Undermining the Patriarchy Every Chance I Get. And I Get a Lot of Chances

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The Politics of Contempt

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

@BenjySarlin is right:  Although today Mitt Romney told a crowd in Las Vegas that, "I'm convinced that the path [Obama's] put us on is the path to Europe.  Or, I jokingly say...to California," it's difficult to imagine Obama telling a crowd, even jokingly, that, "I'm convinced that the path Romney would put us on is the path to Mississippi."  And if he did, the outrage would be unending.

Old Dr. Jung was onto something when he wrote about shadows and projection.  For decades, the political Right has loudly insisted that the political Left holds "regular Americans" in contempt.  (They've been admirably vague about precisely who is a "real" American; allows everyone to image that they must be insulting someone else.)  Spiro Agnew announced that Americans who opposed the war in Viet Nam were an "an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals."  The Moral Majority whipped up lower-income, white Christians by implying that an "immoral minority" of snobby liberals looked down on the "moral majority" as it eroded "American values."  George W. Bush, a child of generations of financial and educational privilege, ran as a brush-clearing Texas rancher with whom you'd love to have a beer, against John Kerry as a rich, "French," jet-skiing (apparently, only rich liberals jet ski) liberal.  (We'll just ignore the fact that Bush bought that ranch just before beginning his political campaign, cleared brush only in front of the media, and sold the ranch immediately upon leaving the White House.)  Despite decades of economic policies that hurt working-class Americans, the Right has been able to paint the Left as made up of arugula-eating, latte-drinking, snobs.

In the current campaign season, the Right has oddly let slip the pleasant veneer of  regular-guy-respect for the middle class.  The slippage has been evident for some time (see, e.g., Anne Romeny's discussion of "You People"), but it went mainstream overnight when Mother Jones released  a tape of Mitt Romney talking at a private fundraiser to "his base<" -- people who could afford to attend a $50,000 a plate fundraiser at the home of a hedge fund manager with a taste for sex parties.  (Hey, I belong to a religion that believes that all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess, but I do wonder how this is supposed to go over with those middle-class "value voters," the old "moral majority" people who hate sex unless it's being enjoyed by Sarah Palin's abstinence-supporting, unmarried daughter or a hedge fund manager who raises money for a Mormon millionaire.)

What does all of this have to do with Pagans?  The vast majority of American Pagans are lower- to middle-class people.  Many Pagans choose to do work that they love, even if it doesn't make them wealthy.  Others scrape by on Tarot readings, healing services, selling herbal concoctions.  The sight of a respected Pagan elder having to beg money on the internet to cover medical expenses has become far too common.  And, of course, there's the almost absolute intolerance of the Right for minority religions.   

Early voting opened today in many states and election day is a mere forty-some days away.  It's time to stop voting for people who hold us in contempt.  Conservative Pagans who can't find it in their heart to vote for Barack Obama (as a Progressive, I share their reluctance, although from another direction) should be aware that they have other options.  Gary Johnson is running as a Libertarian.  Virginians can vote for Virgil Goode, running as the Constitution Party candidate. I think their policies will hurt middle-class Pagans, as well, but at least they don't claim that those Pagans "don't care about their own lives," as Romney did.      

Watch for a future post concerning voting for environmental values.

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HecateDemeter is a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an ecofeminist, a lawyer, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth.

Comments

  • Tom Terrific
    Tom Terrific Monday, 24 September 2012

    Like old Dr. Jung, I think you’re onto something as you write about shadows and projection. As it happens, if Obama told a crowd, “I'm convinced that the path Romney would put us on is the path to Mississippi,” the outrage would be almost non-existent, because the news media would sweep it under the rug, as it does nearly everything Obama says or does that might put him in a bad light.

    Since you feel that the political Right is remarkably vague about what constitues a “real American,” let me clear it up for you. A “real American” is someone who believes in the principles upon which the country was founded, namely, inherent rights and the equal dignity of all human beings. Because these values are enshrined in a national constitutional and legal framework and (supposedly) protected on a national basis, a “real American” is also a nationalist. Progressivism is an internationalist movement that attacks both of these founding principles – despite any lip-service to the contrary – and Progressivism is the American political Left of today.

    Like you, I also belong to a religion that believes that all acts of love and pleasure are rituals to the Goddess; but, despite the many disagreements I have with the Christian Right, I recognize that the survival of my country is more important than scoring self-righteous political points by voting for someone who has proven himself a total incompetent simply because he belongs to the “if it feels good, do it” party.

    Your suggestion, that Conservative Pagans vote for a third-party candidate, made me smile. You know that a vote for a candidate who can’t win is a vote for the more likely winner from the two major parties – who, I must suppose, you believe is Obama.

    Oh, and, incidentally: the Right doesn’t have to paint the Left as being composed of snobs. The Left does a damn good job of doing that on their own. I whole-heartedly agree that it’s time to stop voting for people who hold us in contempt. Obviously, therefore, I won't be voting for Obama.

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