Friday, November 6, 2015

Defeating The Conservatives Will Be Like Trying To Flush A Rat Down A Toilet

Theoretically it'll work, right? The rat's smaller than us, and more importantly, he's smaller than the pipes involved. The basic physics of the situation are overwhelmingly in our favor. There shouldn't be any question that we as a nation are perfectly capable of getting the thing into the municipal sewage system.

Yeah, but that rat, man... That rat's going to fight, going down. I can't emphasize enough how ugly this is going to look. Fur flying. Blood everywhere. We'll never be able to forget the screeching sounds it's going to make. We're going to get clawed up, people. Clawed badly.

Just the other day an essay appeared in the Guardian about how every demographic and cultural trend was gradually destroying the conservative movement:

The US is now beyond the electoral tipping point, driven by a new progressive majority in the electorate: racial minorities (black and Hispanic) plus single women, millennials (born between 1982 and 2000) and secular voters together formed 51% of the electorate in 2012; and will reach a politically critical 63% next year.

All this sounds great, but there are plenty of off-brand elections - like the one we just had - where a relatively small group of voters can roll back progress and pack the states with an army of rightwing imbeciles. And then those rightwing imbeciles gerrymander the districts so they can pack the House with even more rightwing imbeciles. We might lose an eye in this fight. I'm serious.

You think we're winning the argument, right? We've reached a point in America where people generally acknowledge that we need racial justice, that literalist religion is stupid, that women and LGBT people are full citizens, that global warming is an actual phenomenon because all the scientists agree it is and because every once in awhile an entire city goes into the dunk tank - that's the idea anyway, isn't it? But if that idea is really gaining some traction you wouldn't have major party candidates campaigning on open racism and Bible conspiracy theories about who built the pyramids. People like that wouldn't have a serious chance to snag the most powerful office in the US government. But they do. Lock the door. It's going to try to run.

The rat's stupid and vicious? Yeah, well, don't act like that's a drawback. Because this is politics in America. Stupid and vicious wins. Stupid and vicious has a solid fucking track record. We're going to need rabies shots after.

Plus the stakes are higher for them. The country continues to become more racially and ethnically diverse, and young people have less tolerance for the insane superstitious crap their parents believe. Plus, it's getting harder to argue for aggressive defense when we've been waging war around the globe for two decades and entering an airport looks even more like visiting a prison.

So they're losing? Well... Kind of.

The biggest area of GOP growth is among people who're actually on life support. The average age of a Fox News viewer is dead. I'm serious. Dead. You've been gone a week, and no one's noticed the smell yet, and when they break into the apartment there's Sean Hannity yelling at your corpse.

But it means the rat is fighting for everything. An entire way of looking at the world is getting slowly crushed by the reality of living in a developed 21st century country with a cosmopolitan population and an economy that is mind-bendingly complicated, which means we need the regulations they can't stand, because gumption and Reagan quotes aren't going to cut it. The rat's going to mark us up as much as it can before it goes down. And brother, that's a lot. We could need surgery after.

Don't ever think progress just happens. Not here. People fight wars and they lynch whole populations to make sure progress doesn't happen. And they can beat back tolerance, kindness, and enlightenment for a long, long time, before old age and irrelevance claim them.

The only thing certain is that we've got to get this rat out of the house. So roll up your goddamn sleeves. And get the Bactine ready, because we're going to need it.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

44 comments:

  1. Thanks for linking that Guardian essay--it was a great (and heartening) read! I feel like I've been waiting all my life for this change and I'm glad to see it.

    Now let's go flush that rat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was heartening. Thanks for reading.

      Okay. Deep breath. Best do it quickly...

      Delete
  2. You know who else liked to compare his enemies to rats, and wanted to destroy them all, damn the cost, regardless of the blood, death and injury done? Well, he's gone, and the rats still remain......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, you can't have a gay-free pizza parlor. It's EXACTLY like Kristallnacht.

      Delete
  3. If dehumanizing your enemies a liberal idea? If it's not OK for conservatives to refer to minorities by dehumanized terms (trigger warning) like raccoons, monkeys, rats, de we as libeals/progressives want to adopt the same tactics as conservatives, the people we are fighting against, and trying to portray ourselves as better than? Are you truly better than one of these conservatives, or just a mirror image of their hate?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Um, let me think about that for a sec...

      Yeah, I'm going to go with Better.

      Delete
    2. Then retract your post and start referring to your political opposites as people.

      Delete
    3. Don't wanna. Hey, here's the evidence that you're actually a conservative pretending to be a liberal to concern troll me:

      It's a very, very common argument on the right to portray conservatives as some kind of persecuted minority and then use that to make a false equivalence between people calling you out and actual instances of bigotry and oppression. If you're a liberal you tend to think bigotry against women, gay people, trans people, and African Africans is REAL. It has a real death toll associated with it, and it's much more serious than some politician, media figure, or blogger calling you guys names and hurting your feelings. You're a liberal making a standard Fox News argument? I don't think so.

      Also, you people LOVE talking about Hitler. Love it. It's creepy.

      Delete
  4. Ah yes, the old "I can't refute the points of his argument, so instead I'll attack the validity of his source' gambit, ergo the sudden accusation I'm a conservative trying to pass myself off as a liberal concern troll. It can't be I noticed that little Nietzschian thing in your post, that maybe when you fight monsters you should take care not to become one, because if you stare too long into the abyss it looks back at you? It's been noted in social experiments that when people think they're better or righteous, they tend to slack off in other moral areas. Oh, I'm so Christian and righteous, that it's ok to hate gays. Oh, I'm so liberal and righteous, I recycle and fight for minority rights, it's ok to dehumanize my enemies and not see them as people but instead see them as animals worthy of death.

    Nope, just a rat-lover. Actual rats, not metaphorical ones. They get a bad rap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, you're a conservative.

      It's not ad hominem though. Because my argument IS that you're making a false equivalence.

      The kind of crappy argument you've made is evidence you're a conservative.
      The crappiness of your argument itself is why I've already won.

      Delete
    2. You know, the funny thing is, I actually went into this comment thread to say I liked the post? I mean, it's a pretty apt metaphor. And I think it's clear that it was, in fact, a metaphor. Unlike diacd999, I don't actually think you called conservatives rats. Or advocated flushing them down the toilet. Oh, you're plenty disgusted with them, that's for sure, but saying that the current conservative movement is fucked up and needs to go is a valid opinion in my book. Especially since, y'know, I agree that it is and it does.

      But what you're doing right now? The whole "you can't possibly be a liberal and still disagree with me, so you must be a conservative and a troll" thing? That's just fucked up. Are you really unaware of the fact that some liberals are, y'know, not fans of unabashed hatred? That in fact they've seen enough on it on the opposite side, and they don't like seeing it on their own?

      And then the all too familiar argument of, "my hatred is okay, because it hasn't resulted in any deaths!" Well, sure. Not too many, at least. Liberals, in our modern age, tend to be more peaceful than conservatives, so even though the vitriol flows freely throughout the Internet, there isn't a significant practical result of it - not yet, at least. So congratulations, you are Not A Murderer.

      But I missed the part where being Not A Murderer meant that you were automatically a good person and completely justified in everything you did.

      Delete
    3. Not Being A Murderer is the whole point, since the accusation is:

      A) That I'm like Hitler
      and
      B) That my criticism of the conservative movement is just as bad as policies that - as I said - have a death toll.

      Your last paragraphs are straw men attacks on my position.

      Delete
    4. And when the "discredit the source of the argument" gambit fails, it devolves straight to the name-calling. And you can't just yell "false equivalency" as a tactic unless you point out said false equivalency, since otherwise it's just another aspect of the final, low, name-calling gambit. And I'm not trying to argue "Christians are more persecuted than gays/minorities/etc", I'm arguing "your hatred and dehumanization of conservatives is just as bad as their hatred and dehumanization of these groups; stop it if you are trying to be a better person than them". I never once defended any literalist Christian or spoke up in favor of the conservative movement; you built that strrawman argument yourself.
      So it's ok to be a bigot as long as you're not a murderer? If that's the case, why are you attacking the conservative movement? Most of them aren't murderers.
      And really, you think just because you hate the right people it's ok? This is the same type of BS that excuses the racism & homophobia in the black community because they're victims of institutional racism. This is the same type of BS that excuses anti-Semitism amongst progressives because of the Israel's handling of the Palestinian issue.
      You've obviously been fighting monsters too long; get out of the abyss.

      Delete
    5. More false equivalence. Maybe you don't understand why. But that's not my problem.

      Delete
    6. Like I said, simply stating false equivalency without explaining why it's a false equivalency is just a low a debate tactic as name-calling. Maybe you can't explain why because it isn't a false equivalency because it isn't, or you are just being dismissive because you don't like your own bigotry pointed out.

      Delete
    7. I don't need to. Your position requires that I ignore centuries of historical context.

      My position is simply to say, "No, thanks."

      Delete
  5. If the thing that upsets you about Hitler is that he compared his enemies to rats, you have some more reading to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stop being so literalist, Paul apparently hates that. It's the dehumanization of our political opposites which I detest.

      Delete
    2. Actually, your problem is that you don't differentiate between Rhetorical Hitler and Hitler.

      Delete
  6. Rhetorical Hitler liked to scream and shout and dehumanize his enemies. Hitler had Jewish friends whom he spared the Holocaust. I'm sure you have a few conservative friends as well.
    Or is there some other dehumanizing asshole dictator you'd like to be related to?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you read anything about Hitler?

      Delete
    2. You don't know about Eduard Bloch and the various art dealers he used in Vienna?

      Delete
    3. I don't think you're making anything approaching a cogent argument at this point. But I'm really excited to hear you continue.

      Delete
    4. There's a cogent argument, but because of your dismissive-ness and reliance upon a monochromatic worldview I'm pretty sure you'd reject it. It was quite beautiful actually. I had it written on the back of a cocktail napkin though. Alas, I spent my lunch hour cleaning my rat's cage. Usually I slip up a few $100 bills or few napkins in the cage for them to shred up for bedding. Only too late did I realize what I'd done when I saw Meatball haul away the inscribed napkin into her den and start nibbling at it.
      You're right though; you can beat back kindness, tolerance, and enlightenment back for a long time. You've been arguing against it all afternoon.

      Delete
    5. Yep. We're diving deep into crazy now.

      Delete
  7. Man, the rats are bitey aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ow, OW! Son of a... Get the goddamn bandages.

      Delete
    2. He's an adult; he can stop when he wants to. Unless he's addicted, then it's Big Someone Else's fault.

      Delete
    3. Have no idea what you're saying. But you're all over the place, and the insanity has a kind of beauty to it.

      Delete
  8. When the last conservative dies, who will you hate then? Just curious.....

    ReplyDelete
  9. Or will you be happy when Big Brother shows you the daily Two Minute Hate, so you can bleat against the conservative Emmanuel Goldsteins all you want?

    (ignore this guy; his consulted his pineal gland after lunch and is now he's being ridden like a hot chick on a Kawasaki by Eris Discordia)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, and I thought my parents were harsh.

      Delete
    2. And... "SCENE."

      Thanks everybody! We nailed it, here. ER, that was perfect.

      Delete
  10. we don't like the republicans either. sure, they don't believe in municipal planning, and that does provide a better food supply for us. but we're very concerned about global warming. but let's face it, we'll deal with that a lot better than you will. i mean, we live in sewers. we're good at surviving. in fact, if you blow up the whole world (and we marvel that you haven't done that yet), we'll survive. it's what we do. still, we'd be pleased if you didn't do that. but whatever. we don't get a vote.

    but you know that pizza i was dragging down the subway stairs? i didn't run off and eat the whole thing myself. i shared it with the whole rat community. rats are like that: we share and we don't blow up the earth. okay, we breed too much. we're randy little devils. but we aren't stupid and vicious. "make love, not war -- and share pizza!" that's our motto.

    i gotta go and care for a sick rat who lives down the sewer from me. but i must warn you that if you keep comparing us to republicans, we might have to leave something unpleasant in your toilet -- like the 2012 republican platform. now that's vicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry. You are a noble creature, and I have indeed been unfair to you. Please accept my apologies.

      I will watch what I say next time.

      Delete
    2. you know it was the gerbils who brought you the plague, right? but do they get bad pr? no! and why? furry tails. i'll tell you, if we had furry tails it would be a different matter.

      but i accept your apology. and for the record, we rats love your work. tina fey blew it when she didn't snatch you up. and you are the only one with the guts to tell the truth about willy wonka. keep up the good work!

      Delete
  11. From Hell's heart they will stab at us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh God, I love the image of a little rat Ahab.

      Delete
  12. One good story deserves another!

    *******

    A man is strolling around San Francisco's Chinatown and happens upon a street full of vendors selling various items.

    In one booth, he spies an interesting looking object.

    "How much for the brass rat?" he asks the old Chinese proprietor.

    "Five dollars for rat, hundred dollars for story."

    "Thanks, but I'll just take the rat," says the customer.

    So he pays the five dollars and leaves the store with the brass rat tucked under his arm.

    Gradually, he begins to become aware that a rat seems to be following him.

    And as he walk a few more blocks, the number of rats behind him gradually increases, until there are dozens, then hundreds, then thousands of rats following him!

    So he runs as fast as he can down to the San Francisco Bay and throws the brass rat in water as far as he possibly can.

    And thousands of rats plunge in the bay right in after it, to meet their watery deaths.

    ******£*

    The man goes back to the antique booth, where the old Chinaman says, "Ah! Now you want story?"

    "No, but have you got any brass Republicans?"

    ReplyDelete

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