Sociologists are wondering why Americans don’t get along as well as they did in bygone years. To me the answer is simple. The Democrat Party has been playing “identity politics” for so long they have finally succeeded in dividing America. You are no longer “an American.” You are a “white American” or a “black American” or a “female American,” or a “poor American,” etc., etc.
But these “identities” do not simply reflect what one sees when one looks in a mirror. They come with a package. What’s in the package, ask you? Grievances, answer I. “Black” Americans have “grievances” against “white” Americans. “Female” Americans have “grievances” against “male” Americans – and so on and so on.
[Source: Why elites hate: The liberal contempt for middle America is baked into the idea of identity politics, by William McGurn]
When I go through the painful exercise of listening to left-wing pundits or candidates they are remarkably condescending. They spend most of their time being critical of everything and everyone. It seems like every encounter is a battleground for proving supremacy. They say malicious, hateful, contemptuous things and try to make others, who they unconsciously consider to be adversaries, feel small.
Nonsense, say you. Okay, answer I. Let’s look at some recent examples. Perhaps you will recall Obama accusing “small-towners” of “clinging to guns or religion.” Or perhaps you will recall Jonathan Gruber (one of the principle architects of Obamacare) attributing the healthcare bill’s passage “to the stupidity of the American voter.” Hillary Clinton pronounced half of Donald Trump’s voters “irredeemable.” These individuals are elitists and do not even pretend to be otherwise.
The Democrat Party is trying to learn from their losses at the ballot box.
[From the McGurn article] In the last week or so a flurry of articles have appeared arguing for toning down the looking-down. In the New Republic Michael Tomasky writes under the heading “Elitism Is Liberalism’s Biggest Problem.” Over at the New York Times, Joan C. Williams weighs in with “The Dumb Politics of Elite Condescension.” Slate goes with a Q&A on “advice on how to talk to the white working class without insulting them.” Stanley Greenberg at the American Prospect writes on “The Democrats’ ‘Working-Class Problem,’ ” and Kevin Drum at Mother Jones asks for “Less Liberal Contempt, Please.”
So, if you’ve been thinking that my musings are only those of a conservative blogger and that the Democrat Party cannot see this fault in themselves, think again. But the chances that the Democrat Party will learn anything from these defeats is remote in my humble opinion. Certainly “The Resistance” (the very name is condescending) and its machinations are not a good start.
[From the McGurn article] …Much of what these authors write is sensible. But it can also be hilarious, particularly when the effort to explain ordinary Americans to progressive elites reads like a Margaret Mead entry on the exotic habits of the Samoans. Mr. Tomasky, for example, informs progressives that middle Americans – wait for it – “go to church.” They have friends (“and sometimes even spouses”) “who are Republicans.” “They don’t feel self-conscious saluting the flag.” Who knew?
They are trying to tell like-minded liberals that everyone who voted for Donald Trump (me, for example) is not a “deplorable” American. I feel so gratified! But in attempting to “not be condescending” they are SO REMARKABLY CONDESCENDING!
Mr. McGurn points to “Exhibit A: Mr. Drum’s recommendation that Democrats can ‘broaden [their] appeal’ because these are ‘persuadable, low information folks.’” Or we can look at what Slate posted recently. They asked the following question during an interview: “What attitude should we be taking toward people who voted for a racist buffoon who is scamming them?”
What the Democrats do not realize and I doubt will ever conclude is that contempt and condescension are the backbone of identity politics.
[From the McGurn article] When Mrs. Clinton labeled Trump voters deplorable (“racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it”) she was simply following identity politics to its logical conclusion…
No small part of the attraction of identity politics is its usefulness in silencing those who do not hew to progressive orthodoxy. This dynamic is most visible on campuses, where identity politics is also most virulent. It’s no accident, in other words, that the mob at Middlebury resorted to violence to try to keep Charles Murray (after all, he’s been called a “white nationalist”) from speaking on campus. In much the same way identity politics has led Democrats to regard themselves as the “resistance” rather than the loyal opposition – (the term Republican’s applied to themselves during the 60 years the Democrat Party held virtually all political power.)
Then candidate Obama’s snipe about guns and religion had a bit more to it. He went on to say that I (and likely you) have “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” But rather than branding American conservatives, it sounds to me more like an indictment of modern “progressives.”
And thanks to HP for sending this to me.