Monday, January 19, 2004

In Honor of Iowa

It seems that it is a day for culture bloggers to foray into politics, as Michael Blowhard, here, explains his evolution to the right and George Wallace waxes poetical over caucuses (cauci?), here.

First Mssr. Blowhard, describing what drove him from lefty to righty, writes, "But something kept nagging at me. It was the voluptuous pleasure so many of the lefties I knew took in demonizing something they called "the right." They'd get this gleam in their eyes; they'd start muttering about racism and sexism; they'd start feeling all rabid and charged-up ... It seemed like the behavior of lunatics; what it reminded me of most was the way depressed people try to raise their spirits. (Interesting how many lefties -- so pleased with themselves for being so liberated -- turn out to struggle with bad, long-term depression.)"

Anyway, it bugged me. I started paying attention, and I started noticing something else dismaying: the righties who were being denounced, ripped apart, and cursed were often my people -- "my people" in the sense of my family, my childhood neighbors, my friends from public school: the kind of people I grew up among, Republicans almost to a soul. People I love, in other words, and who (whatever their faults) are among the kindest, most pleasant and generous people I've known. I've never seen them not wish other people well; whatever voting lever they pull, on a person-to-person level they're far more human and welcoming than many of the vain, cockatoo lefties I now live among."

While I would not question his politics or his good intentions, and have no doubt that many of his arty/lefty friends took delight in demonizing the right, I think he is guilty of making some specious comparisons here. To say that the right is not capable of demonizing the left is to ignore the 90's and all of talk radio, much of the internet, Fox News, Ed Gillespie, Pat Robertson, Tom Delay, and Trent Lott, to name a few demonizers. And to say the attitudes of urbanite, artistic lefties is not as down home friendly as suburban middle America Republicans ignores that there are down home, suburban lefties outside the arts that are just as friendly and real and generous as the people he grew up with.

If Michael wants to broaden his horizons, fair enough, broaden them from the middle out in all directions. But it would seem that he is more concerned with justifying his political evolution than in truly spreading his wings. I lean left, no question, but I will not argue that the left is incapable of demonizing their opponents and political correctness is the bane of intelligent discourse, but to ignore the abuses of the right is to ignore reality.

Mr. Wallace who is one of the nicest, right-leaning people I know offers a double dactyl on Iowa. Which I'm sure he will not object to my reprinting here...

All Have Won, and All Must Have Prizes

Caucus race, caucus race:
Iowa Democrats,
Gathered in living rooms,
Diners and gyms,

Listen attentively,
Ponder their options, then
Follow their whims.

The Fool is becoming double dactyl central.

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