Beating the #teabaggers and their paymasters at their own game.
This is fucking priceless. I know I go on (no, really — I do) about changing the conversation and public discourse and controlling the narrative, but this is a wonderful illustration of why. At its essence, it isn’t just about memes and shallow catchphrases and the manipulation of simple-minded disengaged dullards — it’s about engagement, citizenship, and literacy. And the Public Good.
We’ve backed down from fighting the big fights or trying to right the big wrongs. There is no grand enterprise. We simply content ourselves with bitching about small potatoes like how many TTC fare collectors make a six figure salary as if putting a stop to that is going to miraculously feed our hungry and house our homeless. It’s like some demented rationalization that goes to prove governments can’t do anything right so we should stop expecting them to. If the 1st-century C.E. population was anything like it is today, so petty, resentful, small-minded, I’m thinking Jesus got himself crucified in order to escape them not save them.
@Cityslikr is back, and kicking ass.
Once you grasp the concept of privileged distress, you’ll see it everywhere: the rich feel “punished” by taxes; whites believe they are the real victims of racism; employers’ religious freedom is threatened when they can’t deny contraception to their employees; English-speakers resent bilingualism — it goes on and on.
And what is the Tea Party movement other than a counter-revolution? It comes cloaked in religion and fiscal responsibility, but scratch the surface and you’ll find privileged distress: Change has taken something from us and we want it back.
Confronting this distress is tricky, because neither acceptance nor rejection is quite right. The distress is usually very real, so rejecting it outright just marks you as closed-minded and unsympathetic. It never works to ask others for empathy without offering it back to them.
At the same time, my straight-white-male sunburn can’t be allowed to compete on equal terms with your heart attack. To me, it may seem fair to flip a coin for the first available ambulance, but it really isn’t. Don’t try to tell me my burn doesn’t hurt, but don’t consent to the coin-flip.
The Owldolatrous approach — acknowledging the distress while continuing to point out the difference in scale — is as good as I’ve seen. Ultimately, the privileged need to be won over. Their sense of justice needs to be engaged rather than beaten down. The ones who still want to be good people need to be offered hope that such an outcome is possible in this new world.
As the author points out, a tricky balance, but really, the only tenable response. The fact that we’ll all fall short from time to time just makes re-commitment that much more important.
I have always found it very sad that we live in an age in which we must actively try to convince people on both ends of the power spectrum (the voters/public for image reasons, and the people at the top of the political food chain for operational reasons) of the merit of good ideas and the value of solutions based on common sense and basic causal laws. When “Lets all pay taxes so that we can have a society” is answered with “No! I work hard for my money! Why should I have to give any of it up so that others can benefit!” it shows me that something essential is being lost or ignored in the cognitive and moral processes of our population and leaders.
From a comment by Jonathan Eskedjian on a post by Alex Himelfarb.
Back to Joe Clark. Why did he lend his prestige as a former PM to a woman the Harper government is treating like someone who doesn’t yet realize her full insignificance? My guess is that Clark is appalled by Harper’s continuing effort to divide Canadian society against itself as a means of governing.
Via US Uncut. H/t Justin Beach.
Incidentally, another illustration of why the language, values and discursive assumptions of the business school have no place in the formulation of social policy. The public good is not the same thing as the bottom line.
(I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the Finns design their school system to cultivate engaged citizens, rather than good little producers and consumers for the corporations. Just spitballing.)
Respectful discourse. This is the way to build a city. Sometimes we learn, sometimes we teach.
(h/t Taxpayers for Jarvis)
Usually I’m not on board with privileging “taxpayers” over “citizens,” but in this case I’ll make an exception.