Since last Tuesday I’ve done a lot of soul searching about a liberal’s place in society. My first attempt at a cathartic rant (penned late Tuesday evening) would have gotten me nowhere in the larger scheme of things. So I spent Wednesday rationalizing things to myself. I had an extremely interesting conversation with someone at work, who I found out just on Wednesday was an enormous Democratic supporter. However, I found my closure for the election this morning, via First Draft. Steve Gilliard has an email up on his blog from mg_65 that is The Mother of All Cathartic Rants. It is long, and it is Good. If you know me personally, and want to know why this election pained me so and either can’t or won’t discuss it with me face-to-face, please read this. It describes, with wit and facts, everything that I have felt since Tuesday.
We (blue states) are populated by liberal people. Not the demonized liberals of GOP spin points, but of people who genuinely want better lives for people that aren’t us. People that are downtrodden. People that have had bad luck in life. People who didn’t have the resources we had growing up. Yet we “bi-coastal elites” and hedonists are vilified by the red state “majority.” But here is the ugly, ugly truth for our friends in Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, and everywhere else in the “heartland”. I’ll let Steve’s mystery contributor tell you him(her)self:
Take me, for example: I can write a sonnet. I can design and install a security system. I can sew. I know how to change a baby’s diapers.
I keep my household clean and comfortable. I am fiscally responsible. I can take care of animals. I know Photoshop and Quark and MS Word and Excel and Filemaker and Outlook and I can build and maintain a database and I can write ad copy and send a fax and build a bookcase and change the locks. I know how to research. I can quickly and clearly explain quantum mechanics and Jungian theory and then I’ll fix the wiring. I know sales, too–how to sell stupid people things they don’t want, don’t need and can’t afford. I can teach difficult technical material to exhausted adult ESL students at the end of a long day. I can successfully waiter in a busy NYC restaurant and I know how to plant and care for a garden. I can ride a bicycle.
I can beat your ass in Scrabble. I make really, really good coffee. I know how to throw a party that’s actually fun. I am capable of smiling in the face of cruelty for a bigger tip so I can pay my bills. I know first aid.
You can say, “OK, Moira, if you’re so smart, how come you’re not rich?” And I’ll tell you two things: first, my ideal of happiness and comfort is not rooted in grubbing after money. And second, because I’m an artist and that means I have spent my life providing service, entertainment and comfort to right-wing fucks who then spit on me, revile and mock me, call me a traitor and a terrorist sympathizer and a communist and a “Massachusetts Liberal” like that’s an insult, call me childish and naïve and blah blah fucking blah. Who kick me when I’m down. Who will beat me and jail me as soon as they think they can get away with it.
But they still come whining and crying to me when they need something done. When they need comfort. When they need to know something. When they need my tax dollars to pay them to sit on their fat red state asses and shiver in mortal fear of terrorists who aren’t even interested in them anyway.
And I know you, my fellow lefties, are the same. You know how to write books, while you’re raising a family. You know how to cook, you know how to nurse someone you love through an ugly death. I’ve seen you do it. You know how to fix motors and do groundbreaking science and ride a horse and deal with heartbreak. You know how to clean, load, shoot and safely store a gun. You know how to make beautiful art and smile when your feet hurt.
You know how to hide behind trees and shoot Redcoats. You know how to run an underground railway and get women the right to vote and you know how to boycott cotton and sit at a lunch counter in Alabama. You know this: you’ve marched and protested and been beaten and you’ve gone hungry and sent money and you gave us everything we have.
But they don’t want any of it. They hate you for it. They feel oppressed by it.
update: I read by the intro so quickly I didn’t notice that the content was from an email Steve received and not by him personally. I’ve updated the entry to reflect that.
— I can whazz, but can some hick in Alabama?