Diary of a (liberal) RedStater - I unmask myself

by: Reaper0bot0

Mon Apr 06, 2009 at 20:14:34 PM EDT

I posted at RedState under the name Han_Pritcher.  I have not been banned.  I simply gave up.  After a year as a "liberal contrarian" I have simply lost any sense of purpose to it.  I learned a lot about politics, the internet, and myself by posting and participating there for as long as I did.  I'd like to share what I've learned.

First, we are not magically better than they are.  We can get every bit as angry, as stupid, as blind as they do at their worst.  I've seen diaries at DailyKos which are phenomenally stupid and incredibly angry.  You have too.  Don't deny it.  Oh sure, the content and themes are different, but I've learned that the more politically involved we get, the more partisan and frankly angry we can become.  This is a human thing, not a liberal or conservative one.

Reaper0bot0 :: Diary of a (liberal) RedStater - I unmask myself
Second, there are honestly good and decent people there.  I participated in debates that were, at times, honest and instructive.  Not everybody there is some kind of insaniac who wants to see us destroyed.

Third, most of them are fucking out of their minds with rage right now and they don't have the first clue about their civic duties.  They spent eight years mostly enabling an incredibly shitty president and their biggest (if not only) complaint at the end of it is that he wasn't conservative enough.

Fourth, they are the rump.  They don't seem to understand that their own anecdotal experiences about how angry people are at our "socialist" President cannot equate to a broader understanding of the electorate.  They didn't get how people could vote for Barack Obama prior to his election and they remain unable to understand how people could continue to support him.

In short, they changed my views on a handful of issues (for which I thank them honestly), but they mostly scared the hell out of me because they are not living in the same world as I am.

I didn't spend my time at RedState to do some kind of expose or in order to troll them or do them harm.  It's their house and they can run it however they like.  I respect the fact that they are politically involved and have a strong belief in their country.  Those are honestly good things and we could do a better job of remembering that.  However, they mostly see us as scum, traitors who hate the troops and want to see our own country fail.  Remarkable, really, when we consider how they've lined up behind Rush Limbaugh almost to a man.  No, I went to RedState as an open liberal because these people are my countrymen and engagement is necessary to improve our discourse and indeed health as a nation.

I still believe that.  However, the best of the Republicans I know voted for Barack Obama, or at least considered it.  I don't call them the "best" because they did something I liked.  I esteem them because they took an honest look at the Republican Party and realized that further support would only delay a necessary reckoning.  The folks at RedState also want a reckoning within their party.  Sadly, they want the reverse.

The folks at RedState are no longer in complete lockstep over supporting Governor Palin for president in 2012.  However, they remain pretty much unanimous in thinking that more of her, more of Joe the Plumber, more of anger and derision, more of mockery and much more questioning the very "American-ness" of the left would have won them the presidency.  These people do not see us as their countrymen.  They do not see us as essentially American.  We are leftists so we must be something other than American.

I condemn that!  Damn anyone who would call me or my family any less American or loyal than they!  My father served in Vietnam, my Uncle in Haiti and in Iraq.  My brother had the fortune to do his duty in a uniform on our soil, far away from our recent wars.  My family has a history of service, and while I do not presume to speak for every member, most of us are progressives.  None of us are zealots.

The sickness at RedState, the sickness I've seen elsewhere on the right of late, is truly terrifying.  They see things like this diary, these honest attempts at moral relativism and at mutual respect as weakness.  Nearly every interaction I had at RedState made it plain that while they honestly do love this country and want people to succeed, they do not see us as fit members of their country.  Apparently we spend all of our time scheming to take their guns, destroy honest elections, put down Governor Palin, keep minorities down, abort every baby possible, and all the while destroy the sanctity of marriage.  These people have focused on the weirdest outliers on the left and married them to some truly bizarre caricatures of us that they themselves created.

So why do I write this?  Is this a big "fuck you" to the folks at RedState?  No, it isn't.  As I said, there are some good and decent people there and I want that whole community to prosper.  I want them and their families to have good and happy lives.  I was always sincerely warm, inasmuch as I was able.  I write this diary because we have to learn the right lessons from my experiences over there.

Republicans are only our enemies if we let them be.  They are our countrymen.  They are not evil, they are mistaken.  We have a golden opportunity, RIGHT NOW, to prove that ours are the better ideas.  If we do this right we will convince many of them to change some of their views.  I know this is possible because they did that to me.  I have more respect for the free market than I did before I posted there.  I have a better understanding of why many folks so adamantly oppose judicial redefinition of marriage (I agree that it should not be the courts to empower our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters - we have to win the war of ideas and convince people to support it).  I learned from them.  I hope they learned from me.

These people are our neighbors, our coworkers, and they do surround us.  Of course, we also surround them.  As fucking crazy as the folks at RedState can be they are still my fellow countrymen.  That means a lot to me.  My family didn't serve just to protect progressives.  My family served, AND SERVES STILL, to protect all of us.  Even the ones who are wrong.

The folks at RedState attach themselves to the craziest of memes from time to time.  Teleprompter this, Obama supporter cutting up McCain supporter that.....they cling, ever so bitterly, to a world that never existed.  They fell so short while they were in power, but they leap to condemn any slight now that they're out.  They truly disdain some of the simplest joys in my life.  They mostly cannot fathom why I'd want to own a smaller car.  They really don't get why I'd rather commute by bicycle.  They don't understand why I, a straight male who is ever so happily engaged to the most amazing woman, would so strongly support gay marriage.  They see cities and unions as clusters of, well, evil.  They see us as wanting to hobble them, bring them down, destroy their own exceptionalism.  I cannot claim to understand this.

These people are not living in reality.  What worries me is that we may not be either.  Mock them, pity them, do whatever you like, but remember that we are two sides of the same coin and NEITHER side is apt to realize this.  They are some angry people and they want our government to fail because if it succeeds then they were simply wrong about everything.  I don't want to hurt them, but in this I want very much to humiliate them, simply by succeeding.  If we can turn things around, if we fix things, if we prove them wrong, we will humiliate them without needing to say a single nasty thing.

This is me.  I don't know how to link to my individual posts.

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I know the feeling, Reaper (2.00 / 8)
I still have my original moniker from RedState, I logged in recently just to take a look around, but I just couldn't bring myself to post. It was depressing. I used to be a proud Republican, but those people killed that dead- the cognitive dissonance was stunning, mind-numbing. They're the ones who convinced me it wasn't worth trying to save the Republican, it was already too far gone.

[ Parent ]
I recced this over at DKos (2.00 / 9)
and it's equally recworthy here.

You are presenting an aggressively sane viewpoint, an empathetic one, and it's amazing how little of that we are seeing lately.

I'm surrounded by Conservatives in real life, and I see much of what you mentioned playing out.

partisanship... (2.00 / 7)
has its good and bad...  sadly - bush and the goons brought out the worst in the right and brought partisanship and culture wars to a level unheard of in politics.

but the right are in a shambles right now - no doubt about it.  battle for control of the conservatives has begun and i just hope that the frums (*cringe*) win out rather than the limbaugh's.

"I spend my days and nights pondering the meaning of life, the state of the universe, and the Home Shopping Network." -- Donald Roller Wilson

Its great to read all this Reaper (2.00 / 7)
It provides a more coherent context for what you read on liberal blogs, which are all too often just filled with the same kind of dismissive name calling and hatred you've detected on red state. The whole 'rethug' thing bores me. I hate narrow minded bigotry, and dismissal of people because of their views, wherever it comes from.

Oddly enough, in a diary on American Exceptionalism, which if it had been on another site I would have happily commented upon, Todd Beaton had quite a good insight into this. He said:

Their entire bluster about the greatness of America seems to actually be obscuring what is really a sense of insecurity about the weakness of America.

That's what gets me about the rump - with their phobias, and fear mongering, and quickness to look for any slight against American: their vulnerability. They see America as incredibly fragile, and therefore in need of purifications, witch hunts, people to blame. This is the politics of rassentiment that played such a great part in Weimar Germany, and really does not do any justice to the Americans I know.

I'm kind of impressive by American patriotism, but I also feel a country is only the sum of the its citizens, and that the hypostatised abstraction 'America' means completely different things to different people. But it means (or used to mean) something very important nonetheless. Something to do with equality of opportunity, the rule of law, democracy...

What it didn't mean in its inception, and only meant for the last twenty years or so, is world domination as the one remaining superpower. I think a lot of the red state anger comes from this feeling of unsettled pre-eminence. And that's why it's so important that rump is marginalised...

Just due to the course of history, there is every chance that sometime soon, America will cease to be the unequivocal solo superpower that Bush/Cheney imagined. It may have already happened during the Iraq fiasco for all I know, but what I do know something about is the dangers from the right that countries experience when they lose some imaginary right to rule the world.

It happened to the British during my mother's lifetime, and I say many bad abreactions from the right. Racism, small englandism, football violence, resentment against all foreigners who had somehow stole our empire.

The US, because of its own territorial mass, will never undergo the shrinkage that the British Empire did. But the world is shrinking, and that is a shock for some Americans.  They have to understand though, just as the British Empire was, like Frodo's ring, cast into the furnace of World War II for a higher purpose, America partly created this shrinking world, and that many of its best traditions, from Lincoln to Roosevelt, come from its willingness to place the values of democracy and law before narrow isolationist self interest.

Many republicans got that in the past. I hope they will get it again.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

you're on fire tonight. pure brills. (2.00 / 5)

"I spend my days and nights pondering the meaning of life, the state of the universe, and the Home Shopping Network." -- Donald Roller Wilson

[ Parent ]
That's no mean compliment... (2.00 / 5)
...coming from you CG. And I love what you said upthread.

One of my biggest fears (though I kind of knew it wouldn't really happen) was that for all discussions about Obama last year, and the way people like yourself decided to rally round and give him a chance, was that you would be let down. By Obama. By us. The Warren invocation was a horrible wobble, but that seems so far behind us now.

There will be doubts, confusions and setbacks. Obama and his administration will get many things wrong. But I don't doubt their good intent now. It wasn't just talk. Just look what Obama's been saying in Turkey today.

He's walking the walk now.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
Oops (2.00 / 5)
Not what you said upthread, but what you said in Anna's diary about Obama

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
I don't know who's worse sometimes (2.00 / 4)
the liberal blogs or the conservative blogs. I've cut myself off from all the liberal blogs...their calling of the death of the Obama presidecy is premature IMO.

I glanced over at Dkos today...what did I see? "Dennis Kucinich 2012"

In fairness, that dude got dogpiled (2.00 / 3)
For being a bit of an idiot.  He's entitled to his opinion, but in this instance his opinion is just wrong.

[ Parent ]
I didn't even bother to read (2.00 / 2)
it's still busy over here.

Although what's this freak out of the DOJ I've hearing about all over the place?

[ Parent ]
Another case (2.00 / 2)
currently a diary on dkos

"Investigate War Crimes Or Lose in 2010-2012 Mr President and Dem's"

Because apparently every Democrat is going to stay home if Bush and Cheney aren't thrown in jail. They are so far gone from reality, they're not even relevant anymore, it's sad.  

[ Parent ]
If Obama doesn't mandate free kittens I'm voting for Palin. (2.00 / 3)

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Maybe I'm too far away to make a judgement (2.00 / 2)
but I think they will either become irrelevant or they will destroy Obama. Everyone on the left is going to find some reason to be mad at Obama come 2012.

[ Parent ]
"I'll take Door A, Gene!" (2.00 / 2)
Irrelevant has a trunk, and these folks will need some to pack their shit for the lonely ride home.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the Moose is the only functional blog of any note. (2.00 / 4)
I'd be interested in hearing of any others, must be out of my current scope.  Though I have spent more of this decade arguing right-handed issues than left-handed issues I haven't been able to find anything on right-handed blogs worth debating.  The left-handed blogs were generally worth talking on during the campaign, but since then my few forays usually leave me retreating (or is that recoiling?) pretty quickly.

We've managed to maintain a pretty constructive conversation here, and (biases noted) I think it may be a template of sorts for how these forums need to work.  We're fairly free of "pug/rethug" labeling (almost free, you know who you are... ;~) and we tend to avoid letting unnecessary chest-thumping take over.  As I look forward I see a forum or forums with a tone like the Moose that occupy the heart of the public conversation, with the more fervently partisan blogs acting more as the foyers on the periphery that entertain the masses and filter down those capable of having a more evolved discussion.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Hi Chris. (2.00 / 5)
Brilliant response.  I want to hear ideas from all sides, learn what I can about them, and then make a judgment.  Prejudging is so common on partisan blogs that it makes conversation useless.

The conversation on Orange has gone something like this lately:

Obama is another political hack.
No he's not.  Here are progressive things he's done...
You're just blindly following him.
No, I'm not saying that, I criticized him on issue X.
Where I come from, I'm allowed to criticize the president.
But you're not criticizing him, you're just saying he sucks.  He's only been in office x days.
So I'm not allowed to criticize him, then?

Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.  It's exhausting.  

Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn! ~ Robert Burns

[ Parent ]
That's what I'm noticing (2.00 / 4)
that the blogsphere has become an endless battle between forces who always opposed Obama for whatever reason (PUMA, deadender) and are looking for their "I told you so" moment and those who still support the President.

Anyone who doesn't think Obama is some massive fuckup is automatically labeled a "cultist" or "kool aid drinker", while anyone who is critical is labeled a "PUMA or deadender"

Orange, OpenLeft, DU, and to a lesser extend MyDD have outlived their usefullness in my opinion. Their existence was tied to opposition to the Bush administration. With that gone, they really don't seem to have any means of existence.

The only thing keeping me sane is that I'm in Italy...and if you really want harsh criticism and political fights, talk Italian politics. The left vs the left and the right vs. the right is an ongoing fight over it.  

[ Parent ]
Thanks, TN1. (2.00 / 3)
The conversational churn is pretty brutal.  Apparently it is entertaining/enthralling enough for quite a few folks - the sites aren't out of commentors for certain - but if you want to have a deeper conversation it wears thin real quick.

I think there is something like a nested ring of blogs/forums in the future, with more stringent "requirements" as you move towards the center.  This concept has been criticized as elitist, but in reality things always sort out this way for good reasons.  It is not to say that anyone cannot have a voice in the Inner Circle, but just that you need to have something interesting to say and be willing to say it well.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
The thing that puzzles me is (2.00 / 3)
That on the larger blogs, that the same voices seem to make it to the recommended list.  Some of that is name recognition, pure and simple.  However, as a (mostly) lurker it's pretty darn likely that if I did have something to say that no one would pay the slightest attention to it.  There's too much lamenting about "oh, here is what the community used to be," as if new voices and ideas weren't welcome.  I always thought the definition of a progressive included the thought that someone else might have a valid idea, too.

I disagree that your "ring" idea is elitist; there are better magazines and newspapers, for example...it is just the way information is presented.  It's funny that you should say "have something interesting to say and be willing to say it well."  That's one reason I haven't been posting much of anything, anywhere, aside from the odd comment.  I didn't think I had much to say, and, quite frankly, expected my interest in politics to return to pre-Obama levels after November.  I guess is hasn't.  :-)

Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn! ~ Robert Burns

[ Parent ]
Good job, Reaper. (2.00 / 3)
I haven't been here in a long time (longer than I care to say, for various life reasons I have not been posting to blogs for a few months,) but I am going to come here and take a break from Kos.  There's a left-wing echo chamber developing there, and it makes me queasy.  Very.

I rec'd you there, but here I will post.  If we want a unified successful country, we have to be reasonable about recognizing our fellow citizens, despite the vitriol they throw our way.  Some of them. we will never get.  Some, we might, but not by calling them stupid.

The only people I'll call out are GOP talking heads, because they are being willfully ignorant of the situation.  Oh, and hypocrites.  I hate me a hypocrite.  

Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn! ~ Robert Burns

I joined dKos and MM just to talk to you. (2.00 / 4)
I had a real falling out with RedState last August, and since that month I came to realize how much I'd been lied to about so many things, the pervasiveness of daily talk radio and how it was possible (for various personal and family reasons), and it wasn't long after that when it felt like 1989 again with what seemed like the fall of capitalism. I'd wondered how you were doing since then.

As ridiculous as they were last summer (if you didn't follow the link, the South Ossetia thing was what really made me part ways with them), RS and the other "leading voices" seem to have become much worse in the time since then, although I haven't forgotten the abuse I got for daring to say how horrible I think Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" is, or the guy who thought Puerto Rico should be forced to adopt English as an official language despite its entire history being Hispanic, or someone else who tried to say I'm a bad person for finally finding out that Sean Hannity intentionally misleads people. We could go on naming more examples ad nauseum, of course, and frankly I just haven't cared to see (besides, I can always count on liberal blogs to pass on Erick's increasingly stupid assertions, anyway).

These days, I'm really migrating my web presence away from political commentary and more towards my own activities as an artist. I'd better not get started here on how I feel about writers who profit from lies (like the entire Eagle/Regnery stable).

Good finding you again. I'll talk at you soon.

Welcome to MM, jonlester. (2.00 / 1)
I think you'll find that we are a little less radical here than the crowd at dkos. Unfortunately, the Left has just as many radicals as the Right does. Both sides tend to paint all members of the opposition as being the same as the fringe elements found in each group. Politics in this country have reached the point that it isn't enough to disagree with your opponents,  you have to demonize them as well.

Failure and being out of power seems to bring out the worst in people. The wingnuts on both sides can get a little awful crazy when their side is in the minority.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Hey (2.00 / 1)
Welcome to the Moose. Straight talking, self doubt, and a questioning mind always welcome here. These, more than any party affiliation, are indicative of a progressive attitude. Hope you hang around, and diary and comment

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
Thanks to both of you for the welcome. (2.00 / 2)
I might not be the most prolific contributor for a while but I'll try to frequent the site as much as I can.

BTW, I plan to do some videotaping of the Athens, Georgia tea party thing tomorrow, from across the street at my cousin's restaurant. I might even incorporate some of the visual hilarity in the performance I happen to have booked for Thursday, because I've been using video in my shows lately. I'm guessing none of the protesters have ever seen a John Waters movie.

[ Parent ]
You should post it here (2.00 / 2)
And write a diary about the Tea party

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
Love to see some clips! (0.00 / 0)
Welcome jonlester.  As Brits says, we're a pretty self-critical mob around here, always nice to have more perspectives.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]

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