My movement is this: shut up or I'll sick my mom on you.
See, the people in the fly-overs, like my mom, don't get it. They're the sorry holdovers from an ideological age long gone (over 10 years old!). And what's the best way to reach people who are the mirror image of your way of thinking? That's right! Insult them, use lots and lots of sarcasm and, oh yeah, make sure you rub in their faces the most contentious political issue you can think of.
Like abortion. Or gay marriage. Or, just for fun, turn pro-genocide and watch the disbelief come in waves. Ah, it's such a joy to accuse people of being wrong about things they had never considered to be up for debate. I know I often taunt my mom with my plans for charging people more money for drugs based on how sick they are. Good times.
Let's take gay marriage as a for instance. I talked about this before, and it seems that many people are still on about it. (Yes, I'm aware it's a big issue; that doesn't mean I like to hear about it every bloody day.)
My parents are everything "progressives" hate. (By the way, a little aside: When you read "progressives" on my blog, make sure to put the same venom and spite that you normally hear when someone uses the word "neocon". Back to it..) My parents are everything that "progressives" hate: church-going, firmly-convicted, Dutch Reformed Christians. The biggest shock of my life growing up was being able to skip the second service on Sunday. Up until their church took a distinct turn toward the Jesus-feet-style service, they went morning and night.
I would sell tickets to a debate between my Mom and a "progressive" on gay marriage. It would be the most you'd ever pay for 5 minutes of your life. Why 5 minutes? Oh, fine. I won't sell tickets or set up the debate, I'll just post the transcript now.
Moderator: Welcome to the first debate between Ryan's Mom and Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco. We have one question tonight and no audience members can ask questions during the proceedings. We'll begin by posing tonight's question to Mayor Newsom.
Mayor Newsom, should marriage between same-sex partners be legal?
Newsom: (cite) Denying gays and lesbians the right to marry denies them more than a marriage license; it precludes millions of couples from obtaining health benefits, hospital visitation rights and pension privileges. ...gay citizens pay taxes and protect our communities as firefighters and police officers, among other occupations.
Ryan's Mom: It is not our decision as citizens, or even as people, to decide was is right and wrong. God says that homosexuality is a sin. Encouraging a sinful activity is itself a sin. Supporting gay marriage, for a Christian, is wrong.
Newsom: (ibid) There is no rationale for discrimination against any individuals in California.
Ryan's Mom: I don't know about California, but it's not discrimination. Discrimination is excluding someone for no reason or for reasons over which the person has no control, like their skin color or ethnicity. Homosexuality is an activity already judged by the Creator to be wrong. By your logic, it would be acceptable to allow known pedophiles to run day care facilities.
Newsom: That's a completely unfair comparison. Homosexuals are not convicted felons.
Ryan's Mom: True, but if no one is the authority on what is right and wrong, nobody can be. Are you wiser than God, Mr. Newsom?
Newsom: My personal beliefs aren't open to debate tonight.
Ryan's Mom: That's not an answer. I'll answer it for you then. Of course you're not wiser than God. So, when you tell me that I'm wrong to act on what God has told me is wrong, it really doesn't hold much authority, does it?
Newsom: You're still wrong. Discrimination is wrong, no matter what.
Ryan's Mom: Make sure you tell that to Jesus on Judgment Day.
And that would be it. The great thing about sending people up against my mom is (1) she always gets the last word and (2) you can't insult someone's sweet mother and not expect to get some really bad press about it.
In all seriousness, if "progressives" want to reach out to the fly-over states (and that's how it's going to have to be), they need to do a couple things. First, they need to stop with this labeling bullshit. Calling yourself "progressive" neither makes you so nor convinces others that you are. Monty Python had that one down a long time ago: "...Why, if I went 'round calling myself emperor because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!" Just replace "bint" with your pundit du jour. The flip side of this is to stop labeling other people, especially with euphemisms for labels you can't get away with anymore. Take "neocon". "Neocons" are either so right of conservative they qualify as nationalistic, and they certainly are not new. So, whatever “progressives” think it means, it probably doesn’t. All that is accomplished by using new terms is to further divide yourself from those you’re trying to reach. (Another aside: I like to use people’s own ammo against them when I can. Read this article and tell me how it would read if it were published in 1938. Discuss.)
Second, take a page from those you're trying to convince. Evangelize to them. You've seen plenty of Mormons in the cities. Organize your own group of pro- or anti- whatevers and buy them plane tickets to Holland, Michigan or Souix Falls, South Dakota. Hell, set up an ideological exchange program. If you do it enough, maybe we'll wind up with this ideological haze where everyone is kind of happy, but not angry enough to actually do anything about it.
Just as it’s not government’s place to tell me what my morals should be, it’s not yours either. And you certainly won’t be telling my mom what her morals should be. That’s the whole point of having these marriage resolutions on a ballot. When people vote, that’s their way of speaking to you. And they spoke all over the place. Instead of being angry at the messenger, try listening to the message. If you don’t like the message, work constructively to change it.
Or be quiet. I don’t really care.