Standing Up for Women’s Rights

Let’s put this nonsense to bed forever. If the opportunity comes up to stand up for women’s rights – the only moral reaction is to seize that opportunity and fight to win. Failing to do so is not shrewd, playing to the middle, or anything other than weakness.

Digby:

For the sake of victims of domestic violence, VAWA should be reauthorized as soon as possible, but Democrats need to remember that we all know they’re in the midst of a tough election contest, too. Fight the good fight for women, but please, leave the noble posturing at home.

That’s right, it’s a tough election fight and the last thing Democrats need is to look like all they care about is a bunch of whiny bitches. Let’s not lose our heads here. 

Believe me, this is not an uncommon reaction. How do I know this? Because I’ve been watching this go down for my entire adult life. Any time “women’s issues” start to become prominent, a certain kind of liberal male gets very nervous. The stuff I heard during the 1992 “year of the woman” election was enough to curl my hair. And I see no reason to believe anything’s changed. I’ve already seen plenty of evidence that it hasn’t.

This is a noble fight. Advising Democrats to pretend it isn’t kills your credibility.

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Liberal Conspiracy On Libya Exposed!

Moonbat Liberals are engaged in a conspiracy to pretend Libya is in Africa, all to embarrass Republican Patriot Tom Marino.

The GOP is looking to remove all references to the incident, as per their new PR policy.

Crooks and Liars Projecting and Critiquing Yourself

Crooks and Liars is one of my daily reads.  They’ve got just the right mix of outrage and insight, coupled with good bits of hard to find essential news.  Every so often one of their otherwise excellent writers make a gaffe, and this one is worth point out and discussing.  Karoli discusses the right’s forthy little response to the Obama administration’s desire to promote healthy lifestyles (gasp!  scandal!).  However in so doing he makes two errors with rhetorical consequences.

Attacking Yourself Through Your Opponent

You don’t want to weaken your own position – or that of an ally – through ineffective criticism.

Of course, this is just a riff on the “big government is bad” set of conservative talking points. They really hate big government until they love it. They don’t want to make lifestyle changes, but are outraged — OUTRAGED — that Big Government hasn’t stopped the oil spilling into the Gulf, sent Superman to clean it up, and restarted drilling in deepwater worldwide.

There is nothing unreasonable with expecting government to have some functions, and not others.  In fact, that is a defining principle of most political movements, liberalism included.  Karoli’s attack works here because conservatives like to rail against “big government” while still working and whining for more of it.  However the way this is phrased could cut back towards liberals.  We also dislike big government (think big military, impositions on civil liberties, etc).  A better way to phrase the same attack would be to call out a uniquely conservative position that is a real example of hypocrisy (my changes in stylish bold italic, oooh):

Of course, this is just a riff on the “free market/anti-regulation” set of conservative talking points. They really hate government regulation of business until they love it. They don’t want to make lifestyle changes, but are outraged — OUTRAGED — that the government hasn’t stopped the oil spilling into the Gulf, sent Superman to clean it up, and restarted drilling in deepwater worldwide.

One might also address their shifting attitude towards BP’s fiscal responsibility for the spill.  They don’t want a corporation to actually pay for damages caused, but the thought taxpayers will have to if BP doesn’t makes their little brains explode.

Projecting

Karoli ends his post with:

Do these people ever suffer from outrage fatigue? Is there a little blue pill for that?

We ought to know.  From 2001-2008 liberals suffered outrage fatigue.  I will straight up quote the onion here, because humor grows out of truth.

In fact we still suffer this.  Anyone who cares does.  With our own government’s corruption and complicity continuing to come to light, with the Supreme Court’s rank political rulings and the media’s slow bloody descent into irrelevance, it’s easy to find issues to be enraged about.  That takes it toll.  It impacts how we argue, how we approach new problems, even whether we stand up (and if so, how much we hunch).

Calling out a problem that as clearly effects us as anyone else is – outside of an informed discussion of that problem itself – a self-defeating endeavor.  It opens us up to attack, when really there is nothing to attack.  It creates something solid where there ought only be smoke.

Fighting Religious Tyranny

Blog Against Theocracy

We need to step up our fight against religious tyranny, for there are surely those fighting as hard as they can on theocracy’s behalf.

The politically dominant expression (and face) of faith in this country is that of conservative Christianity.  And conservative Christians are in battle mode over their perceived right to force their religion on Americans.  Attempts to portray themselves as the victims only makes sense in that they are weakening.    To paraphrase Mike Gronstal’s incredible daughter(via),  they don’t get that they’ve lost.  Maintaining love segregation is a position held by the old and the fearful.  Men and women who clutch onto their bibles tightly in the presence of unbelievers, and who are only comfortable to the extent that they can force their peers to adhere to their own religious laws.

That this flies in the face of the letter and spirit of our constitution means nothing to them.  Theirs is a single-minded pursuit that allows no room for observation of facts or the inclusion of reason.

Fortunately ours is a resistance to religious tyranny that allows no room for pessimism or blindness.  Rather than fight for control, we stand up for freedom.  For all the Christians who wear their faith on their neighbor’s sleeve, there are those who truly embody the noble spirit of love and humility.  And that is why this is a fight that will go to those who value love.

But no fight is sure until the ending bell tolls.  We must engage in the practical optimism of committment and steel ourselves to see this battle through to victory.  And be certain that the anti-love crowd will surely to step up their attacks (mostly by ratcheting up the crazy) in the coming years.  For example, ironically named NationForMarriage (aka NOM NOM NOM) has a video attacking gay marriage by suggesting it is in fact an attack on conservative Christians and their own faith.

Irritating, no?  So how should we respond?

I think there are two immediately clear approaches.  One is satire that cuts close to the bone.  An idea behind NOM’s deliciously innacurate ad is that public schools teaching kids gay marriage is ok is somehow wrong.  We can run a satirical using impact and extension.  The impact ad would go like this:

Teacher: “Everyone, during the last week of parent teacher conferences, we found out Billy’s parents are both men!”

(Flash to a surprised and slightly embarrassed Billy)

“Gay marriage is morally wrong.  His parents are sinners.”

(Billy slinks below his desk)

“Feel free to bully him during recess.”

(Billy gulps and looks at a nearby, larger kid with a mean look on his face).

“Next up, Rachel!  I hear your parents are Jewish, and are therefore going to hell?”

(Cut to the slogan “Church and State: They Belong Together”).

The extension ad would go like this:

Concerned Parent: “Do you want schools teaching your kids about gay marriage?”

Concerned Parent: “Just how many other non Christian ideas might your kids be subjected to?”

Concerned Parent: “Sex before marriage is ok?  The Bible isn’t 100% true?  The world wasn’t created by God?  Not believing in Jesus is ok?”

Concerned Parent: “Where will it end?”

(Cut: “Put the Christ Back in Schoolchrist”)

The other approach to satire is to go for the throat of their interpretation of Christianity itself.  We can start by advocating and adgitating to give liberal and moderate Christians a voice in the national dialogue on faith.  Too often the only people allowed to speak for Christianity in the public square are conservative Christians.  A good next step would be to bring discussion of religion’s rationals and merits into the public square.  This means more discussions not just of whether or not to be religious (and finally including the nonreligious), but internal religious discussions of what it means to be a Christian brought out into mainstream discourse.  When all we have are conservatives controlling what we are allowed to talk about, we’ll get nowhere.  There is so much more to the disccusion of what religion means and what we can get out of it.

As a part of this effort we need to make an effort to give the 15% of Americans who have no religious affiliation a very public political voice.  This means more elected officials, more voices in the media, and inclusion in discussions of faith’s role in public life.  It means aggressively revealing and debating public officials who treat unbelievers as social deviants.  We need to start including the non religious in inter religious efforts to promote understanding.  For example, a local interfaith dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Jews needs to include Humanists!  We need to get those who do not believe in God, or in Scriptures, or just in organized Religion into the light so religious Americans can realize “hey, they aren’t that scary after all”.  We need to make clear that the 15% with no affiliation are not all atheists, but include Americans who believe in God but don’t adhere to holy books (like myself), and Americans who believe in Scripture don’t take kindly to organized religion.  Each of these groups needs to be seen and heard.  We need to give the non religious the voice we are so adamantly denied.

To sum up, we have every reason to feel optimistic, but now is the time to step strongly forward.  We should use sharp humor as our primary weapon, and work to change the rhetorical landscape to include more traditionally excluded voices (liberal and moderate Christians, the non religious, etc).

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(blog against theocracy logo author)

The Audacity of Bravery

When you consider the risks Barack Obama is taking, just by being Black and running for President, and further by taking progressive political stands, it puts his earnestness front and center.  There is a reason people feel they can trust this man.

My friend Brad, (who when pressed is full of insightful yet cuttingly cynical remarks about politics), is not someone I’d consider johnny Democratic volunteer.  I haven’t really given Obama’s speech a critical once through yet, but I’m heading into it impressed through the eyes of my friends.  Brad’s impressions foremost among them.

In the face of eliminationist rhetoric against Barack Obama escalating into actual assasination attempts, a lot of the political culture Obama is running in becomes easier to comprehend.  Right wingers are desperately trying to pin white supremacy on liberals (see the comment thread for examples).  Conservatives love their crazies when they vote, and do their best to either distance themselves from or ignore the crazies who act out.

In spite of all of this, Barack Obama is running to be president.

When looking at opposition candidates in third world countries, its hard to image how devastatingly difficult it is to run in the face of life ending violence.  While our own government is thankfully not corrupt enough to kill politicians, some of our citizens are murderous and hateful enough to try and take our vote away from us by force.  There are people out there seething at the possibility of a black president.  I think all the talk in the various supremacist and neonazi forums about wanting a black president so he can fail is bullshit.  Not simply because Obama (who has been surrounding himself with some increasingly impressive allies) is geared to succeed (and he will).  But because the kind of psuedo-intellectual urine soaked cowardice that drives racists cannot stand the fact that their hated enemy will hold a position of incredible symbolic power.  As definitely as their paranoia extends to additional worries beyond Obama’s victory in November, they are surely worrying that his victory will represent a powerful blow to the cause of white supremacy.  They’d be right there.  When Barack Obama shatters the glass ceiling, the symbolism of a black statesman on JFK’s level showering the oval office with the alien sensation of competency will drive a nail into the coffin of racial inferiority in such a public way it knocks the coffin into the ground and buries it all at once.

The focal point is Barack’s sheer skill.  He literally lifted himself onto the national stage with a speech at a convention most reporters and politicians routinely mock as a mere informercial for the parties.  His speeches aren’t simply articulate or effective, they are electric.  He’s what Cicero had in mind when he wrote “On the Ideal Orator”.  The laughable criticism of Obama as a “rock star” is an incredible boost:  The man is a rock star because of his oratory.  He’s not a rock star like Prince or Nickleback.  He’s a rock star in the sense of Bob Dylan or Pete Seeger.  You cannot energize and uplift a crowd with empty words.  That’s why his supporters know in both brain and gut that the weak attacks on his “lack of substance” are innately pathetic.  You can’t make that argument in good faith having actually listened to his speeches.

This is why the violent underbelly of American culture, racism, is a source of violence aimed at the Democratic presidential nominee.  Because at their core white supremacists, nazis, and racists run on fear.  And they fear being shown completely wrong their twisted take on humanity is.  If they could only let go of that fear, they’d find the world a much more loving place than they imagine.

Barack Obama is an embodiment of the America Martin Luther King Jr had the audacity to hope for, and the bravery to work for.  The Senator shares that hope and bravery in the face of a boiling undercurrent of hate and violence.  It is a deep honor to support and believe in such a person.

Fox News: Corporate Rhetoric

The Right Wing media loves a chance to present protesters (read “far leftists”) as the dirty unruly mob to their clean authority figures.  Clucking their tongues and barely disguising the pleasure they take in their tacked on umbrage, I’m sure they’ll call the people literally marching in streets “latte-sipping liberal elites” without skipping a beat.  From HuffPost:

Check out the line at the end:

“Griff Jenkins our own Griff Jenkins in the midst of the crowd giving them a chance to speak out, to tell what their message is, and they’re not even talking, all they’re doing is screaming and yelling at him, we’ll make sure he’s ok we’ll check back with him when he can get himself sort of away from that really raucus crowd.”

Actually, a the protestors did slip their two cents in.  One said the message of the march was “stop the torture, stop the war”.  But most of them (before the rousing chorus of “Fuck Fox News”) settled on variations of “Fuck the Corporate Media”.  The guy who laughs when asked if “he believes in freedom of speech” does so with good reason.  Beyond the ludicrous nature of a guy from Fox News asking that question, is the fact that as liberals they know the deck is stacked, and refuse to take part in the game.  Anything they say that does not fit the prepared Fox narrative will be ignored, twisted, or flat out lied about.

Griff Jenkins and Fox News were not giving the crowd a chance to speak.  They were going political dumpster diving in the hopes of portraying the Democrats as divided, radical, and un-American.  What they got (but quickly glossed over) was a rejection of their legitimacy as a news network.

A chance to “speak out” on Fox News is about as realistic as a “reality” tv show.  When a heavily biased and entrenched opponent controls how your words are used, why speak at all?  Why give them anything?  Just another way Corporations peddling media continue to aggressively push the myth of free speech in the face of corporate speech.

O’Reilly’s Internet Cop Wants to Kill Liberals

Bill O’Reilly’s “Internet Cop” has posted death threats against liberals.

Sara at Orcinus has more:


The really funny part of this is that his “cop” is Amanda Carpenter of Townhall.com, a site that recently called Michelle Obama a “race pimp” and said that congressmen who “damage the morale and undermine the military” should be executed as saboteurs. And no, those weren’t comments — those calls came on the front page. You’d think that would pretty much disqualify her as the Amy Vanderbilt in charge of enforcing good manners on blogs — but, y’no, it’s Fox, and reality is what they say it is.

BIll O’Reilly is missing the point:

BOR is, as usual, missing the big story here. It’s no secret anywhere anymore: every national law enforcement and intelligence agency we’ve talked to is bracing for an onslaught of right-wing violence in the months ahead, which will intensify with an Obama win. (We may look back in a few years and realize Knoxville was the opening shot of a much larger wave of domestic terrorism.) The language and logic of that uprising are being worked out in the pages of Amanda Carpenter’s own blog — and yet he’s got her on his show, explaining to America why liberals will be the ones to blame when the shooting starts.

The problem is that where conservatives point to unhinged commenters on liberal sites (even a blog as small as mine gets its far share of violent oddballs), at the very same time mainstream conservative bloggers and news icons are making the sincere argument that liberals ought to be killed.

Now that liberals are being killed by violent conservatives, what do we do?