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« "Bloggers of the world, blog on!" | Main | What does a white male blogger want? »

March 16, 2005

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Speaking of fear, I never shied away from pronouncing my support for Bush to the chagrin of my liberal neighbors and friends in NY. I remember the unusual way fellow Republicans used to tell me that they, too, supported Bush: They would speak in hushed tones, as though they were afraid to say it publicly. I realized then that there were a lot more Bush supporters than anyone realized. They were just "in hiding".

LOVE it, Andrea!

I am an ex-lifelong lib Dem and I know what he means. I lived in L.A. most of my life (in limo lib Brentwood, no less) and could never have "come out" there. OTOH, it would likely never have occurred to me to renounce leftyism there; it happened to me in upstate NY. I now consider myself a hardcore conservative of the neo-con stripe, and occasionally get into it with my lib colleagues, but I don't bring up politics first. Usually I speak up in response to some egregious anti-Bushism or (more often) a completely ignorant rant about pay, benefits, the vacations and perks our counterparts in France and Germany get, etc. Without exception these libs have not researched the subjects and educated themselves before going off on a lefty rant. I argue policy and inevitably shut them up because they cannot argue policy back. Everything with them is about ME, ME, ME.

I got into it yesterday over Iraq with a co-worker, because the son (and possibly both sons) of my officemate may soon be going, and the ANG hubby of a teammate is definitely going next week. The officemate was screeching irrationally about Bush before the election and I am sure she will completely lose her mind if anything happens to either son. The co-worker and I were talking about the sons and the hubby and she commented that we have no business being there. I calmly stated that I couldn't disagree more because I'd rather we were killing terrorists over there before they come here, and we're helping free people and create a climate for democracy. She couldn't argue on that basis (but I know her mind's not changed). I really don't want to get into it with close colleagues I work with every day, but I don't allow these kinds of attacks or statements to be made unchallenged. Libs around me at work keep THEIR mouths shut, because they know that, while I never introduce politics, I will pounce like a cat if they do. No one ever wins a political argument with me. When I freed my mind to be conservative and reject liberal dogma, I understood it was my duty to speak up when and where I could. OTOH, I don't find myself in very repressive atmospheres, so I'm lucky. I felt safe driving around the Hudson Valley with my W stickers, but there was trepidation when we drove through NJ on a trip last fall. I never saw a W sticker in the whole state. I doubt there's much free speech for conservatives there.

So that's where all you guys are! I, too, am an upstate (Orange County) New York conservative. Like Andrea, I've found that I knew a lot more Bush supporters than I thought I did, including two guys I've known for six years that just came out of hiding over the weekend.

Sadly, there are still parts of the Hudson Valley where a "W" sticker can result in your car being keyed in parking lots, and I've heard (but not confirmed) reports of more serious vandalism of conservative-identified vehicles, such as broken windows and slashed tires.

Not surprisingly, liberals talk about tolerance and diversity a great deal, they just don't seem to understand what it means.

Hurray, underinformed extremists annoy you. Guess what... It has nothing to do with liberal/conservative or Democrat/Republican. I'm an ex-liberal, too, and I could run you through dozens of times I got into discussions with conservatives who had no clue about policy, politics, or the world in general, and just started calling me "communist" or "liberal" (as a bad word).

Today, I get into discussions with people of all stripes, and often the same thing happens. Based on which side of the argument I'm on, they call me names ("right-wing nut," "commie"). What you've described isn't the truth about liberals, it's the truth about living in a place where everyone believes the same thing, so they get lazy. Try talking politics in Berkeley or Bush Country, and you'll see what I mean.

I'm a Republican living in the bluest city in Texas...Austin. My SUV was keyed three times in two days after putting a Bush sticker on the rear window. Our Bush '04 signs were ripped to shreds (and left in place) on our lawn. These were faceless acts of cowards.

How do I know they are cowards?

Because I have several anit-Democrat/Liberal t-shirts that I wear often when I go out: "Fry Mumia" and "I Just Neutered My Cat, Now He's a Liberal" and "W" are my favorites. And not once has anybody ever said anything to my face. Oh, I get some nasty looks.

But I'm a real big guy. 260 lbs. Shaved head and goatee. People say I look like the wrestler, Steve Austin. I'd say that's a pretty accurate comparsion.

I love the helpless look of a Liberal who hates my t-shirt, but is too afraid to come up to me and debate the idea.

It never ceases to amaze me how illogical the very hard core liberals can be. They tend to act like a bunch of 2 year olds. When they don't get their way - they hit you. Unfortunately, being in adult bodies, it's not the little tap you receive from a toddler - it can be a very dangerous retaliation. And they can think of better and more destructive ways of letting out that anger.

I lean libertarian more than anything else, but I agree on some liberal points. (The classic fiscal conservative, social liberal argument.)

Teresa points out a key aspect: "how illogical the very hard core liberals can be." I didn't vote for Bush but I'm not going to key someone's car or rip up yard signs. Does that make me not a liberal or does it make me one of the majority of rational, mature liberals?

As for the original argument that "Republicans never seem to attack on a personal level", maybe that's true, but wearing a shirt that says "I Just Neutered My Cat, Now He's a Liberal" is still an attack. I wouldn't be offended (I have better things to worry about), but is that not an attempt to lump all liberals into one over-simplified group in an attempt to minimize their opinion?

Seamus is correct; "What you've described isn't the truth about liberals, it's the truth about living in a place where everyone believes the same thing, so they get lazy." I would go a step further and say that it doesn't have to be living in a community like Austin or Orange County that leads to intellectual laziness. It's also viewing only Fox News or CNN or whatever and thinking that there can be no other valid point. That laziness isn't liberal or conservative.

I grew up in Ann Arbor in the 60's. I listened to NPR and read the New York Times religously. My firm even contributed pro bono to the ACLU. And we now live in Marin County. But then 9/11 happened and changed everything.

We like Bush. We had Bush yard signs out and bumper stickers on both cars. My 17 year-old put Bush bumper stickers on his car and my 15 year-old daughter had Bush stickers on her school binder. A fascinating thing happened here in Marin when we did this. People started coming out of the woodwork saying we like Bush too!

Even more fascinating were several friends of my kids who initially teased them, but then started asking questions like, why do you like Bush... which led several of them to challenge their teachers and even vote for Bush in the school election.

I'm a pacifist and fiscal conservative who still has some hope for the ideals of socialism. What disturbs me about public debate is that it is so often unreasoned and argumentative. The point of every discussion seems to be to prove one's position is correct, rather than seek to find solutions to common problems. Ad hominem attacts have virtually replaced rational discussion. I think the demise of the liberal education has a lot to do with this. If there is insufficient emphasis on teaching students how to read, analyze and reason for themselves, how can they particpate fully in a democracy? Of course the media doesn't help with it's 30 second news blips, which focus incresingly on exciting pictures and celebrity lives. The other thing that bothers me is this necessity to label each other and the fact that we're expected to tow the party line. There are so many issues it's impossible to be informed on all of them, but I find that when I take the time to really think and investigate, there's no telling how the position I embrace might be labeled.

Peg, you wrote: "I'd rather we were killing terrorists over there before they come here."

Do you believe that our military fighting insurgents in Iraq somehow prevents Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians, and Yemenis from attacking the US mainland? Help me with this.

In Massachusetts, a flag or ribbon sticker served as a W proxy in the last election. Kerry stickers were all over the place, naturally. New Hampshire cars, on the other hand, were more evenly divided. The pickup/Volvo split was pretty obvious.

Valerie:"I'm a pacifist and fiscal conservative who still has some hope for the ideals of socialism. The point of every discussion seems to be to prove one's position is correct, rather than seek to find solutions to common problems."

I'd love to hear a socialist/pacifict's prescription for advancing the rights of workers, women, and members of oppressed minority faiths, in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, North Korea, etc. Please feel free, even encouraged, to elaborate. If not here, I have comments enabled on my "livejournal" site. I have a number of comments on news events where I would expect US union leaders, feminists, and artists (specifically, one of my favorites, Pete Seeger) to comment and attempt to exert their influence. So far, though I have been listening, I have not heard much from such sources.

It seems to me that war is kinda like surgery. Cutting, hacking chopping destroying healthy tissue in order to expose and excise a tumor -- if we focus ONLY on the bloody mess of the surgery itself we allow the tumor to grow invisibiy and ever more destructively. But after the surgery other techniques -- diet, exercise, medicine, even prayer -- come into play. Can we form workers' unions? Can we teach women to drive? Can we translate "Yertle the Turtle" into Farsi? What artistic, religious, socialist, feminist, musical, comical, satirical -- anything OTHER than military -- powers can our non-governmental, non-Republican factions of American socieity contribute to the healing in Arabian lands?

Valerie? Bueller? Anyone?

My .02

It's really no wonder that so many on the left take the kind of hostile stand expressed by many here. Look at what the leaders of that party are saying. Al Gore calling the right sided blogsphere a bunch of 'digital brown shirts'. Dean 'the scream' stating that Republicans are evil. Those statements just help to reinforce these ideas that are already so ingrained amongst the donks.

I was a democrat once, and I will never go back. I have nothing against those that are, but their ability to demonize me and my Republican brethren makes me sick to my stomach. They are busy making enemies where no enemies are needed.

Seamus -

Prevents? No.
Makes less likely? Yes.

As many people have said, they come from an honor/shame culture. As such, it appears to be more important to them to attack the Americans in Iraq, because that's their "turf." They can be seen to be doing something, and can talk it up locally.

If they go to America, certainly they can cause damage to us. But they lose some immediacy and control over their message - they're no longer acting locally, andhave to rely on others to do their bragging for them.

Additionally, you have the matter of scale - in Iraq, the local news can cover relatively small events, such as a gun battle in the streets or a bomb that kills (say) two people. If they act in the US, they have to make national/world news in order to get coverage - they have to have plans and resources to pull off something bigger.

Valerie--

Different principles often preclude political compromise in solving problems. Those who believe in limited government think most government interventions in those problems are illegitimate, and do not countenance the policy proposals of those who believe otherwise. The advocates of limited government propose that private action is the proper approach to most social concerns.

If one limited one's social activism to persuasion and voluntary funding, one would never waste energy on political controversy. Pick one: coercion or liberty. One cannot choose both.

Right on, Seamus.

Are there Democrats who engage in this terrible behavior? Yes, of course. But to give the impression that Republicans are some sort of persecuted, enlightened group of people under attack from the Democratic Huns is taking it a bit too far. There are wackos on both sides; in my personal experience more of them are Republicans than Democrats, but then I'm a fairly vocal Democrat.I suppose if I were a fairly vocal Republican I would feel the same as so many of you seem to, only because I would then come into contact with more angry Democrats.

Let's use some common sense here. Intelligent, reasonable people on both sides of the political spectrum should come together and denounce all of this violent, irrational behavior, no matter what politics motivate it. It doesn't get us anywhere, and it only deepens the ideological divide in America. That's not good for anyone.

I think the reason some leftist liberals resort to violence is the fact that they know they can't win a debate only on the force of their ideas. Just listen to Dean as opposed to Bill Clinton.

I've been reading FreeRepublic.com, Ann Coulter's website, Little Green Footballs and the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler lately.
The idea that left-leaning Democrats have a monopoly on childish spite, vicious name-calling and general badmindedness would amuse me, if reading the aforementioned sources hadn't so thoroughly depressed me. It's as mendacious (IMHO) as Bill O'Reilly complaining that people depict him as telling his guests to "shut up!" when he, of course, hardly ever does anything so rude. The idea of a 260 lb man with a shaved head wearing a T-shirt reading "I Just Neutered My Cat - Now He's a Liberal" and mocking 'liberals' for not wanting to debate him on the issues - horrors! What cowards, to not risk a potentially violent confrontation with someone who obviously has no intention of either a) respecting anyone else's opinions and b) changing his own.

Wheels,

Thanks for your well-reasoned response. I don't fully agree, but I appreciate your engagement.

-seamus

Well, from before the election, we had a lot of bad behavior (keying cars, stealing signs, shooting into Republican local hq's, breaking arms, an attempted hit and run, and one knife attack).

The vast majority of these attacks came from Democrats. And one guy tried to run down Katherine Harris in Florida because he didn't like her politics. But, the R's did do some sign-stealing, and one R husband tried to knife his wife over politics.

But R's tended to take the attitude of attacking the people involved, and D's tended to try to understand the rage. Perhaps that's why more D's were off breaking the law.

But yes, most D's are mature enough not to run someone down with a car, or steal a sign. It would help if in the past election, more D's had been less understanding of the wackos in their ranks.

As to nasty conversation, well, I would draw a line between in-party and out-party talks. If I'm talking to fellow R's, I might grouse about the "evil socialists who want to starve us." even though that's more a shorthand for "they are power-crazed and they think that their policies will help, but the true effect will be starvation." But if I was talking to a socialist, I would try to be more polite in making my point with "command economies sound good, but with all the decisions flowing through one nexus, it inevitably gets bogged down, and the economy flounders. So while this is a nice idea, I think, perhaps it fails the real-world test."

But even in party there are limits. One does not support plans to wipe out the other side, or such.

I like Ann Coulter, she as a partisan pundit blurs the difference between in- and out-party talk. But I don't take her blanket statements seriously. Its a shorthand for a larger more complicated truth.

But even for Ann their are limits.

Likewise, I'd let Michael Moore have quite a bit of space, but I think when he compared head-chopping terrorists to American Minutemen that he went over the line.

And Howard Dean is in a responsible position, not a partisan pundit or moviemaker. The DNC chair should not be saying "Republicans are evil."

So the R's mostly police their own (see Trent Lott), and the D's need to join them. Otherwise, in about fifteen years, the Dem party will be a distant memory except for a literally bomb-throwing fringe, and the R's will have had a good decade before the strains between the Socon and the Libertarian disintegrate the Grand Old Party into two new parties with the Socons having the upper hand.

Teresa, you have proven that left-wingers are cowards, as is evidenced by the fact that they attack women.

Please feel free to e-mail me with examples. If I happen to come by your area of the nation, I'll be happy to show these worms what a MAN can do.

While Republicans occasionally engage in violence, their violence is strictly against men. Democrats' violence is against women and children.

The Democrats still celebrate the incineration of the babies at Waco with an annual national orgy.

Forget friends! My family wouldn't speak to me if they knew I was a Republican and voted for Bush.

When politics comes up, I shut up.

I'm in Seattle and I am in their face every day with buttons, banners, t-shirts and any chance to debate on the street I'll take. I believe in our objectives. The war and similar actions that will surely follow are critical for victory. The only thing that can stop us is ourselves and I refuse to let that happen. It is a moral imperitive to speak up and challenge their empty slogans. I have no choice, based on my principles, but to loudly proclaim them wrong. I hope more and more people will come to that conclusion.

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