Wednesday, June 30, 2004


Right Wing Assholes. How to talk to them? That is the question asked of Cary Tennis in today's Since you Asked column:
Here's the problem: the opinions of right-wing assholes (RWAs). Now, when socializing with family or in our little club, the rule to observe is "Don't talk about sex, religion or politics." RWAs would be the first to assert these family values, but of course can't help getting in little digs. Or big digs. No matter what activity you pursue, RWAs must express their opinions. "That's one for Hillary." "'They' don't like us handling guns." "There's this one guy at work who's a Muslim, but he won't be around long if I can help it." And "the liberals did this, did that, did this other thing." Gay marriage, women's rights, gun control, our eternal wars -- you name it, a right-wing asshole can sneak it into any conversation and slam it.

And, oh man, can they talk! Many RWAs are blue-collar and listen to Hate Radio for eight hours a day, and can (and will) gladly blather for eight hours at the drop of a hat. None of their opinions are their own, of course. They're just parroting the talk-show hosts. And because they're "talking sense" they assume everyone listening agrees with them. [snip]

Which leads to the all-burning question: What's the best way to respond civilly to right-wingers you socialize with but whose opinions you don't share?

Well, one could adopt the Veep's approach to feel-good dialog and tell the RWA to go fuck him/her self. It's what YT does. YT likes the Mitch & Murray policy from Downtown: "Nice guy? Fuck you. Go home and play with your kids."

But the ever wise Mr. Tennis has sage advice:
Unfortunately, we don't have a single word that says "I'm listening but I may or may not agree." But we do have several ways of saying "Kindly take your head out of your ass," and it seems to me we ought to start saying it.

America is in political crisis. This is no time to sit quietly by. You simply have to register your dissent. We are living in one of those historic moments where you either respond authentically or you lose your soul. If your friends and relatives do not realize the depth of our peril, you owe it to them to try to make them aware of it.

So how do you register your disagreement in a way that is principled, respectful and historically conscious? Maybe you start by saying something simple and straightforward such as "I respectfully disagree."


Don't try to win them over. Just stand your ground and say you're a liberal and you don't agree and that's how you see it. If you're challenged to rebut what was said, offer instead to do some research and present your case to the group at a later date, saying that even if you don't persuade anyone, that way you'll all end up a little better informed.

Then go home and study. Go over every detail. Learn the history of the subject. Listen to all the pundits you can stand and get to know what their arguments are. Find the factual holes in their arguments. Then, next time you meet, present your case, and ask for campaign contributions.

Today's a good day to send some scratch.


At 7:02 PM, Blogger Drunken Proletariat said...

Many thanks for that bit. And the links. RWA Heaven was denied in our election of June 28. Canadians voted cente-left, and our "Socialist Democracy" will thrive. (I hope). RWAs' are very restless in this country. Too bad-so sad... A lot of them live here in Alberta, and Canada voted against an RWA Party that managed to get many more votes than it deserved, in my view. So it could be said that God does not support RWA kinda folks, at least here in the Frozen North! Power to the People!

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