by Eileen | 4:53 pm, November 10, 2012 | Comments Off
For those of you who missed it, Tuesday’s election was a fairly sweeping affirmation of all-things Obama. For those of you who are deaf, dumb, blind, literate, and reside in a cave without cell phone coverage or wi-fi, his fans are far more concerned with insulting Republicans than with governing. Apparently, “sore winner” is now a thing.
If ever you wanted to see people obsessed with their own poison and immune to jubilation, then log into Twitter.
An openly left-wing woman at an openly left-wing magazine has commented on this. It’s a brief, neat article where she discusses her own misery at the 2004 election results and looks at the explosion of hate over the 2012 outcome. I get that a leftist would have taken it hard in 2004; Kerry came close – I expected him to win and watched his concession with relief more than any other feeling. There was a hell of a lot the Dems could have done to win that year, and it always hurts to think you lost due to your own mistakes more than to the other side’s superior message. That, however, was then and this, I’ll have you know, if now. Naturally, I wanted to add my own thoughts.
The phrase in my mind is “disappointed but not surprised.”
Had social media existed in 2004 at the level it does now, would right-wingers have been as mean?
I doubt it. I think the Left takes politics far more personally and is more apt to treat a defeat at the polls as a personal insult. I think there are a lot of left-leaning activists for whom politics is everything they do; that means they might go further, but it also means they have fewer ways to take solace should they lose.
I think the endless accusations of cruelty and heartlessness on the right is merely so much projection. I anticipated gloating, but this bile is worrying; not only is it a bad sign of the tone we may expect for the next four years, I just don’t know how Obamacare will pay for the longterm care of all these nasty souls once the anger-induced heart attacks start.
I do think part of this is that lefties were scared they might lose and the right thought it had a decent chance. Relief at winning and the sheer humiliation of how far off many right-leaning predictions were have combined for a pathological level of nastiness.
The left knows this was a victory derived from the majority figuring out they could vote themselves rich – for a little while. Having trounced their opponents with such a petty campaign ploy must be powerful stuff. It’s basically the chance to say, “Christ, I didn’t even have a real platform and I still mopped the floor with you.”
I also suggest that those who don’t see their opposite number as people with beliefs and values and positions that matter to them, as fellow citizens who are peacefully engaging in the electoral process to push for what they believe in, are in grave danger of reducing a vanquished opponent to a two-dimensional caricature.
I think leftists who have no solid grounding in political thought and no understanding of what the right actually believes are rather likely to see anyone who demurs from their prefereed orthodoxy as a sick or stupid creature, a thing to be explained. Simply, the more you study and the more you pay attention, the less you despise those not like you. You don’t change your positions, but you see why others come to different conclusions.
And you build up enough real confidence that people openly disagreeing with you doesn’t matter.
So, yes, I think a significant chunk of Americans in Obama’s base have no goddam idea what they’re talking about. This isn’t just about an inability to state their own political beliefs beyond wanting to like Obama. It’s about being unable to articulate the platform of the guy you say you like and, perhaps even worse, being unable to articulate the platform of the guy you tell me you loathe.
Each time I see some book or article or status update where a leftist preens and solicits praise for trying to “figure out what’s wrong” with the right, I want to point out that, so long as you persist in seeing anyone who disagrees with you as fundamentally broken, you might as well not bother trying to “understand.”
You don’t need to agree with me on everything, or even on anything, but if you’ve already decided I’m an idiot or, worse, immoral, for having the temerity to differ from you, why are we even bothering to talk?
And I think that same tendency to view anyone on the right as a deviant is closely linked to the ease with which victorious Obama supporters are dehumanizing and brutalizing we losers.
At one level, this is a severe outbreak of a virus that’s been around for a while. As long as I have been seriously into politics, every time my guy loses, certain left-leaning ‘friends’ call up to gloat. If anything, they are utterly disappointed not to find me in tears or at the bottom of a bottle. Learning that I am not morose or in denial they wrap up the conversation quickly and fade back into the ether of people who don’t take my calls and rarely reach out to me.
To be fair, the vast majority of people I know who subscribe to ‘abberant’ political positions are far classier and kinder, but even that only drives home how sick it is to cold call casual acquaintances and openly pout when they aren’t as miserable as you wish they were.
I suppose these vile ‘tweets’ are the next logical step – why be cruel to one person at a time when you can broadcast it at a negligible cost?
Observing the toxic outpouring of malice in the wake of Obama’s reelection, I have wondered if I’m blessed with truly wonderful, albeit politically wacky, friends or if the worst aspect of the American left is dominating the net right now.
I hope it’s both, though I would dearly like to see the opinion leaders of the left both advise and display some grace. If the hatemongers don’t represent your party, please, please, please prove it.
So, yes, there are people for whom the best part of a political victory isn’t gaining power to affect the policy changes you support but the possibility of wallowing in somene’s loss and, if you can, making that pain worse.
And, yes, I think the left not only has more of those people, I think the left does less to control them.
Well, I could say that this just proves the Left has a lot of hate, a lot of rage, a lot of superiority, a tendency to revel in power for its own sake, and doesn’t believe for one second all that tripe about diversity being our greatest strength and differences being something to celebrate.
But it’s not as if I didn’t know that back in 2000.
It’s just that in 2000, the left ultimately lost. Now, they’re unquestioned victors and still want to play the loser.
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