Obviously, I have no problem with the word "cunt." I have no problem talking about rape or incest or any other taboo subject. I've been known to speculate that the nature of Man is inherently good, drunk, and boisterous, in the back of a police car—apparently a quite unpopular method these days, and a thorny issue for even myself, now that I'm trying to find a real job. I don't mind standing in front of a group of unlike-minded people and enumerating the many reasons why I don't believe in God, Jesus, Allah, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or JK Rowling. I am what a lot of people identify as a "realistic liberal."
Most people aren't educated enough to form a coherent sentence, let alone parse out the subtle implications of political schemas. For the most part, I suppose I am that in some way or another. I think Lipstick Feminism is silly and that a woman gains no authority by flashing her tits for money (and I'm not even going to make a joke about that). I would like a more socialistic government, though I hesitantly admit that perhaps (only MAYBE) human nature doesn't jive with its principles. I am pro-choice. I am anti-death penalty. I think this gay marriage debate is absurd. I think marijuana should be legalized and that unmarried people should screw like wild hogs (if wild hogs, of course, used protection). I think more money should be ripped out of the cold dead hands of Whitey Rockefeller and thrust back into society. I also think Whitey Rockefeller should learn how to dance or jump or something that isn't a goddamned stereotype.
"The State that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools." -Thucydides But—I also agree with Plato's Republic, that Democracy is a terrible form of government—and that more often than not, the more charming candidate wins out over the most qualified one (I do feel like we got lucky that Obama is as charming as he is, given that he is more qualified than McCain, etc). Now, as I'm called a realistic liberal, I've always had a bit of a twinge of responsibility weighing on my shoulders. Some call it a little demon… as it frequently tells me to burn orphanages or sodomize housecats. Anyway, often, I feel like jumping into the discourse when my uber-liberal friends talk about their wind-powered vegetables communes or whatever the fuck it is they think would work, shaking them by their tweed labels and screaming, "Your opinions aren't going to do shit!" And then, upon hearing that the methane in cow shit is ruining the atmosphere and that WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, to calmly tell them that they won't do anything but bitch and then punch them in the face and leave the hookah bar.
So, I've sort of come to the realization that it's better for everybody if I don't discuss politics. Ever. Of course, what you're about to read is the antithesis of that, but I've been considering this stuff for about five years now, and given the current situation of my Facebook feed, it feels pretty apt that we talk about this now.
The fact is, for as long as I can remember, I've generally been the apostate… a reactionary measure to my environment. A healthy majority of my hometown consists of fundamental conservatives (not all of them, to be fair). Like most Southerners, they are good people, and general representatives, I think of the Republican Party as hard-working, loyal, and smelling like domestic violence. They're hamburger-eating people who complain when the new shake weight comes in the mail and then blush when Junior shouts drunkenly from his truck, "That just looks like jerkin' off, Sister!" They are patriotic people, wholly uninterested in political theory or practice, who judge others based on whatever it is the most recent commercial they saw told them about self-worth. They attend church regularly, have doggedly fought for this country, and aside from issues regarding their union rights, they've voted strictly Republican for the past several elections. They're poor, though ironically desirous of a value system that—time-tested—benefits the rich and the rich only. They tend to be one-issue voters, whether it's on abortion, gay marriage, or the ironically unpopular welfare system (West Virginia ranks lowest on the Happiness Index in the country, even lower than Puerto Rico—fucking PUERTO RICO!—and is currently the least educated, least wealthy, and second fattest state in the union). (I figure by now, most of the readers of this piece are either liberals who enjoy WV's plight, or incensed, slack-jawed conservatives—neither of which I respect one bit—but let's keep going.) For what it's worth, I'm pretty much the polar opposite of these people, politically (have been for some time), and for the most part, sort of think the world IQ would rise a few tenths of a point if somebody nuked my hometown (it's only 1,500 people or so). I'm looking at you, Osama… oh, wait.
Still, I've always found that all political discourse—at least with people who don't agree on anything—generally devolves into an "I'm right and you're a fucking idiot" kind of rabble-rabble-rabble, and that's not the point of this article. Of course, it doesn't help that I've always been "The Liberal," and am usually outnumbered by a bunch of screaming yokels, but that's not the point either. Whatever the case, my general reaction from this cowing has tended towards the opinion that most people don't deserve an opinion at all: that most people aren't educated enough to form a coherent sentence, let alone parse out the subtle implications of political schemas. As my liberal grandfather once said, "You don't go to a mechanic if you've got heart problems." My analogy would be, "You shouldn't have the right to vote if you don't know the difference between ‘their' and ‘there.'" I don't really think, now, that any of this is going to help.
I just hope you can imagine that growing up in that area taught me a few things about the Conservative mindset. Despite all the arguments I've heard—"you smell like weed" or "ain't ‘liberal' one of them fancy words?"—and the likewise ridiculous, illogical rhetoric from the Right on television and radio—"gabdunit," etc..—I've thought about it for some time, and now I think I've got a few ideas as to what the problem has been for us Leftists, and possibly how to solve it.
First, let's talk about some biology (which bores me a little so I'm going to keep it brief). Basically, several recently released studies note a biological difference between the liberal brain and the conservative brain. That is, liberals tend to biologically value empathetic interaction, while conservatives tend to value autonomy. Of course, this doesn't mean these are mutually exclusive mindsets, but they are important to note.
The Republican Party states one thing and those who value autonomy buy into it wholesale like it's a goddamned Krispy Kreme franchise. As is always the case when scientific data proves that one type of person is better in some way than another (e.g. if you say that men make better firefighters than women because of higher testosterone levels that allow for the muscle-building required for the job), people on both sides piss their pants. In this case, most uber-liberals become uber-queasy, sweaty, and uncomfortable in their effeminate turtlenecks (they empathize with the claimed "lesser" entity of conservatives and say "well…all people aren't like that"), and conservatives become all hot-brained and stomping mad (defensive that their autonomy as well-meaning individuals has been questioned). Either way, the implications for us non-pussy liberals are more than important: we now have a map to chart our reactions for each type of person. In terms of convincing uber-liberals who sit in beanbag chairs and philosophize about Big Brother and how "un-rad" it is that Uncle Sam won't let them light a doobie up on their front porch on a sunny day—we can now be the subjective of their empathetic gaze. To them, I say: quit ruining it for the rest of us, we'll never make any strides in this country until you realize what you're up against and actually do something. To conservatives who sit on porch swings and sip mint juleps and call Asian people "Orientals" without realizing they're being racist, we can make it more about their abilities to improve their current socioeconomic problems, as conservatives have recently decided it's their duty to protect Big Business instead of the infamous "Little Guy." (To the Little Guy I say, "Dude, you're over 300 million people. That's the ‘Big Guy.' In fact, that's the fucking gorilla in the room."). We need to slowly chip away at this mound of dried cultural bullshit. And how do I propose that?
I say we try our hardest to convince both polarities of the political landscape to actually have some sense. First: fetus-sized steps. What has allowed the Republican Party to maintain any bulwark in its voting base is that it is able to project a buyable image for those autonomy-centric folks. It states one thing—or says that it states one thing, or…states whatever it is firmly—and those who value autonomy buy into it wholesale like it's a goddamned Krispy Kreme franchise.
The Democratic Party, on the other hand, has had its spoon in too many soups. In lentil soup. In ginger soup. In good old American chicken noodle soup. What I'm saying is that Democrats must represent all the minorities of this country's interests, and in doing so, they become perceived as weak, wavering, or soupy… by those who self-identify as having "conviction." This may have something to do with biological predispositions as well, considering that many liberals I know do change their minds often, as new facts are revealed, while many conservatives hold "true" to their "gut instinct" and instead manipulate the facts to serve their own purposes (a more autonomous-feeling flourish). Still, I feel like the findings mentioned above might have to do with a sort of biological reaction to environmental ideas. That is, like a muscle, those who use that part of their brain more become more inclined to use it (to beat up douchebags, if you will). So, if somebody grows up in an empathetic household, who is to say the brain doesn't develop more in the parts exercised? Plenty of scientific analysis shows, for cognitive abilities like reading level, that one either uses it or she loses it (I'm lookin' at you, ladies). So, what is it that I'm suggesting to help with chipping away?
Well, politically, there are two important aspects to gaining ground for the Realistic Liberal movement. One: we need to work our asses off politically to get a better education system. Not only would it improve crime rates—since well-educated people are statistically significantly less inclined to commit violent crime—it would improve the logical nature of political discourse in the country—which as you might be able to tell, is a sure-fire win for realistic liberalism. Two: we need higher taxes to fund that education system. It's my opinion that those funds should come from the richest people in the country (who inevitably benefit from the country consisting of dullards and racists and even worse, that insane chubby bitch Nancy Grace). Recently, the debate over the estate tax has become too ridiculous for me to even get into—but it is essentially a tax relevant only to the richest people in the country (and I hear all the time from my very poor conservative friends, "They're going to take my money when I'm dead!"). The rich, as we all know by now, are getting richer. There's no reason why we can put more pressure on our senators to fight these bills, and there's no reason why we can't convince our conservative friends that they're getting screwed by right-wing propaganda, that we can put more money into educating their children, and improving the quality of life for everybody. It would be a slow process, yes, but inevitably it would begin to solve a lot of these problems.
I could get very conspiracy-theoretical here, and state that really, it seems quite odd that the gentrification of inner cities, the removal and consolidation of schools, the move to repeal the collective bargaining rights of teachers, the push to rescind the estate tax, the rich-getting-richer, and all of this will eventually lead to big business creating a prince-or-peasant-like wealth distribution, where we're slaves to Kang (don't blame me, I voted for Kodos). And with the current technology gap between the common household firearm and the B-52 bomber of the government, little could be done to stop the enormous, post-modernist juggernaut from being like "I'm the Juggarnaut, bitch" on our asses (is that reference still relevant?). I could say what the Republican Party has been doing all along has been secretly lubing up the Washington Monument for one final fly-by-fucking, making us think that those other hot-button issues actually matter right now. But instead, to be realistic (or maybe more realistic) I'd like to just say this:
Of all things to think about, it's not the issues where debate still smolders—abortion (where we may never really come to a consensus), the death penalty, or creationism/evolution—but education. Because if you really think about it, if we invested whole-heartedly in teaching our citizens, all that Glenn Beck bullshit would seem like actual bullshit, and all those hippy liberal appeal-to-emotion documentaries about kitten abuse would become just as obviously bullshit too. We'd still have Christians. We'd still have Muslims. We'd still have people who called it "soda" instead of "pop"; we'd still have Jersey Shore; and we'd still have differences that would cause squabbles amongst us (only when we all look sort of Chinese and sort of white will things get better, and even then, some of the more intolerant, more white-looking humans will still call the Chinese-looking humans "Oriental" without intending to be racist); but, if we provide the necessary tools to actually discuss all the important matters intelligently, we can then talk amongst ourselves logically and calmly. Then we can behave not like all fat, walrus-looking, pocketwatch racist, inbred fuck conservatives—not like those whiny, mango-eating misguided liberals with their guacamole-smelling vaginal leakage—but like rational fucking adults. Then, we might be able to get something done.
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