Battlepanda: Angelica the centrist


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Angelica the centrist

Am I coming over all centrist in my old age? Here's Lawrence, in response to this post:
As time goes by, you seem more and more committed to a moderate centrism that excludes radical critiques of the whole political system. You also seem increasingly willing to view the Democrats with a kind of idealism that, to me, seems misplaced.
I think ideologically I've always been fairly liberal and remain so. I've gotten less liberal on some issues as I've grown older and more liberal on others, but basically those changes balance out. Certainly on the subject of Iraq, I was stridently anti-war from the get-go. My position on withdraw is almost certainly closer to Sheehan's than Liebermans.

However, when it comes down to tactics, I have to say I cannot stand the radical left. I've been to one anti-war protest only, in Boston. At the time it left me with a reasonable warm-fuzzy feeling even as I realized that it accomplished nothing. But there were elements of the protest that made me cringe. The homemade "no blood for oil" and generic George W. = Dumb type signs, the floats, the "hey hey, ho ho" chants. Now I look upon the protest with some measure of embarrassment. The whole protest culture which Sheehan is perhaps the premier participant in leaves me utterly cold. I understand how somebody who grew up during times when protests proved to be more momentous would disagree violently, but in this day and age, they are the sideshow.

And yes. I think the smart thing to do to get what you want is working within the system, not attacking from without, at least at this moment in history. I only started paying attention to politics around 2003. The bitter lesson of 2000 remained heavy and ashen in the mouth. As I've learned more about politics and the history of American politics, I've also seen the amazing radicalization of the Republican party from within and how the country have been made worse in so many different ways because of the power they wielded. Of course, these lessons would not have affected everyone so powerfully. But my personality is inherently pragmatic. My philosophy is utilitarian and not particularly dogmatic. It fits.

It's not that I don't agree with Sheehan's goal, but I disagreed with her tactics. If you can convince me that by heckling Rahm Emanuel she advanced the likelihood of an earlier U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, I'd be happy to revise my opinion of Ms. Sheehan.