Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My fears

I've never seen a campaign like this before. I've seen presidential candidates viciously smeared and savagely attacked by partisans. But I haven't seen people yelling out "kill him," or "terrorist." I've never experienced the bestial morality of the modern presidential campaign taking aim at a person of color. I've never witnessed frightfully racialized gutter politics whipped up in the midst of a radical economic upheaval.

That only a small minority of John McCain's supporters vocally or visually express these sentiments is of little comfort to me. Others think it, and they think that those of us who are voting for Barack Obama are voting for a Muslim socialist communist terrorist Satan-worshipping traitor. In probable defeat, the McCain campaign is salting the earth, poisoning attempts to reach these people to solve common problems after the election. Whether intentional or not, I don't know. All I know is that there are going to be a not insignificant number of people who, already the victims of kleptocratic economic policies, are going to see their cultural and social values either be slowly marginalized (as with their views on same-sex marriage) or actively kicked to the curb (their racism) by a new majority. I don't know what this bodes, but I have an active and sometimes unpleasant imagination, and it does frighten me.


dave3544 said...

I might share your fears about the future, but I don't think these things will come to pass largely because Obama is not a baby-eating Muslim who will force all good Christian girls to have sex in school and then get government-funded abortions. He is not going to take away their guns and make them attend gay marriage ceremonies. He is not going to make us all call it the Black House and start an immediate program of giving out Cadillacs and Popeye's coupons to blacks as a form of reparations for slavery.

The wingnuts will go on being wingnuts, but they will continue to have little traction because Obama is not actually their worst nightmare come to pass. He is a centrist with neoliberal tendencies that we (the left) pray will get more liberal as neoliberal policies continue to fail.

There will be people who will celebrate an Obama presidency in that they will have their rights restored, but it really won't affect the wingnuts much, just as gay marriage in California has not destroyed civilization.

lex dexter said...

i disagree with dave. i wrote a long comment telling him how much his understanding of the wingnuts, their outrage and what makes them so threatening is (weirdly) off...but then i deleted it, cuz we have a history of unintentionally turning political debates into personal blah-blah-blah, and i'm against blah-blah-blah.

but, i still think davey's wrong. the Wingnuts are just getting started. 2009 is the beginning, not the end. and the fact that BHO is a) a nice guy and b) not who they think he is, has nothing to do with where they're going, or, for that matter, where they've BEEN. the latter is what i'm surprised dave doesn't get. obviously, el Dave-o says he shares our fears, so i'm not gonna skewer him for looking on the bright side... but the DARK SIDE is what makes the USA the USA, so far as i can tell.

as of now, i gotta go back to praying for Dick Cheney's heart.

dave3544 said...

Wobs and lex,

The wingnuts will be the wingnuts, yes. But I hold that the vast majority of the people of the US are coming our way politically speaking and will not be out on street corners en mass decrying the militant Muslim Communist in office.

A large number of people will see their cultural values marginalized. Hopefully like many, many racists have seen their deeply held cultural beliefs marginalized over the last four or five decades.

We may have family and friends who believe that marriage should be be between "one man and one woman." Some feel it passionately, some echo the sentiment because they heard it on the Factor. After eight years of increasingly legalized gay marriage (in the states) not leading to the dissolution of the American social system, those fears and that rhetoric will look even wingnuttier. It all will.

I am not worried about the 25%ers. I am thinking about the 50% in the middle who are swayable (as much as that scares us). I don't think an Obama administration will terrify them. And I think the ability of Fox and Rush and pajamas to effectively swing them back is waning.

For some reason today I am a positive Pedro. For fuck sake boys, a black man is about to win North Carolina for president. Always good to protect the rear, but the dawn is here and sunnier days are on the horizon. (I'll have the mixed metaphor with the grilled salmon, please.)

wobblie said...

I think I'm being misread. My worry isn't that the 25%ers are going to be roadblocks to progressive reforms. They're not. My worry is that they will be whipped into such a frenzy about their imagined "oppression" that a few of them will be capable of violence. This is the mindset that led to the Oklahoma City bombing. It is the mindset that recently led to a mosque being gassed in Ohio. Sure, this has been an undercurrent of American politics since way back when, but I've never seen such an explicit stoking of resentment or a tacit condoning of where this resentment logically leads.

So I agree with dave that the majority of the population is trending our way in terms of ideology. My fear comes out of the potential actions of those who are being marginalized, and political violence is one of those potentialities.