Seattle Space Needle Reflection at Night

The Greater of Two Evils

Olympia - Women in Black

Everyone I meet in my day-to-day life assumes that I am a Democrat.

It’s a fair assumption, I suppose. After all, I’m an atheist, I have a bleeding-heart on most social issues, I believe in universal healthcare, I’m anti-large corporation, I’ve been a champion of gay rights, I believe in the legalization of all drugs, the legalization of prostitution, and I’m (with some reservations) pro-abortion. Sounds like a pretty solid Democrat, eh?

This being the case, most people find it quite surprising when I tell them that I would never, ever, EVER, vote for a Democrat. In fact, if I absolutely had to vote for one or the other, I would have to vote for a Republican.

Most, if not all people, find this confusing, so allow me to shed some light …

Riding the ferry on a daily basis has given me a good deal of insight into the American conscience, and in particular, has given me insight into the thoughts and ideologies of the average Pacific Northwest Democrat. The most notable example of this came from an encounter I had in late September of this year.

I was sitting in a window booth, riding home at the end of a long day, when a man and a woman sat in the booth in front of me. The man was in his late-40’s to mid-50’s, and the woman appeared to be in her early 20’s. I am not 100% sure of the man and the woman’s relationship, but the way they were talking, I got the distinct impression that he was a professor, and she was his student. I assumed this because of their age, and because he mentioned “the class” and “his students” several times, and the formality between them strongly suggested that they were not related to each other.

In any event, these two sat in front of me, and for 15 or 20 minutes after the ferry departed, I listened to the man “lecture” the woman. For the entire first half of the trip, he gave quite a monologue about the pervasiveness of racism & sexism in American culture. Most of it was fairly standard fare out of a typical Seattle Weekly or Stranger column.

Toward the end, however, the man became more impassioned. The volume of his voice increased, and it began to quiver as he began ranting about “intolerant” southern rednecks, and their ignorance. He became clearly upset as he talked about the “bigots” and “racists” who were going to vote for Mitt Romney solely because they hated Obama’s blackness, and he explained that they wanted to keep black people out of the oval office and in ghettos where they belonged. He explained that crime and violence were on the rise in the black community, solely because of these “ignorant bigots and racists”.

He reserved his greatest ire, however, for those who opposed illegal immigration. Once again, it was only the “racists and xenophobes” of America who dare opposed illegal immigration, and who were, as he put it … and I remember this word vividly … “evil”.

Now, even though it may run contrary to my writing, I’m generally a very polite, quiet person. I’m almost painfully shy at times. While I wouldn’t consider myself to be a pushover, if I can avoid having to speak to people, I usually do. I go to great lengths to avoid having to converse with other people, and I almost never, ever, initiate conversations myself. This is why I find writing to be somewhat cathartic. I can say what I have to say without actually … saying it.

On this particular ride home, however, I did something extraordinarily out of character.

As the Seattle skyline loomed in the near-distance, and with less than 10 minutes left before docking, I packed up my computer, grabbed my coat, and stood up to go to the downstairs deck. After leaving my seat, but before heading to the exit … I stopped at the booth in front of me, where I heard the words “excuse me” come out of my mouth.

My palms actually sweat a little just thinking back about it. It was like an out-of-body experience, where you’re standing there, listening to someone else speak, but that someone is not you. Sort of like a runner’s high, where full-bodied numbness is the only thing standing between you and the complete abandonment of your endeavor.

“Excuse me”, I said, “I don’t usually do this, but I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation, and if you don’t mind … I’d like to say something”.

Realize that what follows cannot be a word-for-word transcript of what I actually said, but it’s as close as my memory allows, and I don’t think it’s that far off:

“I noticed that you are extraordinarily tolerant of uneducated minorities. I can’t help but wonder why it is, however, that you are filled with such hate against uneducated white people.

Have you ever been to Appalachia? Because, I have. I spent several summers in West Virginia coal country before my Baptist Minister grandfather passed away, and it was quite a learning experience.

You see, my grandfather used words like “nigger” all the time. Why? Because it was how he was brought up. That is what the people around him said. Most people are what their parents are. They are as they were brought up to be. Otherwise, in many cases, they are ostracized and abused. Yet, you blame people who are brought up in this manner, only if they are white.

My grandfather had a much lessor shot at a college education than does a black man in the Central District today, however, if someone like my grandfather came to your school, and a black former-gangbanger from the inner-city came to your school, you would tolerate the black person’s ignorance, while expelling my grandfather for his.

Why is this, though?

The poverty of Appalachia is shocking to the conscience. Sometimes, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how those people live. It makes the “ghettos” of Seattle look like Beverly Hills. Yet, you, an educated white man, berate those people. You call them “ignorant”. You call them “bigots”. You call them “intolerant”.

I find it ghastly that you preach tolerance, then, in the next breath, show the very same intolerance and hatred that you claim to despise. You berate the ignorance of one group, yet, in the same sentence you forgive the ignorance of another. You see the black man’s biases as a result of his upbringing, while the white man’s biases are a result of his character flaws.

Perhaps your anger is a reaction to your own racist soul? Perhaps, deep down, you think that white people have higher IQ’s than black people, and you thus feel that they should be able to overcome their upbringings?

You see, a child raised by racist parents, is almost certainly going to be a racist. This is hardly unusual. Did you know that nearly 90% of Americans adhere to the same religion that their parents believe? Some kids are brought up in households where the father and mother rail against minorities. When those kids grow up and reach adulthood, predictably, they begin railing against minorities too.

This, you find detestable when the kid is white. Yet, when a minority is raised in a household that holds honkies in low esteem, and shuns education, and promotes things like out-of-wedlock births … you understand. You forgive. You pity. You tolerate. You see the minority as a victim of her upbringing. You ascribe no expectation that she will overcome the way she was raised.

Now, I’m standing here looking at you. You are well-dressed, well-spoken, and obviously, very well-educated. Yet, you spew hate and intolerance toward one group of people, simply because of their skin color.

But … what’s your excuse? What excuse do you have to be such a bigoted, hateful, racist person?

Working class white people have to compete for an increasingly smaller piece of the economic pie. As demand for workers dwindle, supply for those jobs increase. As an educated person, you no doubt know that a supply/demand imbalance like this leads to greatly reduced wages and standards of living for the entire working class. This imbalance is the very reason that the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer in this nation. The working class is too large, and illegal immigration only makes it larger.

Now, imagine an American worker, jobless, unable to provide for his children … going to a construction site where he now has to compete with 100 illegal immigrant day laborers. He used to have to only compete with 10 other people, but now it’s 100, and because it’s 100, the employer no longer has to offer livable wages or benefits. After all, 90 of those workers are willing to live in third-world conditions, and accept third-world wages.

The American worker gets angry, and when he does, you call him “evil”. The man who can no longer pay his mortgage, or feed his family. Because he doesn’t welcome the increased competition for unskilled work with open arms, he’s evil? Really?

Look, there is no such thing as a job that an American won’t do. It doesn’t exist. What does exist, however, is a job that an American won’t do for $3.00/hour without benefits. And because he won’t do it for $3.00/hour, you think that we should import workers who will. It’s okay to lower the American standard of living as long as it saves you $1.00 on a quart of strawberries. You should be able to negotiate your wages, but working class Americans should have no such right. They should accept whatever puny wages they are offered, or be shunned off as “unwilling to do the job”, at which point they are summarily replaced by someone who will.

Sir, you should be ashamed of yourself. Look at you. You’re obviously educated and well-off. You’ve had every opportunity in the world, and you’ve clearly made the most of those opportunities. Good for you. You’re an American success story. Not everyone is so fortunate, however, and that includes a whole lot of working-class white folks. Rednecks, I think you called them.

Now, look at me, and look at you. Anyone can tell that you are far, far smarter than I am, and if I know these things, so do you.

Sir, I’m no Republican. I promise you that. Republicans are a pretty ignorant group. I’d go so far as to call them stupid. But you … you’re not. You’re not ignorant. You’re clearly not stupid. Unfortunately, that leaves only one explanation for your views. You’re a bad person. You know better, yet, for political expediency … you don’t care. It doesn’t matter how many people your chosen policies hurt, you don’t care so long as you fit within the expectations of upper-middle-class academia. For that reason, I think it’s abundantly clear that you, sir, are the evil one.

And with that, I turned and walked to the exit.

It was quite a mouthful. It felt like I had spoken for an hour, but in reality, it was only one minute, maybe two. Once or twice, it looked as though the man was going to interject, but I didn’t give him the opportunity. The floodgates had opened, and I couldn’t hold them back. I remember myself as being very articulate, but perhaps my memory was self-serving and selective. I think that’s probably natural. I may have sounded like a rambling, mumbling idiot, though.

Walking down the stairs, I wondered what the guy must be thinking. To his credit, he didn’t stop me. At least not forcefully. I wondered if anyone else had heard me. Surely they had. I wondered what they thought.

Most likely, I figured, they thought me a loon. Mentally ill. Homeless. They were probably scared. After all, there I stood 6’3″, 190lbs, huge backpack, a week of stubble, plaid jacket, corduroy pants, hair down to my chest … I looked the part. I always look like your average Alaskan Way crazy guy — the guy who is usually walking around and talking to himself.

I never saw the man or his friend again, though. Maybe that’s because they saw me first.

This recollection does, however, explain my political stance. It explains why I would never, ever, vote for a Democrat.

You see, “tolerance” as it is preached by the Democrats of Washington State, has nothing to do with tolerance. It has only to do with manipulation. Manipulation of thought to serve a political organization, which in turn makes rich people richer, and poor people poorer. Seattle is a town overflowing with these folks. Affluent Democrats. Lexus Liberals. Day after day, year after year, they sit in ivory towers on the shores of Lake Washington, or in the halls of UW, pulling the strings of their marionettes, who then stiffly dance through the streets of the U-District and Capitol Hill.

Barack Obama has been to Seattle three times in the past year, but not once to Rainier Beach. Not once to White Center. Instead, he spent all of those visits … all of them … blocking off streets, tying up rush hour traffic, and inconveniencing working people, while attending $35,000/plate dinners with wealthy donors.

Washington State is quite possibly … I think most definitely … the phoniest place in the world. On planet earth. I truly mean this with all sincerity. Washington is the world’s largest popularity contest. It’s a place where selfish people spend their days pretending to be altruistic. A place where corporate welfare is bad, unless it’s for movie studios. It’s a place where … when caught red-handed championing Republican ideals … a blog, the most award-winning blog at that, still can’t be honest about their position. Right or wrong holds not a shred of relevance, the only thing that matters is popularity.

Folks, if you believe nothing else I say, please believe this. People in Seattle only care about social causes to the extent that other people see them care about social causes. This is why we have so many “breast cancer” walks. We have to. When we ask our people to just write a check, it doesn’t happen. After all, what’s the point of giving if nobody knows that you did so? It’s the reason why no similar walks for prostate cancer take place. It’s the reason why Susan G. Komen routinely sues smaller, more efficient charities out of business, and nobody cares. It’s not about breast cancer. It’s never been about breast cancer.

What happened to Tibet anyway? Are they free yet? Anyone still care?

Our “concern” is all an act. We’re frauds. Phonies. Fakes. This, more than anything, I promise you.

A few months ago, when I wrote an article about men’s increasing problems in society, I got a great deal of email from local Democrats. Not one of them, not one, single, solitary one of them expressed concern for the suffering, and indeed, widespread suicide of a people. Not one. Instead, their concerns were more along the lines of “I can’t believe you watch The View”, or “You sound like a Republican!” Not one person cared about a single one of the statistics that I included.

Not … one.

Last year, I had an online exchange with the organizer of the Seattle SlutWalk. When I explained to him that his group was calling exonerated, and falsely accused people “rapists”, he was unconcerned. When I explained that innocent people were being tortured in prison because of these claims, he did not care. The SlutWalk occurred again this year, and their claims were unchanged.

They don’t care. “Liberals”, or at least those who call themselves as such … do … not … care.

It’s all just an illusion. A game. A cynical game to sort out the social pecking order of privileged Seattle white folks. It’s a game that destroys people, their lives, and their country … but these folks don’t care. These people don’t care who they hurt. So-called “liberals” don’t care about people. They care about themselves, and they care about how you perceive them. Democrats are bad people trying to look altruistic solely for their own social status.

Now, I don’t say this lightly. To call a group “bad people” or “evil people” is something that I may have jokingly, but have never seriously done before. The people who walk around Seattle promoting Democratic causes absolutely meet this threshold, however. Anyone who can ignore the suffering of millions solely to bolster their own social standing is the very definition of bad. It pains me to say it, but it’s true.

Democrats of Seattle … you are bad people because you should know better. Sure, you had some first-world problems growing up. Life wasn’t perfect. It never is. Yes, you weathered your parent’s divorce and you battled poor body image. Yes, you beat your Xanax addiction, and your boyfriend turned out to be gay. Yes, your first-choice college didn’t accept you, and your best friend called you a “bitch” on Facebook. These are all terrible, terrible things.

You had support, though. You had a therapist nod sympathetically, as you explained your anorexia fueled by the skinny models on the Cosmo cover, but most likely, you did get into a decent college. You had, and still have, every chance in the world to know and understand … I mean really understand … the facts and realities of life. If you truly believe the awful, bigoted, sexist, racist, intolerant things that so many in the Democratic Party say, you have no excuse.

You grew up well-provided for. You got educations. You clearly aren’t ignorant. You clearly aren’t stupid. You just don’t care. When you learn that innocent people are being branded rapists, and you just don’t care … when you sympathize with one group, and vilify another … simply because of their skin color … when you berate the working class for not accepting sub-living wages, solely because those willing to replace them are fashionable … well … that makes you evil.

When you get right down to it, strip off the slogans, get to the naked truth, the facts, and boil our supposed two-party system down to its most basic positions … you can only come to one conclusion. At least, I can only come to one conclusion.

The reason our country’s greatness has been ceded, and the reason why, in my opinion, America’s continued fall is all but inevitable, is because of our people. People divided into two, almost equally-sized factions, neither much better than the other. A population which, year-after-year, picks which losing side it wants to be on. Sides which boil down to the following two unpleasant realities: Republicans are ignorant. Democrats are evil.

In the election of 2012, I probably won’t vote for stupid, but I definitely won’t vote for evil.

8 comments to The Greater of Two Evils

  • bobgreysr

    You know what’s even worse than immigrants taking away all those jobs? Women immigrants ha ha ha. Really though women are similar to immigrants because their both willing to work for pennies on the dollar. So not only are women and immigrants taking away OUR JOBS but their lowering WAGES for the men lucky enough to keep their jobs. Don’t those bitches know that they would be making MORE money if they just stayed home where they belong waiting for their men to bring back the bacon? At least when women suck us dry it feels good but when immigrants are sucking America dry and it only benefits them and theirs nothing in it for us.

  • JBF

    I’m guessing you’re familiar with the late, most excellent writings of Joe Bageant?

  • J.

    Rex is right. I’ve already been fired from two jobs for questioning the groupthink. I’ve also lived in Las Vegas for almost ten years, and when Vegas is less phony and more authentic than here, it’s time to take good look at yourself, Seattle. You’d have to be blind, deaf and very, very dumb to not see yourself for the mediocracy that you are. You aren’t interested in change, efficiency, excellence or progress. You operate from fear and custom and the only thing that drives your existence is maintaining the status quo. Most of us will remember it from high school. It’s sad to me that 30 years later, you’re still living it. Thank you, Rex, for being a fellow lone voice in a Stepford wilderness of zombie droids.

  • Jay

    Been wondering when you would weigh in on the political scene and what your position would be.

    And in keeping with my anticipation you provide completely original food for thought.

    It is far overdue that the people of america divorce the corrupt two party system of equal evils and lack of concern for the people they represent.

    I tire of hearing “if you don’t vote for the lesser of two evils you are contributing to the greater” A vote for any evil is still evil.

  • NewSmith

    Ferry bigot was talking AT his student. You talked AT the ferry bigot. What seems to be missing is the ever-loving and most important DIALOGUE that seems to be missing nowadays. Why are we so afraid to engage in conversations that might bring enlightenment to issues? Why is open-mindedness and rational discourse so lacking? Why is it so much more comfortable to generalize huge swaths of people by their race or sex, whether they’re suburbanites or city dwellers, or their political leanings? It’s so easy to ignore the complexities when one wants to make sense of the world but so much potential value is lost when one does.

    • Chuckreis

      Let’s be honest, suburbanites are not really people.

    • Seattle Rex Seattle Rex

      Well, first of all, I had just spent 20 minutes listening to the guy’s positions, so I don’t think you’re accurate in that he did not have his full say. He sure as hell had a lot longer to lay out his points than did I. Given the allotment of time remaining, I pretty much had to just spit it out. I have to get to the lower dock by the time we reach the terminal. This is not optional.

      Second, I think your statement is well-meaning, but naive.

      In order to have a DIALOG of this sort, one would have to risk isolation, ostracization, and possibly even unemployment to converse about the things I talk about.

      Please don’t act like it’s a level playing field, where all that’s missing is for groupthink dissenters to be a little more open to discussion, for it’s not. It’s not even close. The bully pulpit is owned and ruled by rank-and-file Democrats in Western Washington. For the rest of us, dialog is not a choice that we have. This, I promise you.

      Groupthink practitioners are the solid majority, and those who dare break ranks with them risk a great deal of hostility and hardship.

      DIALOG hasn’t happened in a long time, but it’s certainly not from a lack of effort from people lack myself.

      • NewSmith

        “Well, first of all, I had just spent 20 minutes listening to the guy’s positions, so I don’t think you’re accurate in that he did not have his full say.” I’m not questioning that he didn’t have his full say but I’m just trying to say that by not questioning your assumptions and engaging him in a dialogue that he might not be the douchenozzle you thought he was. What if he was a teacher who was playing a social experiment like that ABC show “What Would You Do?” Saying obnoxious things to see if and how people would react. Which you did in such an awesome way. Maybe she was a young debate student and his half-hour long opening argument was one he didn’t actually believe in but is necessary in having a successful debate. Are these likely scenarios? Probably not, I’m not naive in not knowing people actually believe what he was spouting. But now we’ll never know one way or the other. You came to a conclusion about him and thusly a huge swath of Seattleites in the same way you thought he had made a conclusion about you and a huge swath of “redneck” working class people.

        “Please don’t act like it’s a level playing field, where all that’s missing is for groupthink dissenters to be a little more open to discussion for it’s not”. Mmm, I don’t think I said that. My intent was to imply that it’s a shared responsibility by both “groupthink” AND “groupthink dissenters” to question each other. I think that both parties would benefit from that sort of dialogue. It’s difficult but it’s possible. I’ve been watching the third party runners with great interest and admiration fighting against the groupthink majority. Talk about a non-level playing field and groupthink dissenters are tirelessly begging for DIALOGUE. Imagine what would happen if it happened?

        “In order to have a DIALOG of this sort, one would have to risk isolation, ostracization, and possibly even unemployment to converse about the things I talk about”. Yeah, so? Great societal changes didn’t happen because people were too afraid of losing a job or their friends. They recognized injustices, they rallied, they opened up unpopular ideas which led to discussions which eventually got shit done. Do you consider this blog enough of an attempt at dissent? Is it written for your own catharsis or is it written for your readers? Recognize that by inaction one is complicit in supporting everything they rail against.

        You’re a complicated guy who has a lot to offer and a lot to say. Recognize that in every other person you relate with and ask them the same of you. Pessimism needs optimism. Optimism needs pessimism. Is it naive and too idealistic? Probably yeah, but I’ve seen functioning and respectful dialogues happen -occasionally! – and good shit gets done when it does.

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