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Marion On August - 14 - 2011

I was born a Democrat. My parents were Democrats before me. My father cast his first vote at 21 in 1936, for FDR. Four years later, when she turned 21, my mother did the same. She came from a long line of Democrats, going way back to Jackson, I suppose. When 1861 came along, some of her kin hiked on the blue uniform, and some wore the grey, even though all were Virginians. And after that, they all carried on voting Democratic.

They were Southerners and Democrats. They never wavered from the party, even when many of their friends, associates and even some close relatives, gulped and embraced the GOP at the time LBJ signed the Civil Rights’ Act. As New Deal Democrats, they morphed into Kennedy Democrats. When 1968 saw a disastrous four-way split in the Democratic Party, they voted for Hubert Humphrey; but they would have voted for Eugene McCarthy or Robert Kennedy all the same.

Both of them voted Democratic until their deaths, although my father was growing more and more disconcerted with some of the leaders emerging from the party’s ranks. Although he voted for Bill Clinton in the 1992 election, in the Virginia primary, he supported Jesse Jackson.

Jackson, he explained to me, was a real Democrat, who cared about the working man and the working classes.

Of course, you seldom hear about the “working classes” these days. I don’t expect to hear about them from the Republicans, although they use them to garner votes; after all, the Republicans were only ever about business, and the bigger the business, the stauncher the Republican support. But the Democrats were all about the working classes, or the public sector service industries, and – above all – the unions.

Nowadays, however, it all seems to be concern about the middle classes,a euphemism awarded like a gift with the Reagan credit de-regulations in the form of a credit card and an attitude that it’s OK to use your property like an ATM, as long as it got you the same toys as the professional person who lived around the corner had. Our recent middle class, the one to which everyone allegedly belongs in its Reaganian reincarnation, is one built on debt and deception and living above our means.

I’ve never heard any politician of note – actually, except the President – reference the working classes; and even the President does so, within a quick and essential reminder that this really is about preserving the middle classes; but, by and large, we tend to sweep the working classes under a mythical carpet. The Right pulls them out, occasionally, dusts them off, fills them with whatever the current fear-of-the-day happens to be, and then sends them off to the polls every two years to vote against their own interests.

The Left, if they don’t ignore them outright, derides them, assigning traits of stupidity and bigotry to them, especially if they happen to be Southern.

Lord, it’s hard to be Southern and Democrat, especially these days, and especially amongst a current species of Democrat (usually from the West Coast, I’m sorry to say) who view themselves as morally superior to anyone hailing from flyover country or anyone coming from South of the Mason-Dixon line. Flyover people might be deemed “rubes” by their cultural betters, but my lot – whether they’re fire-breathing, Fox-gazing Fundamentalists or real Liberals – are lumped together and described as “shitkicking inbreds,” “Neo-Confederates,” Secessionists, traitors or just plain common-and-garden bigots. All of us.

The hatred towards Southerners is a wonder to behold in reading some of the things you see on the Internet, much less on television; so much so, that many in the Democratic party, or many purporting to be Democrats, don’t think candidates should venture into the South at all, that it simply isn’t worth it, which is almost oxymoronic because these very people – probably the children and grandchildren of New Deal Democrats – were the real base, one time, of the Democratic Party.

Now, you can preach “Southern Strategy” all you want, but as late as 1976, the South went solidly for Jimmy Carter (with the exception of Virginia, but when Virginia does “stupid,” it does “real stupid” – cf: Ed Schultz and Eric Cantor). What annoys me the most is the condescension people in this region suffer from the so-called Democratic “elites” to the point that they’ve become a point of ridicule and are often presented as the bigots in the equation when ofttimes, it’s the real bigots who are levelling the accusations.

These people were part of the expendable hoarde, kicked to the political curb forty years ago by the “cool kids” who took over the Democratic Party. They were wandering in the political wilderness until the Republicans smelled blood and took them and trained them up to be their own brand of useful idiot.

The late Joe Bageant, author of Deer Hunting with Jesus, who hailed from my neck of the woods, says it best:-

In the days before the spine of the labor movement was crushed, back when you could be a gun owner and a liberal without any conflict, members of the political left supported … workers, stood on the lines taking beatings at the plant gates alongside them. Now there is practically no labor movement, and large numbers on the left are comfortably ensconced in the true middle class, which is only about 20 per cent to 30 per cent of Americans … From that vantage point, liberals currently view working whites as angry, warmongering bigots, happy pawns of the American empire – which begs the question of how they came to be that way, if they really are.

Meanwhile, we have what my people see as the “liberal elite,” the people still living the American Dream in relative economic safety. Yet the liberal elite – and verily they are an elite group – don’t think of themselves as elitists. Overwhelmingly white and college educated, they live among clones of themselves. As far as they know, American life is about money, education, homeownership, and professionally useful friends. How can one blame them? Conditioning is everything, and how could they fail to believe their own experience or what they see every day, all of which suggests that their privileges are natural and deserved?

At the other end of the melanin-and-money meter are the blacks. And alongside them are low-earning, uneducated rednecks, bred from generations of low-earning, uneducated rednecks, clustered into neighborhoods of the same.

The middle class, both liberals and conservatives, are utterly dependent upon my people,the great throng of the underpaid, undereducated and overworked. This is not whining, just a simple statement of fact.

No Democrat or leftie seems to grasp that much of the working-class theocrats’ eagerness to join the corporatists at putting the liberal yuppies in their place is revenge based. Working-class people can perceive the upper-middle-class snobbery toward them.

That last point is interesting, because it mirrors exactly the condescension of the Professional Left to the so-called plebs who make up their listening and reading public, whenever some potential ditto has an epiphany moment, wakes up and thinks for himself and dares to disagree publically with said hero or heroine, who take advantage of social networking sites to expound their self-perceived truths.

It’s the same sort of privilege and entitlement that drives Salon editor Joan Walsh to sneer at the African American blogger LisaLV711, when Lisa politely questioned the fact that racism might be behind many of the onslaughts of criticism aimed at the President from various sections of the Left.

It’s the same sort of privilege and entitlement which resulted in Boston Globe columnist, Charlie Pierce, actually calling me a TWAT on my Facebook page, when I, again, brought up the continuing question of Walsh’s apparent racism, in her diehard defence of Hillary Clinton and her wet dream wish of a Hillary primary. Walsh is currently using reverse psychology to promote her Hillary dream – appearing to be at pains to say repeatedly that she doesn’t want the President primaried, yet constantly reiterating a theme of “What would Hillary do?”

In her latest blog in Salon, I objected to the end of her article, which I felt was superfluous in many ways: It alluded to the personal conflict in which she’s immersed herself in arguments with Obama supporters on her Twitter page, almost to the point that she appears to interject herself into private discussions in the guise of a concern troll. She also has resorted to the classic Clintonian line of defence that, even though Obama’s been personally attacked, it’s not nearly as bad as the real first black President got.

it’s important for fervent Obama supporters to keep in mind that the GOP demonizes our current Democratic president much the way it did the last one.

Ummm … not quite. Clinton was smeared by the Right, true; and most of it was blather – the drugs cartel thing, Vince Foster, travelgate … but Slick Willie’s philandering with women from the wrong side of the track was something that couldn’t be denied, even if it all depended on what the definition of “is” was.

Racism gives the right wing more to work with, of course; on the other hand, they haven’t called Obama a murderer yet.

No, but they’ve called him an alien, a foreigner, a Communist, a Socialist, an illegal immigrant posing as President. In Clinton, they tried to delegitimise him, based on faux crimes, the Right hoped the public would believe; in Obama, they’ve tried to delegitimise him based on the colour of his skin – and many in his own party have proven to be useful tools for the GOP in their relentless quest to impeach a Democratic President.

And if Obama critics over-personalize the president’s problems, his defenders also over-personalize the criticism he gets.

This is rich, coming from Joan, who – until recently – claimed that Obama’s defenders were actually GOP trolls paid by Andrew Breitbart. But I digress:-

One divisive claim is that white progressives, in particular, are racially clueless for demanding that Obama fight harder and maybe even show anger, because he’d be attacked as a menacing angry black man if he did so.

First of all, we won’t know that the president doesn’t ever get angry, as he so richly deserves to. Second: I think the argument is condescending and kind of dangerous. Insisting a black president can never show anger might suggest a black man should never be president, because sometimes a president needs to get angry. It also harks back to the 2008 primary, when the normal give and take of politics was too often framed racially. If you noted that Obama was relatively inexperienced when it came to national politics, you might sound like you were calling him a boy. If you observed that he sometimes seemed above the fray, especially at a time of economic suffering, you could be accused of calling him uppity. If you suggested he could appear detached from voters, you were playing Sarah Palin’s game of questioning whether he’s “one of us.” Trying to erect a racial force field around the president, in which the normal terms of political debate are judged out of bounds and racist, hasn’t helped anyone.

It’s interesting that Joan cites Sarah Palin here, because she’s actually doing the same thing Sarah does so well – projecting that sin for which she’s been exposed onto the people leveling the accusation. So Joan’s not racist, it’s the people who say she is who are. They are the ones who are condescending, especially regarding the President.

But it’s interesting to note that Joan’s perceived racism, albeit subtle, has been around for awhile, at least since 2008, when she blogged about the PUMA supporter, Harriet Christian, unloading on the DNC for choosing an “inadequate black man” over a white woman, a blog which actually ended up almost defending Christian:-

We saw the face of the angry white female backlash against Obama over the weekend, and it was hard not to turn away. On Friday, Geraldine Ferraro complained in a Boston Globe Op-Ed that she’s been demonized for saying that Obama’s presidential run benefited from his being black, and called her treatment “reverse racism.” On Saturday, Harriet Christian replaced Ferraro as the overwrought voice of white female resentment. There she was at the Democratic National Committee meeting, screaming at reporters that Democrats were about to nominate “an inadequate black male who would not have been running had it not been a white woman that was running for president.”

Beyond Christian’s deplorable reference to Obama as an “inadequate black male” was a wail worth hearing. She also said, “I’m proud to be an older American woman!” I can feel her pain. Reading the sexist attacks on Clinton and her white female supporters, as well as on female journalists and bloggers who’ve occasionally tried to defend her or critique Obama, has been, well, consciousness-raising. Prejudice against older women, apparently, is one of the last non-taboo biases. I’ve been stunned by the extent to which trashing Clinton supporters as washed up old white women is acceptable.

These comments were enough to offend The Atlantic columnist Ta-Nehisi Coates, at the time, who responded thus:-

Walsh apparently thinks Harriet’s description of Obama as an inadequate black male, “was a wail worth hearing.” I’m physically sick reading that. I never much agreed with Walsh’s take on the Clinton’s, but for my money, she just fell into Pat Buchanan territory.Anyone who thinks there’s something to take from someone who says it’s fine to resent black people racially, who claims that there’s something worth hearing in describing the first black man to ever win a major party’s nomination as “an inadequate black male” is the moral equivalent of a racist to me.

I don’t play these word games. I don’t much care about what’s in your heart. I don’t make any distinction between people who think I’m less than, and the cowards who know the truth, but still run with bigoted fools anyway. There’s nothing feminist about siding with worst impulses of white America. The fact is we’re tied to each other. The same fuckers who’ve turned the incarceration of black men into a business, are the same fuckers who’d love nothing better than to drag women back into the dark ages.

… That said, anyone who’d be willing to put the health of women, the chance to expand childcare, the chance to revisit equal pay, on the line in the name of electing a dude who called his own wife a cunt, who laughed as one of his supporters referred to Hillary Clinton as a bitch, who would most assuredly appoint judges that would reverse Roe v Wade, is a joke. There ain’t nothing feminist, or “empowering” about gambling on the future of our daughters. It’s a ego and sore loser-ism writ large. If that’s your angle, take a hike.

There is also an ugly subtext to that “unqualified” remark. Exactly how many terms in the Senate did John Edwards have? Was he also unqualified? Would we be hearing that label from Hillary-supporters if he’d won?

That said, the answer is clearly “no.”

And this brings us back to the question of the South, and liberal Southerners, Democrats. The British columnist, Andrew Sullivan in his Daily Beast blog, entitled “The Daily Dish,” often posts comments to his op-eds, worthy enough, in and of themselves, to promote comment thereof. Earlier this week, he posted the following, which is clearly a Northern liberal’s take on the make-up of the Tea Party:-

No. There’s no sign the “Tea Party” are actually against government. They’re just against government run by anybody except themselves. And since “they” are the rump South, that “anybody” mainly means the feds: the Northerners, the liberals, the carpetbaggers, the negro-lovers — and of course, worst of all, the negros themselves (“negroes” to include not just African-Americans, but all sub-human others, including gays and, now, Muslims).

You have to remember this is the planter class. The planter mentality. The foundation of the South, and so of this country, when one considers the fortunes of many (most?) of the founding fathers. We have been at war with ourselves from the beginning. 2008 was just one more battle: a “n—-” (radical, terrorist, illegal alien) up against a son of the South (patriot, military man, scion of the McCains, among the largest slaveholders in Mississippi before the Civil War, still owners of the original plantation “Teoc”).

All the Tea Party/Republican/Fox News actions since losing the election have simply been scorched earth warfare: deny the oppressing invader any sustenance, no matter what the cost to the country. Because first things first: destroy the usurper first, the alien, the radical, the invader, the liberal, the fed, the other — then rebuild once the war is won. That’s the game. No, they are not against government, or debt. They’re just against any government or debt other than their own.

You see what I’m up against? Is that enlightenment? Is that intolerance? Pardon me, but Sarah Palin, to whom open race-baiting is but second nature, is from the snowy North. Michele Bachmann is from Minnesota, a Northern state. Did not New York choose Carl Palladino, a Tea Partier as their Republican candidate for governor? When a rather high-profiled blogger and California Democratic operative (and constant Obama critic) assails me on Twitter with an assertion that the South shouldn’t be bothered with, because the people there “spit on Progressives” (that’s “spit” as in “hock and …”)or when a well-known modern historian openly admits on his Facebook page that he hates Obama because he thinks he’s “arrogant” (in Southern-speak, “uppity,”), you know Joan Walsh is not alone in her sentiments.

But Sullivan, ever the critical thinker, also provides a beautiful response to that afore-mentioned diatribe of assumptions, and I couldn’t have expressed it better, myself:-

Okay, seriously, fuck this reader. As a Southern liberal who voted for Obama and gladly will again in 2012, I took offense to almost every word of that sanctimonious tripe.

I’d prefer to spend my life chained to the most backwards, Tea-Party, Limbaugh-listening, gun-toting, NASCAR-loving, backwoods hillbilly you’ve ever seen than to sit down for a single drink with this reader. It is one thing to be constantly condescended to by the rest of the country because we have funny accents and sweet tea. I am used to the constant reminders of the sins of our fathers (as if the sins were confined to one corner of the country). The Bible-belt moniker no longer bothers me like it used to.

However, one thing I will never get used to is the phenomenon of self-righteous Northerners talking about us as if we all love Jesus and guns and hate non-whites. Almost without fail, these are people who, other than the occasional trip to South Beach, have never been south of the Potomac; who have never lived in a small town; who have never seen a sunset in Texas; who have never never been to Shiloh, or Sharpsburg, or Mannassas, or Vicksburg; who think Faulkner is great because of his stylistic idiosyncrasies and who read the stories of Flannery O’Connor with horror and confusion rather than wonder; who have never loved their racist grandparents simply because family is family; who could not tell the difference between a Tennessee accent and a West Texas drawl; who have never seen the true devotion and love and warmth of the fundamentalist Christians they hate so vehemently.

When I was a boy, I loved the South. When I was a teenager, I hated it, wanted out. Now, I love it all over again, but for different reasons. I know the history of the place, and I know the mentality of so much of the Southern population. I know many Tea Partiers and NRA members and hard-line pro-lifers myself. I love many of them. Some of them are family. I love them too. I disagree with them, sometimes profoundly, but when you grow up with it, you learn to see beyond the caricature painted so crudely in the editorial pages and by your smug, self-satisfied reader. You learn that these people are every bit as capable of real compassion and sacrifice as any Northern son.

Your reader does not understand this place – does not care to try – because he/she does not like guns or Baptist churches or country music. That’s fine. Your reader must sleep comfortably knowing that his fathers were on the right side of history. Well done. He/she sure earned his place atop the moral totem pole.

Your reader and I will likely vote the same way in 2012. Your reader, though, is an asshole.

And as for award-winning journalist, Charlie Pierce, he of the TWAT ad hominem, I leave you with his Esquire essay on the President’s 2010 State of the Union address, complete with optional accompanying musical score … The theme from Shaft.

I ask you, now, who’s the real TWAT … and something else? I’ll just leave it at “asshole.”

58 Responses so far.

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  1. choicelady says:

    MArion, Cher, AdLib, KQ, KT -- you are FRIENDS. Let’s not get on each other’s case here. You all know what happened to me (a totally INSIDE California experience!) with a so-called progressive minister who tore strips off me for being GLAD significant parts of the debt ceiling agreement preserved essential programs for those in need. He got paper-thin close to racist rant against Obama. Not quite over, but close. And the minister is gay. Bummer of him to pay so little attention to even benefits Obama has assured for same sex partners working for federal gov’t not to mention the end of DADT and the refusal to defend DOMA in court even while it’s still law. I find the near racism and lack of appreciation for progress by Obama appalling.

    Marion is citing chapter and verse of what people are saying, not making assertions without substantiation. She is not calling US out but those people. For a blog without footnotes, she nailed down precisely what was said and who said it. THOSE are the folks she’s calling out.

    I understand what Sullivan is saying. I’m born and raised in “flyover country” lived in a small town in TN and was there when King was assassinated. I’ve seen ugly. And I’ve seen heroic. And I’ve seen good hearts and good people everywhere, and I also hear way too much from “progressives” who just ignore the “balance of the country.” That includes the “balance of the state” (Sacramento speak for anyone outside the Sacto-Bay Area-LA Triangle) Nobody is more neglected in policy than people in rural or just low-population areas. And that includes GOP neglecting GOP constituents and Dems neglecting Democratic consitutents. Small towns and rural areas and even cities such as San Bernardino and Fresno don’t matter. They are not “cool”. OK. So what?

    One woman, a lobbyist for the single payer physicians, once snarled in a meeting on single payer that “I don’t give a damn about white males. I don’t care what happens to white males.” When I said later that I DID care especially about the men who had just gone through the Safeway strike and others facing loss of their insurance and that could give us a powerful allied set of white males to talk to, she just snarled again as if I were too stupid to live. (The interchange was MUCH odder than just that but to long to recount here. Suffice it to say, she was weird in her extreme prejudices and self centeredness.)

    I have dealt repeatedly with profound racism within the professional left. I see it in Sacto regularly. We’ve talked about it before, and other sites, other blogs are picking up the worry that brings to us all. It is clear from those sites (The People’s View being one of them) that this is deeply worrisome to them as it is to Marion. It is not the folks on the Planet that are of concern -- it’s the same people we fear, who carry on a kind of faux leadership of “our side” but who are deeply untrustworthy.

    Marion is right about the lack of concern for working people, too, though my 30 years with labor folks would move me to caution that THEY see themselves as middle class -- at least what it used to mean: the REAL middle with decent incomes, some disposable cash that let them get an outboard or second car, that gave them homes next to mine, educated their kids without extreme debt, and let them retire and enjoy some real quality time doing what they like. Many of them still either have that or want it back. For them the proud “working class” and “middle class” are the same. So I don’t fault Obama for that construct -- it is MY construct born of my years of working with union and non-union working people. They are the salt of the earth, the core of America. Either term is fine. Middle class is not just about martini-guzzling white collar junior executives and hasn’t been that since WW II. It’s what we’re fighting for.

    I left CA after 12 years to head back east and did so in no small part because in the 1980 Reagan debacle too many people around me in Santa Cruz had refused to vote -- were ‘too good’ to vote for Carter -- and did so in complete disinterest concerning the impact on communities of color, the poor, issues of burning importance to those without privilege. Californians around me continue to say CA is a leader nationally on all things which is simply NOT true and has not been since 1978 when we sold out birthright for a mess of pottage in the “don’t tax me, bro” mentality -- to which a LOT of progressives around me secretly subscribe. If you can’t get your OWN house in order, you are NOT a leader just because you proscribe smoking in restaurants. BTW? Erie County, NY, home of Buffalo, steel mills, and auto factories did that FIRST. CA did it later. Just sayin’.

    Marion -- I’m sorry the asshat called you that disgusting name, but I want to give you an antidote to it. Lois Gibbs of Love Canal fame, has gone to DC to lead a clearinghouse on toxic issues. To offset the initial dismissal of her and all the women who participated in bringing Love Canal to national focus, she created a whole new group: Tough Women Against Toxics.

    Wear it with pride, girlfriend. Wear it with pride.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      C’Lady, because it was you, whose opinion I respect, I gave Marion’s post another look. And I see your point in that she is decrying a specific segment of the Left--although that was not obvious upon my first reading. (More about that later.) I have written many comments myself expressing my disgust with Firebaggers, for instance, a well as those I disparage as EmoProgs. But AdLib is entirely correct; this is a huge waste of energy and is a dangerous distraction. (I’m not gonna stop excoriating the Firebaggers though, as I do not believe them to be really on the Left. But that’s another story.) We are faced with an existential threat and we are arguing among ourseves about regional insults from the chattering class? Seriously?

      Marion has written quite a bit about her disgust with those who she describes as Coastal Elites and their propensity to look down upon “flyover country.” I can absolutely understand her resentment about that, because she repeatedly makes the same sweeping judgments about Californians, Northerners, East Coasters. And on a personal micro-scale I resent it too. Right here. And this sounds ridiculous as I write it, but here it is: You see, I consider this site a tiny community, and Marion consistently “flies over” the Planet. She writes her posts with erudition and also a heavy dose of snarky attitude; she rarely deigns to reply to we peasants who comment, and never--ever--does she participate in any other posts. She exemplifies on this tiniest scale exactly the type of snobbery she rails against.

      I mention this not to be hurtful, but actually to self-analyze why her posts always get my goat. The fact is I often agree with her points if I take them out of the context of her style. And that is really an important point because as AdLib touched on earlier, I have no real differences IN POLICY WISHES with the Left. We disagree deeply in how those goals can be achieved but not on their substance or their importance. Same with Marion--we are on the same side. But as with the Professional Left (and I am speaking solely for myself) I find it very hard to separate the meat of the issues from the attitude of the writers. If I were to read this piece in isolation, I bet I’d respond very differently. But in aggregate, I have come to expect from this author acerbity, sneering anger, and a condescending attitude. That style, combined with her aloofness, has over time made me unable to really hear her message. That might be my problem and my loss, but it works both ways; a writer should at least try not to insult her audience.

      • choicelady says:

        Hello dear Cher-

        I can well understand that Marion’s ascerbic tone AND yes, her broad generalizations, are off putting. I tend to read her essays with a view to the core and not the periphery of style. I always find things with which I agree.

        I guess I know in my heart she’s not pilloring us -- we are pretty much on the same page with her, and she knows it -- even as she foments over “bi-coastal elites”. Because I grew up in flyover country I tend to agree with her. I once heard a friend who was raised in Texas totally dismiss every single person remaining there as utterly beneath her contempt. Huh? How does that work -- what about Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower among other good people -- and how DARE she be so dismissive?

        We all probably need to parse our complaints -- we are standing up against ACTIONS rather than specific people. If we all can agree to call out behavior rather than categories of people (and I offend on this myself) then we make better progress in defining two things: issues around which we can agree and keeping allies who exist everywhere.

        I got snot in the Midwest, too -- it’s not without its self anointed superiors (I went to Antioch in Ohio -- no difference there) who are every bit as freaking annoying as people on the coasts. It’s an attitude, not a category, that needs critique.

        That said, Marion was more careful to lay attributions to the people she’s critiquing. Direct quotations ARE up for grabs, IMHO.

        I know the West Coast liberals are as divided as any other part of the world -- the flyover country is not devoid of serious and non-racialist progressives either -- so yes, indeed, let’s not paint this in broad strokes. We at the Planet have a LOT of us here in the West, and we are NOT the people Marion is generalizing, so the generalization IS wrong. Nuance MATTERS. As in -- choicelady the Churchlady is NOT Jerry Falwell Lite!!!

        Marion -- I liked this as you know since you did huge attribution. I’d love to suggest that we all -- ALL -- refrain from gross generalizations and that your work, which I find important, be substantiated as you’ve done so well here. That is very helpful. I learn a lot from your presentations, so please keep writing, but remember that sometimes the generalizations and lack of substantiation really hurt more than help?

        PLEASE do not divide the Planet? It’s the only place I call HOME! I am too old to come from a broken one! Who’d take custody of me?

        I love you all.

        • KQuark says:

          Back at ya CL. 😉

          You have a great point about trying to determine the seminal points in someone’s posts over style. I am a self proclaimed terrible communicator and sometimes my points don’t come of clearly like my first response to AdLib. So I know the value of someone talking my posts knowing that my intentions are only to express my views as honestly as possible.

          I admit my pet peeve is that when someone interprets my intentions incorrectly but I also know it’s my failure to express them better.

      • KQuark says:

        It’s always a fine line when you use generalizations. I think their are some truths in generalizations but you should never use them as absolutes because the exceptions to generalizations seem to always outweigh the initial point of using them in the first place.

        That said their are different vibes in different geographical locations in this country. That’s just part of the human condition. The only way to express a vibe you have about a certain area or even segment of society should always be qualified. I know when I talk in generalizations I never think everyone’s like that and sometimes not even the majority of people but it’s just what I feel coming from the people there.

        It’s funny how generalizations work too. If it’s a negative generalization people tend to be more critical. But like AdLib and I were talking about last night some positive generalizations are just as infectious when it comes to manufactured perceptions. For example I’ve heard many progressives tout Europe, especially Scandinavia for some reason being so much better than the US. But when you ask them if they’ve been there they have never been.

        I guess I’m saying generalizations are valid points in arguments. For example polls are just quantified generalizations. But like in a court of law generalizations are more like circumstantial evidence and not direct evidence of the point you are trying to make. So generalizations should be taken for what they are worth because they are simply not definitive proof of an argument and you definitely need corroborating evidence to prove a point.

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Thanks KQ! That is part of what I was trying to say. I’m still suffering from that short-circuit between my (inoperative) brain and my keyboard. This is not an easy subject but one that bears discussion. Some people get defensive when their beliefs are questioned, and when generalizations are a part of those beliefs, mistakes can be made.

    • KQuark says:

      Marion does have some great insight but I just don’t like the increasing caustic tone of her posts lately.

      But like AdLib and others I just honestly disagree with some major points regarding racial attitudes in this post.

      Like AdLib says it’s time to tone it down and stop fragging other people we agree with on principle so much.

    • AdLib says:

      This is one of those very rare instances where I disagree with you, my good friend.

      Those who dwell on what separates us and why some Dems should justifiably disrespect whole groups of other Dems have been at it for quite a while and helped bring us such things as the Nov. 2010 election results and Baggers in the House blackmailing us.

      There is nothing constructive, nothing to be gained by Dems who truly want Progressive change to add fuel to the fire of prejudice against other Dems because of what region they live in or because of past resentments.

      We’re facing a very serious threat in this Presidential election, perhaps as serious as there has been in recent memory.

      I know you agree that we have to be organizing and bringing people together to make sure we prevail this time around and the only way to do that is to focus on coming together for the greater good.

      We can’t afford to be pouring our concern and energy into such self-destructive pursuits, we have a real enemy that is a greater threat to us than the unfair stereotypes held by those who mostly share our principles.

      I see it like a couple arguing with each other as their car heads towards a cliff. If they go over the cliff, what does their argument matter?

      If we were to argue amongst ourselves, who’s justified resenting whom, while the Repubs win the Presidency and Congress, what is it going to matter then?

      We put aside our differences and fought side by side with the Russians in WWII to fight Hitler, I don’t see why Dems can’t put their differences aside now to fight to protect our society and democracy.

      I’m not saying that it isn’t legitimate to discuss this, just that justifying one’s resentment of other Dems shouldn’t be the priority over battling those who seek to destroy this society.

      • choicelady says:

        Hi AdLib = I don’t see Marion as fomenting division among rank and file so much as focusing on the “mouthpieces”. Overall I agree with you on not bringing the fight to the rank and file level. But I think it IS important to call out the public voices and name the deeds. Sunshine is important.

        I have a beloved acquaintance, a Rabbi, who runs a site called “Jews on First” (I love the pun) that calls out the Dominionist Christians and messianic Jews who have united over Israel (even as the former wish the death of the latter)and against everyone who is not a true believer.

        The site’s slogan is one I embrace: “Because if Jews don’t speak out they will think we don’t mind.”

        I think that’s what Marion is saying -- speak out against racism, against divisive actions, against drumbeats of what might be troll or even Fifth Column trashing of this president -- because if we don’t, they (whoever they may be) will assume we AGREE. It’s like overhearing a racist joke and not speaking up as a white person -- if you don’t, the joke teller thinks of COURSE you agree. And keeps telling the disgusting jokes.

        That speaking out is Marion’s work. Sometimes she judges people without a lot of evidence, but in this article she has crossed her t’s, dotted her i’s, and I for one found what was here to be new information and ghastly revelations I’d not known. And I KNOW she’s not talking about us but about the truly Professional Left who have access to the public that makes what they do dangerous.

        If we don’t speak up, they will think we don’t mind. And standing up therefore is seriously important. I think we’re pretty much on the same page about needing to work together, but I think we -- Marion in particular -- can call out bad stuff, and morally we all have to do that or it perpetuates. Tolerating that won’t bring us together in ways we would like anyway.

        • AdLib says:

          However, if all that people do is call out other people on how they’re deserving of disrespect, I don’t see that as constructive.

          I simply don’t see how you get to a conversation about bringing people together to accomplish big tasks while promoting division.

          And as I mentioned, I see as an MC Escher design, promoting negative stereotypes of some groups of Dems as a way to criticize them for the act of promoting negative stereotypes of another group of Dems.

          I’m not saying that such division doesn’t or won’t continue to exist, I’m just saying that the time to argue is not when the car you’re in is heading off a cliff.

          So, I get where you’re coming from and I appreciate the truths, I just think we have much bigger fish to fry right now.

    • Dorothy Rissman says:

      Choicelady, I completely agree. It is a complicated story, but Marion has an insight that I feel is worth reflecting on. Marion, I too want you to wear it with pride. Your story is not only insightful, but it is a lesson we all need to learn.

  2. KQuark says:

    A Washington Monthly commentator discuses the issue of Obama’s race and current position much more properly and truthfully methinks.

    How does Obama break the iron unity of the GOP opposition to assemble a governing majority in the US Congress? …

    Obama acts entirely within the tradition of mainstream African American political strategy and tactics. The epitome of that tradition was the non-violence of the Civil Rights Movement, but goes back much further in time. It recognizes the inequality of power between whites and blacks. Number one: maintain your dignity. Number two: call your adversaries to the highest principles they hold. Number three: Seize the moral high ground and Number four: Win by winning over your adversaries, by revealing the contradiction between their own ideals and their actions. It is one way that a oppressed people struggle.

    Obama has taken a seat at the negotiating table and said “There is no reason why we cannot work out solutions to our problems by acting like responsible adults. That is what people expect us to do and that is why we have entered into public service.” That is the moral high ground.

    Honestly, I have been reminded more than once in the last few months of those brave college students sitting in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter, back in the day. Obama sits at that table, like they did at the counter. Boehner and McConnell and Cantor clown around, mugging for the camera, competing to ritually humiliate Obama, to dump ketchup on his head.

    I don’t think those students got their sandwiches the first day, but they won in the end.

    Obama is winning. Democrats are uniting behind him, although some white progressives think that they could do the job better. Independents are flocking to him. Even some Republicans are getting disgusted with their Washington leaders. Obama is not telling us about lack of seriousness of the Congressional GOP; he is showing us the vivid contrast between what we expect of our leaders and their behavior. The last two and half years have been a revelation of the essential conflicts in our society and politics.

    If white progressives understood much about the politics of the African American struggle in the United States, we would see Obama in the context of that struggle and understand him better. And you don’t have to be African American to know something about the history of the African American struggle. The books and the testimony is there. It’s not all freedom songs. But you have to be convinced that it is something that can teach you something you don’t already know.

    Hopefully people like Joan Walsh could learn something from this.

    • Dorothy Rissman says:

      I read that site everyday. The comment was astute and reflected the idea that Obama as a black man may view history and his place in it in a totally different perspective. The comment has been shared all over the internet, and I have emailed it to dozens of people. It is a powerful image of a man who is more complicated than many of us may understand.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        Hi Dorothy!

        I have seen this in a couple of places too, now that I have looked for it. I’m glad it’s going viral too. Joan Walsh and some of the President’s other detractors would do well to read it!

        • Dorothy Rissman says:

          Let’s make it viral is right. Share it with many. I think the power of the comment is that the author is not trying to sell Obama as superman, but he presents a macro vision of the historical/structural make up of the man who is our president.

      • KQuark says:

        Cheers. Glad to hear it’s going viral.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      KQ, what an amazing comment! This makes total sense to me. It sounds exactly like something Dr. King would have said. I never thought about the President’s behavior in that light. I can visualize him sitting there at the table just like those college students in 1961 in Greensboro, NC at the Woolworth’s lunch counter. This was only a few miles from my home and I remember it well.

      I would love to know the name of the person who wrote this. Do you have a link?

      Thanks every so much for posting it! :-)

      • Dorothy Rissman says:

        Only Steven Benen could reveal that name. I doubt that he would share information about those who use his site--which is of course the way it should be.

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Dorothy, thanks! I misunderstood. I thought it was written by someone who worked for the publication. I guess we’ll never know unless that person takes credit for the comment. Of course, you’re right! :-)

        • KQuark says:

          I wish I could give him credit.

          I remember during the HCR debate one of the best analyses I ever heard was from a self identified doctor posting on “The Atlantic”. I tried to find him to get him to post on the Planet but could never find him.

      • KQuark says:

        It’s been true since Jackie Robinson really. Not only does an AA have to perform better than a white person in a pioneer position, they have to do it with a smile on their faces no matter what racists scream at them.

        • Emerald1943 says:

          KQ,
          The lunch counter sit-in in 1961 was a real eye-opener to many people in my area. These four students sat there, day after day, quietly with dignity, taking the insults and threats from whites and even having drinks poured on their heads. I remember being ashamed of the way they were treated by the whites. I am ashamed now for the way the President has been treated. I’ve never seen any president disrespected the way he is, especially by the repubs. Remember that Boehner wouldn’t take his phone calls during the debt ceiling talks? That really angered me!

          I have criticized the President on several occasions about the way he handled a situation. I can assure you that the next time I feel inclined to be critical of him, I will remember this piece and the principles that I now believe guide his behavior. This is one of those things that rings so completely true that it must be!

          You are right! We don’t realize the pressures that he has, not only to do his job, but to do it better than anyone else. So far, I’d say he’s winning! :-)

          • KQuark says:

            Exactly Emerald. And it’s not like President Obama misrepresented his vision and leadership style when he was running for president. He never represented himself as a partisan firebrand. His message was quintessentially in the tradition of MLK.

            Sure Obama needs to be more firm with the current situation he has to deal with but the man is how he is and asking him to be someone else is just counterproductive.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              KQ, you are right about this. There are times that I personally would like to see him pound the podium, just to assuage my own anger at the thugs! But you are right…that’s not who he is.

              He was a little more fiery on the campaign trail, but I will take his calm, deliberate approach to problem solving any day. It is SO NICE to have a man with some BRAINS in the Oval Office.

              ADDENDUM: I sent your original comment about this to my daughter. Her comment back was…”well hallelujah! Somebody finally explains his 3-D chess!”

          • texliberal says:

            E1943, he’s my President too. And if the pressure is too much? WELL???? We need to stop qualifying people based on race. Sure it happens all of the time, BUT WHERE DOES THE BUCK STOP? And that’s my point.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              tex, I believe you totally misunderstood what I was trying to say here. There was NO criticism of the President in my comments. The issue here was a discussion of his leadership style. He brings his life experiences with him into the job, and I am sure that he has incorporated many of Dr. King’s principles of non-violent confrontation carried forward from the civil rights battles of the 60’s. If you have not read the post by KQ, please do so…it is really worth the read and puts the president’s behavior in a completely different light!

            • KQuark says:

              No one is qualifying Obama based on race. If you get that from the post it’s your misinterpretation. It is just explaining the atmosphere Obama learned how to lead in like you could explain that W led the way he did based on his daddy complex and his experiences when he so called found Christ.

              Not a group but any individual is going to lead differently based on their life experiences. If you can’t see that it’s not our fault.

          • KQuark says:

            Like I was trying to tell tex it’s more a way of how different people learn to be effective based on their personal experiences.

    • AdLib says:

      Very enlightening and feels right on the mark, KQuark.

      I mentioned earlier, if MLK was fighting racism using non-violence and civil disobedience in the climate of today, there would be Purists on the Left badmouthing him for being so passive:

      “Another march?! What good have marches done? It’s so weak! Why can’t MLK step up and be a real leader, he needs to hit back hard at the racists, not just get arrested! I supported MLK the first time around but not anymore, we need a real leader of civil rights who isn’t afraid to be tough!”

      Do these folks know any history? They don’t know about FDR folding to Repubs in 1937 and killing spending in favor of cutting budgets, they don’t know about how MLK or Gandhi overcame foes far more powerful than themselves by NOT being hostile and tapping into something more effective and successful in the long term. What do they know other than what would satisfy them?

      • KQuark says:

        Americans have ADD and don’t care to know history for the most part. Worse I see time and time again people on both sides misrepresent the lessons of history.

        I think he did win the public opinion war with the debt ceiling more than we know maybe not with the base so much but the middle.

        He absolutely turned public opinion around about the possible consequences of the default and the S&P downgrade only validated that. Sure a Pyrrhic victory but it could be losing the battle to win the war.

        Most of all look how the public’s opinions on taxes has changed in only a couple years. No longer are they a bad word with most of the country only a hard core wacky GOP base. Losing half of the Tax and Spend paradigm Reagan set could do more to help Dems in the future than anything.

        If Obama does get two terms and is able to accomplish a few other big things he’ll be the Dems Reagan because he could be an infection point in American politics swinging the political pendulum in the direction of a center left country again. Like Reagan his record under scrutiny won’t be an ideological miracle in practice but face it the middle still sees him as pretty liberal so it will help the next generation of more progressive Dems.

        I know they are big ifs but if they don’t happen the country will take a right turn of the cliff going south on I-5.

  3. KQuark says:

    Wow way too much to think about of a Sunday but just a few of my thoughts.

    The biggest tacit racial bias I believe elite type progressives had towards Obama was that the colour of his skin defined him as very liberal. This simply was not consistent with his actual policy positions and more importantly his moderate pragmatism. But to be brutally honest the Dixiecrat type of Dems you talk about were the ones during the primaries that said he was too liberal even during the primaries.

    You are right about one big thing though. Coastal progressives don’t have a clue how to communicate with the South and much of the Midwest in the country. You don’t bash America over and over again and expect this part of the country to follow your beliefs. The blame American first is a truism among purists, especially when it comes to foreign policy.

    • AdLib says:

      I do disagree with your generalization about coastal Progressives as well.

      “Coastal Progressives” aren’t bashing America as some collective. Looking at the deterioration of America under Bush, in the eyes of a majority of the world’s people, America did go down a very dark path and deserved the criticism it received globally for torturing, killing thousands of innocent people in unnecessary wars, spying on its own people and handing our democracy and economy over to corporations.

      Such critiques weren’t isolated to the coasts of America, many conscientious Progressives in The South were just as upset at what America had become, along with people throughout the world. I mean, under Bush, a majority of the world disliked America.

      Once Obama came into office, I never heard any campaign from Progressives anywhere in the US “blaming America first”. I did hear plenty of Republicans and Baggers attacking the unemployed, unions and public workers like teachers, police, firemen, attacking the social safety nets in America…now that’s what I call attacking America.

      • KQuark says:

        You’re right in the fact I should not generalize so let’s throw out the geographical references. I’m not really saying anything new here, even Howard Dean use to talk about how liberal Dems who really make up the party platform don’t know how to strike that patriotic note the center (politically) wants to hear.

        I agree that the far right is going out of their way to show they are faux patriots and Dems have a real opportunity to make inroads with middle with that group of right wingers in power of at least the House.

        That being said when I wear my American patriotic hat I cringe when I read much of what progressives say about this country. There is a zeitgeist amongst vocal progressives for example that Europe is much better than the US. That sentiment will never help sell progressive policies with these people. The one thing you never hear form the right is that they want to be a different country. So of course right wingers are attacking America but they look it as they are attacking America run by a socialist terrorist who was born in Kenya. Really it’s futile to communicate with the hard right wing anyway but that lunch pail middle America is persuadable.

        • AdLib says:

          I understand what you’re saying now, KQ.

          There are two things at play here.

          1. Reality
          2. Politics

          The reality is that the US is in fact declining in all measurements against developed countries when it comes to education, health care, income, standard of living, personal debt, national debt, poverty, prison population, the list goes on and on.

          The US spends more on health care and education and yet we rank way down the list.

          What Progressives are saying, even those who inarticulately say, “We should be Sweden!”, is really, “We can be better!”

          What Republicans do is pander shamelessly to everything that makes people feel good about themselves or disdainful of others who aren’t American. That is, “America is the greatest country on God’s green Earth!” and “Them illegal aliens are trying to steal your jobs!”

          Their goal in this pandering is simply to pacify people while they steal from them from behind the flag they’re waving.

          The America that Progressives have been working for, that valued civil rights, a free press, democracy, economic justice, entitlements, etc. isn’t so much all of that anymore. So Progressives criticize America and that’s a big downer to some.

          There can be political problems for those who say the Emperor has no clothes to those who have an emotional need to see the Emperor as wearing fine clothes.

          You are right and it is a political obstacle sometimes to Dems to tell the truth when The Music Man GOP comes into town slapping your back and telling you how great you are because you’re an American in the greatest country on Earth. Then when your wallet’s missing later, you feel patriotic but broke.

          To explore another analogy, the Repubs are like pushers who keep people addicted to hearing how great America is and how that makes them special simply because they were born here. American exceptionalism and all that.

          Meanwhile the Dems keep trying to hold an intervention to get people to kick their addiction and to some, look like party crashers.

          At this point, even though more Americans than ever know America is in bad shape, some still need their fix of exceptionalism.

          Consider if the Repubs said the same as Dems, that America is not magically endowed with exceptionalism but is only exceptional if it serves its people as it should, fairly, justly and principled. With no supplier continuing to sell these exceptionalist wares, the public might come to accept reality.

          My point is, I agree, there are substantial segments of population in areas of the nation that expect and need to hear how great America is, no matter the reality.

          Should Progressives be more politically smart and less expressive about their criticisms of America? Maybe so…after all, being honest but out of power doesn’t bring about change.

          • KQuark says:

            Exactly and I’ve heard people say here we need to be like Sweden.

            Great analogy with the addiction.

            Believe me I know the GOP are just better snake oil salespeople because it is a messaging problem with the Dems.

            I would never expect progressives to be dishonest about the direction of this country but it’s a matter of what destination we want for the future and it better not be this glorified view of Europe. It better involve an obsession with making this country better and even beat the rest of the world. When progressives collectively scoffed at Obama when he said we have to “win the future” that exemplifies my opinion.

  4. Chernynkaya says:

    OK, Marion. You win. We non-Southerners are Godless racists and culturally insensitive elites and Limousine Libs and Fuax Everything, and we are completely culpable for the totally unfair bad rap the South gets. The South is a victim, as they have been telling us since Reconstruction. You finally beat me down after what? five or so posts like this. Mea Culpa.

    • foodchain says:

      Hi Cher, this is why I like Billy Joel’s “I didn’t start the fire”

    • KQuark says:

      I think Marion totally is ignoring what happened in the primaries and the overt racism of Southern white Democrats. He did not win one Southern state where the Democratic Party was dominated by whites. Appalachia was Clinton country for that reason.

      • AdLib says:

        Marion is correct, VA and also NC (FL too but it’s a not as traditional a Southern state) were won by Obama but all other Southern states voted McCain/Palin. Here’s a map of the 2008 election, showing how the majority of people voted in each state and region:

        ” width=”450″ alt=”map” />

        • KQuark says:

          I know but VA is not really the old south. It’s one of the few red states getting bluer. And NC has more AA than whites in the Dem party.

          It’s really the Appalachian states Obama had trouble with in the primaries.

      • Marion says:

        He won Virginia, primary and general.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Oops that doesn’t fit the narrative. Look, she’s not wrong, just guilty of the same binary stereotyping.

        • KQuark says:

          Well having lived down south 18 years I’m pretty immune to the “Damn Yankee” thing.

          By any measure the Southern white voting block has done more to destroy progress than anyone else in this country. And yes they predominantly vote Republican as a way to express their white identity.

    • ADONAI says:

      Sarcasm readings are off the charts!!! I haven’t seen numbers like this since Wilde vs Queensberry!(Google it)

  5. Dorothy Rissman says:

    Thank you for this saga. I mean that in the best way. I appreciate the personal nature of the piece because it lends credence to what you have written.

  6. AdLib says:

    With all due respect, articles about prejudice which express prejudice seem self-defeating.

    As in other articles, you express a victimhood for those who live in the South, due to unfair stereotypes of Southerners and make that case by using unfair stereotypes of non-Southerners to validate it.

    I see no difference between being disrespectful of a whole group of people because they live in The South and being disrespectful of a whole group because they live in the West and/or the North.

    IMO, it is actually participating in the very dynamic your articles seek to criticize, promoting stereotypes and divisiveness between Democrats based on provincial sensibilities.

    We’ve witnessed a sufficient amount already of Democrats who are more focused on what divides us as Democrats than what unites us. In many cases where Dems rail against large swaths of other Dems, the claims are typically exaggerated and far too broadly generalized to have the desired effect anyway.

    We just saw a debate on Friday night between those who represent the actual threat to both Democrats and 99% of Americans. If Republicans win the Presidency or Congress in 2012, the future of our standard of living, entitlements and economic opportunity will be severely if not permanently harmed. If that happens, provincial finger pointing at fellow Dems will be looked back on as a quaint hobby that one no longer has time for as society crumbles all around us.

    Other Democrats are not the enemy, they do not represent an existential threat. Holding grudges and prejudices against one’s allies, in the end, accomplishes the same goals pursued by one’s enemies.

    Now is a time to put aside the provincial fragging of fellow Dems, now is a time for people of good will and conscience to come together and fight for the principles we share that are sincerely threatened and under attack.

    After we’ve re-elected Obama and have both houses of Congress back in Dem hands, THEN we can get back to the long-honored Democratic tradition of dividing and undermining ourselves. First things first, though. 😉

    • KQuark says:


      Now is a time to put aside the provincial fragging of fellow Dems, now is a time for people of good will and conscience to come together and fight for the principles we share that are sincerely threatened and under attack.

      Fucking brilliant AdLib.

    • ADONAI says:

      You damn Yankees never get it!

      ‘Course, don’t know why I’m saying that since a majority of my state supported the Union during the Civil War.

      So, I guess, never mind. :)

    • Very well put AdLib. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t like the attempts to draw lines between progressives and liberals and not progressive enough or not liberal enough. Even though many dems criticize the president, they aren’t going to vote republican. They may be over critical, but they’re still dems at heart. Now is certainly not the time for division or derogation of those who don’t think exactly as we might.
      And to divide ourselves with respect to geography is silly. We are all Americans and we are all citizens of the world. Today’s GOP/TP is a very real threat and we can’t afford to be petty and divisive.

      • AdLib says:

        Thanks KT!

        IMO, there is a disconnect for those who think there is anything constructive in investing time and energy in aggressively criticizing all those in the Dem Party who are different from them in opinion or the region in which they live.

        Imagine if Martin Luther King spent all of his time and energy criticizing Dems who weren’t fighting for civil rights in the way he thought they should. Nothing would have been accomplished on Civil Rights and the forces of racism would have prevailed over a divided and warring civil rights movement.

        There is nothing constructive in being divisive. If others are being divisive, the solution is not returning the same divisiveness but kicking the game board over and saying, “We’ve got a real fight on our hands that really matters and we don’t have time for this petty crap now. We need to work together right now or there won’t be any society left to be divided over.”

        It’s a time to put aside the tunnelvision and see the big picture. Yes, some Dems have prejudices and provincial views but when the barbarians are at the gates of the nation’s castle, it’s time to put aside one’s personal resentments with their fellow citizens and work together to prevent the castle from being breached and burned to the ground.

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Adlib, I would have to agree with you. In spite of being born and raised in the South and experiencing that stereotyping that is so aggravating to those of us who still love our grits and country ham, I do NOT believe that this is reason enough for us to eat our own…no pun intended!

          We may find buried racism everywhere. To deny that would be sticking our heads in the sand. However, I do not consider every criticism of the President to necessarily be based upon it. Many of us, myself included, have been critical of his process (as opposed to his values) without caring two cents what his skin color happens to be. I believe that to be the case here at PPOV among our bloggers. Perhaps I am naive, but I don’t think so.

          I remember watching President-elect Obama speaking at Grant Park on the night of the election and thinking that about 75-80% of the nation had apparently put racism behind them. I realized that there would perhaps always be that 25% who still cling to that evil. Incidentally, that is about the same percentage of voters who identify themselves with the Tea Party. We can do very little about it except to hope that, over time, they will see the light although I do not have much hope of that happening. Racism has proven itself to be a formidable cancer.

          In my most humble opinion, we do not have time for this constant undercurrent of dissatisfaction with each other that bubbles way too often to the surface. We have much bigger fish to fry! As you say, when the barbarians are at the gate, we need to focus on protecting ourselves against the REAL enemies of the President and this country who shamelessly parade their overt racism on Fox TV and in front of the nation’s Capitol.

          I’m afraid that I am not able to communicate my feelings very well right now. They don’t seem to come out right, an obvious short circuit between brain and keyboard. I just think that we cannot afford to expend our energies fighting with each other over slights either real or imagined…we have an entire tea party with which to do battle. If we continue to vigorously defend our Democratic principles of democracy and fairness for all, those who cling to their racism will become even more irrelevant than they are right now.

          • AdLib says:

            Stereotypes are unfortunately universal. Californians are often referred to as superficial, elitist, flakes and nuts, bimbos, himbos, you name it.

            Using stereotypes is just lazy thinking. Some people like to be able to file away complex things under simple categories and check that off their list. Some people also stereotype others based on negative experiences or perceptions (all blacks are this, all Jews are that…).

            You would think that those who have been subjected to prejudice would be more mindful about not using it towards others but sometimes it’s just the opposite. People can rail against prejudice towards them by displaying prejudice towards others.

            We’re on the same page, Emerald. However some people from any classifiable group have stereotyped any of us, we are faced with an assault on the fabric of American society so we have to lock arms and stand together.

            To those locked into prejudice and division among their fellow Dems, I offer this quote from Rick at the end of Casablanca:

            I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.

        • I think it odd that people who live in California are so stereo-typed. I lived there for 6 years and most of the people I met were from somewhere else. I met people from all over the country who migrated west. Funny.

          • AdLib says:

            It is only the poorly informed who think CA is only Los Angeles and San Francisco.

            Orange County is about as rock ribbed conservative and Republican as Idaho.

            Eastern CA has rural folk with far more in common with people in AZ, Wyoming and OK than LA.

            Lots of farmers and ranchers throughout the state, blue collar factory workers, bikers, gun enthusiasts, very religious communities, on and on.

            The narrow area where I agree with an assertion in this article (though it becomes guilty of of the very problem it identifies) is that people are quick to simplify and stereotype because it affirms their prejudices but in doing so, are oblivious to how mistaken they are about their generalizing.

            If people in the South are not one thing and can’t be fairly shoved into one box neither can people in any other region of the US.

            • AdLib says:

              KQ -- There are strongly religious regions of CA that do seem to get activated over “moral issue” propositions but still vote Dem a lot.

              Very interesting phenomena.

            • KQuark says:

              Absolutely the votes to strike down gay marriage and to decriminalize marijuana really changed my perception of CA.


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