Bubba's in the hot seat again
My initial reaction to Digsby's post today about how futile it is to try to get Bubba to vote for the Democrats was, "Right on!"
But again, that's the problem, isn't it? It is not enough to be tolerant. We must adopt both their style and their policies before they are happy. Everyone must be a NASCAR fan. If you are not, they will take it to mean that you disrespect their love of NASCAR. Everyone must hunt. If you don't, then you are being intolerant of their love of hunting. If you don't talk about religion the way they talk about it, you are not properly religious. Rappers must wear cowboy boots, hispanics must speak English, we all have to drive American trucks with confederate flags on the back and drink Jack and be exactly like these macho, southern white men before they will feel secure enough to vote with us.
And let's not pretend that we will not also have to tell the various constituencies in the party who find their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be contingent on being allowed to control their own bodies, marry whom they choose and practice or not practice the religion of their choice that they are shit out of luck. That's part of the deal.
Bubba can't catch a break, but my pity for him is small compared to my pity for those who are hurt worst by Bubba's love for our brush-clearing, horse-fearing President. It's nice to see someone call bullshit on the idea that you can find middle ground with someone whose view on diversity is, "You or me, but not both." One of the most frustrating things for those of us who observe things through the lens of sexual politics is trying to get our fellow liberals to understand that for some of our opposition, compromise is weakness and nothing but total capitulation from the left will satisfy.
Digsby's right that we need to write off those on the right who think "tolerance" is a dirty word. People who stand against sex ed, reproductive rights and other signs that not everyone chooses the same sexual path as they do obviously aren't happy to let us partake of the pill, abortion and sex toys in Alabama, even though we on the side of sin are all too happy to let them avoid birth control and The Rabbit all they'd like. Anti-gay marriage activists seem believe that if gays and lesbians can marry, straight marriage will disintegrate, meaning they sincerely believe that it's just not possible for people to have to peaceably share the same rights. And now we have people that seem to be positive that if a young woman doesn't dress like all the other young women in her class, then something very bad will happen.
Trying to woo people who seem to believe that if they aren't oppressing someone else, then they will be oppressed is a fool's errand and I hope that the Democrats won't be tempted to try it. However, I think there are a couple misconceptions about Bubba that need to be cleared up.
The people who vote because they've been whipped into a frenzy over fears that tolerance of people different from themselves might actually put their own lifestyles in danger are a surprisingly diverse crowd. It ain't just Bubba. In fact, many a Bubba could care less what you do, as long as you don't do it in his backyard. I know a surprising number of fundamentalist Christians who believe very firmly that I'm going to hell, but they aren't too hot on the idea of passing laws to save me from sending myself there with my pill pack in one hand and my copy of Backlash in the other. And many a Bubba thinks this whole gay marriage/abortion/boobies on TV stuff is utter nonsense, but he still voted for Bush and would do it again. And not necessarily to spite urban liberals, either.
So, I think Digsby's right that compromise with some is impossible, and I would add that trying to compromise with people who'd rather we just disappeared off the face of the planet will probably just bring the Democrats down another notch in the estimation of the Bubbas that are inclined to be sympathetic to the social politics of tolerance. The people in our democracy who see the voting system as a way to inflict their beliefs on others are still not a majority; Bush won this last election in a squeaker, and that's only because they blanketed people's homes with the message that their choice was Bush or death by terrorist attack. It was scary and even I had a moment of doubt about voting for Kerry, even though I knew damn well that all the security stuff coming from the Bush camp was all lies.
It seems to me that the Republicans have cobbled together a rather uneasy alliance between the rich who control the party and use it to inflict class warfare on the rest of us, the intolerant who are willing to be used as tools as long as it means they can exert control over their neighbors' sex lives, and a whole bunch of people that are sitting on the fence. The fence-sitters either don't know how many liberties of theirs the Republicans are actively working to dismantle or simply think that they have to put up with these lost liberties in order to be safe from terrorism. This is the group that the Democrats need to focus on in order to get more votes.