For some time there has been this thing floating around called the Carnival of the Elitist Bastards. Since the founder is an angry fountain of liberal rage I can’t say I was ever that motivated to participate, despite the fact that two of my favorite fellow bloggers have. I like the premise though, which is that sometimes it’s okay to be an elitist.This from a man who once berated me for not living up to his standards. He read this blog in its early days, and somehow formed the impression that I was not "an angry fountain of liberal rage." When the truth could no longer be denied, he threw a fit and left. He's been leaving whiny little comments about me on various blogs ever since. I wish I'd kept all the links. They're precious.
It's a signal honor to be called "an angry fountain of liberal rage" from a man who approvingly quotes Ann Coulter, who has swallowed the neocon lie that the Community Reinvestment Act led to our current economic disaster (free tip: it didn't), and believes McCain has "ideals." And that's just on the one page of his blog I scanned today.
He keeps using that word "progressive." I do not think it means what he thinks it means.
But I digress, because as fun as it is to beat up on fuckwits, I don't put Progressive Conservative into that category. Snowed by the Cons, yes. Unclear on the concept of progressive, absolutely. But at least he makes the occasional effort to understand liberals, and he wants to see his party make a beeline for the middle, so I've got to give him some props. He seems to believe that disagreements over politics and religion mean I despise him. I don't. I've even been nice to him over at The Coffee-Stained Writer, where his non-political commentary is perfectly agreeable. And I was delighted when he decided to jump aboard the HMS Elitist Bastard, even though, like John McCain, he refuses to meet my eyes. Let this paragraph stand as evidence of the fact that just because I find his politics laughable and his whining about me even more so doesn't mean I don't appreciate him as a fellow human being.
Let's get back to the main point, then: I am indeed "an angry fountain of liberal rage." I own that title with pride.
I'm bitterly angry. Often enraged. I've been running on a high-octane combination of hope and outrage this election year. I've embraced my leap to the left. I am now a dyed-in-the-wool progressive Democrat who will never tack center again. If Progressive Conservative needs someone to blame for that, he need look no further than George W. Bush and the raving band of batshit insane neo-theo-con fucktards he infested our political infrastructure with.
Those readers who have been with me since the beginning know I used to be a left-leaning centrist, a person utterly disinterested in politics, bored by religion, and dismissive of the culture wars. I'd never even voted before 2006. The last thing I needed to waste my time on was democracy. All candidates, I figured, were pretty much the same. Why bother to vote? I was happier staying home on election day, blissfully ignorant of the sturm und drang of politics and government. All I ever wanted or needed was my cat, my writing, and my friends.
Along came Bush, who destroyed my contentment.
I watched him piss away the worldwide outpouring of support and empathy from nearly every country on this planet, including those who had traditionally hated us. America could have been at the forefront of a new era of international cooperation and progress. Instead, he attacked a country that had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks of September 11th. He lied to America, he lied to the world, rode roughshod over every ally we had, and eliminated any chance of making this world a better place.
That wasn't enough to get me politically engaged. But it made me long for Clinton, who may not have been able to keep it in his pants but sure as fuck knew how to raise America's standing in the world. I will tell you why I became a Clinton supporter. I didn't know the best of what he'd done until long after he was out of office, but I caught this moment during his presidency that told me our nation was in excellent hands. At Camp David, Yassir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin were going to dinner. Rabin was trying to do the polite thing and let Arafat enter the dining room first. Arafat, survivor of too many assassination attempts, refused. And there they were, stuck in the doorway arguing over who should go first, until Clinton laughed and threw open the other half of the double door. Rabin and Arafat entered the dining room side-by-side.
Can you imagine Bush doing the same thing? I didn't think so.
I hated the Iraq war. I hated Bush for using a tragedy as his excuse for finishing what Daddy started. But it wasn't enough to slap me out of my political apathy. I didn't vote in 2004. Kerry didn't inspire me enough. If it had been Gore, I might have dragged myself to the polls. If I'd been an angry liberal then, even lack of inspiration wouldn't have kept me from pulling the lever for everyone with a D after their name.
What really did it was the onslaught of abuses that followed that second election, the revelations that started coming out. I'd never wanted to live in a country that tortured human beings, and yet Bush took an enormous shit on the Geneva Conventions and all sense of decency, and we became a nation that tortures. I'd never wanted to live in a country that spied on its citizens, yet his warrantless wiretapping was gathering steam, and he didn't see a damned thing wrong with shredding the Fourth Amendment. Iraq, far from being the cakewalk promised, was an utter disaster. Everything Bush and his lapdogs had said to get us there turned out to be lies. Our standing in the world had tanked. Countries that had been our staunch allies for decades, sometimes centuries, were turning away from us. Everything I loved about America, everything we stood for, all of our ideals, Bush flushed away.
I registered as an Independent in 2006, and voted a straight Democratic ticket. I voted my anger. I voted for a slate of people who were just as angry as I was.
These past two years, I've paid close attention to politics. And everything I've seen has only made me angrier. America's turning into a theocracy. The frothing fundies, egged on by a president who has no respect for democracy, the rule of law, or Constitutional ideals, have come bursting out of fringe and imposed themselves on the mainstream. They've completed their takeover of the Republicon party. Four more years of Republicon rule, and I guarantee you we'll be living in a theocracy.
The cons have destroyed our foreign policy, our economy, and our morality. They've attacked science, wasted precious time in fighting global warming because they either care more for Big Oil profits or believe the world's going to end too soon for global warming to matter. They've turned our political discourse into an endless fullisade of smears, bald lies, and bullshit. They have no respect for ordinary Americans, choosing to exploit them instead. They've annihilated the middle class, robbed from the poor to give to the rich, and now blame all of our woes on minorities and poor folk. They've polarized the nation. They've installed ideologues at every level of our infrastructure. They engaged in a culture of political hirings, firings and corruption that's breathtaking in its scope. I can't even keep up with the constant scandals. You want to know why Americans aren't screaming in the streets? There's too much to scream about. Where do you even begin to protest when the list of outrages is so enormous?
They have so much contempt for America that they fielded John McCain as a candidate. They figured a lying neocon POW would deceive us into believing they've turned over a new leaf. And because they're so convinced of our stupidity, they chose Sarah Palin, a Dominionist serial liar and one of the most idiotic politicians ever to disgrace the national stage, as their vice presidential candidate.
The secrecy, the lying, the naked grabs for power, power and more power, the corruption, the warmongering, the economic idiocy, the anti-science and anti-human policies, the egregious stupidity, the cynical manipulation, the propaganda, the lawbreaking, the advocation of torture, the belligerance, and the failures of this administration have been more than enough to turn me from a moderate into an angry fountain of liberal rage. All of that drove me straight into the arms of the Democratic party, where I belonged all along.
I won't always be so outraged. Someday, this country will make it out of this wilderness, should we survive the fallout from the last eight years. We can restore our Constitution, our national ideals, our world standing, and our decency. Our economy can recover. The middle class can thrive again. America can once again become a beacon of hope and liberty in the world. I believe the Democrats will get us there. We just have to hand them the power, and keep watch lest power tempt them to stray.
It's up to us.
I will never again trust the Republicons. My anger at the necons that brought us to this pass will ever end. Judging from what many Republican politicians have been saying, that's not just liberal anger talking.
Rage can be a useful emotion. It prods us to action. It forces us to stand up against those who would destroy this nation for their own glorification. Rage brought me to the polls, and rage will keep me involved in American democracy. I rage against inequality, prejudice, racism, injustice. It's part of what makes me a true progressive. And I will always have that rage.
Rage told me that I love my country. If I didn't, the betrayal of everything America stood for wouldn't have outraged me so much. And now, I'll be using that rage to work for a better future for this nation, and for the world. Someday, I'll be able to celebrate the outcome of that rage: the restoration of the American dream, the end of the neoconservative extremism that almost destroyed us, a world with a bright future.
When that day comes, I'll be the happiest angry fountain of liberal rage you could ever hope to meet.