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Creek Running North

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November 03, 2004

Mandates now illegal in 11 states

Rana, in comments over at PZ Myers' blog, responds to someone asking for the left to lose graciously:

Bob, this isn't about being a good sport after a lovely game of tennis. This is about seeing people like yourself standing up for state-sponsored torture, pre-emptive warfare, loyalty oaths, the rape of the environment, the rejection of science, the favoring of the wealthy and the corporate over the average citizen, the rejection of morals other than those defined by a narrow, bigoted interpretation of the Bible, the destruction of the separation of church and state, and the enshrinement of "morality" that declares some citizens to be less than others. For me to smile and to say, good fight, guys, is for me to betray everything I fought for and will continue to fight for. It would also be to admit that you and your ilk have won. You haven't. This is only one of many battles. So I repeat: gracious, my ass!

Amen. I'll be polite and humane enough to talk to people of good will on the other side. But there is a core of rottenness at the heart of the GOP, of hatred and disregard for the welfare of others, of grubbing up the next quarter's profit at the expense of all else. This core defines me and my loved ones and our lives as less than worthless, and they get no gladhanding from me.

Posted by Chris Clarke at November 3, 2004 08:58 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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I agree, but I wonder if "rottenness" really captures it. At its heart, the GOP is an alliance-of-convenience between libertarians and fascists, where the fascists provide the energy.

Fascists will always produce better turnout, because by definition, they do as they're told.

And the word for fascism is one that Bush wins points for using: evil.

Peace, shivering,


Posted by: Jarrett at November 3, 2004 10:42 PM
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In the face of what happened two days ago, it is somehow comforting to know folks like you are not throwing in the towel.

But still, the whole outcome is terribly discouraging.

Posted by: Trey at November 4, 2004 03:13 AM
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It may come as a surprise to you, Chris, that there are moderate-and-sometimes-reluctant Republicans reading your blog. Not all of us are anti-environment, fascistic, or evil, believe it or not.

"Lose graciously" doesn't mean "convert to the other extreme." Working to moderate what you perceive as the excesses is losing graciously. Name-calling and doom-saying is losing counter-productively. The former is going to alienate the moderates and push them toward the other extreme, and the latter is just going to lose you credibility when the world doesn't end on schedule.

(I perhaps should have said "were reading" above, since I've already unsubscribed in my RSS reader. Color me "alienated moderate.")

Posted by: Karen at November 4, 2004 06:38 AM
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I've taken pains to point out that I am well aware of the fact that most Republicans are good folks, and I will continue to do so. But the GOP is the party to which Fred Phelps and Rush Limbaugh swear allegiance. If my pointing that out causes you pain, perhaps not reading what I write is the happiest alternative all around.

And if speaking out for the human rights of gay people constitutes an attempt to "convert to the other extreme," I suggest there's not much moderation to be found anywhere.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 4, 2004 07:11 AM
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Let me rephrase: "Suggesting that you lose graciously doesn't mean suggesting that *you* have to convert *yourself* to the other extreme."

Otherwise, you've just proven my point. I hadn't seen anything about Fred Phelps or Rush Limbaugh here. And certainly I don't think I suggested *they* were moderates, which might be a hint that I don't necessarily agree with them. You're quite welcome to trash them as far as I'm concerned, I just don't care to be tarred with that same broad brush.

But if it makes you feel better to assume that I'm diametrically opposed to you in all points and that you're therefore justified in running me off, that's okay by me. (Really. I know that sounds snarky, but it's not intended to be.) It's your blog, you can run it any way you want... I'm just pointing out that you *had* at least one moderate, and now you don't, and if that bothers you here's what the problem was, and if it doesn't bother you there's no need to defend your position.

Posted by: Karen at November 4, 2004 07:37 AM
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Some people are growing beards of defiance.

Posted by: Tara at November 4, 2004 07:47 AM
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I don't see what I can do to reassure you more than I already have, to wit:

"I've taken pains to point out that I am well aware of the fact that most Republicans are good folks, and I will continue to do so."

"I'll be polite and humane enough to talk to people of good will on the other side."

"There are millions of good, honest, sincere people in the US who voted for Bush because as far as they could tell, he best reflected their beliefs about right and wrong."

I've posted all that in the less than 24 hours since the election results were final.

I obviously do not think that all Republicans support Fred Phelps (and the "something rotten at the heart of the GOP" is where he came in.)

There is a difference between criticizing the party in power and tarring every member of that party as "evil." I've taken pains not to do the latter, because doing so runs counter to my core values.

And I think even the most cursory reading of what I actually wrote shows that plainly.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 4, 2004 07:56 AM
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Actions speak louder, though... following the whole "people like yourself standing up for state-sponsored torture" quote with, in effect, "But I mean that in the nicest possible way," just doesn't work for me.

Now, I gather from your responses that that's not what you intended. Still, there it is.

Posted by: Karen at November 4, 2004 08:27 AM
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Karen: The fact that Chris has responded to you with so much effort should be a clue as to how much openness there is on the left. Working on public policy issues, I understand as well as anyone the need for moderate Republicans.

Challenge to Chris: Name five Republican politicians that you generally admire.

Challenge to Karen: Ditto for five Democrats.

Five GOP politicians that I generally admire: John McCain, Richard Riordan, Lincoln Chafee, Richard Lugar, Olympia Snowe. See, not hard.

Posted by: Jarrett at November 4, 2004 09:15 AM
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A vote for Bush was a vote for Abu Ghraib, regardless of one's intent. If that seems unfair to you... well then, take it as a teachable moment: that's the kind of thing we to the left of Eisenhower have been told for years. If we oppose the war in Iraq, we're objectively pro-terror. etc.

Five more or less admirable Republicans: Barry Goldwater. (Not kidding.) Tom Campbell. Sherwood Boehlert. Jack Kemp. John Kasich when he's not backing up the administration on Iraq. Mark Racicot on a few social issues. Bill Ruckelshaus. Russell Train. Abraham Lincoln except for that suspension of habeas corpus thingie. A fair number of local politicians. That's more than five.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 4, 2004 09:58 AM
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But...But...being a moderate Democrat, I can understand being able to agree with issues on both sides, for example, I'm pro-choice, and anti-gun control. The reasons being that anti-abortion laws and gun control laws don't work.
STILL...My one big question is this...

Why would moderate ANYTHING vote for BUSH???

Posted by: Carrie at November 4, 2004 11:54 AM
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Jarrett: Five Democrats that I admire? Nope, can't name a single one. But that's okay; I can't name any Republicans I admire, either. At the end of the day, they're *all* still politicians, and that goes for Libertarians, Whigs, Bull Moose, you name it. I know, that's not altogether fair, but when you come down to it, politics is all about imposing your will on somebody else, and I've yet to run across somebody who does so *exactly* the way I'd do so, and so there you are.

And Chris is putting a lot of effort into it, yes, but that doesn't necessarily translate to success (sorry, I'm still just getting a "But some of my best *friends* are evil babykilling Republicans" vibe). And like I said, that may be okay... it's not my blog, and nobody really would have noticed if I'd stopped reading. And maybe it was presumptuous of me to assume that anybody, even Chris, would care, but I've run a mailing list server for a lot of years and I know how useful it can be when, once in awhile, somebody actually says *why* they want/have to leave. (At least, when it's not a thinly-disguised blackmail attempt, which is always amusing because it always *does* come from someone nobody'd miss. So, um, maybe I'm subconsciously trying blackmail, but I hope not.)

Perhaps it would help if I explained why I was here in the first place: via alt.folklore.urban, which has a culture that doesn't tolerate sloppy thinking (or political discussion, as it happens), or undeserved ad homs (though afu has interesting ideas about what makes one deserving). So some of those expectations carry over, possibly unfairly (I don't expect the Ban on Politics, but for some reason I expect scholarly discourse). I've continued to read because Chris' essays are interesting and often deeply moving, and despite the fact that the blankity-blank RSS feed only gives a preview, and thus it's (well, it was) one of only two feeds where I have to actually go out to the site to read the entries.

Carrie: Why would moderates vote Bush? I can't really answer that. Chris may or may remember, but probably no one else here knows: I'm from Kansas, so why bother voting at all? (Actually, I did get out and vote, but that was because of a local referendum. Around here, the real elections are the primaries, where you get to decide *which* Republican is going to win. Of course, many of the Republicans we have here (e.g. me on many issues) often closely resemble the Democrats of elsewhere, so it's not quite as one-sided as you might expect, except when it is. And they're all still politicians, except when they're raving nutcases.)

Posted by: Karen at November 4, 2004 01:45 PM
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Karen, I've run mailing lists for quite some time, too. And I've been on newsgroups for more than ten years. So I know this song by heart:

"I came here for [subject], thinking I would find open and interesting discussions with intelligent and friendly people. Unfortunately I found a bunch of assholes who think they own [subject]. You are all just a bunch of arrogant pricks who make sport of people who aren't in your little club. So I'm leaving. But first let me explain to you in excruciating detail how stupid and simple-minded your attempts at pretending to argue with me really are: [liberal (oops!) sprinkling of straw men with gasoline, miniature conflagration, chuckling at idiocy].

"Now, I'm not angry for myself. It's obvious to me how stupid you all are so I can just laugh you off. Believe me, I'm tough and I can take it. But I feel bad for those poor innocent lambs who come here thinking it's a nice place only to be torn to pieces by you mean old wolves. Meanies!

"You'd think I'd be angry at you, but, deep down, magnanimous as I am, I feel sorrow for the cold and empty lives you deluded people must lead. It's clear to me they you lacking in some essential of human character for you to have to prop yourselves up as "experts" in this sad and pitiful way, the only way you know, by [more straw men about putting other people down]. It's too bad you never got enough socialization when you were a kid or you'd know you're just a bunch of losers."

"Not in anger but in sadness, for your own good, if you were really interested in [subject] you'd understand blah blah blah I'm LEAVING NOW STOMP STOMP STOMP SLAM


You aren't convincing anyone. You're just making a fool of yourself. I suspect that your vast experience in email lists and so on is the same experience over and over. Not impressive.

Not that you'll pay attention to me, of course. You're as right as right can be, and no one can possibly tell you otherwise. We must just not be getting it, you see. You just have to repeat and repeat. Eventually you can then rest assured that those of us who aren't listening are just being contrary and you can write us off as deluded weirdos.

Please write us off soon. You're getting tiresome.

Posted by: Tonstant Weader Fwowed Up at November 4, 2004 03:45 PM
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TWFU, that gave me the first laugh I've had all day. Thanks. (Great Parker ref, btw.)

Posted by: Rana at November 4, 2004 03:57 PM
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Actually, no, I haven't found any of you (except, well, you-singular) to be "a bunch of arrogant pricks" at all. Had I felt that way, I'd've certainly not bothered to say anything. The rest of you *do* seem to be a bunch of intelligent and friendly people, at least from the comments in this thread.

Sorry. I know you've had that post saved a long time waiting for someone to use it on. Maybe you could try it on an afu newbie. It's usually more appropriate there.

Posted by: Karen at November 4, 2004 07:51 PM
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That's really the best you can do?

TWFU: "I've heard that a million times."

Karen: "I bet you've been waiting to say that for a long time."

TWFU: "Uh, duh, about 999,998 times already."

Obviously the point was that this is so common an event that this post would suffice for many situations. I did craft it just for you, but it didn't take long. As I said, I know the song by heart.

So when will you address those flaming straw men, for example:

[came here] "via alt.folklore.urban, which has a culture that doesn't tolerate sloppy thinking (or political discussion, as it happens), or undeserved ad homs (though afu has interesting ideas about what makes one deserving). So some of those expectations carry over, possibly unfairly (I don't expect the Ban on Politics, but for some reason I expect scholarly discourse)."

Here you say CRN contains sloppy thinking, undeserved ad hominem attacks, and no scholarly discourse. The only sloppy thinking and ad hominem I'm seeing in this particular discussion is yours, because you're perceiving an ad hominem attack where none exists.

As for the "scolarly discourse," no, I don't expect everything on this blog to be simply descriptions of the natural world with no political content. Retaining that natural world in good condition requires political action of some kind.

Now let's get to your apparent main complaint:

"But some of my best *friends* are evil babykilling Republicans".

No one has said that. Really. No one has even implied it. Here's where you're getting your "ad hom" that doesn't exist.

Instead, what it means is that the party you voted for has evil babykillers in charge. That's what that says.

Do you really not see the difference between your babykillers paraphrase above and "a core of rottenness at the heart of the GOP, of hatred and disregard for the welfare of others, of grubbing up the next quarter's profit at the expense of all else"?

That core of rottenness isn't in the INDIVIDUALS, it's in the PARTY. The core is something that you are (at least apparently) not a part of. It is not a part of you.

The problem is that that core gets its power from you and your vote and your apologetics. You look at the party and say, "what they have written in this little list of ideals is more like my ideals than what is written in the Dem's list of ideals."

Problem is, it's just a list. It means little or nothing to the GOP. It's a list of selling points, "personal responsibility," heck who doesn't want that, but the biggest players are sociopaths who steadfastly place responsibility on anyone but themselves. "Family values," yeah even if our own families suck we want good family mojo, but it's just words, if you're a poor family you suffer from GOP government policies.

You may think you're a force for moderation in the party. But you're just a sucker, another point of light they can depend on to keep in power. They care about what you think only to the extent that they can then pretend to be what you want so they will get your vote. That's what that little list is all about.

While you're singing Kumbaya around the campfire with all the other nice people, the rotten core is busy doing what you (apparently unintentionally) voted them in to do. Even though you don't want them to do it and don't think of them as representative of you and your party.

They keep the really rotten stuff as hidden as possible. They'll have some lame excuse or way to frame the stuff they can't hide so that enough of you will accept them, if uncomfortably. Or they come up with a whipping boy and say, "he's not representative of the party."

They hope that they can connect with the selfish core of you, maybe just a little, maybe just subconsciously, so that you aren't appalled by their behavior. "It's your money."

But it's not necessary; they just have to make you think you're seeing something nice even if humanly flawed around the edges, rather than something that has a nice outside but a (wait for it) rotten core that's seeping through the wrapping.

Really. That's what I think we have all been saying. But you've misunderstood it and taken it personally multiple times.

I challenge you to think outside the box, think outside the context of those nice Republican people you know (I know plenty of nice Republican people myself) and more about what is being done to you, and to them, by the people who are ostensibly representing you and your ideals.

Posted by: TonstantWeaderFwowedUp at November 5, 2004 09:56 AM
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Okay, I had a nice reply all written up, addressing everything point-by-point... and I just erased it, because I realized the problem was one of my base assumptions that I didn't really explain at all.

The problem is not that I think Republican politicians, at least at the national level, are good people that are being insulted or any such thing. I think that part of the picture is pretty much as you've painted it.

The problem I have, and that I made the mistake (for which I apologize) of only saying between the lines, is that I think the Democratic picture is the same song, second verse. *That's* why I think the blog Chris quoted is an (unintentional) ad hominem attack. It makes the unstated assumption that Republican voters voted that way because they didn't recognize or believe that about their candidate. I don't think so. Maybe I'm being parochial, but for at least some of us - a lot of the moderate sorts, if I'm right - the whole "lesser of two evils" is a "ha-ha-only-serious" thing. There's perhaps only a single issue of difference between any given near-the-middle Bush and Kerry voter... "They both suck, but X at least *says* he supports issue Z." Or perhaps more reliably, "They both suck, but I *know* Y disagrees with me on issue Z, and with X I at least have a chance."

So that's what I mean when I say the Rana quote is an unnecessary ad hom. Maybe that doesn't make any better sense to anybody, but hopefully it does.

(And when I say "some of us" above, the "us" means those of us who generally vote Republican or at least register that way, whether or not we switched sides or abstained in this past election. Maybe I'm a bad citizen, but I think not voting for any presidential candidate - especially, and perhaps only, if you go to the polls and vote in other races or issues - is a valid choice.)

Posted by: Karen at November 5, 2004 04:52 PM
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Nice to see your bicycle has a reverse gear.

But we can't go moving the goalposts again to your taking offense to the Rana comments based on what party you're registered to vote under. Rana was talking about people who voted for Bush rather than Kerry. The people who "won," and who want to be congratulated for their win.

So. If one is not ignorant, or deluded, what makes a Bush/GOP presidency the "lesser" evil?

Posted by: TWFU at November 5, 2004 05:51 PM
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I do apologize for not realizing earlier what I hadn't made clear. Perhaps it's because I haven't read the entire original entry, but I don't see "wanting losers to be gracious" as being the same as "wanting to be congratulated." In fact, I'd say that the latter is being an ungracious winner, and I don't care to subscribe to any blogs that behave that way, either.

I'm really not trying to score goals. I had much rather be on the same team. I wanted to explain my point of view, but not necessarily try to convert anyone to it. Acknowledgement, not agreement. I'm reasonably sure I've done that (as well as I'm able), and I'm also reasonably sure nobody here wants to see us discuss what I don't like about Kerry *or* Bush (least of all me; I prefer thinking about what can be done *despite* politicians to dwelling on how bad they are). If they really do, well, I have a valid email address right down there.

Posted by: Karen at November 6, 2004 09:54 AM
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So now there's no problem? Now you aren't offended any more? Why not? You're saying only that your response wasn't clear. Did you really not mean what you said?

"It's all just a misunderstanding" leaves things more muddled, not less.

I think you did mean it. I think the lack of clarity wasn't in what you were saying. It's in what you thought everyone else was saying. Plenty of what you said was separate from what anyone here said, didn't depend on anyone's words here.

So I have to ask. It's not yet clear whether you regret aligning yourself with babykillers or you just don't believe anyone else is aligned with non-babykillers. Or you don't think you've aligned yourself with babykillers.

The best outcome, I think, would be a glimmering that you don't have to align yourself with babykillers at all. Bad as the Dems are, they aren't as bad as the GOP.

And if you think they're equally heinous babykillers, there are other parties out there, too. And if you don't like the ones out there you can make your own, or be independent. Not necessarily in voter registration, if it's important for you to be GOP to have any say in your local elections. But you don't have to vote for a babykiller or think he's good, or give money to his party, if you don't want to.

And you don't have to defend people who want us to congratulate them for being the biggest bastards on the block.

Posted by: TWFU at November 6, 2004 10:34 AM
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