Part 5—Divided we (liberals) fall: We were intrigued by a letter in Sunday’s Washington Post.
The writer’s values are beyond reproach. We’d call his politics hopeless.
One of the analysts had gone a bit further—unwisely, we suspected. Angrily, he called the writer one of the Dreamers, one of the people who have been brought up to believe that they’re liberals.
“Stop plagiarizing Coates!” we cried. After that, we read the letter, which concerned guns:
LETTER TO THE WASHINGTON POST (10/18/15) According to his Oct. 5 op-ed column, “On guns, aim higher,” Fred Hiatt thinks the United States should strive to be a gun-free society, like Australia. But Australia is not entirely gun-free; its 1996 law banned automatic and some semiautomatic weapons, not all guns. There was a massive weapons buyback, but it did not capture all outstanding firearms.After scolding the analyst, we read the letter. We knew then that we had failed.
The Aussies, led by conservative then-Prime Minister John Howard, were so outraged by a massacre in the community of Port Arthur that they agreed as a nation to do something.
They then did the something in a matter of weeks; no handwringing, moral turpitude, feckless excuse-making, gun lobby obfuscation, etc. They got the job done.
The United States needs comprehensive, national, strict gun regulatory reform, and we should use Australia as the template. We should do it quickly.
Remember: Each day that passes without us doing what needs to be done means more lives lost. Public safety is Job One for government. What are we waiting for?
Now we were borrowing from Coates!
On the surface, the writer’s values are beyond reproach. His politics, though, are strangely uncomprehending.
In fairness, he notes that Australia is not completely gun-free. Still, he says we should institute a “massive weapons buyback,” “using Australia as the template.”
“What are we waiting for?” he asks. Borrowing from our MacArthur genius, we knew then that we had failed.
“What are we waiting for?” The writer may as well suggest that we should become an island nation, modeling ourselves on the Aussies.
According to the letter writer, we should perform this massive weapons buyback in the immediate future. The writer’s values are beyond reproach, but he seems to know nothing about our politics—or about the 330 million people with whom he shares theoretical ownership of the United States.
Film critic Pauline Kael was once famously quoted, by her own New York Times, saying she didn’t know anyone who voted for Candidate Nixon. This brings us to the very bad politics happily performed by us liberals when we dissemble about the evil put on display by The Others.
Alas! The writer wants the federal government to stage a massive action. He shows no sign of understanding why this can’t currently happen.
Alas! Our constitutional system is built around roadblocks to such action. If we the liberals seek federal action, we must overcome such obstacles as these:
The need for sixty votes in the Senate. The tilt in current Senate math which favors conservatives (at present, our smaller, rural states tend to be red). The tilt in population patterns which tends to favor conservative control of the House (liberal voters tend to be heavily concentrated in a relatively small number of urban and urban ring districts). The veto power of presidents, who are sometimes Republicans.
In short, it’s hard to produce “massive” action by the federal government. To achieve some such action, we liberals have to persuade many people from outside our tribe that our position is right.
Indeed, we have to find a way to foil those modern conservatives who, as a general matter, don’t want the federal government to act at all. To do so, we have to undermine the culture of hard-core tribal division, which strongly favors the interests of people who hold such views.
If we the liberals want to see substantial government action, we have to undermine the culture of tribal division! At present, those of us who were raised to believe that we’re liberals have settled on a rather strange way of accomplishing that task.
We keep telling The Others they’re racist! Then, we shake our heads and wonder why they won’t accede to our policy stands, which we of course know to be brilliant.
Those of us raised to believe that we’re liberal seem to love this practice. We love attacking The Others as racist so much that we’re willing to cheer as our multimillionaire corporate leaders clown, cavort, dissemble and lie to give us the porridge we crave:
MADDOW (10/2/15): Out of all God`s great green evolving earth, Alabama Republicans really did manage to pick this one spot, this center of African-American life in their state in the Black Belt as the place where they could really save some money by cutting all those offices where you get what you need to vote.That statement was baldly false. But to us, that statement felt good!
Maddow has performed four additional segments on this topic without correcting that groaning misstatement. Essentially, she has cherry-picked everything she has said to give us liberals a pleasing impression, in which The Others are evil and vile and We Liberals are moral and good.
Basically, Maddow has been lying. But dear lord, it has felt so good!
That letter writer seems to be living inside a Dream. One day earlier, in that same newspaper, we saw what happens when corporate hustlers like the weirdly grinning Maddow stuff disinformation into our heads, and big sacks of corporate dough into her self-impressed pants.
It happened on Saturday, October 17. At the Washington Post’s web site, reporter Vanessa Williams did a blog post about Alabama.
Williams didn’t present a full set of facts about the driver’s license closings. (By now, Maddow had misled her viewers about the closings on three separate programs, grinning weirdly at us the rubes as she did.)
Williams didn’t present a full set of facts about the office closings. But, in a rare departure, she mentioned the availability of free voter ID in every county in Alabama.
Even worse, she quoted Alabama’s governor denying a racial motive in the office closings.
Mercifully, Williams’ blog post didn’t produce a lot of comments. It did let us see the type of gap-toothed yokels we liberals become when we let corporate hustlers like Maddow feed us the porridge we love.
Williams’ blog post produced just 18 comments. Among them, the people raised to believe they’re liberal managed to offer the comments shown below.
We’ve done light editing for clarity. Pay special attention to OLDPRPOGESSIVE. Also to Samoset, who exhibits all the signs of a Maddow victim and rube:
OLDPROGRESSIVEFROMWISCONSIN: So I guess the fact that most of the proposed closing would be in predominantly Black Counties was just a coincidence? These guys need to get better at lying.Someone had led the Old Progressive to think that “most of the proposed closing would be in predominantly black counties.”
Chris Smith: Alabama one of the poorest, fattest, least educated, most backward states in the union. In other words, a red state.
Ham Biscuit: The volk here in Alabama’s capital, Pretoria, don’t understand what all the fuss is about.
Samoset: The governor is a bold-faced liar. Just look at a map. Color in the counties that make up “the black belt.”
Originally named because of the rich black soil that was best for growing cotton—now a predominately black resident region.
Those counties were the only ones where the DMVs were closed. Only Ones.
That’s pleasing. But it just isn’t true.
Samoset took the gap-toothed commentary even further. After repeating the history lesson with which Maddow killed time in her first report, he said offices had been closed in Black Belt counties and nowhere else.
That claim is just pitifully false. But that’s what the weirdly grinning Maddow has persistently said and implied.
By the way, each fellow insisted that Bentley was lying. They didn’t know that the information shortfall had perhaps struck a bit closer to home.
You’re looking at comments by a pair of gap-toothed “progressives”—a pair of Dreamers who somehow managed to become grossly misinformed. We almost thought we heard banjos playing as Samoset rattled his Maddow scripts in the face of facts like these, facts Maddow has disappeared:
The eight largest counties which lost an office:To Samoset, none of those counties exist. Lauderdale County is Brigadoon. Also, Bentley’s a liar!
Lauderdale County: 92,709 (86.4% white)
Lawrence County: 34,339 (77.6% white)
Chambers County: 34,064 (58.8% white)
Franklin County: 31,704 (83.0% white)
Geneva County: 26,790 (86.3% white)
Cherokee County: 26,021 (92.7% white)
Winston County: 24,484 (97.3% white)
Bibb County: 22,597 (75.8% white)
Trust us. This really isn’t a very good way for liberals to execute outreach. The situation only gets worse when folk like Ken Black show up.
Ken Black is a trouble-maker. For unknown reasons, he had decided to research the facts about the office closings.
In the comments to Williams' blog post, he kept trying to offer information to us liberals. This was his response to the brilliance of OLDPROGRESSIVE:
OLDPROGRESSIVEFROMWISCONSIN: So I guess the fact that most of the proposed closing would be in predominantly Black Counties was just a coincidence? These guys need to get better at lying.Reams of information followed. In an earlier comment, he had listed population figures for every county which lost an office, resulting in this overview:
KEN BLACK: They weren't. Keep paying attention to the liberal media instead of thinking for yourself.
I actually took the time to go to the US Census Bureau’s quick facts site and got the populations for the affected counties. It also lists the % of the populations in each county. Here is a list of counties with DMV closures that have a majority of whites over 80%. For comparison purposes I also included all of the counties that are majority black populations (9 of them)...
KEN BLACK: Here is a list of counties who are closing the DMVs. The closures affect 67.8% whites and 28.8% blacks in those counties. That is comparable to the overall percentage rates of the total population in Alabama, which is 69.7% white and 26.7% black...Black made at least one error in his compilation. He thought majority-black Dallas County lost its office, which it actually didn’t.
(To review Drum's numbers, click here.)
That said, Black kept trying to introduce information into the discussion! We the rubes simply persisted with our pleasing story.
From the liberal perspective, in what way do people like Black make the situation worse? We’ll now tell you something which we people who think we’re liberals generally don’t understand:
Increasingly, people in the red-state orbit are being exposed to an unpleasant fact. They’re being told that we liberals aren’t obsessively truthful. Increasingly, this familiar old claim is now being supported with actual accurate facts!
Most of our liberal tribal dissembling and lying involves matters of race and gender. Trust us: People all over the red-state world will end up learning what Maddow has done in this latest episode.
We the liberals will never find out. The loud noise from our dueling banjos drowns this info out.
This only hardens the tribal lines which currently define American politics. Unfortunately, tribal division serves the ends of conservatives—of those who oppose federal action.
People who long for “massive” federal action need to break that division down. We need to conduct winning outreach to Those People—to people like those described in Tuesday’s New York Times.
David Herszenhorn reported from Monticello, Georgia, in that state’s 10th congressional district. This is “what we are waiting for” with respect to that massive gun buyback:
HERSZENSHORN (10/20/15): A lot of people in this small town, an hour’s drive from Atlanta, get their news from talk radio.Those people own the country too. Given the obstacles built into our constitution, we liberals have to perform outreach to our co-owners if we want to succeed in politics.
“We all listen to WSB,” said Marion Pearson, the owner of a photo studio, who was at a “Coffee and Conversation” recently with Representative Jody Hice at the local Chamber of Commerce.
“In the morning we have Herman Cain out of Atlanta,” Ms. Pearson said. “Then we have Rush from noon to 3, and then Hannity from 3 to 5, and then—oh, what’s that guy’s name?—the RedState guy, Erick Erickson, from 5 to 7.”
Georgia’s 10th District got Mr. Hice, 55, from talk radio, too. Before seeking office in 2014, Mr. Hice, a Southern Baptist minister, had his own show, syndicated on 400 stations, on which listeners heard him weigh in against Islam and homosexuality and for gun rights and traditional Christian values.
Constituents say they do not agree with Mr. Hice on everything but trust him to represent them.
“He represents my values,” said Bruce Henry, a Jasper County commissioner. “We’re a rural community. He’s a Bible-believing man. He believes in the Second Amendment. He’s honest.”
We have to imagine the possibility that they may know something we don’t. We have to accept the fact that our values aren’t the only values possible.
Meanwhile, is Jody Hice honest? We don’t know, but Hannity pretty much isn’t. If liberals hope to succeed in politics, we have to find ways to help other people see that.
Proving that point isn’t real easy when Maddow keep lying her ascot off and we keep cheering her on. (People in Monticello are going to hear about this.) When people listen to Cain each day and we keep insisting they’re racists.
In the most recent Iowa poll, three of the top four Republican hopefuls are either black or Hispanic. Because we only think we’re liberals, that’s when we turn to our own Hannity and ask her to help us feel good.
It's almost the only story we know. As our banjos get picked and our TV stars grin, we love our tribal story.
This dates to prehistory: Your lizard brain will reject all this. As has been true through the (war-ravaged) annals of time, your lizard brain is wrong.