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Civility in the US political discourse and identity politics

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Arthellion, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    So an interesting piece from the author of The Immoral Majority. He's a never trumper author, but he was analyzing why so many evangelicals support Trump (and in the book recants his previous stance which I'm about to share), but it offers insight into why so many republicans stymied Obama and how this persecution complex lead to Trump. So this was his previous stance in response to a video by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore asking for civility now that Obama was elected:

    To the pledgers in this video:
    Where were you for the last eight years? Where were you when we were attacked on 9/11? Where were you when the world agreed that Saddam had WMDs? Where were you when the media was lying about our president? Where were you when the Iraqis were suffering? Where was your compassion for them? Where was your desire to be amicable with people you disagreed with these last eight years? Where was your “understanding”? Where was your friendship? Where was your bipartisanship? Where was your hope? Where was your restraint? For eight years I’ve seen hatred, loathing, anger, ignorance, violence, suppression, oppression, blacklisting, and all together a bunch of meanies.

    I’ve seen Bush called a Nazi. I’ve BEEN called a Nazi. I’ve been told that I support blood for oil, that my beliefs are archaic, and that I’m a racist. I’ve seen my God spit upon. My beliefs mocked. My heroes destroyed and my integrity impugned. I’ve seen my country’s soldiers used and spit out for political gain. I’ve seen marches and been told that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. I’ve been told that everything I stand for and believe in is murder, greed, and fascism. And now. After all this YOU are pledging to me that you will change because of one man? One man will make you different and cause you to be reasonable and you fully expect that I should and will reciprocate? You expect us all to come together after this and act like the last eight years didn’t happen?

    As Obama steps forward and has the same reactions to Gitmo & Iraq and NOW you understand the complexities? Now you can have intelligent debate without insulting everything I stand for? I will make a pledge to you. I pledge to spend every free moment working to counter your efforts. Not simply for the sake of countering them, but because they are not what our country stands for. They are not less government. They are not liberty. They are not justice. They are not FREE. I will not, I cannot allow compromise on these issues. There IS no compromise for me on abortion. There IS no compromise for me on terrorism. There IS no compromise for me on socialism. There IS no compromise for me on much that you stand for. Unlike you I will not fight unfairly. I will not lie about you. I will not toss insults carelessly and endanger my country and its brave soldiers. I will not hope for a bad economy. I will not invest myself in my own defeat. I will not call our president a Nazi, or a Stalinist. I will be a person of reason. But I will be relentless and unforgiving. I will use my mind and my faculties and everything at my disposal to squash this ideology that your anointed one has brought to bear. I will work to protect this country’s ideals and prevent the destruction of our morals. You created me these last eight years. I pledge that I will become your worst nightmare because of it.

    Howe, Ben. The Immoral Majority (pp. 113-114). Broadside e-books. Kindle Edition.

    He continues in the book about his stance:
    "You see, to me and—as it is the purpose of this anecdote to illuminate—many others, it had been an ongoing and intolerable injustice that our political views and policy ideas were viewed as a permission slip to impugn our very character as human beings. The left seemed incapable of good faith, and increasingly we on the right identified “political correctness” as the weapon they used to bludgeon us into silence....
    conservatives and evangelicals had become overly tired of being characterized as evil. Had become so exhausted, in fact, that many simply became that which they’d been named."
    \
    Howe, Ben. The Immoral Majority (p. 115,119). Broadside e-books. Kindle Edition.

    So it was that by 2015, accusations of racism or sexism on the right did not even merit consideration, by and large. They were rejected out of hand. They were, without examination, to be seen as mere weapons of identity politics. Talk of victims or discrimination would often result in the rolling of eyes at the least, or just as often angry fighting back. Always, dismissal of particular circumstance was a foregone conclusion.

    Howe, Ben. The Immoral Majority (p. 119). Broadside e-books. Kindle Edition.

    It's fascinating seeing the psychology of republicans when Obama came on aboard and how it started the atmosphere that lead to trump.
     
  2. pbluekan

    pbluekan Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    It’s interesting, reading this, when we know from hindsight and later discoveries, that there were no WMDs. That the lives of Iraqi’s are almost inarguably worse now than they’ve ever been. That a great deal of what went on during the Bush Jr. years was a selection of lies and half-truths. Sure, evangelicals can feel persecuted all they want, but that blithely ignores how poorly many of that community treated others.

    I can’t help but notice that much of this self victimization is predicated on personal infallibility.
     
  3. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    For sure. It’s an interesting read. He deals with the victim complex.
    Though I can’t help but notice you’re somewhat engaging in whataboutism there @pbluekan.
    In order to beat Trump, liberals need to accept the part they played in creating him.

    First half of the book deals with the arguments evangelicals use to justify voting for trump and why those are logical fallacies in light of what evangelicals are supposed to believe.
     
  4. Dirty Puzzle

    Dirty Puzzle DA Member DLP Supporter

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    One of my biggest misunderstandings of conservatives and Republicans is that I am honestly baffled that this happens. I know it does, I understand what happened to drive people here in theory, but I can't make the connection because I can't imagine it as a comparison. I honestly can't fathom rejecting something out of hand, not for 95% of issues. Even when I'm pretty certain I've heard a dog-whistle or am talking to a legitimate racist, I usually try to clarify and tease it out before I make a decision, mostly because it doesn't take that long to do so if you know how to push the right buttons. Instead of analyzing why someone might come to the conclusion that you're bigoted or what have you, it's everyone else's fault for calling you on your rhetoric and/or policy?

    Do we tiptoe around issues then? I don't on its face disagree with you---in the sense that we can tie one incident to another on a historical timeline of liberals did [X] that made conservatives mad/caused a kickback, like Roe v Wade etc---but we're not talking about deliberate antagonism for the sake of it, we're talking about vastly different philosophical and political ideologies. For most people, there isn't a middle ground or compromise on abortion or guns or whatever polarizing issue we pick.

    But from that angle, that's the inevitable traditional push back to progressive movements. The counter-Reformation to the Reformation; Big Business re-consolidating into oligopolies after the monopolies being busted up; government regulated the market so the market corrupted the government. Liberals "created" Trump in the sense that they completely failed to anticipate push back to a movement of progressivism that's been building since the late 70s.
    --- Post automerged ---
    And to clarify, I don't think every single thing that results from progressive movements is necessarily good. FDR threw a lot of shit at the wall, and some of it shouldn't've stuck. But some of it, like intersectional feminism, or the forced acknowledgment of wide racial disparities, or LGBT+ rights, those aren't gonna go away. Those have been building for decades now. Now that more and more of these people are finding a political voice, especially aided by social media and the Internet, they're pushing more change more quickly, or at the very least trying to. I don't see that progressivism and push back as anything but inevitable, even if you could make an argument to its execution.
     
  5. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    @tikkier2000 Good stuff and I hear you. I think it’s worth remembering that much of what’s being referenced here is the loudest voices. The loudest voices of the left: the media, the professors in academia did treat the right with disdain. I think you’re younger millennial, I’m 26, but things were different then. Look at how Darry Revan responds to conservatives and my understanding is that was the baseline in the 1990//2000s.

    I wasn’t old enough to be politically engaged then.

    So, conservatives got so inundated with those attacks and seeing people like Bush called racist so much so that it lost all meaning to them.

    And I agree we don’t tiptoe...but insulting people is not good either. Treating conservatives like idiots only prepped them for Trump further.

    Which is why I think the progressive left is also becoming stronger. Just as they helped contribute to that atmosphere, so too is the Trump Right creating the atmosphere that leads to a stronger progressive left.
     
  6. pbluekan

    pbluekan Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Not my intention. I was just commenting on the hypocrisy of what he was writing, and how hindsight has revealed the truth of the issues that were dismissed out of hand.

    That said, if I had to point at anything liberals did in particular that “created” Trump it would be this:
    Truly, I don’t think either party or political affiliation can claim or be blamed for Trump. He’s a manifestation of the dissatisfaction a large portion of society feels for the way the world is developing. If Trump were just something caused by the Conservative/Liberal divide in US politics, we wouldn’t see similar politicians and reactions popping up all over the developed world. Yang has a point: Automation is removing jobs from the market, and that’s not a matter of politics, it’s just one example of how the world is developing as the Information Age matures.

    That said, there is a very singular political party responsible for allowing Trump to run as roughshod over everything as he has. We can play the blame game for who created him and why, but if he isn’t handled, it really doesn’t matter. Sure, that’s whataboutism but so is trying to place/realize blame for his creation.
     
  7. Dirty Puzzle

    Dirty Puzzle DA Member DLP Supporter

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    Yeah tribalism and polarization are hard tailspins to pull out of for sure. I get the feeling a lot of white liberals that wanted to be woke, for lack of a better term, didn't understand the issues enough to do much more than get loud and absolutist about them for quite a while, and it set back actual progress a decent amount, partly because the push back got so heated, as we can see.

    But yeah, that's all speculation on my part because I'm not even quite 19 lol. That's just the vibe I get from both the right and the left that are quite a bit older than me.
    --- Post automerged ---
    It makes it a lot harder from my perspective to tease out the heart of what we're talking about because I full stop don't want to hear rhetorical bullshit, and peeling back those layers can often be the hardest part to actually engaging the argument or policy, at least in my experience so far. And Trump is so far the logical extreme, at this point it isn't even about means, it's entirely about ends, in which case it's not much of a competition imo.
     
  8. Agayek

    Agayek Half-Blood Prince DLP Supporter

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    I'm gonna address this because it's actually a fairly important point that is often lost in modern political discourse. Specifically, you don't have to tiptoe around anything to not treat someone else as stupid, illiterate, or subhuman, and, at a fundamental level, that's a big part of the current divide between the left and right. It's not clear to me if it's a cause or symptom (though if I had to guess, I'd say 'a bit of both'), but at the end of the day, the way to fix that divide ultimately comes down to the fact that you can disagree with someone, even on issues that are vitally important, and still interact with them respectfully, or at the very least not-hostilely.

    People seem to forget that other people have different perspectives and values, and that something that seems obvious and simple to you, could be crossing an inviolable line to another. To use abortion as an example, the debate there largely boils down to "what is the moral value of a fetus?"; pro-choice folks say "None, especially in comparison to the mother's ability to choose", while pro-life folks say "That of a human being". And neither stance is, objectively speaking, wrong. It's simply a conclusion people arrive at because of their value systems. Someone who espouses a different stance than you do isn't too stupid to see the obvious; they're simply approaching the problem from a different angle and weighing its aspects differently.

    What I'm trying to get at here is that the simple fact of the matter is if you talk to people as people and not idiots in need of enlightenment, it is generally much more effective at both maintaining the broader group relationships necessary for society to function and influencing dissenters toward your perspective.
     
  9. Dirty Puzzle

    Dirty Puzzle DA Member DLP Supporter

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    For the vast majority of things, I agree with you. Don't treat people like morons, don't act like someone who disagrees with you is some kind of troglodyte, etc. 98% of the time, yes. Act like a civil person and we might get somewhere.

    My quibble, and ultimately question if I'm being honest, is does that not break down a little when we talk matters of life and death and/or deep conviction? You used abortion as an example, but I bolded above where I think the problem lies. That may be well and good, but if you think your neighbor is killing a child for their own convenience (in most abortion cases)---if you think children are legitimately being murdered---are you going to be that polite about your "disagreement"? The same swings the to the left: if we talk transgender healthcare protections, are trans people inclined to being polite or compromising on issues that can directly effect their lives?

    I don't even personally disagree with you because I'm not religious and my worldview isn't based much in what I'd call convictions, but for those that it is, we're coming down to the matters of personal morality and personal ideology. If a person is inclined to sit down and engage any issue, regardless of morality, like I imagine you are from how you post, then this is a pretty simple matter. But if you're personally convicted in a certain way, I can't imagine these reactions are much better than inevitable.
     
  10. Agayek

    Agayek Half-Blood Prince DLP Supporter

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    That's pretty much the crux of my point. People aren't inclined that way, and it's a big part of the naked hostility underlying most modern political discourse. And the only way to heal that divide is to rise above the base instinct to lash out at perceived attacks.

    At the most fundamental level, what it comes down to is that people need to move past the notion that they are, in fact, the center of the universe, and that disagreement on even vitally important things (like, say, the murder of a child), is not driven by malice or stupidity. And that as a result, their own disagreement must not be driven by those things.

    Disagree with them on it, vociferously if you feel the need. Petition the rest of the society to stand against the things you find negative and for the things you find positive. But be mindful of yourself as much as your opposition, and do your best to ensure that you're championing something because you believe in it, rather than because you hate the people who don't.
     
  11. DR

    DR Secret Squirrel ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I'm Darry Revan and I approve this message:

    Conservative Evangelicals can bitch all they like, but we were right.
    • There were no WMDs.
    • Iraq was built on a lie.
    • Racism is real.
    • LGBT rights should be recognized.
    • Etc.
    So it's pretty fucking galling to be lectured to by Howe or any other jackass about how Trump is our fault. He's an expression of their Id. He's born from their hatred. Not ours.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  12. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Darry sounds like Drarry's slightly less verbose brother.

    The whistleblower's lawyers are alleging that Trump's comments have put their client in danger. Unsurprisingly, there is a reward/bounty of $50000 out already - by the same far-right grifters who wanted to discredit Mueller and Buttigieg last year and in the spring of this year respectively.

    Also, @Agayek , I'm going to assume either malice or stupidity on the part of anyone engaging in climate (or vaccine, on a much smaller scale) denialism, sorry. You don't reject objective reality without either of those two involved at some level.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  13. 13thadaption

    13thadaption Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    I would really like to nod along to this hopeful and even-handed sounding message, but well--
    --sometimes these disagreements are actually driven by malice (and ignorance too, but malice I have a harder time excusing.) To again use abortion as an example, I'm not sure we'd ever come to an agreement, but I could have a civil conversation with someone who was raised with the idea that life began at conception and thus can't accept ending a pregnancy as a morally viable option. But the slew of "pro-life" lawmaking that's been sweeping the country lately? I'm sorry, but while that might be a political stratagy built to take advantage of some people's honest convictions, it's also an act of malice. It is NOT just about conservative policymakers's concern for unborn children--it's about wanting to return to a system of values predicated on the subjugation of women (among other people, but this particular strategy is specifically aimed at women.) It's about controlling women's bodies, sexualities, and lives. It's no longer acceptable to accuse women of being witches when they get uppity, so you've got to be more round-about these days. But it's not a perceived attack, it's just an actual fucking attack. And similar things could be said for any number of divisive headline issues.

    I don't disagree that the rift in the country seems irreparable while both sides are holding on to such serious grievances and poor opinions of each other--but frankly I don't know what healing that rift will look like. It's not as simple as being able the sit down and talk to someone you disagree with, while respecting their fundamental worth as a human being. There's too much money and power to be derived from catering to and capitalizing on that divide. With the imbalance of wealth and privilege being what it is--the power isn't particularly with the people to fix this by being kinder and more rational. It wouldn't hurt to aim for either of those things, but I can't realistically see it bringing systemic change. I suppose I suspect that "healing the divide" will come down to older generations gradually dying off and being replaced by younger and more broadly progressive voters, but I suppose even that is optimistic of me.
     
  14. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    I don’t deny the role the views and temperament of conservatives has in creating trump. Ultimately, it lays on them. I agree he is ultimately their responsibility.

    But yes, you do need to be lectured on this because you still don’t -get- it.

    As wrong as conservatives may have been on issues, that doesn’t justify treating them like idiots or without dignity/respect. You fail to see how years of verbal abuse and propaganda by your people created a bitterness within the right. You created that hatred. You attacked and vilified republicans not as rational debate, but as arrogant assholes

    Should evangelicals have risen above this bitterness? Emphatically yes. They should have taken the high road they used to claim.

    But ultimately, your people played a huge part in creating that bitterness with your arrogance and lack of respect for other views
    --- Post automerged ---
    @13thAdoption it is most certainly not about controlling women’s bodies. Aside from the lunatic fringe, no prolifer makes that argument. It is always about the belief that a fetus is a human being.

    If it could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by that a fetus is not a life. If God came down and said so, the prolife movement would have zero argument and enriched.

    The fact you see it as an attack and malice shows you don’t understand the values of your opponents. And without understanding there can be no empathy.

    And yes I understand there is a lot of malice expressed, it’s not right, but it’s understandable considering the 50+ million dead. When the stakes are so high, your right to choose and decide for yourself doesn’t matter.
     
  15. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I get what you're saying @Arthellion but its incredibly difficult to have empathy for the views or values of someone who is trying to take your rights away. As a gay man should I demonstrate empathy for people who want to remove my right to get married? For people who want to remove my workplace protections, and even my right to have sex with the partner of my choice? Should a trans person have empathy with people who deny that they exist?
     
  16. ThePinkTomato

    ThePinkTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Given their habit of treating my LGBT friends like they're fundamentally flawed and/or going to suffer in hell for eternity because of the way they were born, treating them like idiots is a very mild response. If a conservative just happened to disagree on how the country should proceed economically however, they're certainly not going to be treated like a kind of loon who thinks climate change is a hoax aimed at stealing their money.
     
  17. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    Agree? Certainly not. Empathy and respect? Yes. I can't even imagine the struggle and hardship you have to deal with as a result of other's bigotry, so please know I do recognize this isnt something easy. Even if the other person does not show you the same courtesy, it is the moral responsibility to show dignity and respect to others even if they don't necessarily deserve it. This is about you as a person and our responsibility to create an environment of civil discourse even if the other side is unwilling.

    And for what its worth, I'm quick to call out such bigotry among my right wing friends and encourage them to also show empathy and love regardless of our moral views on homosexuality.

    It's about taking the higher road. Their bigotry/hatred/etc. doesn't justify you acting like an asshole.
     
  18. ThePinkTomato

    ThePinkTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I'm not a turn the other cheek kind of guy. If people want my respect, I demand respect in turn. If they can't muster that, fuck 'em.
     
  19. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    If you had conservative values, you'd have voted for Trump then. The common refrain I hear is "we were tired of turning the other cheek."
     
  20. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I don't think you realise how tiring it is day after day to be abused and degraded and to try and respond with civility and respect. If religious bigots want to be respected and well treated, they should damn well start treating people how they themselves would like to be treated.

    If you want me to be a second class citizen, don't expect me to take it lying down.
     
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