While I come from the Republican heartland that he disses, and some of this made me wince, a really funny piece from Mark Morford that came out after DOMA and Prop 8 were struck down made me laugh out loud:
"Is it like this across conservative America, too? Are there any smart, shimmering towns full of hardcore Republicans that frequently erupt in spontaneous outpourings of joy and wild bliss after some major sociocultural upheaval lands in its favor?
Here is my guess: Probably not.
Hey, I might be wrong. Do you know if tens of thousands of ecstatic citizens overflow the wine bars and buy up all the champagne in Utah and South Carolina whenever America, say, brutally invades some developing nation for its oil, or builds a new razor-wire fence against them damnable Mexicans, or when some duplicitous cardinal from the Catholic Church works like a demon to shield millions of church dollars from sex abuse victims?
Do overjoyed conservatives rush out in their finest, glitteriest, most awesomely silly partywear whenever the Defense Department approves a new, billion-dollar weapon of mass destruction? Are there outrageous public celebrations all over Arkansas and Kentucky when basic background checks fail to pass an acidic, NRA-molested Congress?"
I like being part of the progressive culture that dances in the streets (or anywhere else, for that matter) when good things happen. But in fairness to conservatives, it's not like they never get wild and crazy and party hearty. Conservatives went out to Utah last week to a FreedomWorks convention, and thanks to a remarkable progressive journalist named Lauren Windsor, we got some video of what conservatives say when they are hanging out together and letting themselves go and get all funky. Now admittedly, they don't go dancing in the streets the way progressives do. What they do instead is bay at the moon. They talk about their selfish, paranoid, ego-puffing fantasies; they make truly mind-twisting analogies. When these people are hanging out together and encouraging each other to howl ever more loudly at that right wing moon they see in their imaginations, it is a weird twisted world.
Take a look at just a couple of these videos, it is worth knowing what these FreedomWorks right wingers talk about when they are partying with their friends.
First up, and always fun, is a tea party Republican (from Arizona, no less) trashing John McCain (after rather bizarrely joking about violence in Egypt by pretending to paint his eyes like an Egyptian -- it is a little creepy). He then goes on to ask of himself as to whether he is a hobbit or whether he is brilliant. (I think it is a trick question, as he is clearly not brilliant, and the hobbits were community-minded folk who sacrificed themselves on behalf of others, so he's clearly not one of them either.) Here's Congressman David Schweikert:
The right wing continues to obsess about stopping Obamacare, and Windsor has a funny video here with far-right Utah Sen. Mike Lee on an extended muse about his latest master strategy for repeal (it's as much a fantasy as every other of these strategies). But my favorite of Windsor's Lee videos is this one, where he compares people getting health care coverage under Obamacare to crack addicts. (No, you did not misread that.)
Windsor is coming out with a series of videos from the FreedomWorks event in Utah, they are all worth checking out here.
Being a progressive, I am a tolerant guy, so you conservatives should feel free to party however you see fit. But I'm glad for the sake of my humanity that I am part of the progressive movement, and not the conservative one. What a sad, obsessive world modern-day conservatives live in: obsessed that senior citizens and little kids and people with disabilities and those who live in poverty might be getting a free ride off the government; obsessed with trying to avoid paying taxes to support the basic government paid for infrastructure that helps us all; obsessed that Obamacare might actually allow a poor person or a young person or just someone with a pre-existing medical condition to get decent health insurance; obsessed that someone with a different sexual orientation than themselves might be able to get married or get a job. And then there's the poor guy who's still trying to decide whether he is brilliant or a hobbit. It's a tough life for conservatives having to worry about all this, and their only outlet for all this this craziness is when they get together at these meeting for the chance to bay at the moon.
Now, don't get me wrong -- progressives don't have perfectly joy-filled lives either. We tend to wake up angry at all the injustice in the world, a world where too many people still go hungry and too few people have way more money and power than they should. We have too few politicians who share our values, and sometimes even those who seem to are all too willing to sell out those values when the going gets tough. There is so much money on the side of corporate and right wing special interests, and not nearly enough on ours. And our movement has all the same human weaknesses as any other -- circular firing squads, petty power games and ego squabbles, sometimes a lack of focus and lack of strategic vision.
But for all that, what the progressive movement shares is a belief in community and the common good, a belief that our fates are woven together and that we should give a hand up to those of our brethren who have stumbled and fallen. We share the idea that, as Martin Luther King framed it, that we should have a society based on the principle of love, not intolerance. We believe that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, that we should be our brother's and sister's keepers, that we should treat others the way we would want to be treated. We believe that another's death diminishes us all, and that an injustice to one is an injustice to all. We believe that our hearts should be bigger than our wallets.
And we believe in leaping, leaping and dancing for joy, in the streets and everywhere else, when good things happen that make people's lives better. That makes me feel lucky to be on this side of the political aisle.