Monday, April 18, 2005

Don't Call Them Lesser, Call Them 'Differently Evil'

I was so right not to vote for John Kerry. Won't nobody ever admit it, but I was righter than a big fat bucket of extra-crispy correctness.

It was not without a certain amount of agony that I concluded last fall that my duty lay in not voting for the hypocritical, war-voting, anti-choice-Justice-amenable pile of hairsprayed shite that is John Kerry. I felt the pull, I confess, of the colossal tide of lesser-evilism that inundated liberal America leading up to the election. Yes, no doubt Kerry was eville, but was the Bush admin not eville squared? This at any rate was the refrain shouted at me by all my Dem-voting friends and family, who clung pathetically to the spar of believing if the Dems only got in, by hook or by crook, then they'd get back to liberal business as usual, erect a bullet-proof plexiglas dome around Roe v. Wade, stop beating the crap out of starving foreign children, &c.

As I say I felt the tug, pretty much entirely based on visceral repugnance at the idea of a vote of mine in any indirect way fomenting Bush's reelection (though given that I was voting from Blue NY, this was a pretty remote prospect). However, I stood my ground, girded my pro-choice and anti-war loins, and logged my protest vote for Nader, as a vote against the Democrats. And fuck but was I right.

Have the Dems come courting me and my poor sold-out principles? Did I churlishly turn my back on the party that deep down really had my best interests at heart? Nuh, and a world of unh. Since their defeat, the Dems have skated rightward with a speed that astonishes even jaded old me. By January they'd recruited Howard 'Scary Shouty' Dean and Hillary 'Words Do Not Suffice' Clinton to lead the bold charge to embrace the misunderstood legions of the anti-choice liberal. While Hillary swanned around popularizing the notion that abortion was 'tragic' and blithely sharing a platform with the arch-Satan Rick Santorum, Dean gathered the Party faithful for cozy tetes-a-tete in which he preached the pressing need for greater tolerance and inclusiveness of those who may not necessarily share our views on individual issues like, oh, say, a woman's right to choose, but who should nonetheless be welcomed into the fold as proponents of a different, but equally valid belief system. After all, who were the Democrats to dictate what their members believed, or for that matter wanted to legislate against? That would be so intolerant.

I had an IM conversation with a now-former friend who had one of these little chats with Dean, and who came away hedgehogged-up with defensive rhetoric about Tolerance and Inclusiveness. I was stunned by both the rancor and the utter incoherence with which she went on the attack, lobbing wild ad-hominem jibes in response to my any attempt to clarify what exactly it would mean for Democrats to 'tolerate' anti-choice party members. Would it just mean not beating them up at fundraisers? Or were we talking about allowing them a seat at the policy-drafting table, a voice in Party position-making on abortion legislation? What form would tolerance take if her newfound comrades began agitating for Democratic anti-choice legislation?

First she said she would try to reason with them, make them see the error of their ways. I remarked that this didn't seem very tolerant or inclusive. Weren't their ways meant to be equally valid? Besides, what if reason didn't work, and they still wanted to vote anti-choice? --Then it wouldn't matter, because there wouldn't be enough of them to vote it in. OK, but what if there were enough? Would she be ok with belonging to a Democratic Party in which there were enough pro-life members to force the Party to support anti-choice legislation?

At that point she stopped even pretending to argue and settled for furiously denouncing me as 'unconstructive'. If I wasn't willing to 'do the work', they didn't want me in the Party anyway. Which was funny, as I had been under the impression that if there was argumentative work being done, it was by me.

At length I called a halt to the flying e-crockery and signed off both IM and our friendship. Behold the face of the New Democrat. Inquiries about where to send Congratulations-on-Your-Overwhelming-Rightness bouquets will be gladly entertained.

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