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Creek Running North
September 13, 2004
Rana nails it:
I am bitterly envious of those independents - and now "ordinary Republicans" if this weekend's This American Life is anything to go by - who are being courted and analyzed and marketed to. Where are the candidates who will court me on my issues? Why isn't the media wondering about disaffected liberal voters? Why is the only party that comes close a tiny minority, yet also apparently a threat so great that both major parties wish to do away with it? Why are my views caricatured as tree-hugging wacky hippie radicalism, as if they are not shared by majorities in nations around the world? Why are centrist, corportist candidates lambasted as the leftist fringe, and why do they flee from association with those of us who are genuinely left of center? Why do I feel like I might have to leave the country of my birth in order to share it with people who think my views are not bizarre, but within a reasonable part of the socio-political spectrum?
Posted by Chris Clarke at September 13, 2004 05:45 PM
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It is interesting in that you could substitute "right" and "conservative" where "left" and "liberal" are and find a reasonably sized group of people to whom this would speak.
Up until 9/11 it was a country of the moderates. Deep down I think it still is. But it is amazing what fear will allow you to put up with.
With the proliferation of right-wing radio, and the token left-wing counterparts, there were those of us in the middle who wondered (and still do), "Who speaks for us?"
I guess we all feel disenfranchised in one way or the other.Posted by: Robert at September 14, 2004 03:34 AM
She certainly did nail it. Thanks for quoting this, Chris.Posted by: beth at September 14, 2004 06:12 AM
I know how she feels.
I also think Robert has an interesting point, that I know people who feel as if the media is catering to the left, and people who feel their conservative values are under attack in this country.
Fear is the key, and it's being manipulated here.
The threat of a rogue terrorist is suddenly far more present than the reality of global warming and environmental destruction which will surely doom us all. What's the color alert for that?
Thanks, Chris, for the link. I do love what Susurra and Robert have picked up here, about the sentiment being the same on both sides. One can't help but be impressed by how effective our admistration (this system?) has been at creating such a paradoxical sense of alientation in the country. I say paradoxical because of how insidious it is: it's a deep alientation buried under, and disguised by, a suffocating patriotism. But fear keeps people from communicating, and open communication is the cure to this pervasive alienation, and to any cohesive plan for the more real problems that S. mentioned.
I love these comment threads.Posted by: Siona at September 14, 2004 02:56 PM
Thanks for the trackback, Chris. Knowing that other folks feel the same way helps -- somewhat.
Siona -- you are so right about the fear. It used to be that I didn't think too much about my political beliefs in a public context -- I didn't talk about them much, but I didn't really feel a need to do so. Now, I feel like it is vitally important to go out there and "witness" for my beliefs -- and yet I am utterly frightened of doing so, either because I fear being attacked, or because I fear learning that someone I like holds views I not only disagree with (which I am used to and indeed find healthy) but find illogical and irrational. I mean, how do you even begin to address something like that? When all your words wither in the face of an unquestioned belief in something you find incomprehensible, and worse, reprehensible?Posted by: Rana at September 14, 2004 04:06 PM
I get what you are saying, but the media does tend to focus a lot of attention on the issues that put the socially conservative among us under attack. Look at the coverage on gay marriage, abortion, etc. Look at the prevalence of open sexuality on TV. There are several of these trends that probably push a large sector of the population to feel as if they are being attacked at the level of core values.
By the way, a police officer dad of one of my sons' baseball teammates told the similarly opinioned Dad sitting next to him (I am overhearing this and they are ignoring me) that the secret service assigned more agents to protect President Bush's appearances here in Portland than they did anywhere else in the US due to the prevalence of radical violent left wing crazies here. He said the agents were specifically worried about snipers. This struck me as pretty funny, given that we have a long record of police violence against peaceful protestors here. But we did have one of the larger turn outs in the anti war rallies around the nation and we aren't even close to the populations of other major cities. So it's not all bad here. :)Posted by: Susurra at September 16, 2004 04:51 PM
You raise excellent points iin yoour first paragraph, Susurra. (And in your second one too, but it's the first I'm responding to.)
I'm of two minds about the erosion of Traditional Values as you describe them. On the one hand, I absolutely deplore the cheapening and commercialization of sexuality As Seen On TV. I shudder at the increasing sexualization of the young (though to be honest my viewpoint on that was different when I was, say, 14.)
I'm pro-choice, but I do grant that other good people have diametrically opposed views. I don't think anyone's got an airtight argument on the abortion issue - though I know which way my knee jerks.
But gay rights and gay marriage? This is merely a logical extension of that increasing practicum of human rights we've enjoyed over the last couple hundred years, at least if you listen to my pal Robert. Fifty years ago, those same people who oppose same-sex marriage would have opposed my marriage to Becky. A hundred fifty years ago, they would have opposed the abolition of slavery.
My position on people who oppose same-sex marriages is that they can either 1) get over it or 2) drop dead. (I'm a nice guy, so I'm perfectly happy to give them as much time as they need to exercise option one.)
But yeah, I'm sure they really do feel beleaguered by all these scary changes.Posted by: Chris Clarke at September 16, 2004 07:38 PM