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Too much of a good thing.

I’m about to say something controversial.

If the left hadn’t come up with “Defund the Police”, the right would have created it for us.

I think I registered my caution at the time it happened.

I get what the intent was and I am fully behind Black Lives Matter. I’m not just saying that. I really mean it.

But that slogan was just damaging to the cause and I wasn’t behind that concept. At all. Demilitarize the police would have been my preference because it is much easier to explain and defend. In other words, let’s make sure the police don’t see the rest of us as the enemy. Let’s take the 9/11 terrorism alert mentality down a notch. Not all protestors are out to destroy the country. In fact, our biggest terrorism threats are white extremist and nationalism groups and that has been common knowledge among the FBI for more than a decade. It’s not black people.

There is some rather overdue criticism of “woke culture” lately that I think deserves attention. That is not to say that being woke and mindful of other peoples’ culture and experiences is a bad thing. It’s not. But there is something going on around wokeness that feels like something out of Mao Tse Dong’s Cultural Revolution.

I had a supervisor whose wife was a teenager during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and participated enthusiastically. In her case, she attacked any fashion item that smacked of western capitalism. She thought it was particularly educational to find someone wearing a nice pair of Levi’s and then squirt the button fly 501’s with a syringe of bleach. Yeah, imagine saving all the money you could scrounge, finding a way to smuggle in a pair of expensive jeans and then have some twerp destroy them in the name of culture.

Those kids were celebrated. And probably feared. They’re the kind of kids that make you sleep with one eye open.

Their method of compliance was shame. What are the chances you would wear those jeans again in public with big bleach marks on them? And if you had a pair of jeans that hadn’t been destroyed yet, the best thing to do would be to never wear them at all.

Shaming is a very powerful tool but weirdly enough, it’s only effective against the left. The right doesn’t seem to care about shame or at least we haven’t found their tender spots yet. The seemed to tolerate just about any criminal, unethical, immoral behavior that the big Orange could do. But we have a little army of cultural revolutionaries that are constantly shaming us and correcting even the smallest perceived infraction with demands to engage in public self-denunciation, re-education and endless apologies. How many times did we demand that Hillary Clinton apologize for living?

So, I direct your attention to Lindsay Ellis’s review of her “cancellation” by Twitter mob. It’s pretty long but worth the watch. Lindsay is a YouTube film critic and a best selling author. She is also about as far from a right wing, insensitive a-hole as you can possibly get. In this video, she reviews her “crimes” and does bend to pressure somewhat. I don’t think she needed to. But she also shows how painful it is when the mob doesn’t know your own background.

The other piece is a The Good Fight podcast interview of James Carville. He’s looking at this from a very broad perspective. You might not like it if you are looking to reform people on very specific issues to your particular and demanding specifications. Tough. That’s not the way to gain allies.

I will disagree with him to some degree. Living with people who aren’t like you, especially when it comes to religion or politics can be exhausting. I’ve had to do this my entire life and, I’m sorry, we all have our limits. Sometimes it would be such a relief if there were more members of the family who were less religious or conservative. At least there would be someone to talk to at wedding receptions who wouldn’t be blessing people or talking about how evil liberals are. Yeah, it would be nice if THOSE people took Carville’s advice.

Nevertheless, his broader message still stands. Love your neighbor and do your best. That goes for the Twitter mobs as well. Knock it off already guys.

There is a reason why the word “racist” is banned in the comment section of this blog. It’s because we were bludgeoned by that word during the 2008 campaign by the Obama contingent. There were many reasons why we became opposed to Obama over time. Mostly this had to with his lack of experience, lack of reason for running for president, lack of a political coalition, lack of a coherent message that he didn’t steal from Hillary Clinton and something that came across to the rest of us as empty aspirationalism instead of content. Plus, his campaign and its operatives were quite willing to bend the party to its will with some heavy psy ops when it wasn’t intentionally burning down the house by jettisoning the “old coalition” of working class and women for the “new coalition” of eggheads and African Americans. It was not a formula that could last past the Obama years, as we saw in advance and were later proven to be correct.

One of the most disgusting things the Obama campaign did was accuse anyone who didn’t support Obama as being racist. It didn’t matter if we objected to policy, or campaign behavior or sucking up to Wall Street or his lack of concern for the displaced in the wake of the financial collapse of 2008, we were all racists. They told us that we just objected to him because he was black. It’s sort of the equivalent of telling us that we objected to Trump extorting a foreign country and corrupting the justice department because he’s a strong guy who makes the libs cry. That’s what Obama’s operatives did. They took focus away from policy and behaviors and made it all personal prejudice. As a consequence, they put us in a box with all the right wingers and White supremacists and plutocrats. They attempted to shame us into compliance. Is it any wonder why Democrats lost a good chunk of the working class that they didn’t think they needed and came back to bite them in the ass?

So one day, we said f\{} that s%*% with calling us racists. We’re not going to fight on their turf. That’s not who we are and we’re not going to let some commenters assigned to getting this blog in line and lock step push us around. So, we banned the word. You couldn’t just knee jerk accuse people of racism in the comments. You had to describe the action you didn’t like. It turned out it wasn’t about racism.

As Carville says, words are very important. It’s been the policy of this blog to mean what you say and say what you mean. Don’t use memes and slogans like “neoliberal” because no one has defined what that means except it is unpleasant and can be hurled at anything a mindless lefty doesn’t like. If you can’t describe it in simple terms that show you grasp the concept, then don’t use it. And if you abide by the “keep it simple stupid” and love your neighbor (or try to no matter how tiresome it is) rules, you shouldn’t have anything to apologize for.

We are trying to be good allies. People should remember that before they engage in shaming. On the other hand, if the left didn’t invent shaming by wokeness, the right would have to invent it.

Something to think about.

5 Responses

  1. It is such an important topic, and there is so much to say about it. I started the Ellis video and it is long, but I will listen, She does voice some initial opinions about political figures which I do not share, but that’s the crux: how does one react to differing opinions? Or is it a way to deflect from philosophical debates, when people choose to latch onto how something is worded; and if someone did not say it in exactly the prescribed way, and in a way that no “minority” group can possibly be offended by it, it becomes the weapon to destroy that person, at least get them taken off the air. I wrote about that in regard to Chris Harrison, and there seem to be more of these examples every day.

    It would be too simplistic to say it is all about power, but I think that is a large part of it. And even oversimplifying, one can say that for many decades in this country, there were a small group of White men who set the cultural and political norms for everyone else, which was stifling. And what we might call “The Right” used it to stymie and even persecute anyone who went outside those boundaries. Now we have developed many more minority voices; but not surprisingly, given human nature, some of these are as rigid and demanding as the group they are fighting against. And it becomes an inevitable demand for cultural and verbal conformity, just as you point out went with the “Communist revolutionaries.” There is always a demanded way of expressing oneself; and certain words or phrases are proscribed,, and grounds for exclusion or worse.

    One cannot discuss or politely challenge opinions, if there are a swarm of people who cannot wait to jump on them and call them all sorts of opprobrius terms, usually involving the “r word.” Call someone that, and you shut down their ability to debate with you, and you have grounds to try to remove them from discourse or power. And it is not only terribly unfair, but it is authoritarian, and it ruins any opportunity to delve into things, which is of course is what a society or even two people, need, to learn or grow. I find it so upsetting that I cannot even imagine joining Twitter, because who wants to go through that? And again, the goal is to shut down that person, even force him or her to beg for forgiveness, which of course the accuser can set the terms for. So ultimately, as you note, the Right cannot be embarrassed and will never resign, so it is the Left which ties itself up in knots, and keeps calling on its own members to be condemned, forced to apologize, resign in disgrace. And the great tragedy is that people who do this, never see the authoritarianism in themselves, they are too full of self-righteousness and the certainty that there is only one way to look at things.

    An underrated play which deals with such themes of power and how it is used, is David Mamet’s “Oleanna.” I think the play was misunderstood; it is about how the person with the power will employ it for his or her own ends; and how the supremacy of White male professors at universities could be upended by accusations of sexual harassment, which might turn out to be every bit as misused as the other. People seek power of various sorts, and to reinvent Lord Acton, maybe it is the quest for power which corrupts.

  2. “Oleanna” is also an old Norwegian-American folk song. In the song, Norwegian men dream of a utopian society where they never have to work. They lie around all day and get paid well for it. Women perform all the labor, and if they don’t work hard enough, women beat themselves up with sticks.

  3. What the Democratic Party did to us in 08, that selfish, shitty back room decision to make Obama the nominee is costing us to this day. People were literally driven out of their own party, many went to the dark side & i can hardly blame them. I do not believe we would have had to deal with the tea party & the trumpers had Hillary been given a fair shot. Sure, there would’ve been pushback, but of a familiar variety. Bullying people into ‘wokeness’ isn’t working… its literally doing the opposite of what they want.. it’s giving us someone like Biden who isn’t as open to extending the olive branch to the ‘woke’ Bernie people like Hillary was. They denied the olive branch from Hillary so they are getting what they deserve. Biden couldn’t care less, you’re not going to get the extras from him, Bernie is simply a forgone distant memory for him. We could’ve had so much more.

    • It was a bad decision for the Democratic Party. Obama did not have much political experience and was not ready for the Presidency. Had he served as VP to Hillary, he might have learned a lot and become a stronger candidate in eight years. As it was, we had a well-intentioned and intelligent amateur. We could not really deliver for the American people, one of the many factors that gave us the nightmare years of 2016-2020.

      It amazes me that I know many people who voted twice for Obama and twice for Trump.

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