The End of Conservatism (is a wildly misleading headline for this, my more tempered reaction to the 2012 election)

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My first point is my favorite: we kicked the shit out of the Republicans.  Actually, that felt so good that I’m going to make that point again using the exact same language. We kicked the shit out the Republicans.  Still feels good, so I’ll try it a little differently now.  See that big pile of shit on the floor?  That used to be in a Republican, but my liberal friends and I ganged up and kicked him repeatedly until the pain became overwhelming, and in a moment so humiliating and emotionally crippling that it will undoubtedly haunt him for the remainder of his life, he voided his bowels.  Take that, Injustice! (Okay, that one was too far.  If it helps, don’t imagine the Republican as weak or George Will-like, but stout and strong like Karl Rove or Abraham Lincoln).

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I’m digressing.  A lot of people have said that this victory feels more hollow than the last one, now that we know that the nation can’t truly unite around President Obama.  To that I say bunk.  And to the question of why I’m using words like bunk, I say fuck you, I want to say bunk.

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Most thinking people knew there’d be no consensus, nor should there be.  Remember when Democrats decided to give Bush a consensus to show national unity in the wake of 9/11?  It only turned out to be the worst idea of this century anywhere in the world.  Parties are supposed to check one another, to fight, and to stop each other from getting too big.  This time around, the GOP fought dirty and they fought for keeps.  They rattled their sabers until their poor sabers got concussions, said Obama was the worst president in American history, in any history, said he was out for the blood of our founders, that the survival of all American dreams are at stake in this election.  Then we kicked them until they shit themselves.  I’m not worried about building consensus.  We fought, we won—fuck you and your consensus.

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So maybe we can start out by asking what does this election mean for Republicans?  Not as much as you may think, I’m afraid.  For as much dick-swinging as the left is doing, let’s remember that we ran one of the most charismatic and gifted politicians in our lifetime, had the advantage of incumbency, were going against a dog-torturing downsize-artist, and we won by two points.  Maybe all they have is rage and a fat stack of money, but that almost gets you one vote out of two.

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Still, the future doesn’t look bright for our GOP partners.  We traded Indiana for Florida (probably the two worst states, but ours has more people and smells a little better).  They can’t count on The Rust Belt (Ohio, Pennsylvania), The Cocaine Belt (Florida, The Bush Compound), or The I-Wanna-Fuck-This-Prostitute-So-Help-Me-Take-Off-This Belt (Nevada).  Moreover, the trends are trending and those trends tend to portend bad ends for our GOP friends.  They’re getting older, more isolated, smellier, both closer to and more deserving of death.  Bill O’Reilly yells at his audience so much, because it’s the only way these people can hear them.  Plus, given that Obama will soon force them into a gay marriage and a death panel, I don’t know if they’ll be around to vote for Rand Paul in 2016.

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Liberals, on the other hand, are younger, multi-racial, and, thanks to all the organic food and condoms, reasonably healthy.  Are we going to get more conservative as we get older?  Please.  You’re just saying that because it has happened to every single generation everywhere in the history of the world.  The world belongs to us now, right?

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Nope.  Lost in the liberal circle jerk is the reality that the American government is much more conservative than it was thirty years ago.   Ronald Reagan, the whore of The Heritage Foundation, would be far too liberal to represent the Republican Party today.  A lot of people bring that up as a totem to show how crazy Republicans have become, but what does it say about us?  How did this pot-legalizing, sodomy-indifferent, anti-war country become okay with an economic system that makes the 1980’s Greed-Is-Holy yuppies blush?  The truth is that we’re not okay with it.  We know it’s not right, and we’re not happier.  America isn’t more conservative—its representatives are and nobody likes it.

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I see it as a problem of language.  We accept the basic definitions of the right wing, and try to moderate within those realms.  It’s a problem exacerbated by two presidents I very much admire—Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  These Democrats played within the rules the conservatives set, let them walk off the cliff and plucked the low-hanging fruit.  Except no matter how far we let them wander, it’s still 49-51.  And that’s a problem.

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It’s not a political problem—we’re set up pretty well as far as politics go.  But it is a problem in that Bob Dole’s health care plan (now called Obamacare, a mandate to fund the private insurance companies at the root of the problem) is now considered Marxism, and George HW Bush’s environmental plan (Cap and Trade) is considered a war on America.  But more than that, it’s a problem because it sells half of America short.  I’m a die-hard, no apologies liberal—I hate the pussy term “progressive”—and I think most conservative ideas are stupid and dangerous.  But I don’t think most conservative people are stupid and dangerous.  And this is where it comes down to language.

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If something is going to change this election, let it be the way we consider our words.  For instance, look Rush Limbaugh’s reaction to losing the election.  Mr. Limbaugh and I don’t agree on issues of politics or whether or not he fucks little children, but I still kind of like him.  After all, if every self-righteous drug addict was prevented from screeching his opinions then my Thanksgivings would become a lot less interesting.  So I tuned into his radio show on Wednesday in part to hear what conservatives thought of the previous night’s vote and in part because I wanted to bask in his gravy-like tears.  His opening salvo surprised me, and, frankly, it made me a little sad.

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“It is practically impossible to beat Santa Claus,” said the man who resembles Santa Claus, if St. Nick liked Viagra and Oxycontin.  “People are not going to vote against Santa Claus, especially if the alternative is being your own Santa Claus…I went to bed last night thinking, ‘we’re outnumbered,'” he said. “I went to bed last night thinking we’d lost the country. I don’t know how else you look at this. The first wave of exit polls came in at five o’clock. I looked at it, and I said … ‘this is utter BS, and if it isn’t, then we’ve lost the country.'”

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Got that?  The only problem with America is Americans who are a bunch of fucking spoiled children wanting a Santa Claus.  The problem with America is you.  Not because you’re reading a liberal website.  Not because you’re reading, though that makes you suspect.  It’s because you’re an American.  You’re a beggar, and he’s lost the country.

So he’s mad, and that’s his right. And of course, he never had the country to begin with, but okay, he’s hurt and he’s lashing out.  Except that he has now forever thrown away the notion that he’s a patriot.  He actively dislikes most Americans (at least most voting Americans, and I don’t imagine he has a lot of kind words for those who stayed at home).

Of course, no one is obliged to love their country and there’s no shame in not being a patriot—especially given how the word patriot has been degraded to mean blind adherence to your country.  By this definition, do you know who absolutely wasn’t a patriot? Thomas Jefferson.  He broke away from his country, formed a new country, and fought a war against his given nation.  But Thomas Jefferson wrestled with these issues, and made a conscious choice to commit treason.  Rush Limbaugh insults Americans, then goes to sleep tonight in a haze of Pork Rinds and Yoohoo, nestled between his fourth wife and his Reagan Real Doll, secure in the knowledge that he is a patriot and you are not.

He can do this because we’ve ceded the word patriot.  We give him our language and in exchange pick up the milquetoast Senators and Representatives, thinking it does no harm.  But now that we have a clear majority, can we at least politely ask the other side to stop spitting in our face?

So, friends, I propose, now that we’ve won a reasonably decisive victory, we don’t have to settle for something as abstract as taking our country back—this was always our country, theirs too—let’s instead take our language back.

You see, when the other side says, “The founding fathers would say…” they mean “I say…” When they say “This socialist agenda…” they mean “That idea I disagree with…”  When they say “Ronald Reagan” they mean “Me” and when they say “George W Bush” they mean “Me when I’m drunk”, when they say “Jesus Christ” they mean, “Me when I can successfully suppress my gay thoughts.”  When I protested the Iraq War, they were out there with American flags, in counter-protest, chanting “USA-USA” but they really meant “Me-Me-Me, Me-Me-Me”.  When they say “Tea Parties” they mean “Tea Parties”—where little kids dress up and pretend to be someone else more sophisticated and adult than they are.  And that’s cool.  Pretending is fun.  But from now on, because there are more of us than there are of you, we are going to decode you.

You can’t chant USA without us reminding you that the USA twice elected Barack Obama and rejects all you stand for.  Don’t dismiss us by saying “Class Warfare.”  You’re terrified of class warfare because so far it’s been you all winning a very effective guerilla class warfare.  On top of that, you can’t say “socialism” unless you have the remotest fucking clue what a socialist is.  Your secret is out.  You say “socialist” because after Bush, you can’t scare anybody by saying “liberal.”  Because America is liberal, and we won’t hate the phrase anymore if we know what it means.

But that’s not enough.  We need to change the language in the way the news is reported.  Why is a line in the DOW going up or down supposed to mean dick to me?  I don’t own stock.  Finding out it’s gone up or down is like finding out if the terror threat level is orange or yellow, a daily bit of outdated nonsense.  Don’t tell me about how much the stock sold for—tell me if the workers got paid, and if the jobs stayed in America.  Why does the GDP have to constantly be going up if the value of money goes down?  This is banker logic and banker language.  Wall Street is a Gallup Poll, except one we’ve been conned into believing matters.  I’d much rather hear a report about workers than a report our national shell game.

And without your linguistic advantage, GOP, what do you have? Your ideas are unpopular, your voting base is aging, and your death rattles don’t frighten us anymore.  Sure, there’s a parallel between 2012 and 2004, and we worked our way out of that mess.  If you can resist nominating Paul Ryan, you have a few decent ponies in your stable.  But here’s what you don’t understand—in 2004, we had a message problem. You have an issues problem.  We were bad salesmen trying to sell a good product.  You all are Mitt Romney trying to sell outsourcing your job and having no recreational sex.

But let’s not sell each other short.  We have equal claim to this nation.  If there’s one thing this election should have taught you about America, it’s that you didn’t build that—we all did, and we continue to do so.  So there’s no need to despair, and you don’t even have to change your views.  But this marks the end of your ability to use shorthand to frighten us with monsters that don’t exist.  You owe it to America and you owe it to the English language.


3 comments for “The End of Conservatism (is a wildly misleading headline for this, my more tempered reaction to the 2012 election)

  1. Ricky Ravioli
    November 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    We’re on different “sides” on many issues, Ronnie, but this is well written and thoughtful. Just remember, so many Republicans and independents saw through the Romney gauze and his coterie of slimy revolving door consultants that..well..that’s the real reason Obama is getting another term. He won fair and square and convincingly. Let’s hope for the best because this country has some serious problems.

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  2. Nate
    November 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    “Why does the GDP have to constantly be going up if the value of money goes down? This is banker logic and banker language. Wall Street is a Gallup Poll, except one we’ve been conned into believing matters.”

    Right. And when the housing bubble burst, the supposed lesson was that we were allowed to live beyond our collective means by filthy usurers. However, four years later, the argument is still over whether growth is large enough. Look–things are improving slowly, and after some more improvement, things will probably level off. Is everything adequate? Maybe not, but maybe. Maybe we are closing in on adequate. Nobody is clamoring, like in Greece, that the government is drinking their blood, a “socialism” way, way on the horizon.

    In other news, across the Atlantic, there was a great cry of joy when 1% quarterly growth was announced for a once-great/-terrible empire. That’s not an argument for continued imperialism.

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  3. Lee Bodie
    November 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Does the second video come in English?

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