Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Why Culture Matters

I was reading the comments of an article on politics and cultural wedge issues a moment ago when I came across a number of comments that almost made me spit my tropical fruit flavored Sobe into sweat delicious streaks on my monitor. The gist of the article was that in order to recoup a good portion of the working class vote that has migrated to the Republicans, Democrats should compromise on specific cultural issues like abortion, gay marriage, and prayer in schools etc. And people were agreeing. There was some dissent, and one or two people who didn’t think it would be possible but agreed in principle. But there were lots of comments that were very fond of the idea. I think that anyone who thinks this is a good idea needs to be smacked repeatedly with a rolled up newspaper. It like deciding to go ahead and use that pack of chicken that’s four days over the expiration. Just rub some spices on it. No one will notice. Riiiiight…

I admit, I have some personal stake in this. I’m what the conservatives call a godless socialist. Shit, I’m a Fu-ilm student. When I grow up someday, I hope to become an integral part of the Problem. I mean, I’m just getting started. I still have to make my zombie movie, my deviant sex movie, and my left wing political documentary. I’m pretty sure Spielberg finished his deviant sex movie by the time he was nineteen.

Let’s knock down a few of the easy ones first. The big one being that the culture war is already won. Not exactly at this moment, but say ten maybe twenty years from now just about every one of the big issues will have been settled by consensus. Abortion probably won’t be. But conservatives will probably have found a new host of issues that signal the apocalypse. The next generation of kids are more socially liberal than the generation before them; surprise, surprise. And anyone who tries to pass the idea that being conservative is hip is smoking all sorts of drugs. Just thinking about that makes my brain want to escape.

Its also a terrible strategy especially for Democrats since their current coalition consists primarily of social interest groups. Lets face it. The reasoning behind this strategy is to scoop up some of the white working class vote. In gaining some, if any, real percentage of that voting bloc who would the Democrats loose? How much more similar to the untrained eye would the parties appear? Christ, it might even force some people to join the greens. Or even – shudder – the libertarians.

But most of all – I say MOST of all is that it plays right into Republican hands. I think we can safely say that based on conservative behavior over the past decade a few concessions, however large, won’t satisfy the monster. Its dealing on their terms and on their turf. Gay marriage, abortion, cultural pluralism, church and state are all issues that have a very direct impact on people’s lives. They’re rights that were and are being fought hard for. It would be a hideous mistake to erase all those years of social gains. They’re culture issues that, hey wow, only affect those who participate in said culture. Thankfully rural Kansas isn’t a whirlwind of decadent urban culture. Shit, I live in Southern California and I’m not in the whirlwind. I haven’t even had my bondage session this week for fucks sake. No wonder I’m behind on my deviant sex movie.

And yeah, right now you might be thinking that none of it matters or affects you. Until your girlfriend gets pregnant. And you’re in college or working a job that barely supports you. Shit. Or you learn one of your long time friends is gay and has found someone he or she really loves. Shit. And if it can affect you there are millions of people out there who suddenly find themselves on the other side of the fence for a change.

I have little sympathy for sore losers who would deny others social and intellectual freedom and safety to satisfy their myopic ideology. We are compromised already. I don’t see why any social liberal should compromise further. Its time for the conservatives to compromise, and to realize they’re a shrinking minority only forestalling the inevitable.