Regarding the letter "McCain, Obama, whatever, hold your nose", where does this Republican-loving "Mike" come from, and what does he know about people and their politics besides what he's sucked from the tit of right wing radio?
Would somebody please tell me where to find a Latte Liberal? I've claimed the label of Liberal, Progressive, and Democrat since I reached the age of reason, and I never waste my money on overpriced espresso and milk. My daughter's a coffee addict, but she gets her lattes from machines at the Sunoco, that well known hangout of the liberal elite.
I'm a Southern Liberal. My sisters and I learned our political morality from our midwestern mother, who believed in labor unions, idolized Eleanor Roosevelt, and voted for socialists a time or two. I'm tired of being told I'm an effete snob because I graduated from college, have never gone squirrel hunting, and think the tale of the Virgin Birth is a little iffy.
Let me tell you about the liberals I know. I'm on the (very dysfunctional) board of the county Democratic Party. It's composed of civil servants, a railroad man, retired factory workers, a grocery store manager, a retired banker, an old hippy or two. Nobody's rich; or, one guy used to be, before he sunk all his money into a site for incubating small businesses in the vacant factory building that used to support the county before all the work went to Asia. He has actually created jobs, with no help and no fanfare.
More liberals: the electrician who had the first political blog around here, the restaurant cook whose whole family is big in the local Republican party, the factory mechanic who is also a musician, the old real estate broker whose wife really ran the business because all Big Hoss used to do was party, till he found AA. Then there's the tough-looking lesbian who lives up the holler, next door to her Democrat mom who came here from Louisiana as a bride in 1945. And their neighbor the hairdresser, who won't put a Democrat election sign in her yard because of what people might think. Why, they might think she's a Latte Liberal!
Closer to the stereotype are the university English Department where I work and the rather heretical church I go to. These folks are pretty comfortable, except for the young faculty members with kids, who must be keeping their belts pretty tight to pay off student loans while working for the lowest paying department of a cheap school in a cheap state. These are people who prefer reading to getting rich and are lucky enough to get paid for it at all. I'm not sure how long this good fortune will continue in America, since it's car dealers, not teachers, who get their names put on buildings, while colleges nowadays are supposed to be run like "businesses." I've been irritated with these more affluent folks -- the ones who can brag about driving Priuses, which of course I can't afford.
But when I think of the individuals, I have to climb down a bit from the high horse of my humbleness. One is a retired high school teacher, who now spends serious time in state level organizations for protection of watersheds. Another still teaches at the university, and she bought her Prius to replace a 15-year-old station wagon. She has probably mentored more individual students, with kindness and true attention, than anybody else on that campus.
I'm just sick to death of liberal bashing, and even you, dear Joe, contribute to it when you contrast phony city slickers to your beloved authentic rednecks. It's just another form of identity politics, another convenient straw man, another tired stereotype.
Guess I'll have to save my response to Mike's ridiculously uninformed (and misogynist) comments on Roe v. Wade for another letter. He's not too well informed on the gun issue either. He must have missed last month's Supreme Court decision.
Ten four good buddy!
If every liberal in America fit that latte sucking, chard chewing stereotype (though a large number in places such as Manhattan and San Francisco and many metropolises seem to fit, from my experience) our election results would not be so close (even discounting for GOP vote theft of recent years).
But in all fairness, I must say that Americans of every political stripe -- including me -- suffer under their own political hallucination, 100% of which is created by the media. One of course is the neocon "every man for himself" in a (rigged) free market whereupon a man or woman's destiny and prosperity is supposed to be available to anyone with the "initiative" to beat his neighbor in some sort of national competition for material productivity (wealth). The other hallucinatory promise is one of kindness, equality, charity and justice.
Neither party now delivers on those hallucinatory promises.
But nevertheless, the choice citizens make between the two speaks volumes. Not about the person's goodness or meanness of heart and spirit, but about their level of fear. Conservatives tend to be somewhat fearful to start with (which is common sense -- the world ain't no bubble bath in Eden). And the new breed of ultra conservative Americans are terrified deep inside, despite their bluster and aggressiveness, their grab at every material opportunity -- materialism being the only terms in which they understand security. Mainly because fear reduces homo sapiens to fall back on our deeply seated reptilian survival brain. To my mind the choice one makes, even if the=2 0offering is a state sponsored hallucination, represents at least to some degree the humanity with which one chooses to view life and live life. Some of us have a natural revulsion of choosing to be lizards, preferring peaceful, kind, non-aggressive lives pursuing the currently much sniggered at path of "truth and beauty." The lizards of course see such people as their natural prey.
In the end, like you, I choose the legion of kindness, equality, charity and justice. Even if we do seem to be marching off the cliff of destiny, as all civilizations and super powers of any era inevitably do.
When I hit the bottom I will be in good company. And when we look around we will see ole Mike and the rest who made the opposite choice right there beside us. The calamities of national folly and hubris play no favorites.
And if we are truly people of mercy and charity, we will not harbor blame or revenge. Because the "great game" being played, the game in which we were always pawns, is bigger than all of us. And the solution, to the degree that there is one, is not national, not political, but rests in universal humanism, which is mightier and more enduring than any nation or its politics.
Meanwhile, because we must live our beliefs in order to claim them, I extend the hand of brotherhood and good will to all others who have made different choices than I, including Mike, right up until the time his tribe comes knocking on my door to take me to "the camps."
Then I start shooting.
We truth and beauty types have a lizard brain too.
In art and labor,