Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The contempt of the Left

I'm saddened, rather than surprised, to come across a special Web site set up by the editors of The Stranger, a Seattle Web-based 'news' (?) outlet. The fact that they set up a unique Web site for this particular opinion piece puzzles me, but perhaps they wanted it to be referenced separately from their main site. It appears (from internal references) to have been written shortly after President Bush was re-elected to a second term in office, dating it to late 2004 or early 2005. It's a diatribe in support of the Left-leaning voters in urban areas, and is outrageously rude and dismissive towards voters everywhere else. It may be relatively old, but it's eerily predictive of the present Administration's apparent attitudes.

Here are a few extracts.


It's time to state something that we've felt for a long time but have been too polite to say out loud: Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America. We live on islands of sanity, liberalism, and compassion--New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and on and on. And we live on islands in red states too--a fact obscured by that state-by-state map. Denver and Boulder are our islands in Colorado; Austin is our island in Texas; Las Vegas is our island in Nevada; Miami and Fort Lauderdale are our islands in Florida. Citizens of the Urban Archipelago reject heartland "values" like xenophobia, sexism, racism, and homophobia, as well as the more intolerant strains of Christianity that have taken root in this country. And we are the real Americans. They--rural, red-state voters, the denizens of the exurbs--are not real Americans. They are rubes, fools, and hate-mongers.

. . .

If Democrats and urban residents want to combat the rising tide of red that threatens to swamp and ruin this country, we need a new identity politics, an urban identity politics, one that argues for the cities, uses a rhetoric of urban values, and creates a tribal identity for liberals that's as powerful and attractive as the tribal identity Republicans have created for their constituents. ... The future success of liberalism is tied to winning the cities. An urbanist agenda may not be a recipe for winning the next presidential election--but it may win the Democrats the presidential election in 2012 and create a new Democratic majority.

For Democrats, it's the cities, stupid--not the rural areas, not the prickly, hateful "heartland," but the sane, sensible cities--including the cities trapped in the heartland. Pandering to rural voters is a waste of time.

. . .

In cities all over America, distressed liberals are talking about fleeing to Canada or, better yet, seceding from the Union. We can't literally secede and, let's admit it, we don't really want to live in Canada. It's too cold up there and in our heart-of-hearts we hate hockey. We can secede emotionally, however, by turning our backs on the heartland. We can focus on our issues, our urban issues, and promote our shared urban values. We can create a new identity politics, one that transcends class, race, sexual orientation, and religion, one that unites people living in cities with each other and with other urbanites in other cities. ... we've got Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City (Bloomberg is a Republican in name only), and every college town in the country. We're everywhere any sane person wants to be. Let them have the shitholes, the Oklahomas, Wyomings, and Alabamas. We'll take Manhattan.


To all those who live in cities ... we say take heart. Clearly we can't control national politics right now--we can barely get a hearing. We can, however, stay engaged in our cities, and make our voices heard in the urban areas we dominate, and make each and every one, to quote Ronald Reagan (and John Winthrop, the 17th-century Puritan Reagan was parroting), "a city on a hill." This is not a retreat; it is a long-term strategy for the Democratic Party to cater to and build on its base.

To red-state voters, to the rural voters, residents of small, dying towns, and soulless sprawling exburbs, we say this: F*** off. Your issues are no longer our issues. We're going to battle our bleeding-heart instincts and ignore pangs of misplaced empathy. We will no longer concern ourselves with a health care crisis that disproportionately impacts rural areas. Instead we will work toward winning health care one blue state at a time.

. . .

In short, we're through with you [rural] people. We're going to demand that the Democrats focus on building their party in the cities while at the same time advancing a smart urban-growth agenda that builds the cities themselves. The more attractive we make the cities--politically, aesthetically, socially--the more residents and voters cities will attract, gradually increasing the electoral clout of liberals and progressives. For Democrats, party building and city building is the same thing. We will strive to turn red states blue one city at a time.

From here on out, we're glad red-state rubes live in areas where guns are more powerful and more plentiful, cars are larger and faster, and people are fatter and slower and dumber. This is not a recipe for repopulating the Great Plains. And when you look for ways to revive your failing towns and dying rural counties, don't even think about tourism. Who wants to go to small-town America now? You people scare us. We'll island-hop from now on, thank you, spending our time and our money in blue cities. If an urbanite is dying to have a country experience, rural Vermont is lovely. Maple syrup, rolling hills, fly-fishing--everything you could want. Country bumpkins in red rural areas who depend on tourists from urban areas but vote Republican can forget our money.

You've made your choice, red America, and we urban Americans are going to make a different choice. We are going to make Seattle--and New York, Chicago, and the rest--a great place to live, a progressive place. Again, we'll quote Ronald Reagan: We will make each of our cities--each and every one--a shining city on a hill. You can have your shitholes.


. . .

Above any other advantage, the new urban identity politics solves "the vision thing" for the Democratic Party. No longer are we a fractured aggregation of special interests or a spineless hydra of contingent alliances--we are a united front, with a clear, compelling image and an articulated system of values. Up until now, the Republicans have been winning the image war. When you think of "America," you imagine a single-family dwelling with a flag in the front yard and acres of corn waving in the background. It's an angry red fantasy. But propaganda is flexible, and audiences are pliant. Urban politics opens up a whole new visual vocabulary to be exploited by TV advertising, and it's a vocabulary rich in emotional content, particularly after September 11. This is the era of cityscapes, rapid transit, and crowds of people. Political advertising can no longer pander to nostalgia about the yeoman countryside--we must embrace our urban future.

With all the talk of the growth of exurbs and the hand-wringing over facile demographic categories like "security moms," you may be under the impression that an urban politics wouldn't speak to many people. But according to the 2000 Census, 226 million people reside inside metropolitan areas--a number that positively dwarfs the 55 million people who live outside metro areas. The 85 million people who live in strictly defined central city limits also outnumber those rural relics. When the number of city-dwellers in the United States is quadruple the number of rural people, we can put simple democratic majorities to work for our ideals.

. . .


. . .

Unlike the people who flee from cities in search of a life free from disagreement and dark skin, we are for contentiousness, discourse, and the heightened understanding of life that grows from having to accommodate opposing viewpoints. We're for opposition. And just to be clear: The non-urban argument, the red state position, isn't oppositional, it's negational--they are in active denial of the existence of other places, other people, other ideas. It's reactionary utopianism, and it is a clear and present danger; urbanists should be upfront and unapologetic about our contempt for their politics and their negational values. Republicans have succeeded in making the word "liberal"--which literally means "free from bigotry... favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded"--into an epithet. Urbanists should proclaim their liberalism from the highest rooftop (we have higher rooftops than they do); it's the only way we survive. And in our next breath, we should condemn their politics, exposing their conservatism as the anti-Americanism that it is, striving to make "conservative" into an epithet.

. . .

These, of course, are broad strokes. We all know that not everyone who lives in the suburbs is a raving neo-Christian idiot. The raving neo-Christian idiots are winning, however, so we need to take the fight to them. In this case, the fight is largely spiritual; it consists of embracing the reality that urban life and urban values are the only sustainable response to the modern age of holy war, environmental degradation, and global conflict. More important, it consists of rejecting the impulse to apologize for living in a society that prizes values like liberalism, pluralism, education, and facts. It's time for the Democratic Party to stop pandering to bovine, non-urban America. You don't apologize for being right--especially when you're at war.

There's much more at the link. It's worth reading, if only to show the depths of cynicism, distaste and elitism that the editors demonstrate - attributes which are, I fear, typical of many among the 'intelligentsia' of the Left.

The troubling thing is, the attitudes outlined in this article are precisely those I see being articulated and implemented by the current Administration and Democratic Party majority in the House and the Senate. If those of us who have an altogether different vision of our nation want to stop it, we now have a clear outline of their game plan to maintain dominance over our body politic.

Has anyone come up with a good counter-strategy to the battle plan outlined above? If not, why not? And if they have, why isn't it being posted publicly, and put out there for debate?

(Note that I'm not saying it should be a Republican Party strategy. There are many Republicans who would doubtless identify with many of the sentiments outlined in this article! No, I'm thinking of all those who are conservative and/or libertarian and/or classically liberal and/or genuinely moderate in our political outlook. None of us will fit into a society along the lines of that envisaged above; and we probably won't fit into either the Democratic or Republican party, as each is presently constituted. It's time we worked out a common strategy and began to take steps to implement it . . . before the urban 'elite' and political power-brokers manage to steamroller right over all of us in our divided state.)

The Tea Party movement is a good start - but we need to go further. This article shows us what we're facing if we don't.



Verity Kindle said...

Is calling my state a shithole some type of reverse psychology tactic? Am I supposed to come around, begging to be let into the golden gates of your "urban archipelago" because you despise my hometown? Congratulations on living the dream in your perfect Manhattan life. Where, exactly, does your food come from? Where do you get the soy and sugar for your half-caf soy caramel latte? Go ahead and insult the people who grow the food that fills your mouth. Watch them go Galt on you. Good luck growing wheat on the windowsill of your charming pre-war loft.

Diamond Mair said...

"But even if it doesn't, ours is a superior way of life. Wherever people choose to live in this country, they should want to live as we do." And THERE you have the liberal mindset - if YOU don't find their ideas of 'Utopia' appealing, YOU ARE WRONG ..................... jacka$$es .................. I forget who did the experiment {Maslow?} that found overcrowding leads to higher crime/violence - the scientist used rats, but was able to extrapolate his findings & apply them to humans - sorry, but "sharing" walls causes me SEVERE stress - ideally, we'd be on ~ 20,000 acres, nearest neighbor a mile or so away ..................

Semper Fi'

Anonymous said...

Wow, does that diatribe call out for a good fisking! It is wrong in so many ways. While it is true that "progressives" do live in urban "islands" and are surrounded by the rest of us, I'd like to remind those progressives to start playing nicely with the rest of us lest we cut off their food supply! Food, which of course is grown in non-progressive areas!


Anonymous said...

It would not accomplish our gracious host's goals, but I'm tempted to smile sweetly and inquire as to where their food and fuel come from.

That is a mindset so entrenched that I'm not certain how one goes about changing it. As for resisting the tactics, that will require some thought.


Anonymous said...

I'm quite ok with their taking their "Islands of Civilization", their cities--so long as they take ALL of each city. The Watts, Harlems, South Sides, the ghettos and blights.

I wish all this contempt were limited to one side of the political spectrum, as these dolts seem to think. It'd make life so much easier.


raven said...

Funny how them big cities seem to have all the crime, and are busted to boot. Must be that enlightened leftist rule. What is scary to me is the hatred, from the party of "inclusion" and "tolerance"- the hate list is pretty well defined now-

Religion- all is good except Christianity which is evil.

White males- all bad, unless they represent us or give us money.

Guns/self defense- all bad , unless a white male or Christian is killed.

Free speech, the ultimate expression of enlightenment and openess, unless it is an idea we disagree with.

Etc- we all know the mantra.

Remember that FBI infiltrator who got inside the Weathermen and was listening as Ayers and co were discussing inviting the North Koreans, Cubans, and North Vietnamese into the US after the "victory over capitalism", and talking aout having to MURDER TWENTY FIVE MILLION American citizens and the logistic of same?
Those people and thier disciples are the ones with the "vision of the new America", and in the seats of power.
One more thing- has anyone caught the video of Stark of California openly mocking folks at a town meeting? He was mocking people who were sincerely concerned about border security- I have never seen the like- this guy was very obviously NOT WORRIED AT ALL about being re-elected- draw your own conclusions.

DaddyBear said...

So they're finally being honest about the urban elite versus rural rabble mindset. Sounds a lot like the things written by Stalin and his ilk about the kulaks back in the 1920's. Could we be looking at the radical fringe that becomes the mainstream that becomes the second American Civil War?

I grew up in a predominantly Democratic rural state, and you never heard anyone talk bad about Democrats who happened to live in the cities and didn't really care about rural issues. This is just sad.

When they finally construct the walls to their shining urban areas, I hope they remember that it's the "rubes" in flyover country that grow their food and manufacture their shiny new technological toys.

reflectoscope said...

They--rural, red-state voters, the denizens of the exurbs--are not real Americans. They are rubes, fools, and hate-mongers.

If they don't have the common sense to understand how ridiculous they are for publishing a sentence like that, then I have no time and no pity for they.


Crucis said...

Fine. Lettem sequester themselves in their private ghettos. Just how long do they think they can exist without the rest of the "red" areas? I'll bet with the food gets scarce, they'll think different.

And, what about transporting needed consumables? I don't think these elitists would allow refineries, oil and gas wells inside their enclaves. Don't forget, too, that the main highways all run through those hated rural areas. Ditto for the aqueducts to southern California.

I'd give them six months before they come crawling to us.

tpmoney said...

All the outrage aside, the only defense us "rubes" have against these people is our land. We are the type of people who don't want to get involved in other people's lives and don't want to tell others how to live. If you find living in an area where a closet rents for more than my car is worth PER MONTH, then you go right ahead. If you want to shack up with anyone and everyone, that is again your business. The only thing we ask is to be left to our own choices and consequences. Unfortunately this leaves us with two very large disadvantages:
1) A minority in politics
2) A lack of political leaders, simply because none of us want to be politicians (and we wouldn't trust anyone who did).

Thus our only defense against these people is our land. In owning the land and large portions of it, we maintain dominion over swaths of area and if we're lucky, local government in that area. Our land becomes literally a natural border against the encroachment of those who think your desire to not live under 10 tons of concrete and huddled masses is wrong.

Unfortunately the other side realizes this, and so they have strategies to make our land ownership difficult or impossible. If you don't believe me, consider the following:

1) High taxes (both property and inheritance) make family land difficult to maintain through the years. Often large farms are sold off, and sold to urban developers with their McMansion designs and "communities".

2) Eminent Domain has been expanded to allow seizure of property if someone else can promise (but not even deliver) a higher tax revenue (see Kelo V. New London)

3) More and more uban areas are turning to forces annexation to take outlying land and bring it under rule and control of the city.

Lastly, I would like to address a point about being described as racists and sexists out here in the rural areas.

I have lived in urban areas, and I have lived in rural areas, and I have been many different places around the country. Without a doubt the most racist and sexist and bigoted people you will meet will be in urban high population areas. It's not overt, you will never see someone walking down the streets of NY waving a confederate flag or holding a "god hates fags" sign, but you will find subtle, hidden but constant racism and bigotry. The hate and anger that permeates from people in urban areas is amazing. And while some rural dwellers may be more vocal about their bigotry, it has been my experience that the more urban you are, the more likely you are to be judged on your behavior and your actions than anything else.

Hold on to your land folks, and buy more if you can. I'm here in NC now, and the spread of urbanism and the mindsets that seem to travel with it is like a disease, once it takes hold, it's impossible to get rid of.

LabRat said...

I submit that we have not come up with a counter battle plan because theirs so completely represents the reasons they can't keep consistent political control so well it should be framed.

I love the line about how "urban voters can't get a hearing"- bullshit. They represent the centers of population density and those of us who DON'T live in urban centers feel their influence most keenly whenever votes come up on issues that urban voters simply have no experience with.

What's actually happening is that just living in a city does not magically make people sympathetic to the whole or even anything approaching the bulk of their agenda. They are talking to a demographic that is much smaller than they believe it is.

Tom Bridgeland said...

We are out-breeding them. Christians have kids. Post-Christians don't.

Their only hope is immigration of fellow leftists.

Obvious haters don't worry me nearly as much as the mealy-mouthed and the deceitful. These people outed themselves.

Anonymous said...

Labrat, I think you hit the nail on the head.

I just moved to Seattle. The Stranger is the weekly throwaway that people pick up when they need to find something to do on the weekend or clean their windows. They pride themselves on writing inflammatory articles like this. From what I've seen so far, only a tiny percentage of Seattleites would agree with the statements made. It's a polarizing article written just to raise people's hackles.

At least, I hope.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

These are the same people who passionately hate the suburbs, and the commonality of car owning, because they both represent the ability and history of people who've had enough of cities and the destructive, restrictive policies enacted therein to leave.

Crucis said...

Wing: To condense what you said, car ownership provides the ability to vote with your fee...uhhh, gas-pedal.

Jess said...

All I can think of is the movie "Escape From New York".

All it would take is for the truckers, trains, ships and airplanes to take a 5 day vacation from delivering to the cities. They'd be begging to be allowed to be humble citizens in any red state.

Chip said...

Remember this site anytime anyone proposes getting rid of the Electoral College. If we ever (God forbid) go to popular majority vote, these urban islands can by, sheer numbers, out vote the rest of the country and decide who will be president.

Chris In Texas said...

I'm just curious where these urban islanders plan to get their food from. Window and roof gardens, I expect. Good luck to 'em.

Crucis said...

They think food magically appears in grocery stores. Else, food materializes in tractor-trailer rigs.

Teresa in Fort Worth, TX said...

Interesting, isn't it, that near the end of this delusional tripe, the author says this....

"Republicans have succeeded in making the word "liberal"--which literally means "free from bigotry... favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded"--into an epithet"

And not 2 sentences later, says this....

"...we should condemn their politics, exposing their conservatism as the anti-Americanism that it is, striving to make "conservative" into an epithet."

The irony is, they don't even SEE the disconnect....

Anonymous said...

Funny!! Wall in your "islands" to keep us out. As someone said shades of "Escape from New York". That was a prison wasn't it? Your walls would be a good place to keep your criminals along with all your other waste. We'll keep our freedom and our food, energy, medical supplies, etc.