Thursday, July 15, 2004

Back in Darkest Liberalism

The play is actually going pretty well (see this previous post to learn what the heck I'm talking about). Funny thing. I like the play and totally agree with the message. But the liberals I'm working with seem to think it's a perfect analogy to our current political situation, in the sense that it's anti-Bush. This has caused more than a few bite-my-tongue-til-it-bleeds moments, but I've profited by keeping my cover.

Not to give away the plot (it's the sort of play that's still worth seeing even if you know the plot anyway), but it isn't anti-Bush, or anti-Republican at all. It's a play about the encroachment of modern society and our times upon the freedom of the individual (or something like that - see it and make up your own opinion).

The libs I'm working with don't miss this point. They just see Republicans in general and President Bush in particular as the perfect example of that. So much so that they keep trying to force in lines from speeches, or other obvious references to the current administration - something they've admirably pulled away from each time, recognizing that it doesn't quite work, and muddies the script rather than enhancing it. They don't seem to be able to put a finger on exactly why, but the recognition is something, eh?

I'm finding it fascinating watching them struggle with the urge to decend into something shallow and partisan, yet resisting for reasons none of them seem able to put into words. It's certainly not because they are questioning their political opinions.

Case in point, tonight a funny aside consisted of some funny banter about a proposed rewriting of a line in the script to be a reference to voting in Florida. The idea that the voting in Florida was corrupted by the evil Bush is something of an article of faith in this crowd, analagous to belief that Christ died and rose for Christians, though not quite so hopeful. Thankfully they all recognized that this had no place in the script. But the moment was telling. Just a few words. A knowing chuckle all around. And moving on.

The night was kind of like that. All sorts of little inside references to things about the Bush administration. Not a lot of effort placed there. No need. Everyone in this crowd already knows what to think about this stuff. It's like that old joke where the prison inmates yell out joke numbers to each other and they all laugh - the jokes associated with the numbers being already well known by all.

I'm struck by what seems to be a difference between liberals and conservatives on some of these issues. Last time, I mentioned how these liberals are all 9/10 people. And that's still true. And I also mentioned how any alternative political view had a staggeringly high barrier for entry, since so much of their lives and relations were based on a shared liberal world view. And that's still true.

What I'm starting to see is how these pieces fit together. They NEED to keep living in September 10th, because the alternative challenges too much that they hold valuable about their identies - as people, as friends, as citizens. The liberal worldview has no satisfactory answer to an event like September 11th. They can point fingers with the best of them when its time to fix blame. But they reject racial profiling, immigration restrictions, police investigation power, religious stereotyping, and security restrictions of almost any kind. The liberal worldview leaves America a limping gazelle on a world savannah where packs of Islamist predators hungrily roam. And they sort of know it. So they'd really rather not think about it, much less talk about it.

In the liberal view there is no War on Terror. There is not because they cannot wage one without surrendering too much of their world view. It's a culture clash as much as a political one.

Anyone backing John Kerry, who also believes the War on Terror is a top priority needs to seriously weigh this. John Kerry cannot fight the war without losing the core of his party. And there is nothing in his record to suggest he's the sort of man who is willing to do that.

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