Monday, March 13, 2006

Of Conservatives and Others

So I've got myself into this little tiff with the cult over at E-NOUGH!, who don't have the sense of humour I would have expected from people who blog and read about Islamofascists and dead ex-presidents.

It all started when I wandered haplessly into the hornet asylum and responded to this post with my own idea for a really funny cartoon. Turns out they didn't share my sense of humour.

Ever since that time I've received a whole slew of of really interesting comments from someone calling himself (or possibly herself) Anonymous. When I 'googled' this name I found all kinds of fascinating quotations attributed to this person, but no biography. Too bad because s/he's said some really interesting things, like "a closed mouth gathers no feet," "efficiency is intellectual laziness," and "going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car." Profound statements.

All this comes at a time when I've been reading a really interesting book called Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, by George Lakoff. The author's argument is that US conservatives are very smart people, and the proof is that they keep winning elections. If Lakoff is right, and I think he is, then the people over at E-NOUGH (being smart) are either insane or just really really angry and bitter, scared and brainwashed.

Despite their intelligence, it seems they've never been taught how to have a meaningful, engaging debate with someone who sees the world differently than they do. This judging by the responses to my post over there and the vitriolic tirade Anonymous has flooded my blog with.

On the flipside, perhaps my brainwashing is just different than their brainwashing. Perhaps we just have different sources of information.

I need to consider their mission and vision a little more and make sure I understand it, but this is my impression to date:

Mission: There is much evil in the world, and if we [US far-right conservatives] good people don't stamp it out, it will destroy us.
Vision: A world free of people who are different than we are, so that everyone remaining will get along.

So, of course, I like my own vision better: A world where people who are all very different get along and learn from each other's differences.

What do you think, fair reader? Which vision do you prefer?

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So, of course, I like my own vision better: A world where people who are all very different get along and learn from each other's differences.

Yes, so lovely miia I guess does not feel the same way. How did she express her love? Well, lets see: Racist trigger happy Americans would be funny if they didn’t kill people of colour all over the glove. Instead, they’re too fucking scary to contemplate. Doesn’t sound like there is much “getting along” and learning in the benji household….

RE: the Conservative post. Reminds me of a play.

The scene opens with our two liberal f’s starring at their computer.

BB: My God!
M: Is anything gone?
BB: How can I look? I’m shaking.
M: I wanna know if anything’s gone.
BB: Calm down.
M: We could’ve been killed. THE WEBSITE!
BB: Calm down.

Next scene is our liberal f’s at a dinner party, telling the story of their “flight” into conservative hell, and being viciously attacked….by conservatives on a web site!

The story is added to, and every time told to a group of “gasping” liberals, who knowing shake their heads. If only we could talk to these, these…monsters, we could set them straight!

The little liberal couple is asked to more and more dinner parties where they tell their little tale of the attack by “the conservatives” and each time they add more to the story.

BB: We were threatened!
M: Slashed. Throats slashed.
BB: We could’ve been killed!
M: Go to bed happy then murdered. Would we have woken up?
BB: It was awful, just awful
M: Killed, we could’ve been killed……
Our fear is not for our safety. What Miia was saying is that your post-911 paranoia would be laughable, if it weren't for the fact that it is so pervasive and so well manipulated by the current US administration that it is costing the world so much.
Perhaps you've misunderstood the life we lead, dear anonymous.

Like when I really was attacked at machete point for trying to work with kids whose families had raped and abandoned them.

Or when I've worked with women who have been detained and tortured, had their fingernails pulled off and kept in a dark room, tied to a pole for several seemingly interminable months.

Or how today I came to work and asked my coworker how she was doing and she said that a man had been shot in the face behind our small space of work. The community, made up almost exclusively of brown and black people, are scared to leave their homes.

Or how at my other night job tonight, I counselled a woman at length whose bipolar boyfriend has left, she's got no rent, is being evicted and all the work she's done to get on her feet so she can get her kids back from Children's Aid is down the drain. Her daughter will become a child of the ward, most probably destined to bounce from foster care home to foster care home.

You frustrate me because you think liberal is a bad word, because you fail to see that there are real people behind newspaper stories, and because your violence - both in your language and in your implied messages - undoes all the work so many people do for meagre pay and at risk to their own health and safety.

It is not just US policies that cause these problems, I understand. It is a race to the bottom of the worst kind in a world of so-called economic competition. When 25% of the workforce is made up of contingent, contractual labour with no benefits, no pensions, and no job security and when the majority of those people are women of colour, I beg you to stop thinking we're blind and realize what's really going on is that you have no heart. I refuse to accept conservative arguments when there is blood on the hands of those who make them.

And please, don't respond to this email with any more trite and personal attacks. But even more so, do me the favour of not attacking all of these people I've just described, saying (as it is so often said) that it's their own fault and if they just got their shit together, they could pull themselves out of their situations. In places where the unemployment rate is 40%, where the mortality rate is more than we care to even fathom, and in communities where poverty is rampant, I refuse to accept that simplistic and callous response. And besides, my counterarguments are too long for me to even begin, unless you're really interested in learning something or engaging in a generous dialogue with an open mind. I'm not going to argue with you any longer. In the end, you don't matter.
And please, don't respond to this email with any more trite and personal attacks

Gee, like what?

Perhaps something like:
Perhaps you've misunderstood the life we lead
Meaning, you conservative fuck, you JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND, DO YOU!
Nothing personal in your statement. And just what do you know about my life?

unless you're really interested in learning something or engaging in a generous dialogue with an open mind
So accusing someone of being in need of “learning something” or having a closed mind because they don’t think the same as you is not personal? Only one way to think around here, I guess...

I refuse to accept that simplistic...
Of course, how could a conservative ever come up with an argument that wasn’t? You liberals are just soooo much smarter!

In the end, you don't matter
Right, again nothing personal. Whose mind is closed?

I'm just amazed at how you liberals start your preaching out so soft and feel goody, and then by the end you are loony and saying that, well, conservatives just don't matter. You just can't help yourself, can you? LOL!
I think you matter, Anon.
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