Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Democrat Angst

One of the things that I encounter again and again is people's surprise that I'm a fairly nice guy. I mean this in the context of my political propensity to conservatism and my party affiliation to the Republicans.

Why would a nice guy like me associate with those horrible, mean, puppy-kicking Republicans? How can a person who can count to 20 without taking off his shoes fall for all their lies?

Attention, Democrats. The reason that I am not a Democrat is because you have drawn lines that leave me no possibility of considering your party. Caitlin Flanagan has been able to hold out, but it seems as if the author of To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife encountered all the casual contempt and even open hostility that make the Democrat Party inhospitable to me.
...there is apparently no room for me in the Democratic Party. In fact, I have spent much of the past week on a forced march to the G.O.P. And the bayonet at my back isn't in the hands of the Republicans; the Democrats are the bullyboys. Such lions of the left as Barbara Ehrenreich, the writers at Salon and much of the Upper West Side of Manhattan have made it abundantly clear to me that I ought to start packing my bags. I'm not leaving, but sometimes I wonder: When did I sign up to be the beaten wife of the Democratic Party?

Most of the 60 million people who voted against George W. Bush have lifestyles more like mine than the Democratic Party would like to admit. Most of us aren't the Hollywood elite or the nontraditional family. Many of us do what I do, which is go to church on Sunday, work hard and value my marriage. Again, it's not so much my party's platform that rejects the family; God help us all if Bush's brutality to the poor continues much longer. It's a small but very vocal minority, the Democratic pundits, who abhor what I represent because it doesn't fit the stereotypical image of the modern woman who has escaped from domestic prison. Fifty years ago, a stay-at-home mom who loved her husband would not automatically be assumed to be a Republican. The image of the Democratic Party that used to come to mind was of a workingman and his wife sitting at the kitchen table worrying about how they were going to pay the bills and voting for Adlai Stevenson because he was going to help them squeak by every month and maybe even afford to send their kids to college.

The Democrats made a huge tactical error a few decades ago. In the middle of doing the great work of the '60s--civil rights, women's liberation, gay inclusion--we decided to stigmatize the white male. The union dues--paying, churchgoing, beer-drinking family man got nothing but ridicule and venom from us. So he dumped us. And he took the wife and kids with him.

And now here we are, living in a country with a political and economic agenda we deplore, losing election after election and wondering why.

It's the contempt, stupid.
I admire Ms Flanagan tenacity, and I'm sure she has enough advice so that she won't need mine; but if the Democrats can't stick a sock in the hate speech of their standard-bearers, they are going to loose many, many more wonderful people like Ms Flanagan--if not to the Republicans, then to a third-party candidate or political cynicism and apathy.

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