Monday, November 12, 2012

And this is where she lost me

I was trying to stay sympathetic to the woman in this WaPo story about Red America being forced to rethink its image of the country. It wasn't easy, since she had bought so deeply into the alternate reality - running a campaign office in Hendersonville (my cousins used to live there), Tenn, and being the kind of mega-church SBC Christian who "speaks about the right to life at area schools" and bans Harry Potter books from her daughters' lives. But I was trying to empathize with her fear that her way of life was becoming marginalized. I was. Until I hit this paragraph:
She could sense liberalism creeping closer, and she worried about what Red America would look like after four more years. Nashville itself had gone for Obama, and 400,000 more people in Tennessee had signed up for food stamps in the last five years to further a culture of dependency. The ACLU had sued her school board for allowing youth pastors to visit middle school cafeterias during lunch.
You know what? "Do X to do Y" is not a neutral phrase; it's a causal one. It says the point of doing X, the motive, is to be able to do Y. Y is the goal, X is the tool.

And I'm willing to be quite a lot of my own hard-earned taxpayer dollars that those 400,000 Tennesseans signed up for food stamps to feed their children. This smug, self-righteous stay-at-home mom  "who respected what she called the “natural order of the household”" is another one of those people who thinks that right to life applies to zygotes only, not kids already here, and (though to be fair, this wasn't specifically mentioned in the article, though not "relying on the government" and "drugs, dependency and indulgence" were) thinks welfare moms need the dignity of work instead of "the advantages of raising children at home" like her and her friends.

So, yeah. I lost a lot of my sympathy for her. She "will be okay" she says. Yeah, she will. "I just don't think that we will be okay," she adds, and that depends on how narrowly she defines "we". Because one of the reasons she'll be okay is that her guy lost. Tennessee may be ruby red, but she lives right next to blue Nashville.

And that's a sign of hope for us.

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At 1:08 PM, November 12, 2012 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

I read the article yesterday, too, albeit with less sympathy for the woman from the outset (but then again, I'm not a Tennessean, although husband has agrarian relatives in the Midwest who are no different from her, so I know the type).

Re the sentence, "Nashville itself had gone for Obama, and 400,000 more people in Tennessee had signed up for food stamps in the last five years TO FURTHER a culture of dependency" [MY CAPS], I wonder whether the fault lies with the article's reporter and/or copy editor because, as the sentence stands, "to further" can be interpreted (at least) two different ways:

a) More benignly, in the sense of "had the result of furthering..."; or,

b) More sinisterly, in the sense of "did it with deliberate evil intent in order to undermine society by furthering..."

If the subject of the profile truly believes b), she's so out of touch with reality as to be on the road to certifiable. Or maybe she just needs a good intervention.

At 9:27 PM, November 12, 2012 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

You're more generous than I am with that construction.

At 9:28 PM, November 12, 2012 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

ps - I said I was trying to be sympathetic. I didn't quite make it...

At 10:54 AM, November 13, 2012 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

It seems that Republicans are almost completely unselfaware. There was an editorial in my local paper telling Republicans how to deal with the "new" America. It basically said that Republicans need to keep their core values, especially economic values, and that everyone, including those who voted for Obama, shares those values. But Republicans need to appeal to the blacks, browns, gays, Jews and single women who voted for Obama. They really seem to have missed the point, and it's almost like they think they're talking to their base and all those "others" can't hear them.

At 11:31 AM, November 13, 2012 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Yeah, Mark; they remind of a guy I used to know who figured if you didn't agree with him it was because he hadn't explained himself loudly and slowly enough...


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