Ten Pounds Lighter

November 3rd, 2004  |  Published in Uncategorized

This afternoon I treated myself to the elimination of the seasonal blog roll and its analogous folder in my NNW subscriptions.

The caterwauling has begun, in a mode we could have predicted if the election itself hadn’t come as such a nasty surprise: List all the things you hated about the last four years, but with an oratorical flourish like “They don’t care that …” or “They voted for more of …” or “They lined up in record numbers to make sure …”

Bonus points (or all take a sip) if the author claims to not recognize the country anymore.

Alternately, create a hateful list of everything vile about southern rednecks then end with a snarling “values” in rhetorical scare quotes.

So in lieu of a grandiloquent rant about how mine very heart has been ripped from my tear-soaked chest, or a hate-filled rant about how I prefer the Democrats be out of power if the alternative is becoming whiskey-swilling crackers, I opened up a new page in my Brain voodoopad entitled “PoliticalLanguage” and pasted in a slightly reworked paragraph from an entry a few weeks back:

The corrosive secondary effect of that assault on conscience, besides serving to marginalize people acting on a different set of principles, is the self-demonization of people who perceive “morality” and “goodness” to have become the property of the religious right, which makes it difficult to speak about moral or ethical behavior without invoking notions of abstemious piety and literal-minded intolerance of dissent.

It came to mind to do that after listening to Air America on the way out to pick up some more whiskey. The host was in denial about the election. The drift of the conversation was “The margin was tiny, we just need to grab a few more votes next time and it’ll all be ok again.”

That’s no way to live… hoping to scratch out a few more votes next time so the marginal majority tips in our favor and we can get another hit of presidential power. That’s not a program. That’s just asking for this all over again… another four or eight years after this terms ends of trying to defend a better-than-the-alternative president from a well-honed political machine that put us on the defensive during Clinton’s presidency and will do so again the next time.

So I opened up that PoliticalLanguage page and pasted in the graf and I’ll ad more grafs as time goes by, because we really are locked in a battle over language. While it’s easy for me to parrot Lakoff or Phil Agre or whomever, it’s time for me to begin thinking about the language war and its attendant campaign for control of (or at least peaceful coexistence within) the realm of “values” and “morality” and even “faith.”

It’s also time to start thinking about how to get involved, too. The more I think about it, the more I’m sorry I got involved so late.

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