Monday, January 23, 2017

Another View of Marches, Plus More Daily 202 Raving

Once again: I love Washington Post's "Daily 202" feature. It's emailed every day, and it's really insightful (not a word I'd use to describe much news coverage these days). It changes my mind on lots of things, and I treasure that. If you're not getting it, and paying close attention, you're really missing out. I'd describe it as left-center.

In today's edition, it (tacitly) makes a point I've deprecated from my own writing about the marches: that marching isn't the same thing as voting. It's a much more active step, and it gathers energy. But it also touches on a concern I expressed in a comment discussion beneath a recent posting: activation on the left can help, but can also swing things too far, leading to Tea Party-style litmus tests, where any Democrat who works with Trump on anything gets assault-via-primary. That dynamic is already starting to fall into place (nothing to do with the marches):
Several of the Democratic senators who want to run for president in 2020 won’t vote for anything Trump wants because they’ll be concerned about opening themselves up to attacks from their left. We got an early taste of this dynamic on Friday afternoon: John Kelly was confirmed as secretary of homeland security by a vote of 88 to 11. Among the “no” votes were four likely presidential candidates: Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris. These kinds of votes will put pressure on more moderate Democrats to follow suit. Imagine the thousands of phone calls asking a lawmaker why they voted for something when Warren, Booker and Bernie Sanders voted against it.
You're not going to see this angle on CNN. And the following is exactly the sort of telling note (not much heard elsewhere) that makes this a daily must-read:

One small but telling illustration of how little the Trump administration actually cares about expanding his coalition: The Spanish-language version of no longer exists. You get a 404 error if you try to visit.


Anonymous said...

It's a perfectly sane idea to look around the world and see the particular and universal problems with multi-lingual regions (Belgium, Canada-Quebec, Alsace, Alto-Adige Sud-Tirol, Basque country, Balkans, and even Babel) and see the possibilities and therefore wish to avoid those problems, and to then look at the US and determine that historically we have integrated many immigrants while becoming neither multi-lingual nor any strong form of multi-cultural, and to conclude "we don't really need to become multilingual, so why should we encourage it?. Sure, one generation of immigrants struggles to learn the new language, but that struggle is worth it like many other learning struggles are.

It is also perfectly sane to see benefits in diversity and potential benefits of multiculturalism and to hope that we could achieve those benefits in the US by being more enlightened while we encourage a massive involuntary experiment in multilingual multiculturalism (even at the same time you can look around the world and see that English has itself become international and multicultural so that multilingual might be swimming against a tide for no benefit)

What is not sane is to see a benefit in taking one side and sneering at the other one, and treating a Spanish language like it's purely a good or purely a bad idea and making it a political football of super symbolic importance. Better to acknowledge that there is no consensus on these ideas and neither side should grab every opportunity to stick it to the other side. Rather, an ongoing effort to make the language and html on "friendly" to clear conversion on would be a great benefit to all sorts of people around the globe and wouldn't engender any opposition from anybody.

Also, declaring you are Moslem when you are not except in a non premeditated impulsive "Je suis Charlie" moment is as idiotic as my het friend who a few years ago declared she would not get married till gay people could get married, because if marriage is so important, and life is short, what point are you making by denying yourself marriage other than you are undoubtedly using it as a convenient Freudian crutch to act out your unconscious fear and avoidance personal intimacy. So, instead of "I am a Moslem", better to declare "I consider myself to be unorthodox and am prepared to go to surreal lengths to maintain that symbolic and superficial fiction that something about myself makes me special compared to everybody else."

Even mainstream normative people across a broad thick middle of our gaussian population density function are special to their intimate friends, and more importantly they have a conscious realization of that and an unconscious desire to act accordingly; and it's better advice to follow their lead and pursue intimacy with more people rather than constantly point out to everybody around you that they don't measure up to your standards of individuality.

Jim Leff said...

I share your call for a balanced view of multiculturalism vs nativism, even as an extreme xenophile, myself.

I'm not sure, though, how you jumped from the phrase "small but telling illustration" re: the White House's Spanish site to characterizing the concern as attributing "super symbolic importance." That's where I stopped taking you seriously. And I stopped reading entirely when you called me idiotic. I'm especially short in patience when it comes to anonymous cowards.

It's a shame, perhaps you had some nugget of viewpoint I might have benefitted from hearing. I'll never know, now. I hope your choleric self-gratification at least brought you some sense of release.

The rest is for onlookers, since you're not someone I'm interested in engaging with.

As many Jews (and, I suppose, non-Jews) do, I sometimes mentally transpose myself to 1935 Germany. How would I behave? How would I want my neighbors to behave? If many reasonable Germans (and there were tons of them; reasonable people are present amid every horror) had stood up, it would have been different. And while I don't always agree with Gloria Steinem on a ton of issues, I think she's dead-on right in calling for any prospective Moslem Registry to be stocked to the rafters with tens of millions of Americans. I prefer to emulate Anne Frank's neighbors, rather than the frightened mice (with the butch banners) who were afraid to follow their own values.

Here's Steinem's proposal:

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