Rep. Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, is mounting a challenge against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and argues that Democrats are hurt by a paint-by-numbers view of politics. “We try to slice the electorate up,” Ryan said on Meet the Press over the weekend. “And we try to say, ‘You’re black, you’re brown, you’re gay, you’re straight, you’re a woman, you’re a man.’”Mr Lowry suggests that paying attention to what we used to understand as mainstream Americans might help.
Ryan might have pointed to a critique of his own leadership bid by a writer at the website ThinkProgress, who opined that his run against Pelosi “is how sexism works.” How so? Ryan is a male; Pelosi is a woman. Q.E.D.
Outside of its political effects, this style of argument is childish and intellectually deadening, yet is too ingrained and widespread on the left to be extricated easily.
What Democrats won’t want to grapple with is that their problem with Middle America goes deeper than an insufficiently socialistic economic agenda, and deeper than their hard-to-control instinct to call people who disagree with them names. To have broader appeal, Democrats will actually have to meet working-class voters partway on a few cultural issues, whether it is abortion or guns or immigration, even if their concessions are symbolical or rhetorical.Yes, and Thirty-something Wendy Caldwell elaborates. "Attention Liberals: We Are Part of the Problem." First: stop the condescension.
This is what Bill Clinton did in the 1990s when he made inroads into what would come to be known as Red America. This will be a truly painful step, and surely anyone advocating it will be accused of every -ism and -phobia in the book.
Nobody wants to be told that their beliefs and opinions are invalid because they don't know any better. If we want to make changes in this country, we need to win elections. We cannot do that if we treat everyone as though we are more enlightened than they are. Think back to your high school days. Was the class president the smartest person in your grade? Probably not. It was probably someone who was popular - someone who knew how to make and keep friends. It was probably someone who was good at getting people to like him/her.This is going to be difficult, as there is a long tradition of activism as pedantry. "Have you read The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon?" But in the just-ended presidential, the frat boy beat teacher's pet. Just saying. " What we do not do - what we cannot do - is belittle others by putting on airs of intellectual superiority. This has not worked, and it will not work. Nobody likes a know-it-all, even if they are right." Yes, and too often the self-styled progressives get it wrong. But that's Mr Lowry's forum.
Ms Caldwell also suggests that the identity politics crowd stop treating the protected status people as mascots. Empathy matters. Empathy matters to people The Anointed would rather refer to as deplorables, too.
We've gotten so caught up in our enlightened crusades that we've forgotten that not everyone fits into one of these demographics that we are so apt to try and rescue. In an ideal society, every citizen votes. Everyone. And that means that if we expect to win elections, we certainly cannot neglect half of the voters just because they have a certain kind of privilege, skin color, or social class. Ironically, we are often striving for equality among people of all levels of privilege, of all skin colors, and of all social classes.Plus call a halt to the Oppression Olympics.
I realize this stance may be a bit unpopular, but we have to live in reality. I've spent a lot of time reflecting over the last few days, and I've heard this subject come up more than once, and it was done so by the latest liberal villain: the privileged white man. Donald Trump overwhelming won the white vote (men and women). Of course, the natural response is to say he won the racist vote. That is probably true, as several known racist groups endorsed him. However, not everyone who voted for him is racist (I'll get to that later). If this is the case, why did white Americans come out in such large numbers in support of him?
There are many reasons, I am sure, but one of the main ones is probably that he validated their concerns instead of dismissing them. Yes, having white skin in this country affords one certain privileges. I, for instance, have been pulled over by police officers many times. Never once have I felt that my life was in danger. Never once have I been afraid of anything other than the cost of the ticket, which I usually do not even get. I recognize this is largely due to the way I look, and there is nothing I can do about that. However, that does not mean I do not have problems that should be taken seriously.
We have gotten into the unseemly habit of making a contest out of people's struggles. Sure, that middle-aged white man who has been unemployed for 8 months has it rough, but think of how much worse it would be for him if he were an Hispanic woman. Of course it would be more difficult. We usually learn growing up that someone always has it better than we do, and someone always has it worse. But how is saying that going to help that man get a job? It won't.Congratulations, you've just pointed out how empty intersectionality theory is. It's useful to have empathy or sympathy for someone in a worse state than you. It's also useful to be upset when people don't take advantage of the favorable circumstances they find themselves in. (That may be part of the appeal of Mr Trump's "We are being governed by stupid people.")
By all means, go, read, understand both essays; weigh the arguments, draw your own conclusions.
I have a railroad to build.