Member since: Wed Jan 18, 2012, 10:29 PM
Number of posts: 1,930
Number of posts: 1,930
I don't buy it. At all.
Feminism is not about being "sex-negative" or "sex-positive," IMHO. That is a false lens through which to view this debate. Rather, it is about being sex-constructive, as opposed to sex-destructive.
Healthy expressions of sex and sexuality, based on individual agency, dignity, self-worth, respect, empathy, caring, love, playfulness/fun, and mutual attraction, is how I would define the "sex-constructive" approach. The sex-destructive approach is based on unwanted attention, deception, coercion, power differentials, repression, inequality, shaming, fear, abuse, violence, and ultimately, rape.
I think all of us in this group can agree that we want to promote the former (constructive approach, not the latter (destructive) one, as much as possible. Surely, women and men alike (as well as those of other gender identities) can agree to this? What is so damn controversial or unclear about this distinction?
Believe it or not, my fellow (straight) men...women love good (as opposed to bad!) sex just as much as men do! They just also appreciate being respected as individual human beings (crazy concept, I know! ), not being reduced to an object for any man to have his way with. And no, no one is entitled to sex, certainly not without the consent of the other human being (subject with his/her own individual autonomy and agency) in whatever situation it is.
Is this really so hard? I am a straight white man, young and relatively inexperienced compared to many here on DU, yet even someone like me can understand these concepts.
Posted by YoungDemCA | Sun Mar 9, 2014, 11:06 PM (18 replies)
...I can't help but think that the person making this statement is using the imposed standards of the so-called "1 percent", ie the very wealthiest of all Americans (who, ftr, are very much a disproportionately white male group of people), and then using that 1 percent as the barometer of ALL Americans-including the many white men who, to be sure, are not in that top 1 percent.
Not only is this willfully ignorant of the effects of social stratification (ie a multi-tiered, incredibly complex social class system), but it's always used as the weapon of choice whenever discussions of racism and sexism are brought up. A weapon that is used specifically by those who don't want to talk about racism or sexism, who deny that racism and sexism even exist, who insist that "It's only about economic class!"-which, in this context, is really code for "Only the opinions of white men matter in discussions about economic marginalization, social oppression, and political activism-just like in every other context in society."
We can talk about the problems faced by "ordinary Americans"-if those Americans, of course, happen to be white, straight, and male. One is reminded of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in the late 1800s/early 1900s, a huge working-class organization that for some time, explicitly prohibited from its membership and organizing activities those workers who weren't white, native-born, and male.
One of the many ways that white men have privilege-and it relates to our discussions here-is that when they don't like something about the current system, the dominant institutions of American society and culture provide platforms for them to speak their concerns first, long before the concerns of people who aren't white/and or male. White male privilege is not having the need to create an alternative set of norms and channels to have political efficacy within the system, because the system was set up by and for white men, and that bias is deeply built into it.
So, this is my message to my fellow white men: Society is changing, and is changing fast. Just because you will no longer have the only or even dominant voice at the table, doesn't mean that you are being silenced. It simply means you have to listen to other perspectives besides your own, a perspective that you have taken for granted as being the culturally dominant one for most of this country's history.
Posted by YoungDemCA | Thu Feb 27, 2014, 06:40 PM (4 replies)
Or they want to, at least.
Hell, we all trust authority figures, to one extent or another. Think of the very word "authority", and it means someone with some knowledge or expertise that others-who lack said knowledge or expertise-rely on. The problem is when so many authority figures in our political, economic, and other structures of society are so thoroughly wedded to the preservation of the system itself-the very system that creates all the economic and social inequality to begin with.
You should read the French writer la Boetie-he predated Marx but had some ideas that one can draw parallels to Marx with. Rather than ask, "How do the few govern the many?" like traditional political theorists did, he flipped the question and asked instead, "Why do so many accept the rule of so few?" All it would take would be for everyone at once to withdraw consent.
Posted by YoungDemCA | Tue Jan 21, 2014, 03:57 PM (1 replies)
You can envy and be jealous of those who have what you do not have, or be compassionate and empathetic toward those who do not have what you have.
This is a choice-and I have chosen both, at different times in my life, but I find it is simply impossible to do both of those things simultaneously. And I would rather have my own life be based on the latter, not the former.
This is my New Year's Resolution: to live out a life based on compassion and empathy for those who need it most. The question is, will other DU'ers be willing to join me?
Posted by YoungDemCA | Tue Dec 31, 2013, 05:35 PM (7 replies)
My late maternal grandfather was a Republican 'til the day he died. However, he wasn't like my paternal grandfather, who is conservative in a more traditional, pragmatic, doesn't-want-to-change-too-much-but-maybe-a-little sense, and who was also a lifelong Republican, but changed his registration to Independent after being totally disillusioned and disgusted (like so many were) by the Presidency of George W. Bush.
No, my maternal grandfather was one of those individuals who thought President Obama was a "radical", a "socialist", and who packed his administration with "Communists" who were "ruining the country." His problem with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney was that they were too moderate. It should come as no surprise, then, that my grandfather was enamored with the Tea Party, and repeated many of the exact same talking points, word for word, in conversations that I had with him in his last few years.
What drew a man like my grandfather to rigid, dogmatic right-wing ideology? I have a few good guesses, but no one reason.
First, I am fairly certain that his father-my great-grandfather, who died before I was born-was also a super-conservative Republican. Born in Chicago to an upper-middle class family, my great-grandfather actually left school in the ninth or tenth grade (can't remember which) and immediately started working, eventually getting his license to sell insurance. I am told by family members that he was a natural salesman and possessed of a strong work ethic, traits which clearly served him well, since he eventually became a very wealthy man. I think that these traits rubbed off on my grandfather to some extent. Born to a Yankee Protestant family, he converted to Catholicism when he married my grandfather's mother, an Irish Catholic. My grandfather was the fifth of six children-five boys and one girl.
My grandfather's family background provides a clue for why he turned out the way he did politically. First, neither of his parents were close to their kids, especially my great-grandmother. They actually were wealthy enough to have a butler and a maid, who looked after the kids. Second, my grandfather was bullied mercilessly by one of his older brothers. The coldness of his parents, combined with living in fear of his older brother, must have impacted my grandfather in profound ways.
This was in the 1930s and 1940s. Being pretty wealthy, my grandfather's parents were relatively insulated from the effects of the Great Depression. By the late 1940s, they had moved from Chicago to Southern California, buying a new house similar to their extravagant house back in Illinois. However, their lavish lifestyle did not last, for my great-grandparents, like so many rich people, gambled a lot, eventually losing much of their money betting on race horses.
Another significant thing to consider-my great-grandparents did not value education highly, for themselves or their kids. In fact, my grandfather was the only one of his six siblings to complete his Bachelor's degree, and that was with the help of a basketball scholarship. Furthermore, it is my belief that if his friends from high school weren't all going to college as well, my grandfather may never had gotten his degree. Therefore, it seems like he was, in some sense, the most accomplished of his family in academics.
This was in the 1950s, during the height of the Cold War. I am sure my grandfather, having Republican parents, grew up hearing his father grumble about the New Deal, or curse the godless, foreign Communists who seemed to be infiltrating his beloved America. There were heated political arguments in their house about JFK (being a Catholic household in addition to being Republican), or so I am told, so perhaps not everyone was a right-wing Republican. Nevertheless, my grandfather's right-wing political views were definitely-at least, to some extent- shaped in the context of the Cold War hysteria of the late 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.
However, my grandfather, conservative as he was, actually admitted to me that he voted for Lydon Johnson in 1964! Of course, he also told me that he soon regretted that vote, seeing as how expansive LBJ's liberal domestic policy was, in addition to his misadventure in Vietnam. The 1960s may well have been the turning point for my grandfather, and many more like him, who were fearful of urban crime, radical activists, disrespectful students, spoiled hippies, and the ever-looming threat of the Soviet Union. They associated all of these social problems with the liberal administration of Lyndon Johnson, a Democratic Congress, an "activist" Supreme Court, and other institutions dominated by mainstream liberalism at the time.
By the time the 1970s rolled around, it is likely that my grandfather was incredibly disillusioned with the political Establishment, both Democratic (LBJ) and Republican (Nixon and Ford). And he wasn't about to vote for Jimmy Carter, who seemed to make the U.S. look weaker still on the international stage with every move he made. Watergate, the energy crises, inflation, and the Iran Hostage crisis, not to mention the rising crime rates in major cities and the broad perception that the United States was losing the Cold War because it was in national decline....well, it would take someone bold, daring, optimistic, and without the baggage of being a Washington insider. Someone idealistic and conservative. Someone who was willing to remake the United States into the conservative ideal.
That someone, of course, was Ronald Reagan. Familiar to my grandfather and millions of others, particularly Californians like my grandfather, as an actor, conservative ideological spokesman, and two-term Governor of the Golden State. Here was a man who men and women of my grandfather's background and personality could identify with. A Midwestern transplant to California and a former Democrat (unlike my grandfather in that regard, yet that served to broaden Reagan's appeal), possessed of a sunny disposition and a can-do spirit, and having a remarkably simple faith in the idea that the private sector, the 'free market", will solve domestic problems, and that federal government infringement on the rights of private individuals and families was the real cause of those domestic and social ills. The problem wasn't a mismanaged government, or a government that wasn't prioritizing the right things-it was the government itself, and the idea that it should be a tool of social reform. My grandfather probably thought Reagan was the best thing that happened to American politics in his lifetime, and so for him, he became the standard by which all politicians would be judged.
However, as we on DU know, it wasn't really Reagan's actual policies that the Tea Party has fallen in love with (though there is some of that too, no doubt). It was what Reagan represented-a uniquely American right-wing idealism. Nobody-not even Reagan himself-could possibly live up to this ideal. Yet in the case of the Gipper, the Tea Party has deliberately whitewashed his record and distorted it to a few slogans. And people like my grandfather willingly bought into the propaganda.
I loved my grandfather, and I still love him-always will. Yet he was very bull-headed and misinformed when it came to politics. Partly because of his life experiences shaping his personality, which in turn, made him that much more receptive to the right-wing "bubble" of bad information and lies. In debating politics with him, I knew he would never change his mind about anything substantial, so I eventually stopped talking about politics altogether when he was around.
Let this be a lesson, then: Even your loved ones can and will fall for things that are so far from the truth, it hurts. In my grandfather's case, it was the right-wing ideological universe that he inhabited to the day he died. Yet I still loved him, despite all of that; that's one of the true tests of love, when you love someone in spite of the things you can't change about them, but you wish you could.
Posted by YoungDemCA | Wed Oct 9, 2013, 05:43 PM (5 replies)
Right-wingers are recognized by their rigid adherence to policies that maintain and worsen political, social, and economic inequality, support for "tradition" (however vaguely defined), and by their ostracizing or punishing of dissident voices. We are compelled by the Right to uncritically accept the way the world is, and defend the social hierarchies and traditional authorities/institutions from any threats, real or perceived.
"Uncritical acceptance" is the key phrase here-intellectual laziness, apathy or worse, cynicism toward any notion of the common good, confusion and misinformation (or disinformation, at times)-all of these help strengthen the Right's power.
Critical thinking is not encouraged in contemporary American society, on balance-certainly not from most of the people in power, or people with influence, or public figures. Why would they? They're getting a pretty sweet deal out of the system as it is. They don't give a shit that most of us suffer, or that poverty is increasing rapidly, as is inequality-in fact, I begin to suspect that some of them like it this way.
Americans need to start questioning more, and not taking anything people in power say at face value, if there is ever to be a reversal of the disturbing trends we see today. Sadly, the current political environment is utterly antithetical to critical thinking, or to notions of the common good, or to antiquated notions like empathy and compassion for the poor and downtrodden (I know, how old-fashioned of me!).
I just don't know how to get there from here.
Posted by YoungDemCA | Sun Sep 22, 2013, 10:24 PM (2 replies)
"Government of the people, by the people, and for the people."
This begs the question-who are "the people"? Are all people equal in their opportunities, knowledge, resources, and ability to influence the process?
Consider the modern American economy in 2013. Economic inequality is at a historical peak not seen since the eve of the Great Depression. Social mobility has become harder and harder for much of the population. Much of America is barely getting by. Many families are in poverty, and many more are dangerously close to poverty.
On the other end, wealthy individuals and corporations enjoy a greater share of national wealth and resources than ever. They have the time, money, inclination, and education to influence the process. They have a hugely disproportionate share of political power. Their concerns are paramount in practice.
I don't see any easy way out of this situation.
Posted by YoungDemCA | Wed Jul 24, 2013, 07:50 PM (1 replies)
The study focused on mothers ages 18 to 54 with household income between $30,000 and $49,000 – an amount that generally does not qualify for government assistance. Research included a survey, focus groups, in-home interviews, shop-alongs and analysis of secondary research.
Regardless of profession, as a group the demographic has been hit hard in recent years, C-K said, experiencing significant changes in employment during the last five years:
Posted by YoungDemCA | Fri May 17, 2013, 09:36 PM (34 replies)
And now they're coming for your Social Security money. They want your fuckin' retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later 'cause they own this fuckin' place. It’s a big club and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club. ...
Executives from a number of international investment firms are quietly raising a $20 million war chest for a major ad campaign this fall to push for privatizing the Social Security system, according to an article in the June 12 Wall Street Journal.
Notice the date: 2001.
12 years later: a Daily Kos article about the "Third Way"...
Let me attempt again to make the basic facts clear. Third Way is not a “liberal think tank.” It does not take “a centrist approach.” It is not run by “fellow progressives.” It is not concerned with “protecting entitlements.” It is not even a “think tank.” Third Way is a creature of Wall Street. It’s version of “protecting” the safety net was made infamous during the Tet offensive in Viet Nam when the American officer explained that “it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.” Third Way is the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, which seeks to defeat Democratic candidates like Elizabeth Warren running against Wall Street sycophants like Senator Scott Brown and seeks to unravel the safety net programs that are the crown jewels of the Democratic Party. Wall Street’s “natural” party is certainly the Republican Party, but Wall Street has no permanent party or ideology, only permanent interests Third Way serves its financial interests and the personal interests of its senior executives. Wall Street has always been the enemy of Social Security and its greatest dream is to privatize Social Security. Wall Street’s senior executives live in terror of being held accountable under the criminal laws for their crimes. They became wealthy by leading the “control frauds” that drove the financial crisis and the Great Recession. This is why Wall Street made defeating Warren a top priority.
Meanwhile, the current Treasury Secretary pushes Wall Street's agenda:
In written responses during his Senate confirmation hearing, Lew said both he and the Obama administration oppose a similar tax in the U.S. Now it appears that Lew doesn’t just oppose the tax here in the U.S., but is using his bully pulpit to trash talk the tax among our trading partners. Particularly egregious is that he is traveling on the U.S. taxpayers’ dime to attempt to defeat a tax that the majority of Americans support.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, of course. There's plenty more to make your blood boil. Just Google "Social Security and Wall Street", for example, to find some history. Be warned, though: the Democrat (as in, Party of the People) in you may go into a rage...
Posted by YoungDemCA | Wed Apr 17, 2013, 12:56 PM (17 replies)
Especially considering that urban/metropolitan counties are, on average, wealthier than rural counties.
Is there a difference between the way each individual economic class votes in urban and rural areas? In other words, are rich people in rural areas more conservative, on average, than rich people in urban areas, and likewise with middle-class and poor people in rural areas?
This is something that I kind of scratch my head about. Is it reflective of a broader cultural divide? What are some of the real reasons? I mean, it's easy to say "rural people are less educated/ignorant so they vote Republican" but that's a crass stereotype (not to mention really, really condescending to rural Americans).
So what do you think the reasons are? Any insights from rural DU'ers, past or present?
Please no bashing of rural (or urban) areas here.
Posted by YoungDemCA | Sun Mar 31, 2013, 03:32 PM (121 replies)