Where to begin…..I’ll begin optimistically by saying I hope we are seeing the last gasp of the White Male Patriarchy and the beginnings of a generational change. Then I shall digress….
I am a White Male of a Certain Age. I grew up in a very Conservative, Republican family. I went to Washington and Lee University when it was an all-male school. I was a frat boy. I was raised on the myth of the Old South. I worked for several Republican Campaigns in the late 1980’s.
Then I began to think and watch. Watching comes naturally to me. I sit back, watch, think and analyze. I’m an introvert and my College friends jokingly call me “Nick” as in Nick Caraway in “The Great Gatsby.” I observe my class and ultimately judge them.
I’ve watched people like Brett Kavanaugh all my life. I went to college with guys from elite DC/Maryland private schools. As a public school boy, I’m glad I’m not one of them. I know some great guys from those schools, but most of them are “outsiders” who survived, not “insiders” who flourished. Frankly, while those schools may have turned out some fine scholars and gentlemen, they also turned out an awful lot of entitled assholes.
Once in a “Diversity Training” class when I was in the Corporate world, I was asked what group of people I feared most. Without hesitation, I said “White Males. Especially Southern White Males.” When asked why, I said: “Because I know them.”
I used to be one of them. I think I have a very different perspective because I have been both been an “insider” and an “outsider.” When I told my family I was Gay, the main reaction I got was not religious, but social. And it came mostly from the women in my family.
They could not understand why I would give up a position of intrinsic power. They advised me to stay in the closet. To keep my power. The women knew how much power a straight, white man had and they feared for me if I gave that up. They were, to an extent, correct. Only by stepping outside the power culture could I understand the power that White Men have by default.
I think one of the greatest influence on me was Molly Ivins. When she said “Once you realize they are lying to you about race, you realize they are lying to you about everything”. I knew she was right.
I’m a liberal Democrat now. By evolution. I’m not a Democrat by birth or background. And, I might add, the Republican Party of today is not the one I grew up with.
I still struggle with some of my friends who knew me before I came out. Some are wonderful people. They don’t understand the power they have by default because it has never been challenged. White Privilege is something they just don’t understand because they have always had it. They see their journeys through a different lens. They don’t know that, whatever they may go through, they are already ahead of so many other people.
The Trump administration has been a challenge for me. It is depressing to me on a daily basis. I don’t understand how the people I knew “before” can support someone who is so incompetent and morally bankrupt. Someone who is so hostile. All I can think is that they subconsciously want to hold on to their privilege without knowing they are doing so. I hate to think they may be supporting all this because of money and racism.
But some have made it clear they are racists. That has been hard to swallow. People I grew up with and love have become people I no longer recognize….
And that brings me to todays “hearings”.
Dr. Blasey Ford was questioned by a woman because a bunch of old white men were scared of her. She was in their way. They were worried about the “optics”. How it would be perceived. They wanted to go through the motions of listening to her, but to try to minimize the damage to themselves.
Once it was clear the “woman prosecutor” wasn’t serving her purpose, the old white men took control again. They gave Brett Kavanaugh a “Safe Space” for his interview. And his behavior was not that which I would want from a Supreme Court Justice. His blatant partisanship, anger and belligerence were not the behaviors of a deliberative, fair decision maker.
I know these men. I grew up with them, went to school with them and I fear them.
They will erupt in anger when their privilege is challenged.
And they will do anything to hold on to their power and their privilege.
I hope to god, this is the last gasp of this white male patriarchy.
One of my first Political Science courses at Washington and Lee in the fall of 1977 began with a young professor telling a room full of young, privileged, white men that they were anachronisms.
Now, 41 years later, this Old White Prep hopes he is finally right.
New Post up on my other blog: https://mysoutherngothiclife.com/2017/06/14/chapter-94-better-dead-than-red/
Okay, it’s been a couple of days since the U.S. Presidential Election. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the results. I can’t help but think we are in for at least 4 years of chaos, but we will get through it. I will get through it. It won’t be easy, but at least I’m trying to get my sense of humor back. Dark humor, but humor.
Here are some of my random thoughts.
- Hilary Clinton won the popular vote. That means there are more people who voted for what I basically believe in than voted against it.
- The Electoral College has to go. It has given us Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump when both lost the popular vote.
- I understand the frustration of those who voted for Trump. I actually share a lot of those frustrations that so many people have been left behind as jobs have fled overseas and people have seen their dreams shattered. But…
- I don’t understand how people could have voted for someone who ran such a hateful, mendacious campaign. I don’t understand how they can trust him with nuclear weapons. I don’t understand their choices.
- I have no patience with those who say “it was just another election”, “it’s just politics,” etc. This was not a sports event or entertainment. This was unlike any election we have seen in our lifetimes and it has both moral and policy implications that will directly impact us for generations. A lot of people are truly heart broken and truly scared. Particularly those of us who are some sort of a minority- LGBTQ, Black, Hispanic, Latino, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and almost anyone else not white, Christian and straight.
- I don’t think we can ever close the gaps this Election has opened. Personally speaking, I will never see some of my old friends- particularly old High School and hometown friends- in the same way again. I’m sorry, but whether you see it that way or not, you voted for prejudice and hatred. As a Gay man, I take that personally. I can’t let myself be viewed as your “exception” because you know me or you like me. That’s not fair, right or true. I’m not going to make this easy for you.
- At least one barrier was broken, we will now have the first First Lady to have done a softcore Lesbian porn photo shoot. Melania Trump’s Racy Photo Shoot
- I always had trouble seeing myself and my friends as older or in late middle age. I always still thought of us as younger. Now, some of my friends seem to have become that old man sitting on the porch screaming at those kids to get off their lawns and longing for “the good old days.” Not me…I’m still younger, more hopeful and forward-looking than that.
- I do feel old when I realize that I will have to fight some of the same battles yet again. But I will fight.
- That said, what does one wear to a protest march?
- The Millennials bear their share of the blame. They have not yet realized you build third parties from the bottom up, not the top down. You not only threw away your votes going for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, but because of the razor-thin margins in some key Electoral College states, you helped elect President Trump. It’s time to get practical and make pragmatic decisions. Voting your principles won’t get you out of the College Debt crisis. If you support the Green or Libertarian parties, run candidates for the School Board, City Councils, State Houses. Build from the bottom up. I’m with you there but not when you blithely “vote your conscience” and it yields these results.
- The Democratic Party needs to get its shit together. In a climate of change, the leadership of the DNC did everything in its power to put forth the most establishment candidate they could possibly have nominated. The fact that she was a woman or that she was immensely qualified did not matter. People saw an insider and wanted an outsider. They should have seen this coming.
- Given the rabid desire for change, I think Bernie would have won. He would have been a viable alternative to the change seekers who voted for Trump.
- Hillary Clinton was unjustly vilified and lied about more than any candidate I have ever seen. She has been treated unfairly by the press, the GOP and so many other institutions. I may not always agree with her, but she is an admirable woman who spent her life in public service. But the times have changed and perceptions cannot be changed. She was an Establishment Candidate in an Anti-Establishment environment. That’s all that mattered to a lot of people.
- The Baby Boomers really screwed this one up. We have left another mess for the Millennials to clean up after we are gone.
- The Supreme Court. I still can’t face this one …President Trump will be able to appoint at least one and probably more justices. This is what really scares me. If we correct the course in the House, Senate and Presidency, the Supreme Court is lost for the rest of my lifetime and will make the battle for equality that much harder.
- I have never seen such clear examples of straight white male privilege and white privilege in general as I have seen on some Facebook posts from some folks over the last 2 days. This is not a post-racial society. We won’t let you go back to the 1950’s, which seems to be your idealized era. Women are empowered and no longer want to be barefoot and pregnant just because you want them so. Gays are not going back into the Closet because we make you uncomfortable. Transgendered people do exist. People of Color deserve respect, equality and freedom from fear. Jews, Muslims, Hindu’s and people of other religions have as much right to be here, to live freely and safely as you. It’s not the 1950’s and I, for one, am so glad of that.
- That said, no matter how much some may wish it, the demographic trends show this is not going to be a white majority nation in the very near future. This is a diverse, multi-cultural country now and I love it that way. You need to get over it and try to learn to understand and accept people who are different from you. Get out of the Facebook echo chamber, get out from your churches, offices and country clubs, with people just like you, and meet the new America. It’s a really nice place.
- We all need to get out of our Bubbles and try to understand and educate each other. I have been sorely tempted to defriend a lot of people on Facebook. I won’t. I want to try to understand their points of view or at least see what they are up to.
- Both Alt Right and Alt Left media sources need to be recognized for what they are. I am very careful what I choose to share as I know both have an element of propaganda and playing to what their audience wants. That said, I can never respect someone who bases their opinions on Brietbart, Newsmax or other right-wing propaganda sources.
- There is such a thing as facts. Your opinion does not matter if it is not supported by facts from reliable sources. Period.
- The mainstream media bares a lot of blame for this….They gave Trump entirely too much free attention.
- Journalism needs to return to its roots. Report facts, not opinions and don’t twist yourself into a knot trying to appear balanced when the facts don’t support that conclusion.
- It won’t happen, but we need to separate the line between News and Entertainment. That blurred line is really what has undermined journalism. We just elected an entertainer to the most powerful position in the world.
- The “Religious Right” no longer has any credibility. This is why organized religion is declining in America. Its leaders, like Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Franklin Graham, are corrupt. These folks just supported and voted for a thrice married, serial adulterer, who built his career cheating and screwing over people. He has never turned the other cheek or done anything to remotely help his fellow-man. It is high time we truly separate religion from politics, as our Founding Fathers intended, but it won’t happen any time soon. It will take another generation.
- That said, I know a lot of fine, truly Christian people who are as heartbroken as I am now. Those Christians who believe in social justice and treating others as they would like to be treated. These folks have my utmost respect and admiration. It’s the institutions that are corrupt, not the true Christians.
- There is no political act more selfish and small-minded than voting solely on the basis of lowering your personal taxes. This shows a willingness to trade off the rights and protections of others as long as it personally benefits you financially.
- Anti-Elitism is a cancer on the American society. There was a time when we wanted the most educated, experienced, qualified people to be in leadership roles. Now it seems a large portion of the electorate places more weight on who they like the most or want to share a beer with. Presidential Elections are about leading the most powerful nation in the world; they are not a Fraternity Rush Party.
- Most people don’t know this, but I was raised in a Republican family, went to a Republican College and worked as a professional, paid staffer on Republican campaigns in the late 1980’s. I still have some Republican friends that I love deeply. However, this is not the Republican Party we grew up with. I examined my conscience and beliefs and moved on. I then followed my conscience and beliefs that the Party had left me behind as it lurched to the Right. I eventually realized I was not really a Republican at all and probably never really was. This is not the educated, Country Club Republican Party of my youth. I know some of my friend still struggle with this. Get out of it. Face the facts. It’s not a place for nice people anymore. We welcome you to our world.
- Hilary Clinton was investigated by various congressional committees and the Justice Department for 30 years and never indicted. Donald Trump goes to Court again next month for the umpteenth time.
- That said, I won’t be surprised if Trump is gone by next year. I know the DC Republican Establishment. The Masters of the Universe will not allow him to deviate from their positions without a fight. If he doesn’t play ball with them, they will find a way to impeach him. That would make Mike Pence, one of the Insider’s Club, President. That may be even scarier.
- The Republicans now control all 3 branches of Government and will soon control the Supreme Court. This scares the hell out of me, but it also gives them accountability. They have no one to blame for their actions but themselves. The spotlight will be shining on them very brightly. They will over-reach. It will hurt us all, but they will be exposed for what they truly are. It happened in North Carolina and it will happen on a much larger scale now.
- Voter Suppression by the GOP worked. These margins were so thin in so many areas, particularly in North Carolina where I live. The reduction in early voted did suppress the Black vote here. The GOP tendency to stop people from voting by any means necessary is truly frightening to anyone who values Democracy.
- A man who has filed bankruptcy several times is now leading the world’s biggest economy. He is not a successful businessman. Let that sink in….
- It is going to be a very long and painful 4 years.
- But I have hope. People under 30 voted against Trumpism in almost every state. I’m being selfish now. Change will come, but I had hoped to live to see it. It now appears I won’t. This makes me feel very old and very sad….
- But I’ve always said, Democrats look forward with hope,while Republicans look backwards with fear. I think this election proves me right.
- When they go low, we go high.
- And We Fight…
This is a revised post from 2010. So much of it is still relevant, but a lot has changed since then. And not for the better. I’ll repost it more or less as is and use it as a starting point for my current political thoughts as we get closer to the election….
I’ve thought a lot about this over the last few days as we head to the 2010 election. For Progressive’s like me, it’s forecast to be a rough one who’s results may lead us backward as opposed to foreward.
And, once again, the South will lead us there. We’ve always been good at looking fondly backward in the South–whether the facts support it or not. That makes for fertile ground for the Republicans. I’ve always said: “Republicans look backwards with Fear while Democrats look forward with Hope.
That got me thinking. Why is it the South is such a stronghold for the Republicans? Here are my thoughts:
- The South is heavy with fundamentalists and evangelical religions. These people have been played by the Republican Party like a cheap violin. Here is what I would say to them: Open your eyes. Under Bush, the Republicans controlled the government and did not ban abortion or execute any of the other points of your agenda. If they didn’t do it then, they won’t do it now. They are using you. Wise up.
- There is a history of Patriarchy in the South that is not dead. Many people, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, still follow the leadership of local political leaders with little thought. They are used to being led without questions or taking time to check the facts because they think they “know” the person and he/she is “one of us.”
- Education is not really valued by a large portion of Southerners. They are suspicious of the overly educated and think they don’t understand them. The Republicans are very good at playing dumb and coming off as one of the “good ole boys” while they use the votes of the poor whites in the South to channel money and benefits to their rich friends on Wall Street.
- Southerners resists looking at anything too deeply. Introspection is not valued in the South. Action is….The Republican’s play on this very well.
- Facts don’t mean much in the South. Truth has always been conceptual rather than a reality. Any region that can convince itself for over 150 years that the Civil War was about “states rights” rather than slavery is capable of any kind of self-delusion.
- The South tends to hate the idea of Big Government, even if they enjoy the benefits. They can over look little things like Social Security, Medicare, new bridges and highways, and insurance that covers pre-existing conditions and college kids. They somehow don’t make the connection that the federal government provides these things…
- Southerners value personal freedom above all else, as long as you are a straight white man.
- The President is Black and he’s a Democrat. To a large group of folks in the South, this alone is enough reason to vote Republican. Although you may never get them to admit it…
What can Democrats do to change all this and win the South?
- Learn to fight. The South and most of the Country values people who stand up for their principles. The GOP has Balls and the Democrats have Brains. You have to have both to win in the South.
- Push for independent, bipartisan redistricting commissions.
- Get out your message. We’ve got to publicize the benefits of the legislation we do pass and how it helps the poor and middle class as opposed to the Rich. The Democrats and The President have failed miserably at this for the few years. We have real achievements, but no one knows it.
- Take on the bullies at Fox News. We have got to make people realize this is not a news organization, but a propaganda machine that provides entertainment to the ignorant. We should be pushing companies not to advertise on Fox News. We should be telling the Management to turn it off in Public places like restaraunts and gyms.
- Call a liar a liar. This relates to number 1, but I can’t stress this enough. The Republicans look right in the camera and lie. And no one calls them on it. We have to start making people aware that there are things called “Facts” and stand up for them.
- Make this about Class Warfare. A class war is going on for years and most of the country just started to realize this. And the Republicans started it. Call’em on it.
- Make it clear: Unless you have an individual income of greater than $200,000 or a combined Family income of over $300,000, there is absolutely no financial reason to vote for the Republicans. If you want to vote for what is best for your pocketbook, vote for the Democrats. The Republicans really only answer to the Corporations and the wealthy.
- Make Obama white. That’s about the only way you can get about 35% of white Southerners to support the Democrats. We have to focus on the remaining 65% of the South with open minds.
- Wait it out….The older, closed minded, prejudiced Southerners are dying off. The younger ones are more open minded, better educated and have seen more of the world. These are the Southern Democrats of tomorrow.
- Make your Democratic friends vote. Even if you have to go to their house or job and throw them in the car and take them to the polls. There are more Democrats than Republicans in many parts of the South. The problem is Republicans always vote and Democrats don’t. If more Democrats would actually just show up at the polls, we would win a lot more races.
Those are my thoughts for now.
All I have left to say is:
If you are a Democrat, get off your butt and vote. There are no excuses.
If you are a Republican-why don’t you just book a spa day for Tuesday and let the election go? That would really be best for all of us….
How did this happen?
I’m not a big Madonna fan, but this makes me feel old. She was part of my youth. For better or worse, she was really, really big and part of the era. Maybe not supremely talented, but a cultural icon. Especially to my generation.
She is a little older than I am, but it still makes it harder for me to think of myself as young when she is….58. Damn.
But she WAS the 1980’s and 1990’s and she was proof that ambition pays off..
And she has had her moments….and we were there…
One really fun movie,with a great dance soundtrack, when Aiden Quinn was still hot, Rosanna Arquette still had a career and no one knew who Laurie Metcalfe was…..
One Diva Film. With one. Only one. Really,really good film performance in a major film…
Now she needs to just “shut the door”, as great stars past their prime once did, and enjoy her private life.
Or reinvent herself…She could do it if she wasn’t lost in bubble….
What I’ve seen of her lately is just sad….
She needs to realize she is 58 now, not 28…..
New post on my other blog:
So Goldie moved to Charlotte in 1965…. This was a Big Deal back then when single women simply did not relocate for jobs. But my Mother, as usual, took center stage. “Goldie is moving to Charlotte. I don’t understand this at all,but I hear they have good shopping in Charlotte. We can go see Goldie and shop and buy things people in Danville don’t have and tell them we got it in Charlotte. They have malls! That will be so much fun! Of course we will stay with her and visit, but the shopping will be great” Mind you, the only gene my family has in common is the “shopping gene.” We have can go generations without any commonality, we can have serious discrepancies in educational levels and political beliefs, but you say the word “shopping” and everyone falls in line.
New post on my other blog:
Some women, in every man’s life are unforgettable. Lavinia Randolph will always be that girl for me…. She was a force of nature.
From band days in High School through most of the next 25 years of my life, she was also the tie that bound me through most of my years in my home town. She was my guide and my companion on the journey to survive the modern day South.
I think every man, gay or straight,-has one or two amazing women in their life, and Lavinia-Lena- was one of mine… In my little town, she was the romanticized notion of what we all thought a Southern Belle should be. She bewitched a generation of local Southern men-from garage mechanics to football hero to college professors to men about town.
She was Scarlett O’Hara, Maggie the Cat and Blanche DuBois all wrapped up in one 5′ 2″ package. She was Liz Taylor on location. Only later would we realize how hard it might have been for her to play all those roles….