On becoming politically predictable

I haven’t done much political blogging lately, which in part has to do with the fact that (1) my core interests generally lie elsewhere and (2) I think you, dear reader, can probably get better-quality political blogging elsewhere.

Another reason, though, has to do with the fact that, over the last few years, my political views have become pretty darn predictable, which, in my view, doesn’t make for a very interesting blogging experience. Who wants to read one more post on Juan Williams or Christine O’Donnell or whatever other outrage du jour is grabbing people’s attention? Well, actually, it seems a lot of people do, but I think that has more to do with reinforcing tribal identity than trying to better understand things. And that’s not really what I’m interested in doing as a blogger.

I think I remember Marvin writing a few years back that he would like to explore alternative schools of political thought (Wendell Berry, etc.) but that, under the circumstances it was just more important to oppose the destructive policies of the GOP, which meant being a partisan Democrat. That’s about where I find myself now.

This crystallized for me during the 2008 elections. When the Republicans started dragging out the stuff about Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and how “coastal elites” weren’t “Real Americans,” I realized that this was a party that, whatever the manifold flaws of the Democrats, needed to be kept as far from the levers of power as possible. Add to that the fact that this election cycle has made it clear that there’s essentially no daylight between the GOP agenda and the agenda of big business.

What this means for me personally is that I’m less interested than I once was in cultivating an idiosyncratic political identity “beyond left and right.” If I really thought about it, I’m sure I could come up with areas where I diverge from the liberal party line, but the fact is that on the level of basic identification, I want to throw my lot in with the party that’s in favor, at least broadly speaking, of a robust regulatory-welfare state, a less aggressive foreign policy, and a meaningful response to environmental challenges. Not to mention a commitment to personal freedom and social and religious pluralism, values that are given increasingly short shrift on the “tea party”-ized right wing (viz. the Park 51/”ground zero mosque” brouhaha).

I’m still interested in thinking about the foundational principles of a just, peaceful, and sustainable polity, and alternative models for realizing it. But in the here and now, at least as far as practical politics is concerned, I’ve become pretty much a party-line voter.

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2 thoughts on “On becoming politically predictable

  1. Me too. “Joining the party”, indeed. I still do my bit with the Democratic Socialists of America, and I still write at Front Porch Republic, and I still read Wendell Berry. And I don’t repent of my support of Ralph Nader. But I do know, in the end, that elections do involve, sometimes, some real honest-to-goodness issues that one side is serious about, and one side isn’t. As much as I’d like to be somewhere beyond all that, I’m not going to pretend I can close my eyes to it either.

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