06 June 2006

Arms Rooms and Democrats

I finally got my sensitive items container yesterday. I went nuts emptying it and setting up my new arms room. I was impaired by three problems. First, I have an Iraqi arms room. The floor is really uneven, and I can't stack the weapons racks. I also had a ton of ammo the last unit left in the arms room. Also, I have a lot of commo gear that I had in the MILVAN for the trip. That needs to go soon.

Today I ripped out a set of shelves from the wall in the XO’s office and set it up in my room. It solves a lot of my space problems, especially after Support Platoon made the last of the ammo go away. I also cracked open a jar of home-made apple butter. Oh, wow. That is good stuff. I mean, I like apple butter as it is commercially. But this is so much better, with little bits of apple in it and everything. I hope it keeps well enough to last for a little while. It took an act of will not to sit here with a spoon and eat the whole jar.

I have been set up with a family in Sudbury, MA by the Adopt-a-Platoon organization. They send me junk food and so forth (just like my own parents and my wife) and chatty letters describing their family, which seems like a pleasant enough bunch. I even managed to get off my lazy butt and write them a letter the other day.

Anyway, in their last box they included the May 8, 2006 issue of Time magazine. It had the ‘100 most influential people’ issue, only a handful of which had any impact on my life at all.
What I liked was the essay from Caitlin Flanagan titled, “We’re Here, We’re Square, Get Used to It: Why the Democratic Party is losing the housewife vote.” Mrs. Flanagan describes herself as a 44 year old woman from Berkley who was a lifelong liberal, believing strongly in feminism, environmentalism, against the invasion of Iraq, blahblahblah. Yet she feels as if she is being forced from the Democratic Party because the elite of the Democratic Party despise her for the lifestyle choices she has made. In her words,

”I am a happy member of an exceedingly traditional family. I’m in charge of the house and the kids, my husband is in charge of the finances and the car maintenance, and we all go to church every Sunday.”

As a result, it is assumed by every reporter and reviewer that she is a conservative Republican.

“The image of the Democratic Party that used to come to mind was of a workingman and his wife sitting at the kitchen table worrying about how they were going to pay the bills and voting for Adalai Stevenson because he was going to help them squeak by every month and maybe even afford to send their kids to college.
“The Democrats made a huge tactical error a few decades ago. In the middle of doing the great work of the ‘60s—civil rights, women’s liberation, gay inclusion—we decided to stigmatize the white male. The union dues-paying, church-going, beer-drinking family man got nothing but ridicule and venom from us. So he dumped us. And he took the wife and kids with him.
“And now here we are, living in a country with a political and economic agenda we deplore, losing election after election and wondering why.
“It’s the contempt, stupid.”

It’s the contempt, stupid. Now the obligatory disclaimers are in order. Not all liberals are like this. Some of the nicest people I know are liberals, real liberals. Real liberals are more interested in being treated fairly and treating others fairly than they are in the victim politics and divisiveness of splitting folks up by gender, race, socioeconomic class, ethnic origin, religion, and sexual preference. To that other sort of Liberal, the kind that runs the Democratic Party, people are not people. They have lost their individuality and specificity in favor of group identification. This is why Democrats, those alleged proponents of diversity, are so incredibly hostile when a black man or a woman acts in ways that do not fit their group label. A black man who says that welfare destroys the black family structure is attacked in as vehement terms as a liberal can muster. He is said to not ‘really be black’ or to be a ‘race traitor’. Although they repeat the rhetoric of individual choice and freedom, liberals do not really believe in such things. Your entire identity is subsumed in the mass identity. Thus to strip you of your membership in your designated group (‘not really black’) is to remove you, to deny your existence as the Democrats define it.

And that is the key failure of the Democratic Party. By removing individuality, they remove the vast majority of what is positive about people. They remove the sympathies created by our similarities.

Example time. Gay folks are a good example for me. I was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist background and gays were not quite as bad as communists and abortionists, but they were almost on the same level. Maybe like drug users or something. Now, reality is that someone raised in this background isn’t going to question it unless they have an experience which forces them to challenge the assumptions and stereotypes. What changed my opinions? Not a rally or a gay pride march or continuing court battles to affirm gay rights. Not a one of those things presents homosexuals as individuals that I can sympathize with. They all presented them as members of a class, which class was fundamentally opposed to my beliefs. More on the myths of opposition later.

No, it was working with a number of people of wildly varying sexual orientations when I bussed tables at a dinner theater. Once you get to know some people in a normal setting, where you interact with them as individuals rather than as members of a faceless “class,” you can’t help but find points of similarity. So ‘Mark’ was involved with another actor rather a girl. They both tipped out well and that was what mattered more. It was also having a guy in Iraq (last tour, not this one) come out to me and discovering that I really didn’t care whether he was straight or not. And so now one of my regular readers and good internet friends is a butch leather dyke and I happen to think she’s a wonderful person, because our similarities outweigh our differences. For one thing, we both happen to like women with strong personalities. Haha. But I could not have reached that conclusion if I had only encountered her as a representative of a faceless class of “GLBT People” rather than as a person, who is a lesbian.

End Result: Yet another South Park Republican, who is defined as a person who is libertarian on most social issues, but conservative fiscally and in defense policy. I couldn’t care less if gays share health insurance and inherit each other’s property and get hit with each other’s bad debts and all the other usual legal consequences of marriage. I don’t even care if they call it ‘marriage’, although I prefer completely disjoining the legal institution of marriage from the term ‘marriage’.

Myths of opposition, that’s another key platform in the Democratic ideology. By this I mean the idea that the interests of the various classes and categories are opposed to each other by their very nature. For instance, there are a lot of so-called “feminists” who believe that to advance women, you must attack men. Ginmar, who I will not dignify with a link, is of this type. They are not interested in building women and the position of women in society up, but in tearing the position of men down. To this end, they brand all heterosexual sex as rape, and all marriages as abusive. And if a woman argues that her husband is neither rapist nor abuser, then obviously she is “anti-feminist” and a traitor to her gender. These people believe in life as a morality play, where one group (there are no individual actors, remember) is inherently beatific and the other diabolic. In order to advance the position of the minority student, we must hinder and the white student by requiring the white student to score better on tests. This has a series of fallacies behind it, such as the fact that a poorly prepared black student who is attending an institution he couldn’t attend if he were white is far more likely to fail and never complete college than he would be to finish college if he were attending a less demanding institution. But this isn’t the essay to attack the stupidity of affirmative action as a whole, but to attack the underlying assumption of hostility. The Democrats have managed to instill in Blacks this sense of permanent opposition to the supposed interests of non-Blacks. It has infected some others as well. But this sort of hostility is totally manufactured. First, hostility has never and will never be persuasive. You just won’t convince me by telling me how awful I am. Second, by setting up a zero sum game and identifying the interests of one group as being opposition to the interests of another group, you guarantee lasting opposition. After all, if Group A tells me that their interests are antithetical to mine, I am going to fight Group A with all my effort.

But really, the interests of the groups the Democrats claim to champion are not truly antithetical to the interests of the majority, if those interests are stated correctly. If the object of feminists were, as the originators of the concept proclaimed, limited to the idea that women are people too, to be treated with dignity and respect and admitted to the workplace as equals, then by that standard nearly everyone who isn’t a total mouthbreather is a feminist. But modern feminists do not do this. They wish to restrict women’s choices to any EXCEPT wife and mother. These “feminists” wish to set themselves up in opposition to those who find that a traditional marriage fulfills them. They mock, scorn, and attack women who desire to have children with a man in a mutually faithful monogamous relationship. Men are not individuals, with characteristics of their own, with whom a woman may fall in love. They are the despicable Enemy, a faceless class of evil rapists bent on subjugating women. And the properly conscious woman would not wish to associate with them, but to fight them. And that brings us back full circle to the reason that Mrs. Flanagan feels that she is being forced away from the Democratic Party.

Further examples I have unfortunately seen over the past two years. For those of you just now tuning into this little drama, my wife is the most amazing person on the face of the planet Earth. I love her fiercely, as I have loved nothing and no one before. She has no idea that I’m writing this essay or that she is an example. But she has undoubtedly changed in the two years since we met for lunch at Wendy’s. Jen used to be a self-described neo-Pagan, a feminist, and a liberal. The perfectly Democratic woman, in opposition to that which the Democrats said she should be in opposition to. Not interested in marriage or monogamy, much less in settling down with a sloping-forehead professional killer with political views in line with Basil II ‘Bulgaroctonus’ and who practiced an obscure form of highly traditional Christianity. Even if I do have a cute butt. But in a sequence of events that to this day I can hardly credit, it happened. Along the way, she embraced Orthodoxy and also finally admitted to herself that a woman who owns and enjoys shooting a .45 is not a liberal in the 21st century definition of the term. She never stopped being a feminist, but the obligatory man-hating had to go.

She has had numerous people she thought were her friends either quietly stop returning her emails, or pen scathing denunciations of her lifestyle choices and poor taste in “religious fanatic” men, then stop returning her emails. I am forced to conclude that there were people who liked her not for herself, but for that fact that she was a member of a class or classes which these people liked. When she began to change, these people had a choice to make. Either they would understand her as an individual which would make these changes comprehensible, or they would see her as representative of a new and hostile “class” which they felt was the enemy. To their great credit, many people did not do this. But the number who did is indicative of the level to which this class-identification worldview has infected the United States.

If the Democrats want the great majority of the United States to begin taking them seriously as a choice in elections, then the Democrats need to begin figuring out how advance broader interests. As long as the Democrats loudly proclaim they are anti-white-male and anti-religion, anti-straight, and anti-anything else, they will find that the voters take them at their word. If one candidate tells me he hates me, when there are only two candidates running, it makes my decision in the polling booth pretty easy.


Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Wow. Tell me again, why you're not doing this kind of stuff professionally?

I really like what you have to say, and I think you've hit some key points along the way.

Democrats mouth a lot of platitudes about learning to accept folx who are different, but it's only meant as "different from those horribly conservative, traditional meanies that want to make sure that everyone lives in little crackerbox houses and drives little blue Chevy cars to work every day."

If you happen to be one of those folx, you *can't* be good, or tolerant or anything else.

4:56 PM  
Blogger tychecat said...

Your political analysis is interesting but I think it's a bit skewed. One of the biggest problems the Demos have to solve, is how to get out from under the undeserved "elitist" label Rove and co. have laid on them. The Demos have always picked up the kooks and fringe groups because they really are the "big tent", but they have allowed themselves to be labeled as not caring for the "common man" or traditional housewives, or other ordinarily Demo groups. I personally think the best way to judge a political party is by what it actually does, not by what the other party and "talking heads" say it does.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous momwolf said...

You are right on in a lot of what you say. Thanks. Can I repost with proper attribution?

8:19 PM  
Anonymous cMAD said...

Excellent analysis what makes Hajji Al-Raghad put IEDs in your way and lob mortars in your general direction:

But this sort of hostility is totally manufactured. First, hostility has never and will never be persuasive. You just won’t convince me by telling me how awful I am. Second, by setting up a zero sum game and identifying the interests of one group as being opposition to the interests of another group, you guarantee lasting opposition. After all, if Group A tells me that their interests are antithetical to mine, I am going to fight Group A with all my effort.

You're not going to be out of a job any time soon. These days, job security is a good thing to have.


9:08 PM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Feel free to repost anything I write, with attribution. Just give me a link to where you do, please.

10:41 PM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Maybe the dems do a have an undeserved elitist label, but they're sure not saying anything to make me think that they're going to change any time soon. As long as the dems keep quiet, or try to tiptoe around the fact that white, middle-class Americans are still a rather large voting bloc in this country, or try to pretent they don't need that guy who's sitting at the table with his wife worrying about bills, they're going to keep losing suburbia.

John's not kidding when he says that some folx stopped responding to my emails, or looked at my conversion to Christianity with a sneer. And sadly, when I go to vote, those personal incidences are what I remember. It's what every one remembers, I think.

I don't think I'm making any sense, though.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Jensbro said...

Jen told me to come read your latest rant. I have to say, bravo. I went through a lot of the same "awakenings" that you did in regards to gays, feminists and even blacks. But that comes off like me sounding like a knuckledragger. That so didn't come out right.. The whole "victicrat" mentality is something I just can't stand. But then again, who am I? Just a married white male with a stay at home wife in a loving marriage. Kooky.

7:40 AM  
Blogger AnokaRight said...

Need a floor? Cut up some air force pallets.matt160

4:05 AM  
Anonymous Michael Llaneza said...

Damn John, either write or go into politics when you get back to the World. Please ?

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Laserlight said...

Well said.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous nerdasaaurus said...

As you know, Decurion, that I tie almost everything back to Scripture and Bibilical events. AFAIC, the divisions that we see in our culture are absolutely nothing new under the sun.

But allow me to help you focus your thinking a bit. Who was it that killed Jesus? As a part of society, I mean...what class was it? What were their organizing principles?

Certainly, there were people of great faith. These seemed to instinctively recognize Him. But these people were not in a position of leadership within the society. The people at the top of the political heap were also the people at the top of the religious heap. And not only did the not recognize Him for who He was (plainly) but saw Him as their enemy....if you will, their 'class enemy'.

You are bright enough to draw the remaining inferences for yourself.

8:18 AM  
Anonymous YuriPup said...

I think you attribute too much to political motivation than a reflection of the way people move though society.

You change what groups of people you deal with and your circle of friends change too. Very few of my friends travel though the various circles I travel though. There are few people you are able to bring to all the circles you move though.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Momwolf said...

I resposted some of your cmments on my LJ (MomWolf), but certainly not all of them.

Thanks for the permission.

7:38 PM  

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