kool-aid. When these poeple are confronted with the truth about whats really going on they don't believe it. Is this what has become of America? Have we become a nation of Bigits? Just because these idiots can't deal with the fact that we have a Black President!
55
@53 and that is why conservatives hate America and what Americans stand for.
56
I agree wholeheartedly with Fnarf. I am in academia but most of my friends and family -- who are far more intelligent than most people I see on campus, by the way -- are not. This gives me a different and better perspective than many academic pedigreed people (meaning, at minimum, that your parents went to college, you've been raised middle class. and you've gone to a good college). There is a certain manner of speech, jargon, carriage, etc. that you assholes love to assume is 'intelligence' when really you're just displaying the pomp and circumstance of soothing cultural cues to each other. It really grates on my nerves every time I see some asshole 'intellectual' give up on explaining something to a 'commoner' just because he refuses to drop his jargon and take 30 seconds to explain a simple fucking concept to them. They're not too stupid to grasp the concepts; you're just too stupid to realize that they don't know your fucking jargon and that you could clear everything up with an intelligent explanation. But noooo if they haven't taken that one semester in American Studies 101 then they're obviously too stupid to comprehend your rehearsal of the facts you memorized for the exam. If you can't explain it to an outsider, most likely it's because you don't really understand the concept yourself.

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.
57
Is the guy that says "I learned all I needed to know about Islam on 9/11 aware that he is quoting an Onion opinion piece almost verbatim?

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.

Please wait...

and remember to be decent to everyone
all of the time.

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