Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Liberal Tone Policing in the 2016 Election

This piece came out with impeccable timing on The Establishment, another by Ijeoma Oluo, on tone policing and privilege.

The Privilege Of ‘Civilized’ Political Discourse

If your son will never be one of the 1 in 3 black men imprisoned in America, if you will never need an abortion, if you don’t have to fear watching your family die in a drone strike, debate can be vigorous fun—like being a freshman in Poli Sci all over again. When you have nothing to fear, the most important decisions in our government all turn into thought experiments where everything—even the lives of human beings—is up for compromise. 
But for the rest of us, for those of us directly and horrifically impacted every day by the slow and comfortable pace of “progress,” the call for civilized debate is barbaric. The lack of yelling, the lack of protest, the lack of rage and urgency around issues that are literally killing people is a glaring testament, not of our manners, but of our lack of basic empathy as a society.

"But for the rest of us, for those of us directly and horrifically impacted every day by the slow and comfortable pace of “progress,” the call for civilized debate is barbaric."

Yes. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. The call to be nice and wait for privileged people to slowly come to the decision that oppressed people deserve to live as they are actively being murdered on a daily basis is utterly barbaric. Especially because it's a fucking trap. It's a trick. You can be as nice as possible and you'll either be dismissed or your words will still be interpreted as aggression.

I was planning to write on this subject due to the large number of posts I've seen on Facebook of people calling for each other to contact the Washington State superdelegates to tell them to listen to the voters and support the candidate overwhelming supported by the people of the state. But most of these posts come with a cautioning to be nice and polite. Now, I understand if people want to tell others not to blatantly harass these superdelegates, especially the ones who are not cishet white men, but they all seem to come with a lecture about how it's important to be "civil" and that being "aggressive" or "rude" will only push the superdelegates further into their Hillary trench.

I hate this. I shouldn't have to crawl up on my hands and needs and whimper a plea for something resembling an actual democracy and having my voice actually heard in this clusterfuck of an election. What kind of god complex do these superdelegates have that we have to bow our heads and offer our reverence to their bought greatness for them to even consider listening to us? Or else they'll spite us by completely taking the option of voting for Bernie off the table? That kind of behavior is reminiscent of either a toddler or an abuser.

Superdelegates are simply important state politicians give this extra power for being important politicians. But, as laughable as this is lately, politicians are still supposed to represent their constituents. That's their job. They're supposed to serve us, not do what they think is best for us like a pack of dictators or monarchs.

And if they shirk their duties, why the fuck should we be polite? We have every right to demand our basic rights supposedly given to us in this supposed democracy. We shouldn't have to ask nicely that the rules be followed. Especially when so much is at stake in this election. So many lives.

I get that you want to be better than the people at the Trump rallies screaming racial slurs and punching people in the face. But there is a middle ground. You can demand your rights and be angry without using oppressive language or assaulting people. Come on. Don't let Trump's bullshit push you into being victims of tone policing discourse. Get angry and fight for what you deserve.

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