While this isn’t my letter, some of it is damned close to my sentiment:
For 30-odd years I have been a faithful Democrat. But this year, I feel like I am about to hit the wall.
I am not particularly conservative. I support single-payer health care, a high minimum wage, strong environmental protections, and full civil rights for gay and lesbian folk. But I have come to the point where I just cannot stand liberals in general and Barack Obama in particular. The smug sense of superiority, the air of condescension to working-class people, and the overwhelming sense of self-righteousness have me ready to grab the first tire iron I can find and swing it at the first person who utters the word “inspiration.”
I fully understand the reservations that some people have about Hillary Clinton, and I admit I share a couple of them. But the Cult of Obama is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen. When I hear things like “We are the ones we have been waiting for” and “We are the change we seek,” I want to scream. Is this kind of psychobabble all that is left of the intellectual tradition of Locke, Mill, and Niebuhr?
In contrast to this rhetorical insanity, John McCain seems centered in reality as I understand it. I do not share his enthusiasm for the war, but at least he understands we cannot leave Iraq in shambles.
Am I the only Democrat who feels this way? Or is there some new version of the ”Reagan Democrats” of the 1980s, people who feel alienated by the arrogance of the party’s liberal leadership and are ready to jump ship in November?
— Not Sure I am Still a Democrat
And what is the sage advice from your friendly Washington Post blogger? Check this out:
Dear Not Sure,
Okay. Take a deep breath. Put down that tire iron. Easy does it…. Did someone, perhaps a “smug liberal,” just break up with you or something? I know how these personal problems can color our political biases. I’d probably be in favor of single-payer health care if a certain brunette hadn’t … okay, I digress.
All I am asking is this: Where is your anger coming from? Because if there’s to be a legion of “McCain Democrats” (I doubt it, though Michael Kinsley seems tempted), I’m guessing these would be pro-war, pro-business Democrats who resent heavy-handed attempts to arrive at universal health care coverage. The views you describe, in contrast, fit comfortably in the dominant liberal mainstream of the Democratic Party.
Your beef seems to be more cultural — more a matter of tone than of policy. If all this isn’t stemming from some shock in your personal life, I am going to assume you have been spending the bulk of your time in a liberal bastion such as D.C., the Upper West Side or Santa Monica. The way you recoil against what you consider liberals’ smugness, perceived moral superiority, self-righteousness and arrogance tells me you are suffering a bad case of dogma reflux.
It happens. You are so smothered by a prevailing dogma, held without question and with such self-satisfied vehemence by those around you, that your body’s organisms begin to reject it, and you begin to question long-held beliefs. Before you know it, you find yourself saying things at dinner parties like “Well, on the other hand, the president did increase AIDS funding for Africa” — and everyone stops the conversation to look at you with concern.
You need a time-out, my friend. Clarity is a beautiful thing. So do yourself a favor: Take a few weeks off and travel to a red redoubt like Tulsa and ingratiate yourself to the natives, as I advised Remy recently. Make friends. Talk politics. See what happens. You’ll either find yourself missing the smugness of right-minded people — or you’ll discover you really have been in the wrong tribe all along.
ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME??!!?!?!(please excuse the liberal punctuation)
Either A: there is something wrong with NotSure stemming from some personal SHOCK, or B: NotSure simply MUST be a lifelong resident of Liberal City, USA. He couldn’t, just couldn’t, have a mind of his own.
And you people don’t think you’re drinking koolaid. Just look at the assumptions on the part of ol’ Stumpy. Evidently there’s something WRONG with merely acknowledging that Bush did indeed increase AIDS funding for Africa. (Remember, do that and “everyone will stop” and “look at you with concern.”)
There’s your culture of hope. Finding the good in a bad situation is cause for “concern.”
Uh-huh. I find phrases like “dogma reflux” to be sufficient cause for “concern.”