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November 4, 2004

Glad to hear it
Posted by Teresa at 05:49 PM * 171 comments

If “constructive” is a euphemism for “makes me feel better,” Adam Felber’s concession speech is constructive as all get-out:

There are some who would say that I sound bitter, that now is the time for healing, to bring the nation together. Let me tell you a little story. Last night, I watched the returns come in with some friends here in Los Angeles. As the night progressed, people began to talk half-seriously about secession, a red state / blue state split. The reasoning was this: We in blue states produce the vast majority of the wealth in this country and pay the most taxes, and you in the red states receive the majority of the money from those taxes while complaining about ‘em. We in the blue states are the only ones who’ve been attacked by foreign terrorists, yet you in the red states are gung ho to fight a war in our name. We in the blue states produce the entertainment that you consume so greedily each day, while you in the red states show open disdain for us and our values. Blue state civilians are the actual victims and targets of the war on terror, while red state civilians are the ones standing behind us and yelling “Oh, yeah!? Bring it on!” More than 40% of you Bush voters still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. I’m impressed by that, truly I am. Your sons and daughters who might die in this war know it’s not true, the people in the urban centers where al Qaeda wants to attack know it’s not true, but those of you who are at practically no risk believe this easy lie because you can. As part of my concession speech, let me say that I really envy that luxury.
I’ve been waiting a long time to hear someone say that.

How long? Probably since the day my brother the dittohead told me that when it comes to national security, I “just don’t get it”—when he lives in a cushy suburb in the Midwest, and I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan. (via)

Comments on Glad to hear it:
#1 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:03 PM:

Hear, hear.

#2 ::: Adam Contini ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:10 PM:

Hear, hear.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:11 PM:

And the award for near-simultaneity goes to ...

#4 ::: Jennifer Pelland ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:15 PM:

*wild applause*

I want the United Blue States of America. I want to live in a nation where progressive candidates have a real chance of being elected to office. I want to lure Ann Richards up to our neck of the woods so she and Barney Frank can be co-presidents of the UBSA. Dammit, I want real change in my lifetime, and the red states are holding us back.

Am I bitter? Yes. Am I alone? Hell, no. I've been making "Proud to be blue" and "Red with shame" LiveJournal icons, and they're getting snapped up like crazy. Clearly, the divide in this nation is only getting deeper, and I don't think it sounds so crazy to say, well, why not just divide and get it over with?

#5 ::: tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:20 PM:

Ms. Nielsen-Hayden, as much as I love both you and Adam Felber, and as much as I normally agree with every word you both say, I respectfully find the first paragraph of the section you quote to be downright offensive.

I have heard the "blue state"/"red state" separation comment one too many times since the election, and it's starting to get to me. I live in a so-called "red state," and funnily enough, Kerry didn't lose by very much. In fact, you'll find close margins in the majority of the states, regardless of what color the media map decides to paint them. (Before someone jumps on this, I am aware that there are states where this is not true; I said "majority.")

I realize that the secession thing is supposed to be a joke, but today one of the professors I work for came up with a map wherein all the states that went to Kerry had become part of Canada, while all the states that went to Bush became "Jesusland." All I could think was, the last thing we need right now is people making generalizations about entire sections of the country.

We're frustrated too! We're all disheartened, and tired, and sad, and angry! Most of all, we live in states that are still dominated by reactionary thinkers. We need people who live in more liberal states to give encouragement, not abandon us, even in jest.

Believe it or not, I understand where you and Mr. Felber are coming from, especially with the second paragraph of the quote. I'm just getting tired of the supposed blue state/red state split - as though every person in the state of California voted for Kerry, and every person in the state of Illinois voted for Bush. I hope I don't come off as offensive, because I'm not trying to be. I'm just upset. And now, of course, I'm rambling, so I'll take myself off.

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:23 PM:

Okay, Tiercel. You're hereby publicly and officially pardoned for living in a red state.

#7 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:24 PM:

>As the night progressed, people began to talk
>half-seriously about secession, a red state / blue
>state split.

I see I'm not alone in my idea for the People's Republic of Volvostan.

Blue-state comrades! We in the Free Republic of Lattestan salute you!

#8 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:25 PM:

Adam's brother may get it all too well someday.

WTAE (Pittsburgh's Channel 4) is reporting -- even as I type, perhaps -- that the FBI has uncovered evidence of potential terrorist activity in "smaller" cities like Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Kansas City, etc. Not a lot of detail yet; apparently they're saving the good stuff for tonight's newscast. But this teaser for the broadcast hints at "something that recently happened at a security-sensitive facility in western Pennsylvania, and what federal agents are doing about it."

(Note: I put "smaller" in quotations because, although these cities are smaller than New York or Chicago, they are much bigger than, say, Weirton, West Virginia. Which is only 35 miles from Pittsburgh, so that people here think of Pittsburgh as The Big City.)

#9 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:27 PM:

when it really comes down to it, we're all purple states.

#10 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:33 PM:

Lois, the dittohead is my brother, not Adam Felber's.

#11 ::: spacewaitress ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:34 PM:

that the FBI has uncovered evidence of potential terrorist activity in "smaller" cities like Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Kansas City, etc

Fuck!

I live in Minneapolis. Minneapolis is not a "smaller" city (at least not to me, anyway.)

#12 ::: spacewaitress ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:35 PM:

Whoops! Sorry Lois. I was so panicked by your link that I didn't read the rest of your comment. Thanks for acknowledging that "smaller" isn't small. (Also, I wasn't angry that you said smaller. Just panicked.)

#13 ::: Tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:38 PM:

shadowsong - Thanks! That map led me to an article at MSNBC, which led me to a county-by-county map. Interesting stuff, especially if you mentally map cities on top of that.

Ms. Nielsen-Hayden - I can't decide whether or not you were being sarcastic, so I'm just going to let it lie.

#14 ::: blackholly ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:40 PM:

You know, I *do* feel better after reading that.

#15 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:42 PM:

WTAE (Pittsburgh's Channel 4) is reporting -- even as I type, perhaps -- that the FBI has uncovered evidence of potential terrorist activity in "smaller" cities like Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Kansas City, etc.

I'm sure the people of Oklahoma City are going to be terribly surprised by this revelation.

(Also, it's worth noting that, while I have the greatest respect for the people of Pittsburgh, my in-laws among them, and want them to stay both safe and informed, local television stations are not where I am going to turn for dispassioned analysis of my vulnerability to low-probability but ratings-friendly events. I live outside DC; you should see the hype Channel 9 can crank out when it's just a snowstorm.)

#16 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:43 PM:

Tiercel is correct. I did the demographics on my state, because I think we can trust the ballots to be fair here - it's a small state, and last time they cheated, in 2002, it was by a KITV by phone DOS attack. We use paper ballots, clearly printed, marked in big circles with pen, and many many of them had to be hand counted this time, because they ran out of the optical cards and had to photocopy them instead.

The returns were showing to me *such* dramatic patterns, based on the fact that I've driven all over this state and I know people who live and work in the parts I don't, or know people who do, after having lived here a quarter-century, that I charted them all out on maps.

The *real* rural poor voted blue. The people who have bought up the 200-year-old family farms that went out of business, and either commute to Boston in their Escalades, or live off their severance packages or investment incomes, those regions voted red, by the largest margins. Yet even those townships did not go over 70% red.

It was the educated, wealthy, well-traveled people whose kids attended school with me, the ones who went to Mexico and Spain and Bermuda on holiday, the ones who live in the central corridor, or up around the Lakes Region, or in the Libertarian bits of the North Country (not the lumberjack and millworker bits) that nearly gave NH to Bush. Many of those people along the Seacoast side of the southern border and central corridor are MA expats who want to make the big dollars but not pay the big taxes, and can afford to send their kids to Pinkerton or St. Paul's and not care about the problems with school funding.

Claremont and environs went blue.

And so did most of the towns around the Navy base - far more than can be explained by the college town nearby. *That* trumped the Very High Property Values factor, in all but two small suburbs of Portsmouth.

It was greed that almost did us in, here, the pledge of bigger business, lower taxes.

And very few of the Bush/Benson voters here, had signs out or stickers. It doesn't seem like they were proud or confident enough to display their allegiance, not compared to the number of bumper stickers I have seen for Kerry.

I suspect, if we were able to chart out each state, town by town, and match it up with local economies and demographics, we would see far more of this over the country. But I can't do it for anywhere else, I only know little bits of MA and less of VT myself.

#17 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:48 PM:

You know, if I were a Kerry voter living in a red state (and it was close in New Hampshire; I very well could have been), I wouldn't be feeling particularly mollified by an official pardon for living there.

I was born in Florida, and raised in Florida and Texas, and primarily educated in Florida, Texas, and Arkansas, and most of my blood relatives still live in those last two states. Some of them even voted for Kerry, because believe me, nobody hates Bush like somebody from Texas who's been voting against the man since before he was governor. And having my family and regional roots comprehensively vilified all up and down over blue blogland does not, for some strange reason, serve to make me feel one whit better about the outcome of this election.

#18 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:52 PM:

It is also the anniversary of the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian uprising, today.

It was e.e. cummings' poem, "Thanksgiving 1956," discovered by chance at around age 14, that caused me to question *everything* I thought I could rely on, in terms of the CW, such as that the US was at least honest and honorable in being anti-communist and pro-liberty, as well as that there was a unanimous patriotic acceptance of the Cold War.

Reading about that, subsequently, trying to make sense of it all, is why I was not so terribly surprised by anything that has been revealed of US dishonourable conduct in *this* war.

I am not one to believe in omens, but as a sign it offers various possible interpretations.

#19 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:56 PM:

Debra, you and Jim are in NH too, right? You might want to look at my charts and see if they make sense to you, too. (Sorry they're so large files - about 2MB ea - I had to do them in photoshop, and keep them readable.)

#20 ::: Tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 06:59 PM:

bellatrys -

That's really interesting. I wish I knew as much about what caused the voting patterns in my state, which can't be explained by the standard rural/urban dichotomy. There's two counties that are bright blue because of the liberal arts universities, but those are the only ones I can pinpoint.

Debra -

That was a beautifully succinct summation of exactly my feelings. May I quote you? And did I spell succinct right?

#21 ::: Kimberly ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 07:01 PM:

bellatrys,

the pattern you're describing was, at the last time I checked (midnight or so Nov. 3, when they still hadn't called my state as "blue" and I was panicked), entirely consistent with what went on here in Michigan. Believe me, we went blue by the (brown) skin of our urban (Detroit, Ypsi, Flint) and ivory tower elite (Ann Arbor, Ypsi, Marquette) teeth, unless those patterns changed significantly during the wee hours.

Michigan is only partly blue, really. The rest is militia, cows, fertilizer, corn and Oakland County (Very High Property Values factor, which is trumped here in Ann Arbor by the Ivory Tower factor).

Hence the Blue-State-Yet-Gay-Hating thing. We're all very, very ashamed by the way. Well, not all of us. Just the ones that voted "No." Unsurprised, but ashamed.

#22 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 07:14 PM:

You know, if I were a Kerry voter living in a red state (and it was close in New Hampshire; I very well could have been), I wouldn't be feeling particularly mollified by an official pardon for living there.

Indeed, Debra. Especially when my "red state" sent a new Democrat to the Senate, and a new Democrat to the House, and sent control of our state legislature to the Democrats, and passed a clean energy bill and a tobacco tax, and came within spitting distance of sending that freak Marilyn Musgrave back home where she belongs.

#23 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 07:15 PM:

Hello, Teresa was born in South Dakota and grew up in Arizona, and she still passionately loves the Southwest. Anyone who thinks she needs to be lectured on the idea that there's virtue in the so-called "red states" has perhaps lost their place in the text.

Felber's blog post is a jape, and a very understandable reaction to the fact that the other side has been, for years, remorselessly calumnizing the urban "blue" parts of the country. Or did nobody notice? As usual, it appears that the moment liberals fire back, even in jest, a certain number of their friends stand ready to dump on them from a great height for being wickedly unfair.

Tell you what: After we've gone a generation with every other advertisement and newspaper column and political speech casually asserting that Brooklyn and Chicago and Seattle are the "heartland" and that rural areas and Great Plains states are welfare mooches and generators of disease and unrest, be sure to complain. I'll be all sympathy.

#24 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 07:35 PM:

I'm relieved to hear that you're going to let it lie, Tiercel.

Debra, I was raised in a red state too. That's the single biggest reason I sell t-shirts with slogans like "Just because you're on their side doesn't mean they're on your side."

The argument from the requirements of humorous writing: If you can come up with a replacement term for "red states" that pulls the same weight and has an equally small footprint, I will personally write to Adam Felber and suggest that he plug it in in all the places where he said "red states".

The argument from something else: Felber was talking about red states as unitary political entities, not complex regions with finely distinguished characteristics.

Let me talk about the red state I come from. Arizona, home of innumerable self-important Republicans, is economically a screaming welfare queen. Its leapfrogging development is fueled by a combination of cheap desert land, public money (some federal, some state) for roads, utilities, schools, and other civilized amenities, and the perfectly enormous federal subsidies that underwrite cheap water. For a while there, investment in the area was also fueled by S&L dollars, which the feds eventually got stuck for as well. Nevertheless -- and I freely admit that the state has many intelligent, sensitive, politically savvy inhabitants -- as a collective body politic the state has a real fondness for whining and feeling sorry for itself over all the dreadful taxes they have to pay. Many of the state's citizens are also prone to make unkind comments about the productivity and civic irresponsibility of people in NYC -- a city which, year after year, pays far more in taxes than it ever receives from the gummint.

Arizona! Love it! But dang, you hear a lot of BS there, and not just in places like Sedona. It's the authentic American heartland, you betcha, where they make it illegal to build houses from adobe, then construct poorly-insulated balloon-frame houses that look as much as possible like New Mexican pueblos. Then they sit around in 'em telling each other how they're real folks, not like those deracinated airy-fairy aesthetes in Brooklyn.

I dearly love Arizona, but I'd dearly love to turn my neighbors loose on some of its flapjawed citizenry.

#25 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 07:48 PM:

Anyone who knows me knows that when the subject goes to politics I tend to go back to The West Wing.

Hence:
"We all need some therapy, because somebody came along and said 'liberal' means 'soft on crime, soft on drugs, soft on Communism, soft on defense, and we're gonna tax you back to the Stone Age because people shouldn't have to go to work if they don't want to.' And instead of saying 'Well, excuse me, you right-wing, reactionary, homophobic, anti-eductaion, anti-choice, pro-gun, 'Leave it to Beaver' trip back to the fifties,' we cowered in the corner and said 'Please, don't hurt me.'"

--Bruno Gianelli
The West Wing 3x06, "Gone Quiet"

It's about time liberals went on the attack.

#26 ::: spacewaitress ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 07:55 PM:

By the way, this

http://www.adamyoshida.com/2004/11/four-more-years-aka-take-that-you-sons.html

is what we're up against. (Didn't use html for the link because I don't want that guy coming over here.)

#27 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 08:07 PM:

From now on, just use "conservative" as a euphemism for "stupid."

#28 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 08:14 PM:


Tell you what: After we've gone a generation with every other advertisement and newspaper column and political speech casually asserting that Brooklyn and Chicago and Seattle are the "heartland" and that rural areas and Great Plains states are welfare mooches and generators of disease and unrest, be sure to complain.

Heh. Scenes we'd like to see. I have to say contemplation of the little scenario described above picks my head up off my shoulders momentarily, twirls it a couple of times, then sets it back down where it supposedly belongs.

I think the notion has more than a certain ring to it. I say we adopt it as a talking point.

And I'm happy to finally hear this point being made. I live in NYC and have long felt that we ought to just bail the hell out, cut a deal with a friendly power, and become one of Europe's Great Cities, Somewhat Removed.

I am, for the impaired, being hyperbolic. I love my country, even when I hate it.

As someone who was at the foot of the WTC towers when they were hit, I also rather resent people living in their leafy suburbs telling me that I "just don't get it". And in light of OBL's promise to bring down the U.S. economy, and as someone who works in an area of the city that is taken by many to be the symbol of the U.S. economy, I have to say that while I'm moderately gratified that 53% of the voting public thinks Bush will make it safer, I pretty much feel that Bush's election has brought me closer (because of his incompetence) to the day when I will get Blowed Up Real Good. I suppose I could move to a red state, but then that would be Letting The Terrorists Win, wouldn't it?

But enough of that. I do find the seccession strategy a gratifying fantasy, but I realize it is only fantasy. And so I find myself thinking about ways in which those of us in the blue states might be able to assist those in the red states in carrying on the argument against intolerance, stupidity, anti-scientism (?), and so forth.

I do have some experience with residing (or visiting family) in red states, but I confess I probably have a stereotypical notion of what those of you in the red states are doing for yourselves in this battle.

Are you running for your schoolboards, making your arguments there? Are you working in the political off-seasons with your local progressive community to see what you can do to improve things for the next election cycle? Are you letting your local elected officials know that there *is* a progressive element in your community and that you'd like to be paid attention to? I dunno, what?

What are you doing, o ye of the places where the battle is farther from being won?

That's not a smart-ass veiled accusation that you are sitting on your asses. I understand perfectly well that those of us here in the blue states have an easier time of it in our communities than you do in your communities there.

It's an honest question.

And here's another honest question. What can those of us here in the blue states do to help you in the red states bring your communities around?

Practical suggestions, please. I'm done with the sending people good vibes thing, helpful though it may be in many circumstances. The problem is we've only got two years until the next congressional elections, and only four until the next presidential.

It's time to get crackin'. What can we do to help?

#29 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 08:15 PM:

Another constructive approach: www.MarryAnAmerican.ca

Actually, it's just a gag.

Which is too bad.

#30 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 08:26 PM:

As one who had family in Arizona and even went to the U of A in Tucson for a while, the only thing I can think of that Teresa failed to mention about the place is that it's a haven for midwesterners escaping snow but bringing their mindset with them.

#31 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 08:33 PM:

Perhaps there ought to be a t-shirt saying:

"Red State America - biting the teats that feed it"

With an appropriate image, maybe of little red piglets or puppies, named for the states, lined up to a big blue momma who doesn't look happy.

#32 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 08:34 PM:

Well, I live in a blue state so it's a little hard for me to run for the school board of a red state. What I did do this year was donate money to people in tight races in red states. They all lost. So I don't know what to tell you to do.

MKK

#33 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 08:35 PM:

For what it's worth, the Steven Emerson guy quoted as a "terrorism expert" in the story noted above is the same guy who went on national television in 1995 to blame the OKC bombing on Arab terrorists.

Further, John Sugg, senior editor of Creative Loafing here in Atlanta, cleaned his clock in a "terrorism-related" (not!) libel case not long ago.

I'm not saying the story isn't true, just that I wouldn't put much weight on Emerson.

#34 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 08:39 PM:

That Yoshida guy is awfully brave writing a screed like that but without capacity for comments.

#35 ::: Robert West ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 08:48 PM:

Adam Yoshida is a loon. Hopefully he's a loon without support.

#36 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 08:53 PM:

That much was clear. And a coward, too.

#37 ::: Nicholas Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 08:55 PM:

The thing that most chills me in the Yoshida guy's screed (good choice of words there) is the use of "Academics" as a derogatory. A political movement that hates intelligent people because they might think for themselves and worse, inform others...

Well, I guess "conservative republican" really is a euphemism for "stupid".

#38 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 09:22 PM:

Heh. The Ohio county I live in voted 70% for Bush. This was, of course, utterly unsurprising to me, as it's small, rural, economically challenged and only 10% of the people in it have a college degree (in the little town I live it, that percentage is in the single digits).

All y'all who are flummoxed at how red staters can think and vote the way they do are cordially invited to come on out; indeed, I recommend a decent stay so you can understand the psychology of the red stater and why so many of them vote against their own economic self-interest.

My basic thumbnail for you (which is almost absurdly simplified) is that it really *does* come down to perceived values, and not just in a religious sense; there's many a NASCAR fan here in my little town who dearly should vote democratic, but have also bought in to the idea of the Democratic party as the party of weakness, the party of people who can't help themselves and need the government to bail them out.

It's an image problem and it's not going to get fixed overnight if it gets fixed at all.

I'm personally deep blue with some unexpected red streaks; I'm not a perfect fit around here but I don't feel uncomfortable either. Our neighbors see us as odd birds, but given that three out of four of my male neighbors drive trucks for a living, that was going to be the case anyway. Our local school is focused on getting kids the educational basics and not on shoehorning religion in where it does belong; ironically, itself that the area is filled with Mennonites, Amish and other Brethren variants, most of whom have as a tenet of their faith a healthy separation of church and state.

Our local library has a few gaps -- when I got here it had more books on astrology than astronomy -- but I take it upon myself to donate books in the places where I see a need (and it goes without saying that while the first copy of my upcoming novel I get stays with me, the second copy goes straightaway to the library).

I don't find the locals here intolerant, insane or illogical; I wish they were better informed, but I wish that of all people. On balance, I live with good people who are tolerant and good neighbors. But again, a lot of the Democratic problem here is one of perception. Republicans have managed to hone in on the midwest festish for self-sufficiency and stocism, which is as strong here as I imagine blue staters imagine the religious impluse is. The Democrats have to address both of these.

#39 ::: Derek Lowe ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 09:34 PM:

Although I voted for the Other Side on Tuesday, I'm actually glad to see this latest comment thread. Less talk of slitting wrists or moving to New Zealand, more political strategizing. That's the ticket.

It'd help, in the long run, to take fewer swigs from the "they're all stupid/evil" bottle. Sure, performers like Ann Coulter do it on the other side, over and over. But they don't do the Republicans any long-term good, either.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a Democrat win in 2008, just on a general move-on-to-the-next-crew basis. And for that reason, I think there's going to be a wild and fierce competition for the nomination. Y'all should get ready to make the most of the 2006 elections and then nominate the biggest butt-kicking vote-magnet you can find in '08.

#40 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 09:37 PM:

Robert - you maybe be more accurate that you thought when you called Adam Yoshida a "loon."

According to his weblog's archives, as of a year ago at least, he was a Canadian citizen from British Columbia.

Go figure. It sort of puts his post in a different light when you realize that he probably couldn't even vote on Tuesday.

#41 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 09:45 PM:


All y'all who are flummoxed at how red staters can think and vote the way they do are cordially invited to come on out; indeed, I recommend a decent stay so you can understand the psychology of the red stater and why so many of them vote against their own economic self-interest.

That's not really practical, of course, but it sounds like you have good & reliable information to pass on to us.

My basic thumbnail for you (which is almost absurdly simplified) is that it really *does* come down to perceived values, and not just in a religious sense; there's many a NASCAR fan here in my little town who dearly should vote democratic, but have also bought in to the idea of the Democratic party as the party of weakness, the party of people who can't help themselves and need the government to bail them out.

OK, this is good information in that it not only defines a specific problem, but suggests a possible attack on it. I guess the question now is whether you think, being Our Man In Ohio, there is something you and/or others in your community who might share more progressive values can do about getting these people to see that they *should* be voting Democratic? Or is that just completely impossible?

I assume you have heard of and possibly read Thomas Frank's book What's the Matter With Kansas? Anything useful to you in there?

Our local library has a few gaps -- when I got here it had more books on astrology than astronomy -- but I take it upon myself to donate books in the places where I see a need.

Excellent. It couldn't hurt, and probably could help some bright kid find a different way of looking at things.

I'm just grabbing ideas out of the air, here. It's probably all crap, but are there books (or other stuff, for that matter) those of us in the blue states can send to you that you can donate, as a local, to the local community that would support the cause?

Would anything like that do any good, or would it just make us feel like we were doing something when we weren't, actually?

#42 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 10:18 PM:

Didn't Yoshida drop out of a bunch of different schools? But he's not alone. Apparently tenured professor Glenn Reynolds feels like the problem is academic elites.

Which I guess begs the question "Why then are you participating in an anticompetitive system like tenure in a public university system where the taxpayer is paying the higher price for your services? Why not resign and work as an adjunct and let the market decide?"

Apparently libertarianism is not a suicide pact.

#43 ::: ginny ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 10:20 PM:

The Democratic Party has proven, to its own surprise, that it can raise a lot of money from a lot of people. Why not pump some of that money into local programs that need help? "The party of the people" should be out there working with them out in the rural and semi-rural counties, helping people help themselves. Or funding local cultural and educational groups, similar to the Grange and Chatauqua movements. And doing projects in the Projects, too.

And then when it's time to do campaign rallies - do them in Blue-tinged counties that are in Red states, too, and have them be work parties for some local project, where the candidate helps to plant a row for the hungry or put a new roof on the local senior center.

#44 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 10:23 PM:

Y'all, John Scalzi is a voice of reason, and those of you who are spending your time bashing those of us who live in red states (an intellectually lazy shorthand) are not.

I know, I know, you've got a lot of anger to work out. Take it out on someone who deserves it, eh?

I'm sitting here in Atlanta where we have a good Democratic mayor, Shirley Franklin. Who do you have in New York City? Michael Bloomberg? Hey, screw you, red city inhabitants. How did you get so stupid as to elect 'publican mayor after 'publican mayor? It's your fault that jerk Rudy Guiliani ever got started in politics. Yeah, and Meyer Kahane, too. You take Manhattan.

And as for you Californians, two words: Howard Jarvis. Two more: Arnold Schwartzengroper. And two more: Ronald Reagan. And two more: Tom Metzger. And three more: Go cheney yourselves.

Let me tell you how we do it here in the red states.

We fight and we fight and we live in a certain amount of fear from the results, because we don't have the comfy, self-satisfied environment the rest of you have.

When we go out for gay rights, sometimes we get kicked around--it's happened to me. When we demonstrate againat Reagan, ditto--it's happened to me. When we petition for tenants' rights, the landlords take the petitions and blacklist us for signing--I've watched them ask for the lists, and get them. And when it's done, we go back for more, if not the next day, then the one after that.

I'm from Arkansas, home of Bill Clinton and Maya Angelou and Daisy Bates and Johnny Cash. Even our mistakes, like Faubus, start out populist progressive and turn corrupt later.

In 2002, we were the only state in the union to kick a 'publican out of the Senate and replace him with a Democrat, Mark Pryor, a nice guy (I was in Student Senate with him) and a decent politician.

We've got two Democrats in the Senate and three out of our four House reps. Beat that, okay?

We're the home of Dale Bumpers and David Pryor and Vic Snyder and a whole big batch of lesser-known but equally stand-up proud liberal politicians (Jim Lendall, for instance) who keep on doing what they do and believing in what they believe despite the surroundings in which they find themselves, and sometimes it destroys them, economically, politically, and personally.

I love you people, but this red state blue state crap makes me mad. It's playing into divisive 'publican strategic hands. You'd think smart city folks would know how not to get mugged.

So you can either tone it down a little or kiss my hillbilly ass.

Sincerely yours,

John A Arkansawyer

P.S. Deep in the heart of Texas, Dallas County elected a hispanic lesbian sheriff. And you? What have you done for me lately? Oh, right--Guiliani, Bloomberg, and Schwartzengroper. Gee, thanks.

#45 ::: Anthony VanWagner ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 10:35 PM:

'I concede that I overestimated the intelligence of the American people. Though the people disagree with the President on almost every issue, you saw fit to vote for him. I never saw that coming. That's really special. And I mean "special" in the sense that we use it to describe those kids who ride the short school bus and find ways to injure themselves while eating pudding with rubber spoons. That kind of special.'

It might make you feel better, but you might find this much more useful: To My Fellow Democrats.

Fortunately, for the Republican Party, I don't think you will.

#46 ::: Anthony VanWagner ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 10:38 PM:

url - http://backseatphilosopher.blogspot.com/2004/11/to-my-fellow-democrats.html

#47 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 10:42 PM:


The Democratic Party has proven, to its own surprise, that it can raise a lot of money from a lot of people. Why not pump some of that money into local programs that need help? "The party of the people" should be out there working with them out in the rural and semi-rural counties, helping people help themselves. Or funding local cultural and educational groups, similar to the Grange and Chatauqua movements. And doing projects in the Projects, too.

These are stunningly, old-fashionedly good ideas. I hear strains of Woody Guthrie filtering through the background noise. Reminds me of my FDR Democrat grandpappy out there in Idaho.

I wonder if there is any existing part of the Democratic Party's structure in place to take something like this on.

See, the thing is, they've got the churches. If we can't have the churches (at least to the degree they have them), we've got to make our own churches, of one sort or another.

Hmm... kind of gives the slogan "Help is on the way" a new meaning...

Help is on the way, and it's the Democrats.

And then when it's time to do campaign rallies - do them in Blue-tinged counties that are in Red states, too, and have them be work parties for some local project, where the candidate helps to plant a row for the hungry or put a new roof on the local senior center.

I think you are on to something important here. It might be a way to address the Church Gap.

#48 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 10:44 PM:

Michael Weholt asks:

"Would anything like that do any good, or would it just make us feel like we were doing something when we weren't, actually?"

The latter, mostly, since most people don't go to the library for their political educations. They get them at home and at church and in the workplace (in other places they also get them in places of higher education; where I live, not so much).

There is no short-term fix. To get all Cory Doctorow on you, progressives have been culturally pwn0rzed by conservatives in most of rural America, and getting back is a long path.

"Being Our Man In Ohio, there is something you and/or others in your community who might share more progressive values can do about getting these people to see that they *should* be voting Democratic?"

Heh. Well, you don't know it, but in the very formulation of your question you've just become a prime example of why progressives don't get much traction out here in the sticks.

Read what you wrote: "Getting these people to see that they *should* be voting Democratic." This implies that they're doing voting *wrong* and need to be corrected. And maybe they do and maybe they don't, but one thing is for sure is that people don't like being told they they just need to *see* how they should be doing other than what they're doing. Ask yourself how you would react to a conservative asking how liberals could be made to see that they *should* be voting Republican. I'd imagine you'd get your back up.

The question should be framed thusly: "What can progressives do to show that they deserve to get these peoples' vote?"

The answer to that is, simply: Be there. By daily acts and deeds show that the progressive agenda is positive one. This requires, among other things, accepting and celebrating that most Americans have faith-centered lives, and that progressive politics not only accomodates this but can incorporate it, without compromising its own ideals.

It also recognizes the NASCAR fan mentality when it comes to government help -- which is that it needs to be framed in the context of work. This is something Republicans get that Democrats don't: That it's better politics to give welfare to business than to the individual because it preserves the individual's dignity in work.

And most of all, it requires progressives get that stick out of their ass and accept the fact that just because you went to college and got that edumacation don't make you better than no one else. Lots of people in my town are not particularly well-educated, but they sure aren't stupid, and they don't appreciate the idea that someone who isn't where they live might tell them what they should do or think.

Also, let's have a moment of honesty here: The little town I live in is exactly the sort of town that people who self-select to be progressive will work real hard to get away from. Hell, the only reason I moved here was because I write for a living and I can do that anywhere, and my wife wanted to be closer to family. Progressives in small towns can't just move away from those small towns and be shocked, shocked when all that are left are conservative folks, or folks susceptible to conservative messages. People in New York City can go months without talking to genuine conservative; you could do the same here without meeting a genuine liberal.

Let us posit and acknowledge that much of the reddening of the heartland is not only the creeping clutches of conservatism, but also progressive abandonment, both in body by moving away, and in spirit through condescension. That's not going to solved by tossing a few books and trying to make the locals *get* that they should be voting Democratic. It's going to take a lot more than that. As I said. it's a long term project.

#49 ::: teep ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 10:52 PM:

Like John Scalzi, I have a feel for how Red America thinks. I was born and raised in Fulton County, Pennsylvania. I still live and work there. Technically, Pennsylvania is a blue state, but 76% of the votes in Fulton County were for George W. Bush. If that ain't red, I don't know what is.

On the county-by-county map (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004//pages/results/states/PA/P/00/map.html ) for Pennsylvania at CNN, Fulton County is on the bottom center of the state, the smaller and redder of the two reddest counties in the state.

As it happens, I think the Democratic party can expand their base in this demographic if they address the issues properly. However, I suspect that some red state concerns, particularly those based upon fundamentalist religious footing, may not permit accomodation. *sigh* Not your fault, theirs. Their God doesn't really allow for compromise.

Full disclosure: I voted for the Other Side on Tuesday.

#50 ::: Tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 10:53 PM:

Michael -

I think the kinds of things you can do to help us "trapped in the red staters" out are the same kinds of things you've been doing - namely, contribute money and/or time. A lot of people from all over poured into the swing states as volunteers at the polls, and a lot of people donated to Democratic campaigns in those states. (Which is great if you have the money and/or time, but doesn't really offer you much of a suggestion if you don't. Sorry.)

When I made my initial comment that what we needed was support, I wasn't really thinking that everyone should go "There, there, you poor suffering dears" or anything like that. I live in the most liberal section of my state; I am privileged and I know it.

It's just that I know a lot of people who spent the entire pre-election period sitting around arguing with friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors, getting called ugly names and having their opinions dismissed outright, and now a lot of us feel like we're being attacked by the other side as well.

The biggest way you can help right now, for us, is to not tar us with the same brush as those who did vote for Bush, 'cause we're pissed at 'em too.

I guess I just want everybody to take a deep breath and stop yelling, including me.

So, I have a serious political history question that someone here might be able to answer. What is the big supposed insult (at least in some parts) about someone being a "Massachusetts liberal?" I'm pretty young and we never got past WWII in any American history class I was ever in - maybe that's something we should work on - so I feel like I'm missing some historical context.

#51 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 10:57 PM:

By the way, though I'm an Adam Felber fan, I liked this concession speech much better. An excerpt:

I mean fuck, America. Seriously. You just royally fucked yourself. Good luck. I mean I’m going to survive. I was in fucking ‘Nam. I’ve looked a man in the eye, and shot him in the face, and now thanks to your once and future king George, assault weapons are now readily available, so you better watch your backs, man. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
#52 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 11:00 PM:

Great rant from adamsj, but it does appear to come from a world in which none of the stuff I talked about here ever happened. Maybe it never did, judging from the gigantic non-response my commment got. I guess all this joking around about "red states" just came out of nowhere, it's just a riff Adam Felber and Teresa invented in order to piss adamsj off. No history here! And remember, right-wingers can write and say anything whatsoever, no matter how vile, but the moment Teresa is less than perfectly fair, it's time to bang on the table and order her to "kiss your ass". Nice.

Scalzi writes: "And most of all, it requires progressives get that stick out of their ass and accept the fact that just because you went to college and got that edumacation don't make you better than no one else." Yeah, that's definitely Teresa's and my problem, the way we feel superior due to our big old college educations.

#53 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 11:01 PM:


People in New York City can go months without talking to genuine conservative...

Not in my situation, I can assure you. I'm surrounded by them.

Let us posit and acknowledge that much of the reddening of the heartland is not only the creeping clutches of conservatism, but also progressive abandonment, both in body by moving away, and in spirit through condescension. That's not going to solved by tossing a few books and trying to make the locals *get* that they should be voting Democratic. It's going to take a lot more than that. As I said. it's a long term project.

What is your opinion of ginny's ideas up the page? I completely take your point that a bunch of NYC or LA Liberals can't sweep into your county and Bless the Locals with their presence. But what about those of us in blue states sending money or some other sort of aid through the Democratic Party to people like you in your community and you get to decide how best to use the funds to change feelings about Voting Democratic? I love her ideas about working with rural and semi-rural communities. I do think it might address what I'm rather dumbly calling the Church Gap.

And just as a point of personal privilege, you are the one who first said people *should* be voting Democratic...

...many a NASCAR fan here in my little town who dearly should vote democratic...

I meant it in the sense you meant it; not that they should listen to me because I know better.

#54 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 11:19 PM:

Michael Weholt writes:

"And just as a point of personal privilege, you are the one who first said people *should* be voting Democratic..."

The issue isn't the word "should," really. The issue is "Getting these people to see."

Re: Sending money -- Dunno. It would have to be done in a very low-key fashion, I suspect, over a reasonably long period of time. One would not want to look as if one is obviously trying to buy votes.

#55 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 11:20 PM:

Tiercel -

It's just that I know a lot of people who spent the entire pre-election period sitting around arguing with friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors, getting called ugly names and having their opinions dismissed outright...

Oh, I don't even bother with the conservatives that surround me. I actually don't think that sort of thing is of much help. Or, at least, not as of much help as we need at the moment.

What do you think of ginny's ideas up the page? I really think we have to give people a better idea of the values we share with them so that they can see us as people as opposed to the cartoons we are painted as. I'm not sure you can argue your neighbors into anything, but you might be able to get them to not see you as left-wing cranks with nothing at all in common with them. Maybe that can be done through the sort of things ginny is talking about.

#56 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 11:31 PM:

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show had some funny bits about this same sort of attitude. Something to the effect of:

"I guess those of us in New York, who were the target of the terrorists attacks in 2001 and who also have a large gay population, were too close to the issues to see the truth. And I just wanted to say to the rest of the country, 'Thanks for saving us from ourselves'"

You cna see the show here:

http://www.comedycentral.com/tv_shows/thedailyshowwithjonstewart/

click on the link near:

"Bush wins, Kerry concedes, and that whole democratic process apparently works."

funny stuff.

#57 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 11:41 PM:

Patrick, I wasn't addressing Teresa or anyone individually or personally, but the whole lot of you red state blue state let's divide ourselves up so we can have a better fight crowd.

I enjoyed Felber's concession speech, though my wife did not--a reminder to me to blogroll him.

I just think you're being intellectually lazy to perpetuate this red state/blue state garbage. Ohio was 51.02% Bush, Michigan was 51.24% Kerry. That matters for one brief moment of vote counting. With a different campaign strategy on the part of one or both candidates, maybe an unexpectedly open Senate seat, hell, even an early blizzard, that could have flip-flopped, springhead.

It's hard to know when to be like the opposition and when not to be like them. Principle has a lot to do with it. Dividing up ordinary people into black and white--excuse me! I meant, the color of their roses...dammit, red and blue, red and blue-- is not principled. It's like reading Thomas Frank--I'm halfway through One Market Under God, and he's too smart for our own good.

So don't take it personal.

Except maybe that you're better at dishing it out than taking it. Let's see...Michael Bloomberg. The man who turned your city into a police state for the GOP convention. Heh. Heh.

Even our Republicans are better than yours.

Your Governor Rockefeller gave you the nation's most draconian drug laws. Our Governor Rockefeller put Faubus out of office and blacks into the state police.

Al D'Amato. Heh. Heh.

Okay, that was a low blow. I'll quit now.

#58 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2004, 11:56 PM:

And very few of the Bush/Benson voters here, had signs out or stickers.

That sort of Republican--the ones who have enough money that they can buy an indulgence for their moral sins--don't do lawn signs. Might ruin the property values, don't you know.

#59 ::: Nicholas Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:11 AM:

To adamsj:

Wow, a guy goes home to eat dinner and he misses out on all the misplaced self-loathing bloodletting that I thought would be limited to the Democrats actually working in DC.

Look, I live in a red state. Hell, I live in the second reddest state in the union (yes redder than Texas). And I still run into far more passionate, vocal and enthusiastic Democratic supporters here in blood red Idaho then I ever did in true blue Oregon. Wednesday morning I stood across the counter from a Starbucks girl who voted for the first time in her life with passion and commitment and, God bless her, hope. And she tried to hold it back but she was crying.

She is a college freshman, born and raised in Texas, attends church every week. She was crying quietly because somehow someone somewhere showed her the difference between a party of hope and a party of hate. Crying because she believed, because she tried hard in a place where two out of every three people she meets believes that her beliefs make her a traitor and only talk-radio hosts tell the real “truth”.

What can you blue state supporters do for us red state believers? For now, give us some reassuring words from beyond the boundaries of this insanity. We will stand here and give the disappointed and despondent red-state Starbucks girls of the world a shoulder to cry on and an encouraging voice to listen to, but when we go back to our desks and our homes we need someone to perk us up again too.

Don’t like our anger? Anger is a motivator. Anger is a release. Anger helps me see the bandwagon riders and shark jumpers from the real party faithful - from the CAUSE faithful. Am I just some punk idealist in a land of ignorance and fear? I hope so, I truly do.

I live in a state where an incumbent representative (rep. Butch Otter) closed a debate with his female democratic rival with the line “May the best MAN win.” (emphasis his). He not only won his seat handily, he got 70% of the female vote. Sexism isn’t just a reality here, it’s a platform plank.

This red state/blue state crap makes me mad, but not in the same way it does for you. It gives me the anger that I can turn into action. People in my local party didn’t understand my passion for Dr. Dean. They wanted a moderate candidate. They wanted someone who could stand in the middle. They got him and look what it got us. We rolled over again. Dr. Dean’s scream of frustration at a campaign rally wasn’t a collapse; it was the unborn voice of my current rage at American ignorance.

So how about I don’t “tone it down”? How about I stay angry, and I use that anger to stay involved. To stay motivated.

And if you don’t like it how about you kiss my ass?

#60 ::: Tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:14 AM:

Oh, I don't even bother with the conservatives that surround me. I actually don't think that sort of thing is of much help. Or, at least, not as of much help as we need at the moment.

Alas, I am forced to agree. We just weren't always given a choice in the matter, you see - or sometimes we just snapped at the dinner table after hearing one too many comments about "them damn liberals that want France to run the country."

I like ginny's ideas a lot in ideological terms, but I do wonder if some folks wouldn't just associate it in with Democrats=big government. Even if it's all based on donations, there's those who'll see it as their tax dollars.

As Mr. Scalzi said above, the more work-related the program is, the better it would probably be received. In other words, if it's a program that helps people do their own work, with vocational training or something like that, they'll see it in a better light.

I think that's why so many of the people in my state don't think of farming subsidies as welfare - the *image* in their minds is of the "welfare queen," laying back and collecting checks while not even looking for a job, whereas they receive subsidies but still have to work pretty hard to make a living. This is, of course, bullshit, but it's hard to overcome that image.

#61 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:40 AM:

Jimmy Carter may not have been the most effective president we ever had, but he's the only one I know of who volunteered to build houses for people who needed 'em. And his home state looked pretty red Tuesday.

Maybe progressive volunteerism should be our answer to the "morals" charge. Even if it doesn't work, we've done something good, something unifying....

#62 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:27 AM:

Apologies to Adam's brother, if he has one.

Teresa, not only am I sorry for forgetting it was your brother, but I can sympathize. I have a brother-in-law who's also a dittohead. At a family get-together last month I had to try very hard not to get in any political discussions so as not to ruin a special occasion. (The one time we lapsed, though, I discovered that many of my relatives in Potter County, one of the reddest parts of Pennsylvania, were planning to vote for Kerry, which gave me some hope.)

I also, now, have relatives in Arizona: two of my nieces, their husbands, and their total of four kids, all live in the Phoenix area. These nieces are my brother's daughters, thus an outcropping of the Texas branch of the family. (Talk about having to avoid politics with people I love dearly!)

And, may I note, I also find myself living in a red state: the county I live in went 51% for Bush, and the state 56%.

As for me: on the Bujold mailing list I use as a .sig file the line "I didn't vote for him" (which recurs in some of the Vorkosigan books). I won't be changing it for a while, it seems.

#63 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:42 AM:

More on the terrorist threat in Pittsburgh here, for those who may want the details.

One threat that the FBI took seriously was a truck-bomb attack on the Federal Courthouse and Post Office building similar to the one in Oklahoma City. Another was an attempt to steal a fuel tanker truck. (Apparently one such truck has been stolen in New Jersey and not yet found.) Information on Pittsburgh area potential targets, such as our many bridges and tunnels, were also said to have been in "a cache of photographs and written descriptions of potential targets" found in Saudi Arabia, and in "a cave in Afghanistan."

#64 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:42 AM:

Dr. Dean’s scream of frustration at a campaign rally wasn’t a collapse; it was the unborn voice of my current rage at American ignorance.

Um, just to keep the record straight. If you're referring to that silliness they played after Iowa, it wasn't a campaign rally and it wans't a scream of frustration. It was the party after the caucuses and it was the kind of whoop politicians give in the course of rallying their supporters. Only, he had practically no voice left at that point and no control over what he did have.

I know, I was there.

MKK

#65 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:47 AM:

I'm sorry. In terms of respecting the faith-based nature of red state life and donating stuff to rural libraries, what I feel like doing is bulk shipping them a bunch of Iris Dement albums.

I'll bet some of the librarians would sneak them onto the shelves. And if I were 14 years old and living there, I'd be grateful for the rest of my life.

#66 ::: sennoma ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:51 AM:

Eh, Patrick beat me to it -- what PNH said to adamsj, who is hereby cordially invited to kiss my angry blue-state ass, and John Scalzi, to whom ditto but mind the stick don't put an eye out.

#67 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:54 AM:

My red county & city has three Iris Dement albums already, so you should be sure you're not sending duplicates.

(The librarians used to save the computer sign-in sheets, but now they shred them at the end of the day.)

#68 ::: Yaka St.Aise ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 06:48 AM:

I would like to thank John Scalzi for what I believe was in no way a personal attack against anyone but a bullseye display of the kind of attitude that the progressive party supporters should work on if the blue are to gain ground in red stater's hearts and minds.

I wish I would have been able to word it this good.

Dems will have a hard time reclaim church from the Reps, and it's art'o'war 101 that you don't let the enemy chose the battlefield if you can avoid it.

Blue states are bringing in the most taxes ? Then there's money in the blue stater's blue pockets, possibly enough to rival the conservative church-monies, the more if those big higher-ed progressive brains focus on using it smartly to make the kind of difference NASCAR fans will find relevant.

[disclaimer: I found Adam Felber's concession speech hilarious, yet also liberating in the way you have to get this "throw it all" impulse out of your system before resuming rational thinking, imnsho.
That's the atheist high-school dropout socio-liberal axis-of-evil country citizen speaking here, so let's move on.]

#69 ::: Brendan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 06:51 AM:

(OK, I'm a lurker, and I'm not even an American, so that's two counts on which I should probably butt the hell out, but ...)

Felber's blog post is a jape, and a very understandable reaction to the fact that the other side has been, for years, remorselessly calumnizing the urban "blue" parts of the country. Or did nobody notice? As usual, it appears that the moment liberals fire back, even in jest, a certain number of their friends stand ready to dump on them from a great height for being wickedly unfair. --PNH

I know it sucks -- royally -- but you've got to be better than the other side. You've got to rise above the temptation to call them names every bit as horrible as the ones they call you. You've got to be better -- otherwise when you do win it won't mean a thing, 'cos you'll have turned into them. It's the exact same reason Abu Ghraib, Camp X-Ray and the Patriot Act aren't the way to win the "War on Terror" -- the difference is of degree, not kind. Expose their lies, engage them on the issues, but don't resort to their sort of mudslinging. Raise, don't lower, the level of the debate. Be better, 'cos you are.

And I sincerely believe there's cause for hope. To my mind, the key phrase to come out of this election cycle is "reality-based community". That's who was defeated on Tuesday, the entire reality-based community -- the people who turned out and gave the election to Bush are the sort of people who are so disconnected from empirical reality that they think science textbooks should be based on the first book of the Bible, and foreign policy on the last. Sooner or later the reality-based Republicans are going to wake up -- how long will small-government types put up with people who want it big enough to extend into every bedroom in the land? -- and there'll be a showdown within their party. Consider that Arnie, who got to Sacramento on a huge share of the vote, would never have made it onto the ballot if he'd had to go through a Republican primary, 'cos he's *horrors!* pro-choice.

Heck, the cracks are already starting to appear -- look at all the conservative endorsements of Kerry on Shrillblog. If the reality-based wing wins, you can go back to having an opposition with whom you profoundly disagree on almost everything, but can at least respect for, you know, actually living in the real world. And if the disconnected-from-reality side wins, they'll have rendered themselves unelectable for a generation -- unless you piss off the sane group so much that they still think those guys are closer to them than you. You've got to be better.

"Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember, others may hate you. Those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself."

(Richard Nixon said that. Richard F***ing Nixon. I feel like the guys in this week's Doonesbury.)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch my West Wing DVDs on a continuous loop for the next four years, only skipping the credits each time so I can tell myself it's a documentary.

#70 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 07:03 AM:

PNH writes:

"Scalzi writes: 'And most of all, it requires progressives get that stick out of their ass and accept the fact that just because you went to college and got that edumacation don't make you better than no one else.' Yeah, that's definitely Teresa's and my problem, the way we feel superior due to our big old college educations."

Patrick, your and Teresa's enthusiastically autodidactorial ways qualify the two of you as college-educated *de facto* if not *de jure.* You walk like a duck, quack like a duck, fly like a duck, and hang out with ducks. You merely don't have the piece of parchment from Duck University.

Re: Sennoma's "kiss my angry blue-state ass" -- well, okay, if it makes you feel better. Hope *you* don't mind kissing red state ass in the next couple of presidential elections. I doubt *that* will make you feel better.

Look, this is a relatively simple issue of psychology. As part of their overall strategy, Republicans exploit the perception the Democrats have a superiority complex in regard to the lower-middle-class and/or rural white Americans, and these people buy into it over and over and over again, in part because their self-image is of being independent and self-reliant and proud of it -- and being just as good as anyone else. You can choose not to address that quirk in their mental makeup, but look at where that got you this last election cycle.

#71 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 07:09 AM:

Patrick:

Great rant from adamsj, but it does appear to come from a world in which none of the stuff I talked about here ever happened. Maybe it never did, judging from the gigantic non-response my commment got.

May I suggest that lowering yourself to Rove's level will only alienate your red-state allies?

I'm very close to declaring a pox on both your houses instead of staying involved. A lot of us, the socially liberal but fiscally conservative, were drawn to the left by their supposed belief in tolerance. Without that, what do you have to offer me?

You're angry. I do get it. But don't let that anger lead you to throwing away 40-49% of the population of those red states just because our brothers and sisters and cousins and neighbors didn't vote the way you wanted them to.

Because what's coming across is that you (plural) want to punish us red-staters because we didn't do what you told us to.

If you're going to hate us instead of trying to understand us and our saner, though slightly redder shaded, kin, what exactly is the difference between the parties again?

#72 ::: Nishiko Takeuchi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 07:36 AM:

A friend gave me a link she found on a forum she frequents (where most of her American friends there are talking seriously about joining us up north). It happens to be the selfsame picture from Tiercel's professor.

http://home.comcast.net/~c.seibold/site1018.jpg

With the exception of one, all my south-dwelling friends were very depressed by the results of the election; the one who was pleased wouldn't give me his reasons except that he's privy to more information than most by virtue of several friends currently in active military service in Iraq. He refused to elaborate, but damn, would I ever like to know.

Although I personally would have preferred to see Kerry win, I am genuinely curious as to what Bush's supporters see in him when his methods and reasoning have so often been called into question. While I think that we *should* question our leaders every so often, Bush's flip-flops on several policies are well-documented, and I find certain actions regarding the treatment of American soldiers' physical, mental and financial well-being extremely questionable -- but maybe that's just me, I dunno. I won't even get into what I think of the Iraqi civilian casualties; Riverbend stated it clearly enough when she said, "100,000 deaths in a year and a half, and the number is rising. Keep Bush another four years and we just might hit the half-million mark..." Mind you, she wrote that November 1, and is just as disappointed at the results, if not more, as some here have already expressed, though I'm significantly less bitter than she (and selfishly glad I thus far cannot empathize with her position).

#73 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 07:42 AM:

I'm might have mentioned this before, but Durham, where I live, is a BLUE city. 70% voted for Kerry. Of course, North Carolina went red for the Presidential and Senate race, but nearly everybody else voted in was a Dem. Which tweaks my brain. Is it cognitive dissonance? I haven't been here very long--only a yearish, so long enough to vote--but the politics here are teh_WEIRD. The Dems in office do seem to be more conservative than their counterparts elsewhere (although not in the rest of the South).

I honestly think there's more we could do here that would make a difference. Greater outreach to the Hispanic community here, which tends to get overlooked a bit. As somebody mentioned upthread, getting involved in school board elections at a local level, and letting the local officials know about the progressive element. I worry that my talk is cheap and I'll become a graduate of Sgt. Colon's School of Wot Some Bloke In A Pub Said. (Not the precise terminology, but you get the idea.) I can think of a lot of things I DIDN'T do, and I feel guilty somehow. (My very Red-State parents raised me to be politically active--I just don't think they realized they were raising a potential Democrat when they did so.)

#74 ::: Stacy Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 07:59 AM:

I'm pissed about the election, sure, but I don't have anything to say that 800 other people haven't said better.

I just wanted to say how sweet it is to see Patrick jump in and be fierce on Teresa's behalf. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and I need that right now. Warm and fuzzy beats rage any day.

#75 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 08:21 AM:

When posting online, remember this cautionary tale.

Consider that while it may be a mistake to say "Things get worse before they get better," then go out to make things worse so that things will get better, it's true that things are probably going to get a whole lot worse, real soon now.

With any kind of luck things will get better later on. Reality has a way of always winning.

#76 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:04 AM:

Here's what John Belisarius has to say about the election and its aftermath:

The true scope, the genuinely impressive magnitude of the Democrats' success this year can be expressed in a single sentence: In 2004 the Dems accomplished in 8 months what it took the Goldwater-Reagan conservative movement over a decade to achieve.

Last December, the Democratic party was internally divided, unsure about its message, uncertain how to talk about war and foreign affairs, financially dependent on donations from corporations and affluent donors and only beginning to build a grass-roots voter mobilization campaign. There was great anger and energy among the party's core supporters, but it seemed extremely unlikely that the party as a whole would be able to agree upon a message, unite around a candidate and mount a serious challenge to a personally popular wartime president whose approval ratings hovered close to 60%.

Yet, by the time John Kerry addressed the Democratic convention in July, he was leading a political party that had become firmly united, was supported by new and powerful grass-roots mechanisms for fund raising and internet organizing (pioneered by Howard Dean and his supporters) and which was building a new voter mobilization network that was reconnecting the party with its political base.

I know it hurts to lose. I got my clock cleaned the time I ran for office, and I've only managed to actively support one winner since then. No, wait--two winners, but one of them was a poor little Greenie who left town in the middle of a four-year term on the city council to follow his girlfriend to San Francisco. I'm still waiting for a refund of my generous campaign contribution.

But you know what? Winning is the most important thing, but it's not the only thing.

This election was a loss, but this campaign was a win. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

#77 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:11 AM:

Can we have a reality check here? I agree that the "red state" / "blue state" dichotomy is mostly a granfalloon. So does Teresa. I've made very similar points on many occasions. So has Teresa. I'm not an affluent, college-educated Northeasterner; I'm a high-school dropout who was born in Michigan and raised all over the country. The largest part of my childhood was spent in Arizona. John Scalzi can assert all he likes that I deserve to be as resented as any Ivy League graduate, but the fact remains that no matter how well I've done with my life in spite of no educational credentials, there are all kinds of doors closed to me because of that fact. Oddly enough, being told I deserve to be resented for privileges I don't have makes me soggy and hard to light.

Yes, this is an emotional issue for many of you. All I've been trying to get across is that other people have emotions, too. There are some excellent points to be made about the inadvisability of buying into the "red state" / "blue state" thing. There's also a lot to be said for cutting one another some slack. I'm increasingly unhappy with the tenor of this thread because some of you seem to be using a pretty damn innocent post from Teresa as the occasion for talking to her as if she was some kind of arch coastal elitist who'd never shown any evidence of knowing a thing about America between Park Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard. Meanwhile, Michael Weholt does his level best to ask useful questions about how this perceived social chasm (granfalloon or not) might be bridged, and for that he gets to watch himself used as a target, his language held up as the source of the problem. Michael Weholt's language isn't the source of the problem. The fact that powerful people depend on keeping us at one another's throats is the damn source of the problem.

I hear and sympathize with the angst of the non-Bush-supporting red-state people in this thread. Cripes, how do you think (for instance) Teresa feels when some of you generalize about what "Christians" think? May I please suggest that before anyone issue further invitations to kiss any other asses, that we take a look at who we're talking to and remind ourselves of the history of what they've said in the past? For crying out loud.

(No, I don't hold up my own prior behavior in this thread as any moral example.)

#78 ::: James Nicoll ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:12 AM:

Two comments, marred by my imability to quote:

pnh: It's totally unfair to describe the leech states as "disease spreading." Like the cannibalism thing and the child abandonment thing, this is a case where a few bad apples undermining public health systems give the rest of their ilk and fellow travellers a bad name. Most Reds will never taste manflesh despite the example of Packer, Newt is not the model of fatherhood most Reds use and any disease spreading by most Reds is merely an accident of poor sex education and a feeble public health system.

Also, Adam Y*sh*da, much as I hate to admit it, and I really really do hate to admit it,is Canadian, born and bred. He would make an excellent Red, though, since he is quite fond of ideologically inspired porkies, like his claim, back when he was a teen, to be making a six figure salary so that he could complain about the taxes he was paying. Only he wasn't and he didn't. Adam would like to join the armed forces as an officer or says he would, despite resisting all attempts to help him with this goal, and I know a number of us will be running a pool on just how long it takes him to get fragged by his men. I am in for two weeks.

#79 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:17 AM:

Dang, Patrick, that's a great post. I for one am genuinely sorry if I've managed to cause you or Teresa or any of the other good-hearted people here any pain. My behavior hasn't been exemplary either.

What you say here:

Yes, this is an emotional issue for many of you. All I've been trying to get across is that other people have emotions, too.
is what I should have been saying.

I think we've found common ground. True?

#80 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:27 AM:

Well, fair enough, adamsj.

Let me just say something I should have said earlier. It seemed to me that when Teresa prefaced the Felber quote by saying:

If “constructive” is a euphemism for “makes me feel better,” Adam Felber’s concession speech is constructive as all get-out
--she was wryly acknowledging that Felber's jape was less than perfectly constructive. That being the case, it was kind of startling to see the post used as an occasion for diatribes about the unfairness of stereotyping all "red state" inhabitants as poltroons. I felt as if Teresa was getting zero credit for having given lots of prior evidence that she knows this. Okay, rant mode off.

#81 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:32 AM:

John Scalzi -

Look, this is a relatively simple issue of psychology. As part of their overall strategy, Republicans exploit the perception the Democrats have a superiority complex in regard to the lower-middle-class and/or rural white Americans, and these people buy into it over and over and over again, in part because their self-image is of being independent and self-reliant and proud of it -- and being just as good as anyone else. You can choose not to address that quirk in their mental makeup, but look at where that got you this last election cycle.

Well, I'll take one more stab at all of this, and then bail on the subject in here. I don't want to turn Teresa's comments section into my personal platform. (Hey... maybe I should get a blog... like the world needs one *more* of those...)

OK, it seems to me that the question sort of goes this way, can the red states be turned or can't they? If, in the judgment of the local red state progressives they can't be turned, then we have to just accept that. We have to accept that the image of progressives in the minds of the majority red staters is and always be, you know, that we are a bunch of Barbara Streisands and Alec Baldwins. There's no point in talking about any of this.

If, however, in the judgment of the red state progressives, there *are* things that can be done, beyond getting into pointless arguments at family gatherings, or driving widely dispersed Demos to the polls on election day, then what are those things?

You have to tell us. I fully understand and sympathize with the notion that blue staters are in no position to tell red stater progressives how they should proceed. I fully grasp and accept that you know what's best in your local communities. So, you know, what can you do practically?

There's a reason that unions, back in the day, became such a powerful weapon in the Democratic Party's arsenal. They were organizations that helped people in their daily, down-to-earth lives, and they were associated and supported and advanced by the Democratic Party. The face-to-face, people-to-people, neighbor-to-neighbor politics of that made it possible for the unions to overcome the way they were portrayed by the power structure ("Bolsheviks! Anarchists!").

They were to progressives back then what the evangelical churches are to the conservatives today.

Unions weren't Welfare Queen Support Groups. They were groups that addressed the question of how a progressive agenda could actually change people's lives... how it could help your neighbors improve their own lives.

That's the sort of progressive political/social infrastructure that has to be built from the ground up in order to overcome this absurd notion that is sold to people about What A Democrat Is Like.

I'm not trying to tell anybody what to do. I'm not trying to tell anybody how they went wrong. I'm not trying to pass judgment from afar. I'm not saying you should do anything except to maybe think about the notion and see if there is anything that works for you in your local community.

You're the people who can change the image of progressives in the red states. I'll stand by to help you in any way I can, from here in my blue-state enclave, if you will only tell me how.

I don't need to be told I don't understand your problems, or the difficulties a blue heart must face by living in a red state. I know it is difficult. If you want my help, I'm ready to give it, but you are the ones who have to come up with the ideas. It takes more than pre-election politicking, it seems to me, but maybe I'm wrong. That just seems obvious to me, but, hey, tell me if I'm wrong, and if I'm wrong, what's the right approach?

I refuse to believe that there is nothing that red state progressives can do. I mean, if there *isn't* anything you can do to reach your neighbors, then doesn't that mean the Republicans are completely justified in making their assertion that *they* are the ones who best represent the real interests of your local community?

Are they right about that? Do you agree with them? Why aren't you one of them, then?

#82 ::: Tracina ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:35 AM:

Mr. Scalzi: Let us posit and acknowledge that much of the reddening of the heartland is not only the creeping clutches of conservatism, but also progressive abandonment, both in body by moving away, and in spirit through condescension.

Okay, agreed. But we can also frame that as, "these are areas that make it intolerable for progressives to live there." How does a gay man run for school board in an area where "homosexual" is a synonym for "child molester"? How does a Jewish woman get elected in an area where people still believe there's a secret Jewish cabal that controls world finance? Jeez, I'm living in an area where people who sleep naked are considered perverts. Until earlier this year, I was the only person in my family with a college education--and that means that everyone can safely ignore my views, because I've been screwed up by all that book-learnin'. And if progressives can't get into office and don't have a voice to change anything, why the hell would they *not* move somewhere else? Sure, folks can talk about staying and fighting the good fight, but isolation and persecution are hard to live with.

#83 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:43 AM:

I'd like to see humor given more accomodation. Many people, myself included, use humor to relieve stress. I laughed like a loon over the New Map, and so did my sister-in-law, an American citizen living overseas.

Humor needs to be exempted from your-analysis-is-incorrect finger-waving. It should be forgiven if it doesn't concern itself with statistical niceties.

People are trying to blow off some steam, and others are trying to close off the safety valves. Laugh a little. It's good for you.

#84 ::: Tracina ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:45 AM:

*thwacks forehead* I forgot to add that where I'm going with that is that we've got to understand why people leave because it's part of the problem. That helps us get to the heart of the problem so we can evaluate possible solutions.

#85 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:52 AM:

Tracina, last summer, my local weekly had an article on being gay in a red state: OH, OKLAHOMA

The subtitle to the article: "Growing up in the heartland was less traumatic 20 years ago than it is today. Go west, young homos. Or east. But get out."

#86 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:54 AM:
Ginny ::: The Democratic Party has proven, to its own surprise, that it can raise a lot of money from a lot of people. Why not pump some of that money into local programs that need help? "The party of the people" should be out there working with them out in the rural and semi-rural counties, helping people help themselves. Or funding local cultural and educational groups, similar to the Grange and Chatauqua movements. And doing projects in the Projects, too.

Sounds good to me. I'm in. No projects around here, but there are certainly depressed urban neighborhoods. And the Grange would be plausible in the more rural counties nearby, as well. My volunteering time is down a bit with a new baby in the house, but that will change soon enough.

Michael Weholt ::: See, the thing is, they've got the churches. If we can't have the churches (at least to the degree they have them), we've got to make our own churches, of one sort or another.

Well, they don't have all the churches. The churches they do have may make more noise, but there's a lot more out there. My denomination is all about the kind of progressive activism and engagement you're looking for, and there are many others.

And I admit it: I'm ludicrously proud to be from the same denomination as Barack Obama. I know, I know, it's through no virtue of mine, but damn, it's cool. We're starting to make a bit more public noise, too.

John Scalzi ::: By daily acts and deeds show that the progressive agenda is positive one. This requires, among other things, accepting and celebrating that most Americans have faith-centered lives, and that progressive politics not only accomodates this but can incorporate it, without compromising its own ideals.

We're doing our best, but yes, we do need to do more. In particular, we need to do more to help local churches in other areas reach out within their communities. Right now, the most engaged, activist churches are in fairly blue communities (note: communities, not states--my congregation is very active, but North Carolina as a whole is hardly a bastion of progressive values).

But most church outreach is either local (community shelters, food kitchens, prison outreach, and so on) or global (famine and disaster relief, housing construction, education...). And the size of congregations in progressive denominations is tied to the presence of progressives. So conservative areas see less progressive outreach, and the problem becomes sort of self-sustaining.

It also recognizes the NASCAR fan mentality when it comes to government help -- which is that it needs to be framed in the context of work. This is something Republicans get that Democrats don't: That it's better politics to give welfare to business than to the individual because it preserves the individual's dignity in work.

You know, without too much more expense (and potentially less, in fact), we could have the freakin' WPA again. Bush's so-called economic stimulus tax cuts have cost substantially more per job created than simply hiring all those people to do something useful would have. And publicly funded jobs could actually, you know, do things in the public interest.

Cheaper, promotes the dignity of labor^H^H^H^H^H work, gives you good roads and parks and schools. What's not to like? But then we're advocating Big Government, which all the good loyal citizens know is Inherently Bad.

#87 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:56 AM:

Teresa, I had seen Adam's gracious speech before, and it was a masterpiece.

I would rank it with the other classic of the genre, which I call "You won't have Patrick Layton Paulsen to kick around any more." In the short-lived 80s Smothers Brothers show (too short-lived to rerun the episode and give me another chance to try and tape it), Paulsen is seen on a podium, bitterly fulminating about the election just passed. He gets hot and sweaty as he tells how school children saved their pennies to send to his campaign. Their pennies! He pulls out a hanky to wipe his moist forehead, and a few thousand pennies come jingling out with it.

By the way, some of the nouns used in this conversation bring to mind an exchange that has been echoing in my head recently, from Harvey Kurtzman's Jungle Book, in "Decadence Decayed," a note-perfect take-off on the "hideous South" stories that were still popular enough to parody in the early 60s. The town idlers are sitting around the fountain, whittling and spitting and wondering what to do. One of them says he has a deck of cards and mebbe they could play a hand of stud. "There you go," is the angry rejoinder, "Throwing your education in our faces again!"

Tracking my emotional state for those who keep charts of it: Last time we checked in, my depression and impotent rage had been supplanted by a warm, bracing feeling of apathy. Today I find that I am depressed again, but not about the election. Just depressed, for no good reason at all. I call that progress.

Just for fun now, my educational credentials. I started going to college six years after graduating high school, since I couldn't afford it before then. I started working part-time to defray things, and after a while I was working full time and attending school part time. Eventually, I was working all the time and taking one candy-ass class at a time, for fun more than anything else. After a year or so as an academic secretary, I became so obnoxious about it that Cathy asked if I'd like to finish school and try to find something more artistic and less secretarial. I leapt on the offer and applied at a community college, where they evaluated my transcript and said that I could parlay it into a two-year degree by simply taking two years of classes with them. This gave me the chance to echo Senator Blutarski and say, "Seven years of college shot to hell!" A few days before graduation, I was called to this garden center for a job interview, and I've been working at it ever since. It'll be fourteen years at the end of the month, and I don't believe it either.

All that was so I could quote Bluto. I'd have made it shorter, but there was too much space in this margin.

#88 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:06 AM:

PNH writes:

"John Scalzi can assert all he likes that I deserve to be as resented as any Ivy League graduate, but the fact remains that no matter how well I've done with my life in spite of no educational credentials, there are all kinds of doors closed to me because of that fact. Oddly enough, being told I deserve to be resented for privileges I don't have makes me soggy and hard to light."

I don't recall suggesting you deserve to be resented, Patrick. I recall suggesting your world view is very similar to that of people who have college educations; I also additionally recall suggesting that progressives (many if not most of whom are college-educated) suffer from a perception that they believe they are "better" than their lesser-educated brethren who have other political persuasions, a perception that is exacerbated by the fact that, as amply shown by comments in this thread (not necessarily by you or Teresa), lots of progressives consider these people as a problem to be *solved,* rather than individuals to be *convinced.* I also recall suggesting that progressives need to work on this -- the now-infamous "pull the stick out of your ass" comment. How this transmutes to you personally deserving to be resented requires an alchemy I must admit I cannot conjure.

"Meanwhile, Michael Weholt does his level best to ask useful questions about how this perceived social chasm (granfalloon or not) might be bridged, and for that he gets to watch himself used as a target, his language held up as the source of the problem. Michael Weholt's language isn't the source of the problem."

This is a facile dismissal of my point in addressing how Michael phrased his question -- and making an example of it was not painting Michael as a target, since it's not about him in particular. He asked a fine question, but he also asked it in a way that to my mind signals an essential problem in how progressives communicate with and about (for lack or a better term) non-progressives.

At the risk of *extraordinary* hubris in saying this to my own editor, it's not just what we say but how we say it that matters. Michael himself said that he doesn't mean to hold himself out as "better" and of course I believe him. However, that gulf between what he said and what he meant exists, as well as the equal gap between what he meant and how he will be perceived -- and it's *exactly* the sort of thing conservatives are all too happy to exploit. Language is not the source of the problem, but it will damn well be used as a lever to pry progressives and non-progressives apart. It behooves progressives *not* to give conservatives too many prying tools within easy reach.

#89 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:11 AM:

Patrick, you're right. Felber is a funny guy, and Teresa did wryly and fairly preface him. Further, I think you did sidle up to what you say you should have said, but that emotions were high enough for it not to be noticed. Isn't this funny? Here we are, a couple of civilized, post-feminist men, trying for a measure of decency in the world. And how do we try to accomplish it?

Why, we got into a fight that started because my wife didn't like something your wife said!

Oh, and while I'm on the mea culpa kick, let me admit that I am not above red state talk.

And finally, here's a little more humor: Dean Wins!:

To say Howard Dean engaged in class warfare is to say that Caesar was just looking to borrow a cup of sugar. In one fell campaign swoop, Dean won the culture war, demolished the identity politics movement, revived Marxism, and brought hope to Homosexual Redneck Prairie-Dog Killers across the land.
#90 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:15 AM:

I'm very close to declaring a pox on both your houses instead of staying involved. A lot of us, the socially liberal but fiscally conservative, were drawn to the left by their supposed belief in tolerance. Without that, what do you have to offer me?

"The Left" is a largish array of political positions. Your own values may or may not mesh well somewhere along the spectrum; but if you think it's the job of any political movement, party or adherent to offer you anything more than an opportunity to participate, you've confused politics with Santa Claus. Politics is something you work at, not take from.

If you're going to hate us instead of trying to understand us and our saner, though slightly redder shaded, kin, what exactly is the difference between the parties again?

May I suggest that the filters through which you are reading the original post are colouring your perception of its meaning and intent? In any case, expecting any one person to constantly embody and articulate the highest ideals related to their personal or political positions, if those positions are not to be declared invalid according to whatever markers you've just set, is simply not fair dealing. However, if you still want to see a difference between leftist behaviour and that of the right, tell a freeper to kiss your ass, then take notes as to where the discourse proceeds from that point.

#91 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:25 AM:

I'm sorry, but all I can think of when I read this thread is this:

Drazi #1 (gesturing at 2nd Drazi): PURPLE
Drazi #2 (gesturing at 1st Drazi): GREEN

#92 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:29 AM:

John Scalzi writes: "At the risk of *extraordinary* hubris in saying this to my own editor"

Oh, don't be silly. I agree with most of what you're trying to get at, and even if I didn't, it wouldn't matter to our professional dealings.

I do think you've brought a bunch of worthwhile stuff to this discussion. As you may recall, I am temperamentally on the side of practical politics: what works is what works and what doesn't work is what doesn't work. Or, to quote a line in the commonplace sidebar of Electrolite: "No, it's not fair. You're in the wrong universe for fair." My cavils have been mostly along the lines of "Wait a minute, can we all please remember who we're talking to?"

#93 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:31 AM:

Pericat's last line is the punchy one that will get everybody's attention. However, it's this observation that gets at something I've been trying to say:

Expecting any one person to constantly embody and articulate the highest ideals related to their personal or political positions, if those positions are not to be declared invalid according to whatever markers you've just set, is simply not fair dealing.

#94 ::: Tracina ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:34 AM:

Tina, you're brilliant.

Okay, everybody, what we need to do is all take off our sashes and put one of each color around the necks of--wait. As I recall, that got Ivonova a broken leg. Who here has good health insurance?

#95 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:36 AM:

I would just like to say, God bless Teresa. I would also like to remind people that in the reddest of Congressional districts, personally designed by Tom DeLay to give B*sh a Republican congresscritter, Chet Edwards beat the tar out of Arlene Wohlgemort. I mean Wohlgemuth. It was an ugly race, but we won. If we can do it, so can y'all.

What I have done: joined the ACLU.
What I will do: give money to Planned Parenthood and all Dem organizations that ask for it. Remind people that the original meaning of "liberal" is "generous." (Might that make a good reified sentiment, Teresa?) Remind them that gloating is not Christian, that the Republican Party used to be Lincoln's party, and that the poor are mentioned in the Gospels a lot more often than gays are.

I welcome other suggestions. I'm wasting lots of energy on anger that I could be using, er, constructively.

#96 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:37 AM:


This is a facile dismissal of my point in addressing how Michael phrased his question -- and making an example of it was not painting Michael as a target, since it's not about him in particular. He asked a fine question, but he also asked it in a way that to my mind signals an essential problem in how progressives communicate with and about (for lack or a better term) non-progressives.

I'm perfectly happy to shut my trap and thereby stop asking questions in a manner that is somehow inadequate, if you will only tell me in what manner I can otherwise help. I don't give a crap if I make an ass of myself in your eyes or anybody else's either, as long as it gets us to the point of actually doing something that makes things better.

I've said it over and over again. If there is something practical I can do to help red state progressives, tell me what it is. Red state progressives are now in the position of having a vast resource available to them: blue staters who are ready to help if only you will tell us how.

If red state progressives can't find a way to take advantage of that vast resource, then that lack of imagination and gumption is as much at fault for the problems we have in the red states as the blue staters asking questions in the wrong way is at fault. More so, perhaps. But maybe that is just me.

I say it again. We are standing by, waiting to help you. Tell us what we can do in practical terms. Or tell us how we can help you figure out what you can do. Or tell us you'll get back to us as soon as you can. Whatever. We're here. We're gear. Make use of us.

#97 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:38 AM:

Michael Wedhorn writes:

"OK, it seems to me that the question sort of goes this way, can the red states be turned or can't they?"

If you mean "turned" as in "garnering 50.1% of the vote," sure, since with the exception of places like Utah and Massachusetts, most places are not as horribly divided as the simple "red state, blue state" dichotomy suggests. Ohio is in actuality a nearly neutral purple. For places like here, a bit harder stumping in suburbs would make a difference and wouldn't require a huge amount of tweaking of the message.

If you mean "turned" as in "garnering 60+% of the vote" -- well, as I said, that's a long term project, and will need to be accomplished (in my opinion) by the methods I already noted in an earlier thread. It will largely take a willingness for patient cultivation: The conservative fruits currently on our table, after all, are from vines planted forty years ago.

Tracina says:

"But we can also frame that as, 'these are areas that make it intolerable for progressives to live there.'"

Certainly, some progressives are not suited for deep red state living, and they shouldn't stay if they are there. I don't think I'd suggest to a guy teen in rural Oklahoma that he should stick out the next 20 years where he is so there can be a progressive quorum.

Having said that, some progressives are better suited to red state life than others. For example: Me, who is married, with kid and reasonably well off, particularly in context of my town (we live in one of the "big houses" just out of town, which is less impressive when you know that for the same amount of money, you *can't* get 700 square feet in Jersey City). I don't want to say what Ohio or Nebraska needs is a million versions of me and my wife suddenly setting up shop in their borders; on the other hand, it wouldn't be all that *horrible,* either. It's not a bad life, my neighbors get the thrill of living next to someone they like and yet who can also more or less patiently explain why gay marriage isn't the end of the world, and I also have a lawn the size of a New York city block.

PNH says:

"Oh, don't be silly."

Aw, come on! Silly's what I *live* for. I just wanted to make sure you knew I knew I was saying something I knew you already knew. You know?

#98 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:38 AM:

And, just for a quick comment:

I disagree with a great deal that's been posted in Making Light in the last couple days, but I took this particular post of Teresa's as venting and trying to find a moment of humor in the bad, and not any sort of serious prolification of all the points quoted.

Of course, I can say that, being in a Blue state and all. :-P

#99 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:45 AM:

Michael, *do* please get a blog, or even better a livejournal. I miss reading you.

#100 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:58 AM:

Michael Wedhorn writes:

"I've said it over and over again. If there is something practical I can do to help red state progressives, tell me what it is."

Heh. Well, I would give you a nice, long list, if it weren't for the fact I'm supposed to have a book done by then end of the month, and I'm already wasting too much time here (damn you Teresa, for having such an excellent blog and commenters!). And I'm on official hiatus over at my own site until I'm done writing. Give me until December and I'll have lots of suggestions.

#101 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 11:04 AM:

Jo!

Long time, no electron. Congrats on your many successes in the intervening time.

Michael, *do* please get a blog, or even better a livejournal. I miss reading you.

Heh. I don't even know what a "livejournal" is. I feel like Brother George and his "internets". I guess I better do a little poking around.

#102 ::: sennoma ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 11:16 AM:

Just wanted to say, I'm kind of an asshole and should mostly be ignored, especially when my boy just lost the election.

Sorry, adam; sorry, John. Sorry, thread, for adding heat without light.

Anything useful I had to say has already been said (by adamsj and John Scalzi, among others; see also and especially pericat). What I plan to do: join the ACLU, donate to the NAACP, follow elections around the country and donate to progressives. That's a start.

#103 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 11:32 AM:

If almost everyone in this thread is going to jump on a clear-sighted (if occasionally too prickly) man like John Scalzi, the Demos -- *my* party -- may not win another national election until Bush has destroyed this country.

I agree that the Republican administration is monstrous and will likely get worse very soon, and I also know bitter bickering/name-calling are excellent outlets for our collective anger and rage, but the tone of this discussion disturbs me. It reminds me of those Middle Eastern cities and towns where people of many religions once were neighbors, fellow tradesmen, sharing interests and viewpoints outside their different faiths, but now (if their towns still exist) tear at each other's throats.

A recurring question in this thread is "What can we do now?" Others here are much more capable of offering concrete suggestions -- I've seen a few good ones already, and they generally drew angry responses. At the risk of sounding like a hippie peacenik, I'll advocate this for starters: we must try to be civil to one another, then extend that to those alien Others (the Reds) as best we can. Misunderstand "the enemy" -- that's what Bush did when he created this mess in Iraq.

#104 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 11:42 AM:

Michael: LiveJournal is a blog-hosting system that has some social-networking/community aspects. It's free for basic use, and you no longer need to be "invited" to sign up. You can then comment on other journals (with threading), designate other users as "friends" (though the nomenclature could use some work...), and so forth.

http://www.livejournal.com/

Many of the commenters here have LJ accounts; some use theirs as blogs, some just for commenting, some mostly for commenting with a post every so often.

#105 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 11:49 AM:

Faren:

"Too prickly"?

Hey, screw you!

(beat)

Bwa ha ha ha hah ha! Heh. Eh.

Yeah, prickly. It's a word for it. Or as my wife says, "You know I love you, but you can be a real asshole when you're online." I'd like to dispute the charge, but since I just spent a day being truly obnoxious on another comment thread elsewhere, I really can't. Possibly I need to schedule some more meditation time.

#106 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:00 PM:

Christopher -

Michael: LiveJournal is a blog-hosting system that has some social-networking/community aspects. [...]

Thanks a lot. Sounds interesting. I will take a look at it over the weekend.

#107 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:05 PM:

Faren --

Just as long as you don't toss the idea of differing constructions of self interest not necessarily being reconcilable.

The mantra I'd take to this -- to any political dispute -- is 'support it with facts'.[1]

But, hey, that assumes that the material results are important. There are a lot of people who disagree with that - they hold that the moral position matters more than actions or results - and they're not going to change.

Since they're also determined and organized, the basic choice does boil down to 'impose upon them circumstances which they'll loathe, or have them impose circumstances you loathe.'

The circumstances are materially distinct. I think that it's entirely reasonable, proper, and just to make the choice on the basis of the material results.

[1] facts are the things which can be agreed on by means independent of the contents of any particular person's head.

#108 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:06 PM:

With all due respect to James D. Macdonald (From now on, just use "conservative" as a euphemism for "stupid.") and Nicholas Rogers (Well, I guess "conservative republican" really is a euphemism for "stupid".) there is some truth beyond your anger.

Emperor Bush II is by no stretch of the political imagination a Conservative Republican. I'd earlier posted my father's anti-Bush letter to the editor -- noting that both he and his father were genuine Conservative Republicans.

To oversimplify, Goldwater conqered the Republican party from the inside, made them more "Conservative" in a strange hawkish techno-optimist way, lost the election, but transformed the GOP ideology and style. That set the stage for Ronald Reagan, who completed the takeover/transformation of the GOP into something still called "Conservative Republican" but even less connected to the older paradigm (for instance, in running up the deepest debt ever).

The Democrats finally noticed what was happening with the GOP, and Bill Clinton conqered the Democratic party from the inside (centrism, triangulation). The Dems were no longer Liberals in the way that the GOP has made a cuss-word. And it worked, driving the GOP into a frenzy of hatred.

Then the Rovites and Necons conqered the Republican party from the inside, and stuck us with Bush, who out-indebted Reagan, and outhawked Goldwater.

By picking Kerry, the Democrats seemed to have forgotten all of the above. They ran pretty close to an old-fashioned Liberal (not the most liberal in the Senate, maybe the 9th or 10th). The election loss was narrow compared to Goldwater's, but the lesson must be heeded. The Democratic Donkey must internally, structurally, ideologically transform, taking into account the repeated transmogrification of the Elephant.

Time to stop whining, stop blaming, and heed the lessons of history, without being stuck with clumsy and useless labels such as Liberal, Conservative, Republican, Left, Right, Blue, and Red.

Evolution is a means of adaptation. Time to evolve, if Democrats want to reoccupy the niche from which they were displaced by the mutated ecological competitor.

#109 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:10 PM:

Y'all chew on this one for awhile. My mother, who voted for Tom Coburn for senator in Oklahoma, says she thinks she might vote for Hilary if Hilary runs for Pres in 2008.

MKK

#110 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:14 PM:

Faren --

Just as long as you don't toss the idea of differing constructions of self interest not necessarily being reconcilable, no matter how much good will is involved.

The mantra I'd take to this -- to any political dispute -- is 'support it with facts'.[1]

But, hey, that assumes that the material results are important. There are a lot of people who disagree with that - they hold that the moral position matters more than actions or results - and they're not going to change.

Since they're also determined and organized, the basic choice does boil down to 'impose upon them circumstances which they'll loathe, or have them impose circumstances you loathe.'

The circumstances are materially distinct. I think that it's entirely reasonable, proper, and just to make the choice on the basis of the material results.

[1] facts are the things which can be agreed on by means independent of the contents of any particular person's head.

#111 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:15 PM:

"The Left" is a largish array of political positions. Your own values may or may not mesh well somewhere along the spectrum; but if you think it's the job of any political movement, party or adherent to offer you anything more than an opportunity to participate, you've confused politics with Santa Claus. Politics is something you work at, not take from.

Fair enough. Rephrase, then.

What, in the modern movements known collectively as "the left", is there that I can find to agree with?

(Just something to think about. It's the question that has to be answered for every swing voter you want to convince to vote your way in the next election.)

For me, my major point of agreement with the liberal side of the coin is tolerance. My major point of disagreement with the conservative side of the coin is intolerance. Pretty much every other issue is rooted in that.

This red-state-baiting has gone beyond venting to the point where you Blues are actively turning people off to your cause. Really, what does it matter which side I vote for? I can either pick the side that is going to go after my closest friend, the self-described "brown-skinned, disabled dyke", or I can pick the side that has spent much of the past week going after me and my neighbors and my family, the redneck hillbilly red-staters who may or may not have voted for His Incompetency. And I've about reached the point of despairing that y'all will get it out of your systems.

May I suggest that the filters through which you are reading the original post are colouring your perception of its meaning and intent?

The original post, referring to a humor site, I took as an appreciation of an attempt at humor. I've just heard this particular joke a few times too often.

It's hard to keep smiling at jokes made at your expense.

In any case, expecting any one person to constantly embody and articulate the highest ideals related to their personal or political positions, if those positions are not to be declared invalid according to whatever markers you've just set, is simply not fair dealing.

I'm not reacting to one person. I'm seeing this in too many places and from too many people.

I just want y'all to stop and think about the fact that you're taking your pain out on the very same people you're saying you have to figure out how to court.

You're making your own work harder.

#112 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:16 PM:

Up above, JeanOG asks:

A lot of us, the socially liberal but fiscally conservative, were drawn to the left by their supposed belief in tolerance. Without that, what do you have to offer me?

Let me make a list...

Honesty. The Democratic Party is not interested in lying its way into a war, nor in raising the costs of health care for those least able to provide for themselves and calling it "assistance". It is committed to access to information, and to recourse for the victims of others' deceit.

Fiscal Soundness. The Democratic Party has a proven history of balancing the budget and generating surpluses while attending to many social needs. Not all of them, and there's lots of room to argue about priorities, but the fact is that President Clinton and his congressional allies like Senator Kerry succeeded on the budget, whereas President Bush and his allies haven't even tried. Furthermore, the Democratic Party is committed to sound standards and reliable execution in matters of accounting.

Accountability. The Democratic Party is demonstrably willing to admit mistakes and to discharge from positions of authority those who do not do their job well. President Bush is on record as not regarding himself as ever having made a significant mistake, and has never supported the firing or resigning of a subordinate for any grounds but perceived disloyalty - that is, for doing the important job of trying to keep the boss informed about alternative interpretations, conflicting data, and the like. The Democratic Party doesn't just tolerate discussion of means and ends alike, it encourages it; President Bush and his allies try to suppress any questioning of either policy or execution. Note that Senator Kerry in particular has a remarkably distinguished record of investigating fraud and cooperation involving his own party's members as well as others.

Cooperation. The Democratic Party is demonstrably willing to work with others to its left and right on matters of mutual interest, recognizing the reality of agendas that are sometimes congruent even when not always so. President Bush and his allies to not accept dissent of any kind.

Consistency and Predictability. Friedrich Hayek described consistency in law as one of the crucial prerequisites for private individuals and groups to make their own plans. The Democratic Party, like the Republican Party, has a mixed record on this. But President Bush is overtly committed to ignoring the rule of law whenever it becomes inconvenient for him or his allies, demonstrating in the process a lack of interest in that opportunity for private planning which is crucial to operation of a healthy marketplace. There are Democrats who approach law and regulation capriciously as well, but President Clinton wasn't one of them, and neither is Senator Kerry, nor is the next Democratic nominee likely to be.

Social Sustainability. People turn revolutionary when they feel that evolutionary means can't help. Rage against a disenfranchising system drove the Populist and Progressive moments, and brought the country to the brink of revolution during the Great Depression. It is very much to President Roosevelt's credit that the US did not have a Nazi or Communist threat become more serious. President Bush and his allies are demonstrably uninterested in what people who find themselves losing wealth and security may be tempted to support, while the Democratic Party has a proven history of improving conditions for the underclasses who become mobs if sufficiently abused. Chancellor Bismarck was quite right when he approached a system of social services as a bulwark against social disorder; his latter-day heirs ae not so wise.

Capitalism. Some factions within the Democratic Party express great skepticism about the basic ideas of market economies. But in practice, the Democratic Party has a proven history of advancing small business creation and social mobility for employees and employers alike. President Bush and his allies have shown by their actions that they do not care about economic diversity or opportunity for anyone but their cabal of immediate associates and some others at the very top. It is the Democratic Party that brings us entrepreneurship and competition, essential features of the healthy marketplace.

"Social Capitalism". This is my own coinage. Just as there's competition between businesses that results in better options for customers, so with ideas and lifestyle. The Democratic Party's commitment to tolerance and the protection of those whose choices (and unchosen natures) are unpopular increases the chances that we will all learn surprising things about folkways that promote health, prosperity, knowledge, and other good things. Note that this does not amount to requiring or even suggesting that people live without long-term values: it's about the application of values to changing circumstances. Eternal principles don't always lead to uniquely ideal applications in every situation any more than contingent principles require changes in every situation. Allowing people to actually try their experiments and life and see whether they succeed or fail removes the glamour of the forbidden and speculative, opening it up to the sometimes harsh but always worthwhile light of reality.

Separation of Church and State. This is tightly interwoven with the above. It is not just good for unbelievers that church and state remain separate, it's good for believers. Look at what state churches have done throughout Europe: they've created much higher levels of anti-clerical disbelief. A church beholden to the state is not at liberty to criticize it; Jesus didn't have to stop to worry about whether his condemnation of Pharisee, Sadducee, and Empire might threaten his followers' tax-exempt status. The Democratic Party's commitment to a secular state not only preserves but enhances all believers' ability to pursue their individual and collective concerns, because they can interact with each other and with everyone else as equals rather than cowing one side or another into submission through the threat of political power and violence.

That's off the top of my head. There are likely others. But these seem to me to add up to sufficient reason to favor almost any Democratic candidate over anyone associated with President Bush and his allies.

#113 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:24 PM:

I want a button that reads BRUCE BAUGH FAN CLUB.

#114 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:29 PM:

Elusis:

Especially when my "red state" sent a new Democrat to the Senate, and a new Democrat to the House, and sent control of our state legislature to the Democrats, and passed a clean energy bill and a tobacco tax, and came within spitting distance of sending that freak Marilyn Musgrave back home where she belongs.

Howdy, neighbor. So which part of this deeply indigo state are you from? I'm in the bit that won't be done counting its votes until next week - due to highly accurate paper ballots and something like 80% turn-out in the polls.

I'm actually really proud of Colorado after this election, for all the reasons you mentioned. I'm mentally drafting a barrage of letters to Senator-Elect Ken Salazar as we speak.

#115 ::: Nicholas Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:30 PM:

Jonathan Vos Post: Well stated, but it still smacks of becoming more like what we hate to defeat them. I agree with evolution, but not with concession. I still believe in my ideology.

John Scalzi: I too realize that I need more meditation time.

adamsj & PNH: I apologize for the vitriol in my response. My red-state experience is different from yours and I overreacted in a tired and frustrated moment.

#116 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:33 PM:

Thanks, Patrick. I must admit that I am profoundly angry, depressed, and scared, for myself and for a whole lot of people I love and care about. This is very bad for someone with autoimmune reactions to stress' metabolic byproducts. I can't change the situation of the moment, but I'm trying to order my fears and hopes so that I can try to do something useful. If it does anyone else some good, then that's a big plus.

#117 ::: Nicholas Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:39 PM:

Bruce Baugh:

It has done me a world of good as well. It is a beautiful and succinct exposition of the points I have flummoxed about for the last few days.

Thank You.

#118 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:40 PM:

Michael! Please don't go away. We spent what I trust you'd find a gratifying amount of time at World Fantasy Con wondering how and what you're doing.

Now if only Ray Radlein would check in ...

#119 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:48 PM:

Very glad to know it, Nicholas!

Side to Michael Weholt: You can see LiveJournal in practice by looking at mine. You'll find a probably familiar-looking mix of serious, trivial, and silly subjects. And if you click on the Friends Entries link, you'll see the feature that makes LiveJournal such a popular hangout: the aggregation of the recent posts in journals by friends and acquaintances, all in one convenient place.

#120 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:50 PM:

Bruce - Bravo! This smells like the basis for a serices of coordinated talking points for exactly why the Democratic party is a better choice than either going Green or clinging to the GOP because of their historical but currently inaccurate association with individual liberties and fiscal conservatism.

Now, how do we get the (so-called liberal) media on board and build the memes?

#121 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:57 PM:

Larry, I have a gut suspicion that we can't get the mainstream media on board, and that we've got a task confronting us comparable to the Republicans' post-Goldwater construction of an alternative media system. I would be glad to be wrong, of course, but I don't see the institutional priorities that reward people like Judith Miller and Rush Limbaugh as any more amenable to change than the ones that keep Dick Cheney and his figurehead in charge of their party.

#122 ::: Ariella ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:00 PM:

Just keep in mind that outside the U.S., many people aren't making a lot of distinctions between Americans from states that are 10% more Republican and Americans from states that are 10% more Democrat. They see the whole country as one big red state.

See for instance the map on Canadian political consultant Warren Kinsella's blog. (You have to scroll down a bit to get to his November 4 entry.)

Ultimately, you're all in this together--well, along with Alberta.

#123 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:07 PM:

Bruce: Wow. Me too. I wish I'd had your list before the election. 100 copies, to hand out to people who say they don't like Kerry.

My state went blue, so maybe no diff. But possibly fewer people I have to stop speaking to (kidding).

Actually if I ever manage to have a wedding, no one who voted for Bush will be invited. They voted against my being able to HAVE the wedding, after all.

#124 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:13 PM:

Nicholas Rogers:

"Jonathan Vos Post: Well stated, but it still smacks of becoming more like what we hate to defeat them. I agree with evolution, but not with concession. I still believe in my ideology."

Thank you. I think that we mostly agree. What horrifies me about Emperor Bush II is that he did indeed turn much of America into a mirror of the terrorist enemy: a demogogue billionaire hiding behind theocratic propoganda to achieve bloody results with few allies. The Republican party is NOT the enemy. Nor do Democrats have to become pseudo-Republicans (which was a weakness of Kerry's "me-too but with different nuance" foreign policy).

I still believe in my ideology, but I cannot express my ideology in straight Democrat vs Republican vs Green vs Red vs Libertarian terms. I think that ideology must indeed adapt (as Fukuyama is advising his fellow Neocons) based on the light of actual evidence. Otherwise, ideology becomes dogma, and then becomes useless or negative in Darwinian fitness.

I am suggesting that Democrats modestly evolve based on changes in the competitive landcape, while simultaneously adapting tactically and strategically to use lessons learned from how the GOP conducted an ugly but clever campaign. And this must be done in time for the 2006 election, to recover House and Senate.

Okay, we are disgusted by the "Guns, God, and Gays" wedge issue approach of the Rovites. But that worked. Democrats get no advantage by copying the substance of that unholy trinity (i.e. Kerry finally saying that his faith sustains him, too late). But it could have been seen that anti-gay-marriage was on 11 states' ballots, and had some contrary message of hop (such as California Stem Cell initiative) to make the debate legitimate.

I am also impressed by Bruce Baugh's analysis, and Larry's comments on how to approach the media. Making Light is a slice of the New Media. Noticed how often the TV networks and newspapers talked about bloggers? That is an example of the sort of evolution I discuss.

#125 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:25 PM:

Xopher, I think that politicizing your wedding that way makes excellent sense, when and if. I see a wedding as ritual and celebration, and people who don't respect the ritual nor regard the occasion as worth celebrating just don't belong.

And glad to help. Feel free to quote my talking points, annat.

#126 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:57 PM:

I want a button that reads BRUCE BAUGH FAN CLUB.

I'm sure that can be arranged.

Bruce, I love you, man.

The only thing that stands out as missing is defense, which most of the swing voters I know consider one of the most important duties of the Federal government.

#127 ::: Nicholas Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:28 PM:

Democrats on Defense:

How about a historic tradition of encouraging international cooperation and understanding. Of forging peace talks between long warring factions (Ireland & UK, Camp David accords, etc.). Of seeking to make the world safer through peace and understanding not fear and intimidation.

A party that believes in war as a "last resort" is a policy not a sound bite.

I'm sure Bruce can say it better but that's my start.

#128 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:29 PM:

JeanOG: Agreed, but it depends on your definition of "defense".

"Support the troops"? Ed Markey (D-MA) has sponsored H.R. 5296 which would give combat pay and bonuses to servicemembers during their recovery from combat injuries.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Why'd it get referred to two committees, and has only 16 cosponsors, all Democrats?

I'm an Army brat. I'm all for a strong defense, but that's gotta mean treating the troops right, not just the big contractors.

#129 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:44 PM:

Oh, and linking two topics together: I've added Bruce's LiveJournal to my "friends list", even though I don't have a button yet.

#130 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:50 PM:

Ariella - I see that Mr. Kinsella, unlike Sen. Kerry, didn't forget Poland.

#131 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 03:01 PM:

TNH -

Michael! Please don't go away. We spent what I trust you'd find a gratifying amount of time at World Fantasy Con wondering how and what you're doing.

Please keep that amount of time a mystery. My need for gratification is essentially boundless and I wouldn't want to have to put some upper limit on what I imagine that amount of time might be. :)

Now if only Ray Radlein would check in ...

I saw him over on Electrolite a short while ago. I was very sorry to see (from what I could glean) that he wasn't feeling too well.

#132 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 03:09 PM:

Bruce -

Side to Michael Weholt: You can see LiveJournal in practice by looking at mine. You'll find a probably familiar-looking mix of serious, trivial, and silly subjects. And if you click on the Friends Entries link, you'll see the feature that makes LiveJournal such a popular hangout: the aggregation of the recent posts in journals by friends and acquaintances, all in one convenient place.

OK, thanks, Bruce, looks interesting.

But what's the difference between a blog and a livejournal, exactly? Or maybe there is a good page I could look at to explain all this to me.

And I was trying to figure out if there was some sort of list of livejournalists so I could see who all was hanging out there. It seemed I could only search on usernames.

#133 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 03:28 PM:

Christopher: For me, "what is defense" is a complicated question. I'm a MilHist hobbyist and an old Avalon Hill grognard.

Generally speaking, promoting the welfare of the troops and veterans is a good start. Equiping them properly is critical. But my idea of "properly" is different from someone who is used to buying a new handheld every year because the tech is improving so quickly. (I err on the side of easy field maintenance.)

#134 ::: Nishiko Takeuchi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 03:29 PM:

Ariella - How odd. I live in Alberta, and nobody I know of wanted Bush to win. I wonder where Kinsella got that impression. *scratches head in confusion*

#135 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 03:54 PM:

Michael, I won't tell you the duration, but the company was excellent. I can't tell you the whole difference between a weblog and being on LiveJournal, because I'm bound to phrase something slightly wrong and inadvertently offend a lot of people. Here are a few:

Pro: LiveJournal is essentially free.

Con: Being on LiveJournal means you have to publicly use "friend" as a verb.

Pro and Con: Being on LiveJournal means operating in a universe in which people you've known for years now have funny names you have to remember -- Papersky, Baldanders, Womzilla, etc. -- and their every utterance is accompanied by a small square picture.

Pro and Con: The question of who's friended whom on LiveJournal offers an opportunity to engage in soul-ensmalling sins that is matched only by the contemplation of the relative Technorati ranking of one's weblog.

#136 ::: Beth ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 04:24 PM:

Pro and Con: Being on LiveJournal means operating in a universe in which people you've known for years now have funny names you have to remember...

I confess that I dislike the funny names. I understand the wish to use a pseudonym, but there are times it gets tricky. Do I know this person elsewhere? Is it okay to ask? If I do recognize them, should I use their LJ name or their real life name?

But then, I'm easily puzzled.

(And for what it's worth, I chose beth_bernobich as my user name.)

#137 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 04:33 PM:

I've thus far managed to avoid the LiveJournal black hole, but all my friends seem to be doing it, so I'm sure to be sucked in eventually.

As I was telling someone who was even less familiar with it than I am, as best I can figure out, LiveJournal is a time-efficient way to consolidate all of the silly social drama of one's life into a single place so you can check it all at each work break.

Is that about right?

#138 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 04:39 PM:

Teresa -

Pro and Con: The question of who's friended whom on LiveJournal offers an opportunity to engage in soul-ensmalling sins that is matched only by the contemplation of the relative Technorati ranking of one's weblog.

LOL! Well, that sounds like just about all I need. Then again, I can always resort to the ego-neutral excuse that I came late to all of this so *of course* hardly anybody has "friended" me. What's wrong with saying "befriended", I wonder? Do you get kicked off for that?

I did figure out that I could use google as a livejournalist index for people I know. As one example, I typed in "jo walton" and "livejournal" and came upon papersky (or bluejo, I'm not sure which is the correct, um, place name).

So, looking at Bruce's LJ, the friends thing... I take it you add a friend somewhere, that is, I befriend them (he said petulantly) and then when they make a new post to their LJ, I will know that because I will see it when I go to my Friends Index (or whatever that is called), right? That seems a handy thing. I like that.

But here's an odd consideration... I'd like to make mine pretty. Or, at least, pleasing in some manner to the eye. I see a fairly wide variety of styles browsing through LJs, so I guess I could probably manage to cobble something together that matched my aesthetic, eh?

But I never know what to do with the drapes. I'm so over the louvers thing, especially now that we know hundreds of tons of high energy explosives can be surreptitiously taken out through them and spirited away to Syria.

Yeah, OK, I'll play with this thing over the weekend.

#139 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 05:48 PM:

Steve scores in the LJ description contest.

Michael, yes, you can choose from a variety of templates and then customize. Compare my LJ's layout with that of my friend Chris Carter (not any of the famous ones) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/aikon/ , for instance - same template, but Chris did a lot more to it.

I'l have to think about a pithy paragraph on defense.

#140 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 07:24 PM:

I would still call Livejournal a weblog, it's just a weblog with a pre-built spiderweb instead of one that spins its own.

#141 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 08:39 PM:

Nicole, I'm from Denver. You think Boulder's results will make any noticeable difference in the state results?

I wish I knew what it was that worked here in order to get Democratic victories in state races, or at least to push extreme right-wingers to the wall, that failed in the Presidential vote. And I'm sad that the reactionary campaign against 36 apparently worked.

#142 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 08:54 PM:

Tina, I agree. I always say that LiveJournal is one flavor of weblog. One genus, if I know I'm talking to someone who gets biological terminology.

#143 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:00 PM:

Elusis: I was hopeful on Tuesday night, especially when Fox31 news was saying that Boulder's late-to-finish count might end up determining what color Colorado went - because we all know that if it were up to Boulder, Kerry would have nine more votes and Bush would have nine less - but now the gap seems too big to me for Boulder to bridge alone.

My husband was looking hard tonight at CNN's shaded county-by-county map of Colorado and identifying the "swing counties" we could do some work in, in preparation for Election 2006. I've been reading the comments here and in Daily Kos to try to get ideas as to what that work might consist of.

I'm as befuddled as you as to the state race / president race split. I don't think the folks here were any less susceptible to gay-marriage-hate than in other states - you'll note Musgrave, who bashes gays when she should be building her district, won her reelection. Maybe our state races mostly took place outside of that argument, and Musgrave won because she forced her race back into it.

Another thought: maybe the "Bush is firm on terror" meme didn't seem to apply to senate and house candidates. And yet... The Salazar / Coors US Senatorial race was way closer than it should have been considering the Democrat was an experienced politician while Coors just about knows how to CEO a beer company. I can't believe that so very many people were won over by dumb name recognition alone. Coors was trying to model himself after Bush (get them terrorists, cut more taxes) while Salazar was trying to model himself on Kerry. Their race very nearly panned out accordingly. So maybe there isn't as much cognitive dissonance between the presidential race and the other races as there appears to be.

As for 36, I voted against that one, and the Boulder Daily Camera's editorial about it is probably the best explanation of why. I mean, I laughed at the name "Coloradans against a really stupid idea," but I found the Daily Camera piece more convincing. I mostly took offense at the retroactive timing - I wanted our votes to go to Kerry, but I didn't want it done by playing what I considered dirty pool with the state constitution.

Anyway. If you're interested in getting together with us and some friends to discuss how best to court the "swing counties," drop me an email.

#144 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:09 PM:

Michael: I'm on LJ as marykaykare. I use LJ for personal stuff and my blog for more public stuff. You can do more personalizing if you sign up for a paid membership than if you use a free one and it's pretty cheap.

I was one of the people getting all nostalgic over you at WFC.

MKK

#145 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:45 PM:

I'm glad Colorado's #36 went down to defeat. The worst possible way to "fix" the electoral college is piecemeal, state by state. Mark my words, the moment we make Colorado's nine electors proportional to the statewide vote, the GOP will move heaven and earth to pass the same kind of resolution in California, after which you may possibly get a Democrat into the White House sometime around 2072.

Personally, I'd be happy to change the electoral college by eliminating the two electors each state gets for its Senators. In other words, a 438-elector College, following the distribution of Congressional seats plus three for DC. A reasonable compromise between both extremes, with something for both the direct-election advocates and the rights-of-the-small-states types. Of course, none of this will ever happen, and obsessing about it at the expense of more reachable democratic (small D) goals is, in my opinion, a big waste of time.

#146 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 10:47 PM:

Oh, and by the way, Michael Weholt should definitely get a LiveJournal. Where I'm
"pnh", not that I post all that often, but I do leave comments on my friends' LJs.

#147 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 11:21 PM:

Well, thanks to all who suggested LiveJournal. I've started an account there and I will Reveal Myself as soon as I have something more intelligent to say there than: "Hi. This is a test."

#149 ::: Randall M ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 01:42 AM:

I would say that Livejournal is the Hotmail or Yahoogroups of blogging. It's free and immensely popular (I'm sure that the two are related somehow), and inclined to be buggy (I'm sure the three of these are related somehow). Which also explains the strange names: do you want to be BruceJones1277, or do you want a name that's uniquely yours?

#150 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 04:02 AM:

Hey, "ckd" was still available, so I grabbed it. Not necessarily "uniquely mine", but it's what I wanted anyway....

#151 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 07:25 AM:

I got "Scalzi" on livejournal with no problem at all. This is the benefit of apparently being one of the only Scalzis out there who spends any sort of time on that whole InterWeb thingy.

#152 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 07:46 AM:

As I was telling someone who was even less familiar with it than I am, as best I can figure out, LiveJournal is a time-efficient way to consolidate all of the silly social drama of one's life into a single place so you can check it all at each work break.

This is the week I found out on LiveJournal that my sister's ex-boyfriend's girlfriend set their kitchen on fire and supported Bush because Kerry is a "pinko comme" (sic) and Iraq and "afangastan" (sic) should be turned into parking lots.

Yes, something like that.

#153 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 09:51 AM:

John Scalzi: You can imagine my surprise at finding there's another Bruce Baugh represented online. He's a professor of philosophy in British Columbia, and his resume reads eerily like what mine would be like if I'd been able to stay in college. One of us is in the wrong timeline!

#154 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 02:54 PM:

Don't go near him, Bruce. If your atoms meet, the crust of the earth will be shattered in the horrific explosion!

Although there is no other John Scalzi active on the Web, there are other John Scalzis out there, including one who is an author: John B. Scalzi, co-author of The Design and Construction of Cable Stayed Bridges, which is apparently (and I say this with no sarcasm) a classic in the field. Amazon briefly credited one of my first books to him, on the (not unreasonable) rationale that there couldn't possibly be two authors named John Scalzi.

Other John Scalzis: A mediocre middleweight prize fighter, a mediocre baseball player for the Giants in the mid-1930s, a set designer from Connecticut, and my dad.

#155 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 03:02 PM:

Judging from the comments above, LJ has obviously broadened its customer base since I started there in November of 2001. At that point it seemed to be populated mostly with college kids. I kind of looked at LJ as training wheels for a "real" blog at the time and moved off shortly thereafter. Hmm. I wonder if my "milton thales" account is still active.

#156 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 05:00 PM:

Sure looks like it from here...unless there's one Steve going by miltonthales and one Steve going by Linkmeister. :)

#157 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 06:25 PM:

"Judging from the comments above, LJ has obviously broadened its customer base since I started there in November of 2001."

All I can say is that I discover some friend of mine has a LiveJournal practically every week. It's enormous.

It's also pretty much a pure idealistic open-source project, which is impressive.

#158 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 06:35 PM:

OK, well, it's still covered with amniotic goop, and its face looks to me a little on the blue side, but at least it's breathing...

I named it Day Street on account of that's what I named it.

#159 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 06:37 PM:

Bruce Baugh:

You can imagine my surprise at finding there's another Jonathan Post represented online. He's a professor of English Literature at UCLA, specializing in Romantic poetry. Perhaps what I'd be doing if I'd finished the MFA in Poetry at UMass/Amherst. Recently, I got a phonecall from an englishman who thought I was the other Jonathan Post. I suggested furthering the confusion by couthoring a paper "Doppelgangers and Doubles in Romantic Poetry" by Jonathan Post and Jonathan Post. Sound like a good idea? Either way, consider contacting the other Bruce Baugh to collaborate on something. It'll drive bibliographers nuts...

#160 ::: Tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 06:51 PM:

The thing I probably love the most about LiveJournal is that paid accounts are allowed to add feeds to their friends page so they'll show up when someone updates. There's a lot of comic strips available, as well as blogs such as Atrios, dailykos, Dave Barry, Adam Felber, Making Light.... I highly recommend their FAQ page, which is comprehensive and comprehendible.

On the subject of using "friend" rather than "befriend": Just because someone's on your friends page doesn't mean you've actually made friends with them. This is especially true for popular fanfic writers, some of whom are "friended" by hundreds of people that they really couldn't ask to help them move. I've never seen or heard anyone use "friend" as a verb to mean anything other than "I have added this person to my friends list," so hopefully it won't make its way into the vernacular as a second meaning for "befriend." Given the vagaries of the language, though...

#161 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 07:04 PM:

I largely agree, intellectually and emotionally, with the arguments that people should be reaching out (e.g., not down) to Bush voters to try to move them in our direction. (Scalzi: is that neutral enough for you?).

However, my contrarian streak asks whether this is the most effective move. The indications are that Bush massively jacked up his turnout (vs 4 years ago) by hammering positions which many of us find hateful. The Left of this country (yes, Graydon, I know you claim it doesn't exist; try reading Mother Jones or The Nation) commonly argues that the Democrats should similarly energize their base instead of trying to push the centerline enough to get that percentage point or so on their side. (The fact that Nader argued this line doesn't make it invalid.) Would it cost too much of the middle to boil our positions down to hard-hitting slogans that can be hammered \onto/ the Republicans, instead of \back to/ them? It seems to me that Bruce Baugh started this with his answer to JeanOG -- but his answers ran hundreds of words per point. Can we do better/more-effectively?

Or would it cost us our souls?

#162 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 09:26 PM:

CHip asks:

"(Scalzi: is that neutral enough for you?)"

Heh. Well, it's not *me* you need to address.

I don't see it as an either/or situation. There's no reason one can't modulate the message to address more than one group.

#163 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 09:43 PM:

Onward Christian soldiers

The hopefuls in the Democrat camp really believed victory in the US election was within their grasp. How did they get it so wrong? They failed to appreciate, says Simon Schama, that their country is now in fact two nations that loathe and fear each other - Godly and Worldly America

Friday November 5, 2004
The Guardian

In the wee small hours of November 3 2004, a new country appeared on the map of the modern world: the DSA, the Divided States of America. Oh yes, I know, the obligatory pieties about "healing" have begun; not least from the lips of the noble Loser. This is music to the ears of the Victor of course, who wants nothing better than for us all to Come Together, a position otherwise known as unconditional surrender. Please, fellow curmudgeons and last ditchers, can someone on the losing side just for once not roll over and fall into a warm bath of patriotic platitudes at such moments, but toot the flute of battle instead; yell and holler and snarl just a wee bit? I don't want to heal the wound, I want to scratch the damned thing until it hurts and bleeds - and then maybe we'll have what it takes to get up from the mat. Do we think the far-right Republican candidate Barry Goldwater, in the ashy dawn of his annihilation in 1964, wanted to share? Don't think so. He wanted to win; sometime. And now, by God, he has....

#164 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 10:01 PM:

I'm a major Simon Schama fan, and that Guardian piece has got to be just about the stupidest thing I've ever seen him write.

For one thing, while the Right that won the 2004 election is descended from Barry Goldwater's Right, it also would have apalled Brother Barry, a man who spent his declining years apostrophizing the new generation of right-wing haters, to the point where the Arizona Republican Party threatened to rename their headquarters something other than the "Goldwater Center." (Talk which stopped when the Arizona Democrats started talking about how they'd be happy to name their offices after Goldwater if the Republicans no longer had any use for him.)

For another, Schama's entire column is an exercise in the worst kind of melodramatic red-state-blue-state balderdash, in which an Iowa that went for Bush by two points is the same as an Idaho that went by twenty. Hey, it's all the great big American interior, full of identical overweight Americans, which we know because Simon Schama tells us so.

Speaking of catering to a niche. I thought better of Schama.

#165 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 10:29 PM:

Tiercel: free accounts can friend feeds, too; they just can't create new feeds. (The old "syndication points" system is dead, just like the invite codes.)

#166 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 10:33 PM:

To follow up to Patrick's post, if late-life Goldwater had been running against Kerry, I'd have had a much tougher decision to make before casting my ballot.

"You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight."

"To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable."

#167 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2004, 03:08 PM:

Mark writes: "Sure looks like it from here...unless there's one Steve going by miltonthales and one Steve going by Linkmeister. :)"

C'est moi. I had to argue a little about my password, but it finally took.

#168 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2004, 03:33 PM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden:

Thank you, sir, for that reality check! I'm also a major Simon Schama fan, and believe that he made the mistake of writing while in red/blue heat, casting aside his normally acute historicism and clarity. Not quite pulling an Anne Rice, but equally a bad idea to publish material that needed to sit in a desk drawer for a few hours to cool off. Good call!

Are there other genres besides p0rn and blogging where authors normally sell first drafts?

#169 ::: Kayjay ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2004, 03:45 PM:

Are you running for your schoolboards, making your arguments there? Are you working in the political off-seasons with your local progressive community to see what you can do to improve things for the next election cycle? Are you letting your local elected officials know that there *is* a progressive element in your community and that you'd like to be paid attention to? I dunno, what?

Yes! Yes! Yes! We *all* need to be doing these things.

#170 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2004, 02:49 AM:

I just want to let anyone who hasn't yet figured it out that I am known on LJ as "Bibliotrope". And any regulars here are welcome to "friend" me if you haven't already. (It is an awkward phrase, but shorter than "add me to your friends list".)

#171 ::: Richard Maritzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 05:49 PM:

Hey folks - Come visit the UBSA website: http://www.unitedbluestatesofamerica.com

Read the feed, and buy a t-shirt. :-)

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