I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
-H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me—that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter—except to show how very dull we are,”
-James Branch Cabell
December 19, 2014 - 1:36 p.m.
I will go back to ignoring my darker realities and return to being an amusing diarist.
I'll start with an idiot story that will amuse my mother beyond the grave. This is her exact image of me. Heather asked me to come over yesterday. I had half a container of chicken broth I had to use up before it went bad so I decided to bring it and whatever else I needed to make soup for dinner. I left the house walked one house away and realized that my legs were cold I forgot to put on my silkweight long underwear. I went back in the house. Once in I noticed some things out of place and straightened up and buttered a slice of bread to snack on. I left the house and my legs were cold. Yes I once again forgot to put on the long johns. I walked back upstairs and put them on. At the bottom of the steps I ran through the soup ingredients are realized that I forgot the garlic. So back up the stairs I went. I got the garlic and left again.
I had to refill my metrocard which meant going to the subway station. Once in there I decided to take the two trains to Heather's house instead of the bus. At that time of the day with the traffic that's probably faster It is not a free transfer rom the to the but that's an advantage of an unlimited metrocard. that isn't an issue. I often make transfers like that
While on the train I realized I forgot the shredded sharp cheddar cheese. It really is hard not having a brain. I ended up shredding some Swiss cheese heather had in the house. I tried some different things with the soup this time. She doesn't have powdered red pepper so I used chili powder, Emeril's accent, basil, and crushed red pepper. I also wanted to use some of the cream that I had bought to make mashed potatoes and made it a cream soup. It was excellent.
I got to watch two episodes of Phineas & Ferb that I have never seen before. They were great. I miss those guys. It's one of the best shows ever on TV, not just cartoons, all shows. And remember I don't like Disney.
OK so I wrote myself a note on what to write about today. Let's see what it say.
So if we ever want a progressive agenda advanced we have to turn some of those Republicans and the natural place to look is the so-called Reagan Democrats. These are less educated working class whites, think Archie Bunker. They do not fit the Republican financial profile so why do they now vote Republican.. Like Archie Bunker they feel the world has passed them by. They see they are not advancing economically and look for someone to blame. This should be a natural democratic contingency but they have been convinced that it's the fault of the liberal elites favoring minorities and immigrants.
So what democrats have to do is convince them that they are looking out for their interests. Part of that is emphasis and part of that is substance. The parts of the liberal agenda that get advanced are primarily social while the parts that don't are economic. Just look at New York. I can love Governor Cuomo for legalizing same-sex marriage and just this week giving transsexuals insurance equality. But at the same time he's vigorously defended his cap on income tax and fought Mayor DiBlasio's plan to finance pre-school with a tax on the wealthy.
Cuomo just put a ban on fracking in the state. I know all my friends are applauding this. I'm ambivalent. But I'm not talking about me or you. I'm talking about how this perceived by working class whites. It was a big financial blow to the poor, working class, Southern Tier. Read this, Shock in Southern Tier of New York as Hopes of Gambling and Fracking Both Die.
Now I'm not saying we should be fracking. I'm ambivalent but this is something where I trust Cuomo's approach. It at least seems to be empirical and trusting the judgment of people that know more than he or I do. But the people who live there will still ask, "What have the Democrats done for us?"
What the Democrats have to do is bring back the spirit of the New Deal. They have to remember the economic part of the progressive agenda. They have to do what progressives do, look out for the little guy and be vocal about it. They have to make people believe that they care.
Jared Bernstein put forth his progressive agenda you can fit on a paper bag.
Part of what makes it hard is that many important policies are complex and their results indirect. You can't fire people up about regulating derivatives or raising capital requirements on financial institutions. So what you have to do is get people to believe that you care about them. Point out how the average person's lot improved so much during the "progressive era" and stopped improving with the introduction of Reagonomics.
Part of the success of the right is due to less educated whites identifying with them socially. They see people defending traditional religion and traditional social values. We on the left should not give in on these things. We shouldn't abandon minorities, immigrants, and the LGBT community. Not because of politics but because they are people whose rights deserve to be protected. What we need to do is show how defending their rights does not threaten the well-being of white Christian men. That it is in keeping with other traditional values, family, community, charity, and love.
I found this article so encouraging, How Same-Sex Marriage Effort Found a Way Around Polarization. Now we aren't going to change the world sending gays to every house where there are people against gay rights. But it shows that people can change. We can get people to be less afraid of "the other." And the key is not just talking but listening. Saying "You are a bunch of horrible bigots" is not going to change anyone's mind. No it takes time and it takes a conversation, not a monologue.
I don't know if any of this came out coherent. But I know that something must be done. We can't have the country be divided on socio/economic lines. We can't be Iraq where people's loyalties are to their group not the country. We aren't going to eliminate bigotry but we don't have to turn that many people to turn the country, just enough to become a majority in the majority of places.
Progressive Agenda and I Don't Mean Flo - December 19, 2014