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They are "Evangelical Voters"

The root of the term "evangelical" is Greek, εὐαγγέλιον ('euangelion'), translating roughly to "glad announcement" or "good news." While sharing the gospels and proselytizing have been part of Christianity since the beginning, the "evangelical" movement in Protestant Christianity is fairly recent, subsequent to the spread of Methodism in the early nineteenth century CE. The term "evangelize" reached its first real prominence in the English language in about 1850, declined somewhat in prominence by the end of the century, revived a bit with the revivalist movements of the early 20th century, then declined steadily until the post-WWII era in America, when it began another meteoric rise.

In its broadest sense, "Evangelical" is simply 'sharing/announcing good news'-- with the implication that by so doing, the one sharing/announcing is doing the recipients a service, opening the door to faith, inviting them to join in belief. Gamers evangelize the latest game fad. Fashionistas evangelize the new trouser leg width. Food faddists evangelize the crusade against Demon Gluten.

In that sense, evangelism is annoying, but essentially harmless.

As it was in the early days of Evangelical Christianity.

You know who demanded a "wall of separation" between Church and State?


Because mainstream Protestant denominations- predominantly Episcopalian and Presbyterian- tended to dominate lawmaking, government regulation, etc., and the burgeoning Evangelical movements worried that the State might enact laws or regulations to force them to conform, or interfere with their liberty of conscience. They were supported by older Christian nonconformist traditions such as Quakers and Mennonites, and by America's Jewish and Catholic leadership, who'd had more than a bellyful of experience with discrimination by the powerful Anglo-American establishment.

It's hard for me to understand on any level deeper than intellectual awareness why some human beings are so strongly drawn to authoritarianism. I'm not in any sense a libertarian, certainly not an anarchist. I believe a social contract that includes norms and laws is necessary to provide incentives and disincentives that enable peaceful coexistence in diverse communities.

But the key phrase is "diverse communities." Norms and laws focused on enabling diverse groups to negotiate and enforce coexistence are very different from the kind of authoritarian norms and laws designed to eliminate diversity altogether.

People of authoritarian mindset are predisposed to accept the exegesis of those who assume and/or project authority. Combine the irrational nature of religious belief with the vulnerability to having those beliefs interpreted for them by authority that assumes a "divinely appointed" mantle.

Then tell the believers they're "oppressed" by a powerful "them" outside their elite belief group.

Thus the Evangelical Voter. Perfectly poised to support with perfervid rigidity a patriarchal authoritarian agenda defined by their leadership. To evangelize that agenda, regardless of any theological disconnect with the actual teachings of Christ or the New Testament.

And what matters to the Evangelical Voter is, first and foremost, political power and influence. Because that's what matters to their leaders.

It's more important to them to "win" politically, than to accept human imperfections and live the love for those different from themselves that Christ preached.

So of COURSE they see no problem with the condemnation of a man who beat "their" candidate, based on extramarital affairs with adult women making him "unfit to hold public office". And of COURSE they see no problem with supporting a serial adulterer who proudly boasts of sexual assault, and a man with a history of preying on vulnerable women half his age (including legally underage girls), as long as those men are "their" candidates, as anointed by the leaders.

And they think you and everyone else in America should vote exactly the same. And they'll tell you so on Facebook, and around the Thanksgiving dinner table, and in every possible public forum. Because they're evangelizing. Evangelical Voters.



"Holy crap! Where did THAT come from?"

Various forms of this question have been asked by a good many guys in my life recently. Some of them are guys whom I'm pretty sure have never skeeved on women, maybe never told anything more sexist than the odd PMS joke. Some who've done what they can, as allies, to be sure other guys in the workplace or social environment don't get away with 'locker room talk' among themselves, even.

I've heard it again and again. "Wait, what? Why now? Why so MUCH? WTF??" It reminds me of people walking along the street at the foot of a 50-story skyscraper, chatting about where to have lunch and not paying much more attention to what's around them than they have to, to avoid the idiots with their noses in their mobile phones. Lovely day, nice breeze, and then...


A couple of yards in front of them, a monstrous body hits the sidewalk, narrowly missing another pedestrian and grossing EVERYBODY out. It's hideous. It was hideous even before it connected with the pavement, a grotesque, barely-human fiend.

"Holy crap! Where did THAT come from?"

Dudes... it's the Patriarchy. You're only surprised because you haven't seen the women who've been dragging it up the stairs, all fifty stories, one flight at a time, as it's struggled and fought, lived on every time they pounded a stake into its heart, yanked it onto the next flight and plodded upward again.

Fifty fucking stories. It's been kicking and screaming, every flight, but you never heard. You didn't pay any attention to those noises coming from the stairwell.

You know nothing of the women killed, crippled, left for dead on the landings, as their sisters grimly pounded in another stake and heaved it onto the next stair upward. Sometimes losing their grip and letting the revolting thing bump-bump-bump back down to the landing below.

Every staircase, every floor, more women have arrived to join the task, because this is one effing HUGE monster, this patriarchy, this sleazy predator that regards half of the human race as domestic animals for its own consumption.

Many have died. Many. Hauling that monster up the narrow, dark, smelly stairwell is not for the faint of heart.

But we got it up there, onto the roof. A tag-team effort. Finally, finally...

WE knew.

Women have seen every moment of the fight. We've all had a hand dragging it, we've all got the scars to show for that. We know that monster.

And with a massive heave, we got it over, and let it drop.

THAT'S where it came from.

If you're shocked, it's because you haven't been paying attention.

I have no idea if that thing is dead. Probably not.

But it's seriously damaged, and I thank every one of my sisters, and the occasional brother who's joined in the effort, too.

It's been worth it.


Making it Whole: The (Bill) Clinton Problem

As ever when I'm trying to organize my thinking on a complicated issue fraught with controversy, some caveats first:

1. I was a Harkin supporter in 1991-92. I never had much liking for Bill Clinton as a national Democratic candidate.

2. I never much cared for a number of his policy initiatives and I detested his economic approaches and his attempts to pander to the Oligarchy by dismantling the safety net.

3. I had great respect for a number of his executive actions, particularly his appointments to the Federal judiciary, his empowerment of Al Gore to begin the process of assessing and revamping government process, and his work on post-Cold War security, including nuclear arms reduction and the Middle East peace process.

4. As a person, I thought he was intelligent, politically shrewd, essentially kind, and pragmatic. Also emotionally needy, arrogant, and prone to self-delusion.

5. Overall, in respect to policy and the economy, I rated his Presidency a success. In respect to political capability, I rated it a triumph. In respect to long-term impact on the Democratic Party, I rated it an unparalleled disaster.

I met the man exactly once, backstage at a campaign event on the handshake line. Even while I recognized his enormous personal charisma and likability, a tiny little alarm went off in the back of my consciousness. I won't claim prescience or omniscience and say I identified that alarm with skeevitude. I knew nothing about his adventures in the Arkansas governor's office and his misuse of the State Police to further his extramarital shenanigans, then. No, I just put it down to "this guy may have a grasp of legal and constitutional boundaries and professional ethics, but he's got some serious personal 'end-will-justify-the-means' boundary issues, too."

But that certainly didn't disqualify him from political office, it's something that can fairly be said of 90% or more of America's elected officials. Not all of whom act on it, or act on it in any way more damaging than getting a big donor into a basketball game, or maybe accepting some introductions or post-office job offers that are a bit iffy. So I voted for him.

And then the stories started surfacing. You can read a pretty good retrospective from the late, truly great Marjorie Williams, written in 1998 when the wounds were still raw.

And I was one of those women she wrote about, who was willing to give the ol' Big Dog a pass on so many rationalizations and denials, who was skeeved out by his skeeviness, but who LOVED how much the GOPpies hated him. I'd voted for him reluctantly in 1992. In 1996 in the trenches with the bombs from Gingrich, Starr et al bursting in air he became MY GUY, because the value of their hatred totally outweighed the mild nausea I was trying not to experience.

You may or may not agree with me, but my capsule assessment is thus:

1. He skeeved on women.

2. He used the power of his office to skeeve on women.

3. He used taxpayer resources to skeeve on woman.

4. He exploited the power differential, he preyed on younger women, he let the gratification of his own skeeviness take precedent over any consideration for his prey as human beings, vulnerable human beings by reason of historical cultural oppression and conditioning as well as the power differential.

5. And then he lied about it. A lot. A WHOLE lot.

6. And all of the above did deep and lasting damage, not only to the human beings directly involved, but to the public trust, the dignity of his office, the reputation of his Party, and the credibility of the party's platform relative to feminism and our pursuit of legal, social, economic, and cultural equity for women in America.

Now, let's also look at mitigation:

1. While he skeeved on younger women, he at least kept it legal, and he doesn't seem to have done any teenybopper ass-grabbing. For the most part they seemed to be above the age of consent.

2. While the legality of several of his actions with respect to the use of taxpayer resources and lying to cover his tracks is questionable (at best) in civil law (more probably culpable or even illegal), he seems to have avoided the most egregious kinds of criminal offenses.

He did all this shit twenty years or so back. He may or may not have changed in that period of time. It looks like he has, but how the hell can I tell? And why the hell should it matter?

There's no statute of limitations on skeevery, in moral and ethical terms (see Moore, Roy).

It would certainly please the same people who've spent the last three decades attempting to annihilate anything Clinton to bring it all up now, and that's a lovely argument for holding it to some kind of statute of limitations and/or relevancy in the current public discourse.

But I don't think we can legitimately do that. It IS relevant, and there is no statute of limitations.

So what DO we do with this smelly mess we've been effectively ignoring for twenty years?

I go back to the legal term, "making it whole." That is the goal of the legal process in a situation where guilt has been determined, referring not just to punishing the guilty party, but redressing the losses and suffering of those harmed by the actions of the perpetrator.

And here, I believe, is where we can draw a line.

Because what the rabid Clinton-haters want more than anything is crushing, humiliating devastating, Final Solution PUNISHMENT of Clinton, not for skeeving on women, but for the awful crime of winning an election from an incumbent GOP office holder, then being very successful at the job, and getting re-elected in spite of everything they could do to stop him. That's the rat in their throats and NO punishment can ever be sufficient for those crimes.

But focusing on a "make this whole" agenda solely related to Clinton's skeevery is a positive and measured response that focuses on the actual damage, and opens a window for positive progress: How should such cases be handled?

I'm not entirely sure what it would look like, but I suspect it would have at least three parts:

One would address the actual civil damages, reimbursing the State of Arkansas for the cost of state trooper resources, etc. in a cash settlement, ditto for any expenses that could be linked to taxpayer funding during his Presidential administration.

Two would address the damages to the women involved, and would probably involve arbitration to work out acceptable "make whole" settlements. This may involve apologies and public statements, repudiation of past lies, potential additional liability to prosecution which might be waived in respect to those individuals if they feel so inclined. If not, they may proceed to litigation and negotiate cash settlements as well.

Three would address the damages to the public trust, the Democratic Party, etc. I believe a lot of this has already been accomplished, with respect to Clinton's own actions as Chief Executive (read the Williams article for details on the many accomplishments of his Administration to advance women's rights, equality in the workplace, etc.) But public discussion thereof among leadership might go a long way to both pointing out the irreversable nature of some damage as well as the tangible possibilities of restitution in public policy.

Yanno what?

I still actually LIKE the guy, for all his skeeviness. He's a damaged human, as are we all, and on the whole I think his positives do outweigh the negatives, especially in the past couple of decades. But pretending the negatives aren't there, and that they didn't do enormous and lasting damage, doesn't help much right now.

We are poised on a cusp, foot raised to take a solid step away from the patriarchal culture of oppression, if we don't trip over our own feet in our eagerness to portray everything in us vs. them, all-good vs. all-evil over-simplification.

This shouldn't be allowed to distract from the very real and very current issues. But it is part of the larger pattern and it's a Teachable Moment, so to speak. It can harm us or help us. Either way it won't be pleasant. But we have a choice.


::reads this over... corrects a coupla typos... dons asbestos undergarments... hits "Post my thread!"::

Alabama, Give me Hope. I know you can.

A new poll shows Moore and Jones tied in a dead heat at 46% each on Thursday. With 82% saying they're aware of the allegations about Moore's skeevy, child-groping past.

Thank you, Alabama.

I know it's hard.

I know your elected blowhards and godbotherers are out there saying the most outrageous and shameful things, which can't help but embarrass y'all.

Because I know you're not like that. I know that you know perfectly well how appalling Moore's creepitude is. And I want YOU to know that I know perfectly well that the hotair mechanics churning out Soundbytes of Shame in your name are NOT speaking for you.

Many of y'all and I probably don't see eye to eye on a lot of things, politics-wise. Plenty of progressives and Democrats in Alabama, I know (shoutin' out to YOU! Montgomery... and y'all know who you are, in Birmingham... and many other places, too...) but yeah, by and large, y'all are more conservative, not so much inclined to trust change and folks who don't share your own history and experiences. I get that. We can agree to disagree on a lot.

But not on pedophilia. Here's the deal: I have already sworn off the "marrying his 14-year-old cousin" jokes... I did that years ago. But I promise I WILL call out thoughtless friends and family who default to the "redneck goober sister******rs" jokes in discussing your fair state and its people.

In return, please give me hope. You can do it, I know.

Let the good ol' boy piehole-flappers babble on taking the name of the Lord in vain-- seriously, we ALL know-- and I KNOW you know-- that Jesus would NOT prefer a child-groping creep to a man who sent the murderers of four little girls killed in a church bombing to justice. I KNOW you know that. I know you know your New Testament as well as your Old Testament, and you know damn' well there was nothing in the beatitudes about "Blessed are the Republicans, for they shall be allowed to grabass teenyboppers."

Alabama is a beautiful place, full of wonderful people.

You can give all of us hope.


Repost: "Excuse me... This 'working class' thing- where can I meet some?"

This was originally posted in the wake of the 2016 election, after MikeyP got dissed by the 'Hamilton' cast and got all self-righteous about who was doing what to whom. But I've decided, given the uncontrollable scab-picking stupidity of Democratic Party postgame analysis and the clever concern trollery by various unfriendly sources, to make it a regular post-election feature in my Journal.

WaPo today, in (I'm sure) the interest of attempted detente, featured an opinion piece from a "Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute" and former speechwriter for Whistle-ass, lecturing "a crowd of wealthy, out-of-touch Manhattan liberals (who can afford $849 tickets to “Hamilton”)" for booing Mike Pence while the cast "lectures him on diversity."

His "point" being, such as it is, that "the Left," you see, is "imploding," and unless/until they learn to connect/understand/kowtow to/whatever, something called "the working class," they'll be permanently irrelevant.

Well, that sounded scary, so I figured I should investigate.

Let's start with this "working class" thing.

I freely admit, I'm all at sea, here.

Because-- and I know this is weird-- with the exception of a very few retired folks, every single adult and most of the youngsters I know, work.

They work really hard, most of them. Oh, I know a few people lucky enough to be able to work a little less than hard, and a few people who love what they do SO much they don't even think of it as "working," but... mostly, everyone I know (and I'd have to admit, my circle of acquaintance is probably at least an 80/20 mix of folks whose orientation, policy-wise, would have to be called "left" versus "right",) works.

They work at jobs that are grindingly hard, many of them. Some work at two or three jobs. A few juggle even more-- a few hours clerking at the Dollar Store, a few more hours stocking shelves at the grocery store, some paid babysitting, cleaning vacation rentals, and a little off-the-books ride shuttling, now and then, that kind of thing.

Even the ones who don't get paychecks from employers work their asses off. They grow things for the Farmer's Market, look after their children, take care of an elderly relative or two, and cobble together bits of art or handiwork on the side, to sell at flea markets and church sales.

See.... I *thought* these were "the working class," because, hey, the "working" part fit, and the whole "class" thing is pretty fluid, as far as I can tell. I know people who claim descent from Spanish nobility, people whose parents or grandparents immigrated and worked double and night jobs for decades to send them to college, people whose families have never, EVER crossed a picket line as long as there have been Unions, people whose parents could afford to give them a sports car for a High School graduation present, people from all kinds of backgrounds, families, whatever the fuck "class" is supposed to mean, they're in there...

...and they all WORK.

Some of them live in rural areas. Some of them live in cities in "flyover country," some of them live in small towns, some of them live on the coasts.

I'm white, I grew up in a largely white city in a largely (back then) white state, and so, yeah, the people I know and hang with are probably disproportionately (in terms of the national demographic profile) white, and I'm older, so they're a little skewed older, too. And they work their asses off, and I think I know them pretty well.

And they almost ALL voted for Hillary, and every one I've talked to since the Nuclear Cheeto got all bent about his buttboy getting dissed at the Thee-Yah-Tah has said something to the effect of "I'd have booed, too!"

So, this "working class" that Mister Concern Troll is saying is going to make me and people like me permanently irrelevant unless I peer deep into their souls and have a melty-heart, dewey-eyed, OMG, I'm so fucking SORRY I misunderstood y'all, let's smooch and I'll tell you how RIGHT you are about EVERYTHING moment... who are they?

Could it be...

...just motherfucking POSSIBLY...

...that this whole "working class" buncha people-of-the-land--you-know,-morons is a MYTH? That someone is trying to spin the noble-sounding "working class" meme into a DOG WHISTLE for the ones in the basket?

The white ones, with penises and guns and booboo lips about brown folks and wimmins disrespecting them?


I'm way too cynical, aren't I.

So... there's this powerful, shadowy group of people who... what... call themselves? Are known to the few cognoscenti as...? "The Working Class"...

Because it can't be a rock band, even the Rolling Stones or whoever is the current hot group isn't powerful enough to render the entire Left permanently irrelevant just because I didn't buy their last album.


Obligatory Reminder That "Sickeningly Evil" Does NOT Equate to "Mentally Ill"

And yes, those of you who've been around a while probably know exactly how sad and angry I am that I just KEEP. HAVING. TO. DO. THESE. POSTS...

So, misogynist failure with LOTS O' GUNZ heads down to where people are busy praying and sprays them full of bullets.

He ain't black, he ain't Muslim, he ain't an immigrant, so... HE MUST BE MENTALLY ILL!!

I suppose you can make a case for patriachy-induced misogyny as a mental illness (indeed, I personally consider it would be appropriate under Axis II in the old DSM, but there's an obvious problem with a diagnosis that would include so large a percentage of the population, right?)

So, as I noted in this post clear the hell back in 2013, "Some people are mentally ill. Some people make catastrophically poor decisions. Some people do evil things... (and) none of these things necessitates any of the others."

Why do I keep getting so jacked off about this, every time the NRA shills trot out the "mentally ill!" flag and wave it to distract from the Too Many Gunz thing? (Oh, and BTW, will some journo kindly trot out the recent action EarlG highlighted in today's Pic of the Moment at the various Thoughts and Prayers press conferences with those same shills?)

Because I resemble that remark, for a start. And I promised myself and all my fellow human beings here on DU who have struggled with mental illness that I will challenge the language and assumptions and tropes that keep building the walls of stigma and bigotry around us.

And finally, for those NRA shills who would be seen as "enlightened" and who are willing to walk back the whole "hey, let's allow the mentally ill people gunz just like everyone else, protect their 2ndA rights, TOO!" weirdness and put the onus on some mythical "mental illness detector" that can be installed in gun shops and carried around to gun shows, let's pop that bubble, too:

Why Can't Doctors Identify Killers

Unless, of course, we're willing to go with the whole "patriarcy-induced misogyny" thing as a bona-fide diagnosis of mental illness that will legally disqualify those diagnosed therewith from ever getting their pattypaws on anything resembling a firearm.

THAT, I could support, yep.

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