Monday, December 26, 2016

I Am the Middle Ground

Someone told me the other day, "You need to come to a middle a ground," in relation to my recent political posts and thoughts. I need to come to a middle ground. Hmm...
Actually, I've been told similar things by a lot of Trump supporters, that I am not being tolerant of them and their positions. To that, I say that it is not actually okay to be tolerant of other people's intolerance, that's equivalent to saying that it's okay for the guy down the street to beat his children because it's none of your business what goes on in his house. However, that's not exactly legally true, as you might be accountable if you know there is child abuse going on and didn't do anything about it. Basically, though, this:
Being tolerant of other people's racism is not being tolerant of alternate worldviews; it's participating in racism. In other words, it doesn't make you tolerant, it makes you racist.

Just like not reporting known child abuse can make you accountable for that crime even though you had nothing physically to do with it.
Funny how that works, isn't it? (Yes, for the impaired of you out there, that's sarcasm.)

As for me needing to find a middle ground, let's look at that:

Our nation was founded on the stated belief that "all men are created equal." That was our stated Declaration and reason for our Revolution. So that creates for us a Middle Ground that looks something like this:
(L=liberal, C=conservative)

Of course, that's not how we actually started out. It was a good ideal, but our nation started with a "small" problem that the Founding Fathers were unable to deal with. As such, the wheel looked like this:
It took about 80 years for the social liberals in the government to turn the wheel. And a war. That led us to this:
That lasted through the 1960s, when social liberals, again, managed to turn the wheel to something like the first image:
Of course, that didn't happen without a lot of... turbulence..., to put it lightly. And social conservatives have been pushing back against it ever since. In fact, they have been pushing back against everything that social liberals have done going back to FDR. Newt Gingrich sort of led the charge in the 80s, but it really picked up in the 90s as a response to Bill Clinton's Presidency. What we have, now, is something that looks more like this:
Now, this is where the racism comes in with Trump and those who voted for him. If Trump and his cohorts (people like Steve Bannon) get their way, they will turn the wheel back to the pre-60s wheel with the C at the top. It's already going that way with laws being passed in some states (like North Carolina) which disenfranchise African Americans. Trump supporters, whether they "feel" racist or not, are actively participating in putting in place people who want to enact policies to bring this about:
So... It doesn't matter how you feel about yourself and whether you feel like you're racist or not -- even people like Steve Bannon, David Duke, and Richard Spencer claim not to be racist -- it matters what actions you take. Supporting Trump means you support a racist agenda, an agenda which promotes white supremacy, and that puts you in the racist camp, or Team Racism. And I wouldn't put it past Bannon and friends to want to flip the dial back upside down all together.

The point, though, is this:
In a world where we consider slavery to be wrong and equality to be right, 
this world:
Then I am the middle ground. The problem is that those on the Right, conservatives and fundamentalists of whatever sorts, have pushed their bar so far to the right...

(and in a world where white cops can routinely shoot unarmed black men and not suffer any consequences for it, we are certainly far, far into the Racial Inequality section of the Social Justice Wheel)
They have pushed it so far to the right that I now seem to be standing on the far left. To them. Because I haven't moved. I'm still standing in the same place where I believe in equality for all men. All people.

People, this is where we make our stand, a stand for equality. A stand for "all men are created equal." If we allow the Trumps and Bannons and Farages to spin the wheel back around so that the Conservatives are in ascendance, it will likely take decades to move it back to a place where equality for all is again a goal. We can't let that happen.

This is a time for standing up for what is right, not look to meet conservatives somewhere in the middle, because in the middle is already too far from equality. A Trump presidency is wrong, not because he's a Republican (he's not), but because he and his ilk represent and perpetuate an evil on the world, and we can't step aside and let that happen in the name of "finding the middle ground."

We are the middle ground, and we need to claim it and hold fast to it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


Additional Note:
You may have noticed that there is nothing on the liberal side of my Social Justice Wheel:
That's because we've never been there, so I'm not really sure what's over there. I think conservatives have the irrational fear that it's some form of socialism or communism (even though they really have no idea what those terms actually mean), the ultimate evil to many, many conservatives. [I got called a communist recently on FB for posting a quote from Abraham Lincoln about racial equality.] However, if I had to guess, I would guess it would be something like this:
Clearly, we are nowhere near to approaching that! And it may be the thing that social conservatives fear the most. I mean, if we let women be equal to men, we might have to admit that they sometimes ought to be in charge.


  1. I'm so sick of people telling those who are pissed about the outcome of the election that they should "try to understand" the other side because if I don't then I'm just as bad as them. That is just so beyond bullshit that bullshit doesn't even describe it. They have to stop putting it on us to compromise.

    1. Jeanne: It's because they feel guilt and want us to assuage that by telling them it's okay.
      Except it's not okay, and they need to keep being told it's not okay until they get it.

  2. I did love that last comment about women in charge. What a novel idea. . .and for the record, inequality is never okay. I think you have responded well to those who wanted you to find middle ground. We may have to accept the distasteful, and the boorish, but we don't have to like it or embrace it. I, for one, cannot stand the constant smug look on a certain face. . .

    1. D.G.: Mitch McConnel's? Because someone, to not put it delicately, needs to punch that smirk right off of him.

      Oh, wait... You meant the "Great Orange One."

    2. Yes, the big T, but that Mitch guy, too. . .

  3. Excellent points here, Andrew. Excellent arguments overall. Exactly: the 'middle ground' we're constantly being harangued to find (we = liberals) is, quite simply, *nowhere* close to the middle at all. And pretending it is would be more damaging; that's how perspectives get skewed totally out of shape. No, you're right: we need to stand our ground. It's not us that have moved to the left; it's the rest of the world that's sliding down an oiled slope towards the right.
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

    1. Guilie: And it does seem to be the rest of the world, which is the really scary part. We're just being pushed closer and closer to mutually assured destruction.

  4. Sorry I missed this the first time around, but it was REALLY well written, and it echoes something I read by Will Leitch yesterday at the start of an NFL roundup; Leitch's take was that people who try to avoid the controversies are the ones that are letting this all happen; yours is more that people have been allowed to shift the argument.

    That's really what you're saying here: Trump supporters say racist things. People like us say "that's racist and it's terrible." Trump supporters say "You should respect my views and try to find common ground." We then argue about whether we should respect their views.

    But that's like arguing about whether I should respect my kid's views that 'going to school is dumb." Arguing about respecting a viewpoint is not arguing ABOUT THE SUBJECT. The more we argue about whether we should or should not continue to point out that Trump believes sexual assault is okay, the less we argue about whether sexual assault IS OKAY or not.

    It's a classic way that bad people take advantage of good people's nature: change the argument. Once, I babysat for my brother (who is a loser. A real loser and a jerk and I no longer interact with him at all.) Anyway, he said I'd need to babysit for about 2 hours. He was then gone for EIGHT HOURS. His kids got more and more nervous and scared and I didn't have a car at the time and he had little food in the house, so I was trying to take care of his hungry scared kids while he had disappeared.

    To distract them, we cleaned the house up and took down the Xmas tree. (IT WAS FEBRUARY by the way. Not making that up at all.) The kids enjoyed it, the house felt nicer (he was a slob) and it distracted them from wondering where the $(#$%&$ their dad was.

    So when he finally showed up, he walked in the door, looked around, and began YELLING AT ME for taking down the tree, saying how he wanted to do that with his kids and I'd deprived him of that.

    I started arguing about why it was okay to take down the tree, then thought better and said "Where the $*$^%& were you for the past six hours? Your kids were worried sick and had no food."

    He kept yelling about the tree and refused to take me home. I kept telling him he was a terrible dad and brother for disappearing for 8 hours like that, and rode the bus.

    Trump supporters are my brother. They will attack your actions to avoid defending their own. When someone says something racist and you say it's racist and they say you should be tolerant, you should just say "It was racist, take it back or leave."

    I keep hoping that maybe things will not be too bad. That is tempered by a hope that they will be REALLY BAD and people will finally decide that this whole conservative schtick really is harmful. Forty years of fake Reaganism covering for racism, sexism, and elitism -- plus income shifts to the top 1% -- is too much.

    1. Briane: Well, if your brother had wanted to take the tree down with his kids, he wouldn't have waited until February to do it. That's one thing I have learned: If it's something you want to do, you do it.

      And, inversely, you don't do things you don't want to do, which is why people who voted for Trump need to quit saying they didn't want to vote for him. If they hadn't wanted to, they wouldn't have done it.

      And, well, conservatives will never decide the whole conservative schtick is harmful. In most cases, they are literally incapable of thinking any other way, at least once they get out of their 20s. The worldview sort of becomes hardwired because they never learned to think and to expand their thought processes. If you can get people to boil down the one (or few) reasons they voted for Trump, you can see this, because they couldn't expand their minds to get past whatever that one (or few) thing was. Like:

      One person said he didn't like Trump but would never support a baby killer like Hilary who supports partial birth abortions.

      On person said, "If you have a swinging dick, you need to go to a bathroom for people with swinging dicks. Period."

      One guy said, "I want a raise, and I will never get that if the Dems raise the minimum wage."

      It's all people stuck in their own conservative hangups, and they can't see beyond themselves to what is the greater good.

      I don't know where I'm going with any of that; it's just what came to mind.