How Living In A Red State Turned Me . . . Green?

This will be a fun essay, one born of pure experience and personal observation.  Before I begin I must offer a disclaimer that this essay is only for those possessing a decent education in that I will be reflecting on my transformation from a moderate Democrat who supported Obama in 2008 to a Green Socialist who now finds Obama for what he has proven to be: a "3rd way" centrist, something the Democratic Party as a whole has largely become.

What will be required of the reader in this essay is the academic (or even simply "common-sense") ability to discern the difference between a "Communist," "Marxist," and a "Socialist" and then between the myriad differences that separate the various political philosophies which lay under the generic umbrella -- "socialism" -- as I will not be offering to make up for the reader's deficient education; there is not enough time for that.  If you are able to do this, if you are conversant in political science and/or otherwise able to shed yourself of "pop media," propagandistic terminology currently in vogue (especially on "the right") then you may continue on.  Be forewarned: I will not respond to knee-jerk comments that reflect and demonstrate ignorance and an inability to understand these terms.

It was a few years ago that I naively decided to make a career move and briefly relocate to Salt Lake City.  I figured that it was a small city with largely "country" sensibilities and the change from the big city might be interesting, at the very least an interesting sociological exercise.  Boy, was I right about the latter.  What I was quickly able to understand was that most (especially fiscally oriented) "Republicans" in Illinois (and other large, diverse states) are actually in practice right-of-center Democrats having far more in common with President Obama than they might ever understand if they ever left the richly blue state that Illinois is.  The "Republican" mind-set that permeates much of "red state" mentality is nativist and is cloaked in a complex set of layers many of us already can observe: a conformist mind-set that condones if not outright supports racism (or certainly racial preferences), anti-intellectualism (including to a great extent questioning the value of "academic" versus "vocational" high school), a gullible type of conformity, and a strange, convoluted love-hate relationship with authority.

These many dichotomies became readily apparent to me almost immediately following Obama's inauguration as the strange collection of storm clouds that many of us observed began to gather.  I will not survey that which most of us know, the "rise" of the "outraged" tea party "patriots" and that ilk as the sad collection of ill-educated and poorly conversant faux historians (please refer to my earlier essay, "The United States of Oz" for more detailed opinion in this realm).  What I will spent the remainder of this essay on is that which turned me from Obama supporter and middle-of-the-road Democrat into the "Green Socialist" I am today: the lack of Democratic Party/Obama pushback to ignorance.  Much like not wanting to rehash the so-called "rise" of the right, neither do I wish to rehash the debacle that became the "Affordable Care Act".  Rather, I will note the gut feelings certain events left me with and how I then saw these feeling inform and evolve my political conscious(ness).

While living in the "red state," again from whence the "tea party" culls much of its electoral and verbose strength, for all the rhetoric places like this throw about vis-a-vis "community," "family values" and the like what I found was a disturbing and pronounced "anti" hyphenate one could easily add to these and other terms.  Leave aside for the moment community and communism share the same root, it was the practical, day-to-day legislative and other codified realities that proved the austere hostility to such "apple pie" notions.  The feeling I was left with was that, like Sarah Palin's "our America" or Ted Nugent's traitorous comments, these people are in fact anti-patriotic and anti-America in the generic sense (all while being "pro-American" as they oh so narrowly define Americans).  In other words, they have no problem "helping their own" with many types of social assistance and further, if/when one drills down on "socialist tenets" like police, fire, military protection they prove their nativist hypocrisy.  Where are the Democrats in this equation to offer some sort of  alternative was the question I spent two years asking myself in the height of tea party absurdity?  More importantly, where are they to illustrate such anti-community, indeed anti-American perspectives?  Further, where are they to expose the corporate cynicism (ALEC, various "super pacs," Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity et al) financing and in fact behind much of this "ginned-up" fear of a changing America while promoting a mythical return to "the good ole days?"  The problem is that they are simply a marginally less fearful lot, many times beholden to the same corporate interests and ultimately dubiously capable of the very real change a demographically changing country requires . . . and is demanding!

Ironically, it was at an Easter church service I attended in this very red state where the homily offered said it better, with more passion, and far more concisely than I could ever have imagined: the priest simply said, "do something subversive" -- not something people in this conformist red state are probably used to hearing (and clearly not coming from the state's dominant "religion").  It then hit me like a ton of bricks as indeed, this is the Christian message . . . well, at least the message of Christ whose message -- not Marx', neither Hobbes nor Locke's, not Jefferson or Washington's, not Ayn Rand's ever -- brought down an empire in order to benefit the average person!  In full disclosure, I am not a Christian all while respecting the written, very subversive teachings of Jesus and how and why this moderate Democrat is now a Green Socialist and why I argue most "blue state Republicans" are actually conservative, 3rd way centrist Democrats like Obama and most of the Democratic Party.

 

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  • I found your post very instructive. It was refreshing to see you admit that anyone not agreeing 100% with you will be dismissed put of hand. This is the heart of leftism but most leftists pretend to be "tolerant." You are refreshingly forthright in your arrogance and I applaud your honesty in that you have no desire to debate anyone because you are so sure you are 100% right about everything. Leftists all believe this but few say so openly.

    Unfortunately for you, you are easily dismissible in that your views are so extreme that you have no logical frame of reference to assign labels to American politics. Obama as moderate? Hilarious.

    You are worse than the extreme conservatives that think, for instance, that Romney is somehow just as far left as Obama when Romney is a the real moderate in the race.

    But most absurd of all, you use an extreme, leftist measuring stick designed in Europe and try to apply it to America. This is the folly I see from anti-American leftists every day. They posit that our Democrat Party isn't "really" a left-wing party merely because other parties in other countries are MORE leftist.

    Yet, in the scheme of Americanism (you know, that set of philosophies that birthed the greatest country in human history) the current ideals of the Dems are simply as far left as it gets. It makes no difference at all that they aren't as far left as others. They are far left in the American scheme. That is the measure that counts.

    In other words, you and your un-American ideas do not belong here. If you want to be a commiegreenie or what ever you want to call it, move to one of those other nations that embrace such nonsense.

    But don't stay here and imagine that you are a true American when the American ideals that made us great are things you despise. It is impossible to be a proud "something" when you despise that something and want to change it so until it is no longer anything like what it was.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Fact 1: My experiences, my observations, and most importantly . . . my blog.

    I said I would dismiss nonsensical replies, those devoid of intelligent, fact-based contrarian support. Based on your reply, you clearly don't understand the terms in use . . . but I approved your reply none-the-less! You owe me an apology, sir.

    Fact 2: Obama, yes as a centrist (to assume less after you have been shown why proves that you discount alternative voices and are anti-democratic), was able to garner more votes than any president in history! More than Washington, more than Kennedy . . . more than Reagan! One doesn't accomplish this by being "extreme". That is left to the likes of Santorum and Paul (and indeed to Romney who like a wind sock, sells his soul to any audience he is in front of at the time). Where are Santorum and Paul by the way?

    Fact 3: Public opinions of the generic word "socialism" are proving more popular by the year and if you pay any attention to current events you would know "socialistic" or "quasi-socialist" concepts like taxing the more affluent, redistributing resources to aid the middle-class, medicare, police, fire, and military protective services as well as myriad other issues poll extremely high in national surveys! Again, hardly reflecting the "extreme" views as you claim.

    Lastly, your reply is predictable and born of very tired rhetoric. Guess what buddy, it is our country too! It is not your country and the rest of us are just living in it -- sorry. May the best debate win in a democratic arena and if you can’t handle it, you are welcome “to leave“.

    So in fact it is you my dear sir that is proving, by way of your rhetoric, to be extreme and out of touch. Times and demographics are changing my friend, you might want to change with them lest you be left behind.

    The problem is that your ilk can’t debate the facts for you present none! Instead, you offer simplistic and juvenile ad hominem diatribes as well as poorly conceived and idiosyncratic allusion to Europe -- as if philosophy(ies) is(are) constrained by boundary! Using your "measuring stick" for "logic," then why are we (neo-cons really) trying to export-by-force American-style "democracy" to the Muslim and "developing" world? Plain foolish rubbish! Face it, you don’t believe in democracy (American or otherwise) for you wish to rule by conformist dictate. I do believe that is called fascism.

  • Your position that Obama is a centrist and that Republicans have racist tendancies tells me that you need to move to Cuba. Go away. Or go to Church.

  • In reply to Professor Podgorski:

    As a 3/4 white person with "Republican" cousins . . . I know there are many racist Republicans . . . from experience! Now go sit down, subscribe to my blog, and learn something -- "professor".

    LOL, typical and predictable response. Guess what buddy, it is our country too. It is not your country with the rest of us just living in it -- sorry. May the best debate win in a democratic arena and if you can't handle it, you are welcome "to leave".

    Oh yeah, your ilk can't debate the facts for you present none! Instead, you offer simplistic and juvenile ad hominem diatribes. Face it, you don't believe in democracy for you wish to rule by conformist dictate. I do believe that is called fascism. Obama, yes is a centrist (to assume less after you have been shown why proves that you discount alternative voices and are subsequently anti-democratic).

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