i promised myself a rose garden


Both my inbox and this comments section have been getting some very beautifully-written screeds exhorting us to be nicer in politics – ending the epithets and rancor that is currently gunking up the national debate. My lifelong friend The Budster, in particular, was as passionate as I’ve seen him outside of a Dook game, so I hope he won’t be chagrined to hear that I’m sorry… I just can’t be nice.

Liberals and progressives have lost. We’ve lost every single political fight in recent history: homosexuals are still second-class citizens, we’re still at war on the other side of the world, corporations are now people, pretty much anyone can buy and conceal a semi-automatic weapon, we have no environmental policy, and we still legally kill our own people with the death penalty.

To make matters worse, the other side is not content with winning: they are on a scorched-earth campaign to eliminate resistance. Back in 1964 when the Civil Rights legislation went through, conservatives took their lumps and moved on; these days, they want to simply repeal the new health plan as if it never happened. They don’t negotiate; they eliminate.

They speak in words calculated to stimulate our fight-or-flight hormones and convince simple folk to vote against their own interests. When problems occur, they find a weak subset of Americans and blame it all on them. Their lectern is huge, their microphones are deafening, and they are winning.

And now, after another gunman has targeted a Democrat (and killed 6 innocent people in the process), WE’RE SUPPOSED TO JOIN THE RIGHT WING TO TONE DOWN OUR RHETORIC? I’m sorry, but motherfucking FUCK THAT. If the neo-conservative carnival barkers were to suddenly cut their hatemongering by 95%, and those of us on the left were to quadruple our loathing, it’d still be grossly unequal.

Our beloved Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was instrumental in overcoming Republicans to get health coverage for the first responders during 9/11. When the bill passed, I got all the political emails declaring victory. I love my Senator, but procuring get basic health coverage for sick and dying firemen NINE YEARS AFTER THE WORST ATTACK ON AMERICAN SOIL is not a victory, it’s a Shakespearian tragedy. It’s a sick reminder that we don’t own any debate; we are only renting.

As soon as progressives stop being angry, the only ones speaking will be wingnuts. All liberals ever wanted was for things to be a little more fair, and for people to take care of the fuckin’ planet. Conservatives conjure up fat welfare moms counting their cash, gays buttfucking each other in front of children, and Mexicans coming over the border and cackling as they take your jobs. Then they invoke God and rile up their base with ugly lies and end-times paranoia.

Lower the volume, calm the rhetoric? Stop the denouncing, the demonizing? Put a moratorium on the name-calling and come back to the table in hope of finding common ground? That’s all well and good, but for the right wingers, I have only two words: you first.