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One more last political post - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
One more last political post
Yes, folks, less than twenty-four hours after I said, "One last political post..." here's another one (sort of). What can I say? I did mention that I'd probably think of something else to add.

I did something I rarely do the other night and just lost my temper completely. Said stupid things about pandering to the South, etc. That was just me being peevish because I dislike being treated as irrelevant (the Dems treat the Northeast as a gimme, while the Republicans treat us as a lost cause). But there's an actual reason why I'd like to avoid what the pundits refer to as "playing to the South," whether it refers to the South as it exists or not. The issue that the pundits constantly harp on in regard to this is that a candidate needs to show "warmth."

In my opinion, as a country, we're way too warm already. We need someone who's cooler, who projects more of an image of calm reason. Whether this is a northerner or not isn't especially important (though of course, I'd dig it fairly sincerely), but the way candidates are advised to "play" to the South by being heavily emotional is pretty much a guarantee that we're not going to get that person.

I will be the first to admit that Northeastern politics are wacky, that on specific issues we lean far enough to the left that we need to put an arm down to keep from falling over, and that as a region, we're prone to forgetting huge swathes of land where there aren't major cities. I'll go a step further and say that tolerance is the furthest thing from our minds--in a surreal quote in a New York Times article I read, a woman said that maybe it was time that we went out--missionary-like--to teach benighted people how to be properly tolerant of other viewpoints. Boston in particular is a Puritan town that wants to spread its messages all over the country, and New York considers itself the capital of the world, to which everyone should naturally look for guidance. (You can see why the two cities, who have different priorities, are often at odds.) Ideology can often be passionate. That's why I moved back here.

But culturally, there's another side, which we touched on in the comments on my "Apology" post: Northeastern culture values privacy, holds to the idea that "good fences make good neighbors," and is uncomfortable with excess emotionalism. There is a deeply pragmatic streak that runs through the region.

And I think that, more than any policy, is what we need as a country. We've been running overheated for a long time, and like an engine, we're getting ready to blow somewhere. We're running a low-grade fever, and we need to apply some ice packs and drink cool water for awhile. The President models behavior, and I think a more cool-headed model is desperately needed simply because we need to calm down.

Anyway, that's today's thought. It's all about regaining balance.

Before we end up red-eyed and having duels at a lava pit and...

Oops, subject change. ;)

EDIT IN (because I don't feel like doing a new post): I've seen a lot of people referring to the religious right as "neocon." Having been in the neoconservative movement--albeit from the fringes--I wanted to address that. "Neoconservative" means a very specific subset of conservative, and it's pretty much the opposite side of conservatism from the religious right. They're not necessarily antagonistic to one another, but they can be. "Neoconservatism" is small-government favoring, capitalistic, minimalistic in interpretation of the Constitution, and heavily influenced by Libertarianism. It's the conservatism of folks like William F. Buckley and Irving Kristol. (For awhile, there was a caution that people tossing around dire warnings about neoconservatives were, in fact, using it as a code for "Jews," which is why I was really surprised to see the term associated with the religious right!) It's opposed to "paleoconservatism," which did things like support Jim Crow laws and so on.
14 comments or Leave a comment
lync From: lync Date: November 5th, 2004 10:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Well said. I always find your posts to be incredibly well written and thought out. They are a pleasure to read. That being said, can I link to this post in my journal?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 5th, 2004 11:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Sure, and thank you.
shellebelle93 From: shellebelle93 Date: November 5th, 2004 10:16 am (UTC) (Link)
WORD to everything you've just said. The reason I am so careful in the type of evangelical churches that I attend is because they have a tendency to get terribly overemotional, and that is dangerous.

We desperately need a cool, logical thinker. Someone who isn't afraid to show me that "yes, I know more about this than you do", and someone who doesn't wimp out when the stakes get high.

thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: November 6th, 2004 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
That's odd; over here the Evangelical churches tend to be the cerebral, likely-to-die-of-all-doctrine-no-zeal sort. The overemotional ones are the Pentecoltal-type ones. Rabidly generalising here...
shellebelle93 From: shellebelle93 Date: November 6th, 2004 12:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that's true more often than not, but I do keep an eye out for overemotionalism anyway, because I did attend Pentecostal churches, as well. I get them a bit jumbled up in my mind. Sorry.
From: magnolia_mama Date: November 5th, 2004 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Have you ever read any Florence King? Whether yes or no, you should check out With Charity Toward None: A Fond Look at Misanthropy. I think you'll find you have a lot in common with King when it comes to the oppressiveness of touchy-feelyism (she calls it "goo-goo humanitarianism) in America.

And she's a Southerner. ;-)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 5th, 2004 11:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I love it already from the title. Will find it before I leave today.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: November 5th, 2004 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd like to second the nomination - pretty much anything by Florence King is a great read. I'd also recommend specifically Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, which is every bit as good as its title. (It does get raw in some places though, just so you know).
From: magnolia_mama Date: November 5th, 2004 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Amen! I like to joke that Confessions was my first exposure to lesbian porn ("porn" being relative, of course *g*). I've been a devotee of King's for about 15 years and have all of her books, even the romance novel she wrote under a pseudonym.

sonetka From: sonetka Date: November 5th, 2004 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
"The Barbarian Princess!" I have that too! "`Desistite!' (Gang rape takes the plural)."

And yes, the lesbian bits in Confessions was my first exposure to that sort of thing is well (not that I've had a ton since, but you know what I mean). Some parts were absolutely heartbreaking.

shellebelle93 From: shellebelle93 Date: November 5th, 2004 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and that last line?

kfd;jdakjfdkjjdkjkdaj! :-)
malabud From: malabud Date: November 5th, 2004 10:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Before we end up red-eyed and having duels at a lava pit and...

Yes, what was up with the red eyes anyway? I watched the trailer last night on a show I usually avoid like the plague. (Thank goodness they didn't make us wait until the end of the show for the trailer.) My first reaction was "Cool!", and then, "What's the deal with the red eyes?"

As to the rest of your post, I do not necessarily favor warmth and emotion over privacy and pragmatics, but I do see a need for both attitudes. It's all about balance. ('Course, it's all about balance in Star Wars, too. Heh.) Over-emotionalism can inflame passions and lead to actions and reactions we later regret. However, being calm and pragmatic all the time can lead to a lack of empathy, or at least a perception that there's a lack of empathy. If people don't think a candidate can possibly understand their situations, they won't vote for him or her. The perfect leader would be calm and pragmatic and warm and emotional, depending on what the situation and decision warranted.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 5th, 2004 11:13 am (UTC) (Link)
True enough. But we've kind of OD'd on the warmth over the last forty years or so, and I'm for turning on the AC.

As to the red eyes... while, Palps sure got them over the years! I guess it's some weird Sith thing.
From: walkerhound Date: November 5th, 2004 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
one thing when people talk about the south vs the north, lots of times there realy talking about rural vs urbean. at the end of the day a back woods boy from the smokies is much like a farm boy from the plains(or up state NY or anyware else). how have we been runing to hot and need to cool down? i no its the sort of thing that could take a lot of time and space to properly answer(thats one of my problems with politics no body bothers to go over the details).

and privacy vs prying agine a lot of the time its that privacy means something difrent to a ruarl person than somebody used to citeys or other bilt up places(thats why it can be such a adjustment for people moving from one to the other). the persnal space bondres are difrent when it takes you fifteen minets to walk to your nerist neigborer especial when thats going to be a closs member of your family(or somebody that has nown you famliy for longer than you have been alive). if i don't want to enteract with the peaple in my naberhood i just don't i might not see any of them for weeks or months at a time unless i activley seak them out. even then its likely to just be a nod or wave hello.

that has got to be the worst spell check i have ever seen(sorry its the best i can do)
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