Hair Lick Voters + Polite Silence = CSX = $700B Bailout = Private Profit, Socialized Risk

Lorrie got busy with school, work, and other household-related matters, and she says she won’t be able to finish answering my questions. That’s fine. I want to make a couple of points and then bring this to a close.

1) Beliefs have consequences. Lorrie didn’t want to answer my question, asked as a hypothetical about my own teen daughter, concerning Palin’s belief that abortion should be a crime, without exceptions for rape, incest or health of the mother. Let me be clear, and I address this not to Lorrie, whose position on abortion I do not know, but to anyone who supports criminalization of abortion: If you believe life begins at conception, and you want the law to reflect that, you also believe that women who have abortions and the doctors who perform them are pre-meditated child murderers. If you believe in the death penalty, you believe they should be executed. If you are unwilling to go there, if you are unwilling to stand behind the consequences of what you believe because they are uncomfortable, you are pro-choice. Period. I will rejoice at the day when there are no abortions. But I will not turn millions of women into criminals and murderers in the futile effort to acheive that. There is a massive difference between celebrating Bristol and Sarah Palin’s decisions to have children – a decision made by just as many Democrats and indepedents (but not bragged about) – and forcing them into back alleys or arresting them. The abortion debate is not an abstraction. It involves the health, lives, and freedom of millions of real people.

2) The Rush myth-machine is lying to, using, and cheating you (and has been for years):

I’m most disappointed not to get an answer to the last two questions from my post:

9) Do you think angling for and receiving $27 million in federal taxpayer earmarks, which you and I paid for, while mayor of a town of 5,000, qualifies as getting Americans ” to brush off their own skinned knees and wipe their own snotty noses.” Do you agree that Alaska is the single-biggest welfare state in America judged by government spending per person?

10) In fact, let’s look at that whole passage: “Pardon me while I wretch. It’s not gonna happen, people! It’s time for Americans to brush off their own skinned knees and wipe their own snotty noses. Try as the government may, I am convinced that it does not hold all of the answers to our woes. People need to take some personal responsibility.”

Is that what you think of me or my family? Or some portion of your fellow writers here at LL. That we don’t brush off our own skinned knees or wipe our own snotty noses? That we wake up each day and walk out the door thinking, my God, what will we do if government doesn’t hold our hand today? That we don’t take personal responsibility? If so, name us. Who do you think “people” is? Do you really think I look down on the 10,000-person small town where I grew up and my parents still live? Really? Who exactly is Sarah Palin defending small towns from? Does my perception that the last eight years have been an utter disaster for this country, and especially small towns, reflect my lack of character? You ever hear a Democrat give a speech that sneers at Mississippi or Alabama values?

It’s amazing how much more relevant this discussion has become in the last two weeks, which has seen the Bush administration completely embrace disaster socialism and call for hundreds of billions of dollar bill tissues for Wall Street’s snotty noses. Do you have any idea how many people we could send to college, or how many Lakeland rail bypasses we could build for $700 billion? But, of course, that would be big, hand-holding government. (By the way, when Washington Mutual goes down next week, or the weekafter, should that big government snotty nose wiper known as the FDIC play its role and make small depositers whole, or should we be left to wipe own our snotty accounts?)

At some point in the last few decades – it probably dates to Nixon – conservative politicians broadly gave up running on governing ideas and principles and decided they would run as better people. They declared themselves the kind of people who believe in life and patriotism and wiping their own snotty noses – as opposed to their awful neighbors, whose differing approach to what constitutes the common good shows they reject these noble abstractions. Funny how easily cutting taxes for the very masters of the universe we now are bailing out on Wall Street fit into that narrative. Funny how mocking government’s common good role allowed privatization to take over.

This narrative accelerated through Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich. Bill Clinton’s sex problems helped it along. Ultimately, it was perfected by Karl Rove’s operations. This is an exceedingly personal narrative approach to politics, designed to turn neighbor against neighbor. It is, was, and has always been, a lie.

It could not have happened without the kind of visceral, unskeptical reactions to hair licks – particuarly among conservative religious voters – that set off this entire discussion. And what have those conservative Christians to show for their unwavering support? Let us tabulate:

– Gay citizens are more fully integrated into society than ever before. Gay marriage, the hair lick of 4-years-ago, is a rock solid institution in Massachusetts and California and isn’t going anywhere. I think the ridiculous Florida amendment is going to go down in flames, too. How many mentions of saving the Republic from teh gay did you hear among the Mooseburgers at the RNC?

The country has embraced scourging, otherwise known as torture (Spare me the ticking timebomb, handwringing, “24” crap, we torture anybody we want to at any time under any circumstances. Plenty of evidence out there if you want to track it down. ) Six in 10 southern evenagelicals are all about torture, according to a recent poll.

– I saw a horrifying stat recently suggesting that 90 percent of Down’s Syndrome babies are aborted. That’s a raft of bipartisan criminality.

– And the fastest growing segment of the American religious landscape is no religion. Maybe people are tired of having their politics and their worship mixed by charlatans. Congratulations on spreading the message and leading the flocks.

Hey, but Bush brought you a couple of conservative judges, and Obama’s a secret Muslim. So it’s all worth it. All you had to give up were your souls and any meaningful public oversight of the all powerful private sector.

Do you think CSX would be in the position to get the state to pay for its business plan, consequences for communities be damned, without the electoral support of the snotty-nose and Schiavo wings of the conservative grass roots? Do you think we’d be considering this final redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the top 5 percent without the electoral support of hair lick voters?

Of course, there’s another person to blame for all this: Me. And the large numbers of non-conservatives and skeptical conservatives who actively acquiesced – and in some cases directly helped – in the Republican effort to turn our government into a risk free, interest free bank for the wealthy. Shame on all of us.

And especially shame on us – and me – for laughing it off when Republican politicians said over the years that “people” need to wipe their own snotty noses and take personal responsibility. Oh they’re not talking about us, we said. That’s just politics. Let’s don’t make anybody uncomfortable. That’s what the Roves and the Rushes have counted on, that non-conservatives would concede conservatives are better, tougher people because we didn’t want to object to the myth and hurt anybody’s feelings or cause any awkwardness. The last 30 years has been one giant personal attack that non-conservatives haven’t wanted to engage. Well, I’m done with that. That’s why I’ve made my part of LL a less cheerful place in the last few days. I’m planning to change that a bit. But for now, let me be clear to Lorrie and anybody else who wants to repeat this Republican moral superiority myth now or in the future: You are not better people.

Nor are you worse. But you have been fooled and used. Unless you are JD Alexander, you have nothing to show for all this emotional embrace of Rush/Rove politics. That needs to be pointed out. And you need to be challenged when you decide to attack the character of “people” in a political context, even if you don’t mean to.

I value good relations with everyone, and I think Lorrie’s one of the best people I know, but this country is on the brink. This moment will have huge consequences for all of our lives and families. And it’s very clear who steered us here. I want to be able to look my grandkids in the eye and say I did whatever small thing I could, in my little corner of cyberspace or anywhere else, to build a better reality. And for me, if nothing else, that means no longer shrugging off conservative lies, intentional or not, about who non-conservatives are.

4 thoughts on “Hair Lick Voters + Polite Silence = CSX = $700B Bailout = Private Profit, Socialized Risk

  1. Thank you Billy Townsend for your heartfelt comments. You put into words what many of the voters are feeling and your candor and honesty is refreshing. I, too, recognize the Urgency of the times we are faced with and I hope others read your comments and really contemplate how their vote will decide the fate of our country and our children’s future.

  2. Thank you Billy Townsend for your heartfelt comments. You put into words what many of the voters are feeling and your candor and honesty is refreshing. I, too, recognize the Urgency of the times we are faced with and I hope others read your comments and really contemplate how their vote will decide the fate of our country and our children’s future.

  3. Billy, I believe you are correct about Nixon. If he didn’t invent this personal, divisive political rhetoric he certainly embraced it and successfully used it to win the 1968 election.

    Fear and loathing indeed.

  4. Billy, I believe you are correct about Nixon. If he didn’t invent this personal, divisive political rhetoric he certainly embraced it and successfully used it to win the 1968 election.

    Fear and loathing indeed.

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