Just Above Sunset
November 7, 2004 - No Concessions?

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If you followed the threads in the three previous discussions, consider this from, Ellen, another friend from college days, up Albany way….




I've just been catching up on the postings and have a few reactions:


Why they hate liberals.


To the point that maybe the hatred that the gay-marriage issue brings out is the fear of one's own sexuality, I would generalize that to say the intolerance of the Christian right's rank and file stems from the fact that a lot of these people never examined and chose the life they lead, but lead it (perhaps a little resentfully) because it is expected and in fact required of them by the society in which they find themselves.  This resentment comes out against "liberals" who appear to be freer.  The liberals' observed freedom is characterized in largely sexual terms, which makes them easy to vilify and reject.  But the real hatred out there stems from the suspicion that other people have actually tried and chosen "paths not taken" (including open-mindedness) while they have not allowed themselves to follow those paths even in thought, much less in action.


Joseph’s point: "Don't sell policy, sell virtue. We have enough of it. The funny thing (and Dan, perhaps you will scoff) but I actually believe that the Dems embody not only Christian new-testament principles better than the Republican party of today, but the conservative values of old: responsibility, caution, community."


AMEN!  I make this point over and over in discussion with my (mostly liberal) friends.


But, with the whole "morality" thing so co-opted by the snake oil preachers, how to get this point across?


Before the election, I wrote an email to friends in Ohio talking about two policy issues I know a lot about: the change in the overtime rules and the different vision of future healthcare plans between the two candidates.  I was taking a big chance, not knowing how this email would be received.  My own cousin floored me by saying "Life trumps all" and telling me he had just distributed some 500 pro-life fliers in church parking lots. (Which of course made my puny little email to a dozen or so people look as futile as it probably was.)


After the election, with no comment, I got the following email from one of the dozen-- a high school classmate who works at Ohio University.  You can see from the formatting that it already had been much-forwarded.


I agree with the piece's point that Democrats need to speak frankly and stop beating around the bush (whoops, no pun intended) - and maybe this is the key to the conundrum of reclaiming the high ground on "virtue" above.


The concession speech that wasn’t?


The Concession Speech by comedian Adam Felber that should have been made by John Kerry


My fellow Americans, the people of this nation have spoken, and spoken with a clear voice.  So I am here to offer my concession.


[Boos, groans, rending of garments]


I concede that I overestimated the intelligence of the American people.  Though the people disagree with the President on almost every issue, you saw fit to vote for him.  I never saw that coming.  That's really special.  And I mean "special" in the sense that we use it to describe those kids who ride the short school bus and find ways to injure themselves while eating pudding with rubber spoons.  That kind of special.


I concede that I misjudged the power of hate.  That's pretty powerful stuff, and I didn't see it.  So let me take a moment to congratulate the President's strategists: Putting the gay marriage amendments on the ballot in various swing states like Ohio... well, that was just genius.  Genius.  It got people, a certain kind of people, to the polls.  The unprecedented number of folks who showed up and cited "moral values" as their biggest issue, those people changed history.  The folks who consider same sex marriage a more important issue than war, or terrorism, or the economy... Who'd have thought the election would belong to them?  Well, Karl Rove did.  Gotta give it up to him for that.


[Boos.]  Now, now. Credit where it's due.


I concede that I put too much faith in America's youth.  With 8 out of 10 of you opposing the President, with your friends and classmates dying daily in a war you disapprove of, with your future being mortgaged to pay for rich old peoples' tax breaks, you somehow managed to sit on your asses and watch the Cartoon Network while aging homophobic hillbillies carried the day.


You voted with the exact same anemic percentage that you did in 2000.  You suck.  Seriously, y'do.  [Cheers, applause]


Thank you.  Thank you very much.  There are some who would say that I sound bitter, that now is the time for healing, to bring the nation together.  Let me tell you a little story.  Last night, I watched the returns come in with some friends.


As the night progressed, people began to talk half-seriously about secession, a red state / blue state split.  The reasoning was this: We in blue states produce the vast majority of the wealth in this country and pay the most taxes, and you in the red states receive the majority of the money from those taxes while complaining about 'em.  We in the blue states are the only ones who've been attacked by foreign terrorists, yet you in the red states are gung ho to fight a war in our name.  We in the blue states produce the entertainment that you consume so greedily each day, while you in the red states show open disdain for us and our values.  Blue state civilians are the actual victims and targets of the war on terror, while red state civilians are the ones standing behind us and yelling "Oh, yeah!?  Bring it on!"


More than 40% of you Bush voters still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11.  I'm impressed by that, truly I am.  Your sons and daughters who might die in this war know it's not true, the people in the urban centers where al Qaeda wants to attack know it's not true, but those of you who are at practically no risk believe this easy lie because you can. 


As part of my concession speech, let me say that I really envy that luxury.  I concede that.  Healing?  We, the people at risk from terrorists, the people who subsidize you, the people who speak in glowing and respectful terms about the heartland of America while that heartland insults and excoriates us... we wanted some healing.  We spoke loud and clear.  And you refused to give it to us, largely because of your high moral values.  You knew better: America doesn't need its allies, doesn't need to share the burden, doesn't need to unite the world, doesn't need to provide for its future.  Hell no.


Not when it's got a human shield of pointy-headed, atheistic, unconfrontational breadwinners who are willing to pay the bills and play nice in the vain hope of winning a vote that we can never have.  Because we're "morally inferior," I suppose, we are supposed to respect your values while you insult ours.  And the big joke here is that for 20 years we've done just that.  It's not a "ha-ha" funny joke, I realize, but it's a joke all the same.


As well as conceding the election today, I am also announcing my candidacy for President in 2008.


And I make this pledge to you today: THIS time, next time, there will be no pandering.  This time I will run with all the open and joking contempt for my opponents that our President demonstrated towards the cradle of liberty, the Ivy League intellectuals, the "media elite," and the "white-wine sippers."  This time I will not pretend that the simple folk of America know just as much as the people who devote their lives to serving and studying the nation and the world.  They don't.




And from Joseph in Paris –


We need to start developing our talking points now. A few thoughts:


1)     I shall have to devote some time to explaining this heathen's understanding of how Democrats are more in keeping with the new deal between God and man loosely called the "New Testament".  The genius of this is that we don't have to threaten Republicans by telling them they're wrong.  They're just stuck on the "old deal".  God made a "new deal", hence, "This New Deal!”  Haven't they seen it yet?  That "eye for an eye" stuff is out... that's just soooo "Old Testament."

2)     Let's not get hung up on the word "liberal" - it's only a word.  In most of the world, "liberal" means the exact opposite of what it means over there.  However wrongly maligned, the word is now corrupted.  To cling to it is like saying "Yeah, I'm a SATANIST. So What!"  Not very useful in a country that doesn't much care about definitions.

3)     As a matter of principle, we should stop calling today's Republicans “conservatives" - because they aren't anymore.  And we should start calling ourselves "Conservative Democrats".  You heard it here first.




From Just Above Sunset?  This sounds like a plan to me.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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Paris readers add nine hours....