Saturday, November 06, 2004

Substance, not symbolism


In perhaps the most pathetic of the post-election pieces on how the D’s should cozy up to “Middle America,” Nicholas Kristof praises Bill Clinton for sacrificing a brain-damaged black prisoner (Kristof doesn’t mention the black part) to his political ambitions in 1992, and urges D’s to do the same by giving up gun control as an issue. In my favorite part, he says D’s should cozy up to religion, and in the very next paragraph says “Pick battles of substance, not symbolism,” by which he means the Confederate flag. Presumably expressing loud obeisance to imaginary gods in the clouds is not about symbolism.

We’ve been hearing a lot about not offending the delicate sensibilities of religious Middle America, and we’ll hear a lot more. I say, in olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, now get the fuck over it, Middle America. It’s not 1953 or 1637 anymore and never will be again.

So much of this seems to be pre-emptive self-censorship by wishy-washy liberals like Kristof that I’ve put off posting my “Red states = Red China analogy” for a few days, but here it is. China has been getting its way for years with a “Don’t fuck with us, we’re crazy” stance, which I’ve always thought was mostly put on. Whenever there’s even a hint of acknowledgment that Taiwan exists as an independent nation, which is simply a fact, even down to something as minor as the Taiwanese prime minister catching a connecting flight in a US airport or attending his own college reunion here, there’d be this incredible display of princess-and-the-pea hypersensitivity. Just as San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom is now being blamed for Kerry’s defeat because he dared to authorize gay marriages, so timid State Dept diplomats would insist that China not be offended. When Bill Clinton met the Dalai Lama, he didn’t allow pictures to be taken. Ohio and Alabama (to pick 2 states at random) want to be able to go on treating gays as second-class citizens and repress any visible sign of their identities without any criticism from the outside world, just like China does with Tibetans, and want others to do the same, as a sign of concurrence with the values of Middle America/the Middle Kingdom.

(James Wolcott suggests the D’s adopt Kristof’s advice with the slogan “Shoot a fag for Jesus.”)

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