Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Politics in the New Year

Or, Who Do You Like?

I'm stuck on this computer that won't link (it will barely type these days --argh! also the mouse ain't work half the time) so this will be an unlinky post, though I will point you to interesting blogs and sources, as useless as that might be (how XXth century!).

About the only issues we had when I was down in Miss Orleans (as the kid used to call New Orleans when she was little and so we still do) and by we I mean me had to do, no shock here, with politics, being I am a socialist atheist and my family is, mainly, conservative Christians of varying stripes (a few are moderate liberals, or used to be, and one, who used to be a moderate conservative, is now a moderate liberal; and one, who used to be a serious liberal, is now, I think, a moderate liberal; but it's hard to keep track, since I'm not down there often).

Well, we try to keep clear of politics. And religion. It does keep coming up. Especially given we are there for Christmas dinner. Should we have ham for Christmas dinner? (Remember that though I am an atheist, mr. delagar and the kid are Jewish, and, you know, I live in a Jewish household. This is not a secret we have kept from anyone in my family.) mr. delagar says have all the ham you want, he just won't eat it. Will there be a prayer at Christmas dinner? (No one asks about this, I am just compelled to participate, and no, I have not kept the atheism a secret either. Everyone has known I am an atheist since I was sixteen. Also, though I am not at the table when the prayer begins, and though I say, politely, that they can go ahead without me, no, no, I must return to the table and participate. Well, what the fuck ever. I do. I pitch no fit, I make no political statement, I sit down and let them hold their ceremony.)

Nevertheless, mainly we were all doing what we could not to cause trouble, I think.

Only, when otherwise sensible people start defending Huckabee, what am I to do then?

And they do. Good shit, what is it about this man that has people fooled?

I think it's because they listen to him, instead of reading blogs. I think maybe he sounds better than he reads. (See Ezra Klein and Pandagon, for instance.) Or else they don't care about social issues? People defend him over his flat tax scheme, for instance. But the Angry Bear, who's one of the top the economics blogs out there, he doesn't think much of the flat tax. (See Wikipedia's entry on Flat Tax for a thorough discussion of the issue, including countries that have tried/are trying flat taxes, and how, exactly, what Huckabee is proposing -- a national sales tax, as I understand it -- differs from a true flat tax, which, in any case, has real problems: either a flat tax or a national sales tax does, I mean.)

Anyway, what I began this to say: the candidates.

Obviously, among the right side, who is there?

If I had to pick, if you put a gun to my head, McCain is the only one I could bear. Huckabee, I admit, is earnest. I believe he believes what he says. But I know fellas like Huckabee. That he believes what he says -- that he can believe what he believes -- that doesn't make me happier about him.

Illustrative story: the tiger that escaped and attacked the zoo patrons. A rumor was floating that someone might have taunted the tiger, might have enraged it enough that it leaped from its cage to attack. I was reminded of a S. Carolina Zoo where the S.C. vistors used to do the same thing, mock and torment the tiger, a beautiful tiger, only ten yards or so away across a dry cement coulee. It would pace and growl and cough horrible threats at them, and they would laugh in sadistic glee and keep mocking it. mr. delagar used to shake his head in wonder. One day, he said, that tiger's going to come right across that ditch and have him some rednecks.

When I told this story, the kid wanted to know why the zoo visitor would do that: why they would make fun of the tiger that way.

Because they were ignorant yokels, I said.

My little brother corrected me: because they were afraid of the tiger, he said.

Huh, I thought: because he was right. That was it.

And really insightful, too.

On the other hand: they dealt with their fear by mocking the tiger why?


Huckabee fears and hates gay people, feminists, non-Christians, liberals, anyone who isn't like him, why? Ignorance. Now I know it's due to his culture -- I live here too, after all. I know what he's been told. I know he's a smart enough guy, and he's wrapped his head through all the ways his culture has taught him to wrap it, he's figured all the arguments he can, why it's right for him to treat people not like him as not-really-people. (We can put gays in camps, uh, hospitals...because they have diseases! Yeah! We can make women stay at home and keep them from the workplace because...they like it that way, really! Yeah! God says so!) Well, that's his business. That's why he's on the right. He can believe what he wants, he can argue what he wants as earnestly as he wants, this is America, that's what we're about.

The trouble is people in my family are swallowing it. Well, the real trouble, of course, is people in my country are swallowing it. Did the past eight years teach them nothing? God and terra is still working? I'm afraid of that tiger is still working?

On the left, well.

I like Edwards, myself. (Again, Ezra Klein, Wikipedia, for why.)

Clinton, I think, is probably going to take the nomination. I can live with her, I suppose.

Update: if you want to get seriously depressed, go on over to Ann Althouse's blog and read her posts on Huckabee: specifically, the comments. Her readers like Huckabee precisely b/c of his attitudes toward gays, women, and women's rights. In other words, they support Huck, if they do, b/c he speaks out against gay people and social issues like woman's rights and the right to choose. Not that he would discriminate! Oh, never!

And if you believe that, eh...


Anonymous said...

Huckabee has me very, very concerned because of the supporters he has attracted. I agree that he seems fairly genuine (although his press conference yesteray had me laughing and shaking my head) and relatively ignorant. I truly believe that if he ends up running the country we will be in even worse shape- in every way possible- in 2012. There's been enough fear mongering going on and if Huckabee is in the Oval Office...ugh. I'd probably quit being a stay at home mom and work full time if only to thumb my nose at him!

Our house supports Obama, I'm fine with Edwards (wish the two of them would paper, rock scissors for Pres. and VP and start running together now) but really hope that Clinton doesn't get the Democratic nod. It's nothing against her as a woman, I just think she's been in politics too long to make the major changes our country needs.

Oh, and I have no idea how to properly discuss politics with family members. For awhile this summer my uncle kept sending me anti-Muslim e-mails, which I ignored. The final straw was the forward that claimed Barack Obama was a terrorist. I fired back and he hasn't spoken to or acknowledged me since. No loss, but still, I obviously didn't do it right!

zelda1 said...

YOu have not met redneck until you have met my family. They take the far right to places unknown to man. I avoid them as much as I can and when I'm forced around them, like you, I avoid any form of communication that would involve, women, politics, social/economical conditions, and now it's down to crime. Yep, crime. So, like you, I can lie with Hill; infact, I am wanting her to win.
So, you did the prayer thing? Did you close your eyes?

delagar said...

I did not close my eyes. But I held hands -- it was one of those hold-hands-in-one-big-spirit circle deals -- and I did not exhale loudly or make nasty adolescent comments. Even if I really wanted to.