Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator (ludickid) wrote,
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator

Strange bedfellows

I've had a lot of political problems in my life. I don't like compromise, and politics is the art of compromise. I don't like liberals, and liberals are the people closest to my own political beliefs. And I'm an anarchist, which means I have zero chance, ever, of seeing my chosen political ideals enacted in any meaningful way. But one of the most nagging problems is that of co-option.

I'm always a bit curious when someone of a particular political ideology embraces someone of the opposite political ideology because the latter happens to say something that the former agrees with. As an example, look at Martin Luther King: the right hates MLK. Perhaps not as much as they did when the FBI called him "Martin Luther Coon"; but for the most part, there's a lot more agreement in the GOP's base with Trent Lott's sentiment that America would be better off if the civil rights era had been stopped in its tracks than any of them will publicly admit. But they love to quote him, laws! If I had a dollar for every neo-conservative pundit who trots out the "judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" line, I'd be able to afford a paid LiveJournal account. They're perfectly willing to discard the fact that MLK fought his whole life for racial equality, economic justice and (for lack of a better term) affirmative action just so they can throw on his sacred mantel in defense of their own OPPOSITION to affirmative action. There's plenty of Republicans who would talk up Malcolm X if they found a quote where he said blacks were lazy irresponsible criminals.

Similarly, the left loves to dress up in tough-guy talk and quote people like Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt in order to prove that just because they're against war doesn't mean that they don't think Saddam Hussein is another Hitler. They also like to trot out fiscal conservatives when the opposition is racking up big deficits; the fact that this sort of thing blows up in their face when it's time to spend money on social programs bothers them not at all when it's time to score points off the GOP.

This sort of thing bothers me. I don't think you can win a war of words (or a war of war, for that matter) by aping the rhetoric of your opponent. It drives me to distraction when the left uses the language of hawks to defend a dovish stance, or when it trots out the tired, inaccurate 'blood for oil' cliche. The proper path of opposition is granite-like, monolithic, unchanged opposition to the war; absolute, pure, unyielding resistance that allows no praise of the arguments of hawks. There should be no "but" after "we oppose war with Iraq". It discomfits me in the extreme to be ideologically aligned with people whose argument for peace is dressed up in conciliatory words for their foes.

But on the other hand, the point of opposing the war is to oppose the war, not to make me comfortable. A successful movement to cut off a disastrous, bloody, unneccessary war is worth as many moments of personal discomfort as you can heap on me. If I thought I could end war fever tomorrow by sticking an egg up my ass while wearing nothing but a tie-dyed t-shirt, I'd raid Ben & Jerry's wardrobe closet this very hour. I shouldn't care why people oppose the war; only that they do.

In the end, though, I can't shake the feeling of discomfort. I'm an anarchist, an anti-authoritarian, a non-joiner for a reason. I unreservedly throw my support into the movement against war, but when the hollering is over, I go home and pick over my reservations one by one. Paul Craig Roberts, the leading racist plutocrat of the neo-conservative punditocracy, is, to be kind, bugshit crazy; he sweats blood over the possibility of a darkie majority in America, and writes columns where he compares taxation of the rich to antebellum slavery and concludes that the latter was a better deal. On the other hand, he's one of the few right-wingers who has made vocal and convincing arguments against the erosion of civil rights in the war against terrorism. This makes me happy; I like to see one of the opposition on my team, even if it's for entirely the wrong reasons. But it doesn't change the fact that Paul Craig Roberts is a vile, bigoted, hateful rich bastard who has wet dreams of a tiny wealthy white minority being carried around in a golden rickshaw by low-paid dusky hordes who can't vote.

I'm glad the other side is on board from time to time. I'm glad my side exists, no matter how confused and flimsy their arguments may be at times. I'll march with them; I'll stand with them. But I'll be damned if I quote them.
Tags: politics

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