The way liberals think isn’t intuitive to me at all. For example, a recent popular post at Daily Kos: How Donald Trump brought about the end of my marriage. It’s written by someone named Jennifer Merrill, who also wrote about her experiences with using sex selection methods to ensure her third child was a daughter, so that she could have her balanced dream family. Chasing the Gender Dream, it’s called.
This is her story:
As I made plans to participate in my third Women’s March in January, there had been one big change in my life this time around: I was no longer living with my husband.
Last fall, after 24 years of marriage and almost two years of dealing with the aftermath of the devastating 2016 election, I decided I could not live with this person anymore. Why? Because, while the results of the election were devastating for me, they were not for my husband. He voted for Donald Trump, and he has continued to support him. So as a staunch liberal and a frequent Trump protester, I had to do something.
Over a couple of months, I began to look for a full-time job to support myself. I toured apartment complexes in our area, I ordered new furniture on my credit card, and I began the process of moving my life to a new place—without him. I moved out of our house of 20 years during the last weekend in October and into an apartment. And I have not regretted it.
Donald Trump just ruins everything, doesn’t he?
Everything seemed fine before:
Eric (a pseudonym) and I met in the early 1990s, when we were both in our late 20s. We didn’t talk much about politics, but I volunteered for Greenpeace and Amnesty International and was just beginning to identify as a liberal. From what I gathered, he was pretty apolitical and middle-of-the-road in his views. We seemed to get along great. We enjoyed going to parties with mutual friends, listening to live music at local clubs, going on hikes in the area, traveling, and laughing together. Looking back at it, that’s probably all we had in common. At the time, it seemed like a lot.
We got married in May 1994, adopted a dog, and had our first child in October 1996. He was followed by another son, and then a daughter. I guess our compatibility started to fray a little after we started a family. We had differences of opinion about raising our kids, but who doesn’t? He came from a more traditional, Catholic family who expected me to quit my full-time newspaper job when I had my first baby. That bugged me. I did resign, but that was because I had a tiny premature baby at home and couldn’t bear to leave him in day care and be gone all day working. So I started a freelance editing business and worked from home, which I continued to do over the years while I raised three kids.
Along the way, I realized that Eric and I were canceling each other out at the voting booth. He voted Republican or, later, Libertarian, and I never voted for anyone but Democrats. We joked about it, but it wasn’t a major deal.
Until it was.
“Identify as a liberal.” For her, “being a liberal” is about group membership and not a consequence of prior values. It’s not that liberalism is the most pragmatic current option for implementing her values. The point of all the marches is a feeling of group solidarity. Achieving specific policy goals would be beside the point.
There’s no such thing as “apolitical.” “Apolitical” means being ok with the status quo and not wanting to talk about it. If you have values, they obviously bear on many of the day’s political conflicts. “Eric” benefited greatly from the presumption that being “normal” and “traditional” is fine.
Her description of what she shared with her ex sounds like a really basic person’s OkCupid profile: going to shows, travel, “loves to laugh.” I guess that means, “looking for someone normal.” And someone normal is fundamentally conservative, without having to seem gross.
So she knew since approximately 1996 that he was a kinder, kuche, kirche type, but she rationalized it and accepted the benefits of submission. They were secure enough in their whiteness that “politics” only seemed to have important consequences for Other People.
Our differences—and the strain they caused—began to pile up over the years. I am the daughter of a women’s libber who was an activist in the 1960s and ’70s, and I was influenced by her. Eric seemed to disparage feminism. He made several sexist comments to me during our marriage, such as the fact that he thought he should be the head of our household. He once told me that he didn’t need me as a friend, because he had enough friends. It felt like he was relegating me to a more sexual, subservient role.
Our problems as a couple gradually increased. I became a gun safety activist, and toted my oldest son with me when I went to the Million Mom March on Mother’s Day 2000. Other marches followed, and eventually I joined Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, after the massacre at Sandy Hook. Being a parent definitely brought that whole issue to the forefront for me. But as a father, Eric never felt strongly about the kids being killed in schools in our country. I had passionate views about this topic, and he just laughed at me and my emotions. He didn’t argue about gun safety with me, but my activism seemed to be a joke to him.
In my own family, my dad was an atheist and my mom was a Jehovah’s Witness, so I get how it’s possible to respect major differences of opinion. However, my parents fundamentally agreed on basic Christian values. My mom was the one pushing “wifely subjection” stuff, while also getting aggravated when my dad said something chauvinistic.
It’s not that it “felt like” Eric was relegating her to a more sexual, subservient role. That’s what he was clearly doing, in traditional fashion. He laughed at her feminism because he was still the head of the household and she still bent over. It’s more fun to bully someone when they cry about it weakly.
Exactly when Eric started to move more to the right of center, I’m not certain. But as I suffered through the George Bush years, it definitely bugged me that Eric voted for him in both elections. Around this time, he also started to get more religious and explore new churches. I was not a churchgoer, and we didn’t get married in a church. But I started to suspect that he was sliding over to the religious right. I had participated in an abortion rights march before we got married, and now here Eric was reciting pro-life (and anti-choice) propaganda.
It seems like Eric never moved at all. Trump just made the issue so blatant that even the most devout liberal couldn’t ignore how gross normal is.
Then Barack Obama came along. I volunteered for his campaign, and was overjoyed when he won. My middle child was geared up to volunteer too, at just age 9. He went with me to the first Obama inauguration, and I was so happy that he wanted to be there. We bundled up in layers of winter gear that cold January morning and took a VRE train in from Virginia to Union Station. Walking out of the station onto the streets spilling over with such energy and excitement, I was thrilled to be part of this historic moment, and to be sharing it with my son. We both donned Obama knit hats that I bought from a street vendor.
But later, I went home to the person I had taken my marriage vows with. Of course Eric didn’t like Obama. He grumbled about him and his policies, and he continued to complain about him for the next eight years. It was another reminder to me that we just were not simpatico. I brought up the idea of marriage counseling, but we never went forward with it. I found it was easier just not to talk politics with him.
But all of that pales in comparison to what was to come next: Donald Trump. I truly think the 2016 presidential campaign and election heralded the beginning of the end of our marriage.
She doesn’t say anything about what she hoped would change now that Obama was president. It’s all about basking in the liberal glory of “we elected a black man, so we can stop talking about race at long last.” She’s very careful to avoid accusing her obviously racist ex of racism.
When I heard that Trump was running, I really didn’t think anybody would actually support him, especially in my circles. I said jokingly to Eric, “You better not vote for Trump in the primary,” never considering that he actually might. His synopsis of Donald Trump was simple: “He cracks me up.” I tried talking to him about all my objections: the racism, the misogyny, the blatant egoism, the corruption, the idiocy, the mocking of the disabled! But he didn’t care. He thought that Trump’s actions and words were funny and didn’t believe what the media were reporting. He hated Hillary Clinton and what she stood for. And to add insult to injury, he told my daughter he didn’t like Hillary because “she doesn’t wear dresses or skirts.” When I heard that, I was fuming.
And soon I was canvassing for Hillary. I joined Pantsuit Nation, and I got involved however I could. I was horrified when Trump picked off all his Republican rivals and eventually became the GOP choice for president. But like so many of us, I really didn’t think he would win against Hillary.
And then he did, and my worst nightmare came true. Waking up the morning after the election to confirmation that Trump was going to be president was surreal. I was too upset to talk about it with Eric—I was sure he would gloat about the Trump victory. I felt really distanced from him the week after the election. He knew I was distraught, but we had nothing to say to each other.
Yes, normal people like comedy, and it’s ok for comedy to be racist because anybody who complains is politically correct and too sensitive, i.e., a pussy. Picking on minorities is funny. It’s a rule.
She married someone who thinks picking on minorities is funny, and takes no responsibility for that fact. Liberalism is this inability to take responsibility, disguised as a political ideology.
Consider Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s discussion of veganism as part of her makeup series on Instagram.
While I am not a vegetarian or vegan, I do think of meat and cheese as “treats.” Which means if I have a coffee, my default is to drink it black or with a non-dairy milk, but sometimes I won’t! Don’t put moral judgments on food. Food is intensely political and does have moral issues surrounding it (like factory farming and climate change) but you will not do yourself any favors by judging yourself harshly.
It’s either important that factory farming and climate change are bad, and that meat has a lot to do with them, or it’s not.
This moral limpness is actually the essence of liberalism. It’s the same reason Ocasio-Cortez is posting about her skincare routine instead of The Beauty Myth. It’s the reason people like the idea of a “Green New Deal”, where we get to keep capitalism and not die and still have pretty nature spots for our travel.
Ocasio-Cortez puts a taboo on making food a “moral issue.” Personally, it’s hard for me to know where meat or cheese come from and eat them like a “treat.” It requires a certain level of cutting yourself off from yourself. It’s like the normal people have this weakness of self in common, and cooperate to maintain it. Everyone wants to be too cool for the rules to apply to them.
For politics to get anywhere, people have to make an internal shift so they’re able to confront the situation head-on, on a basic psychological level. Everything important is a taboo. Michael Harriot’s review of Bird Box is hilarious and profound:
The movie stars Sandra Bullock who plays a character called “White Privilege.” Miss Privilege is very sad because she has lived a very hard life. She grew up on a beautiful horse farm with her sister in California, which is just like living in the projects except that she hated her father. She really doesn’t say why she hates her father, but white people always hate one of their parents for some bullshit reason like missing their third-grade Christmas play or making them clean their room…
Anyway, Ms. Privilege is pregnant. Somehow she makes it through most of her pregnancy while doing the backbreaking work of creating oil paintings while her sister rides prized horses all day.
One day, White Privilege’s sister tells her about this never-before-seen problem called “racism.” They watch a little bit of news about this racism thing, but they don’t worry about it because no one where they live is racist.
Then, during a trip into town to visit the doctor, they discover racism is everywhere and its spreading quickly. Things have gotten so bad that when people discover racism, they immediately become depressed. Privilege’s sister immediately kills herself, leaving our heroine surrounded by this invisible monster.
Luckily, because of her privilege, she finds a house where people are hiding from racism. It is filled with white people and a couple of black men who are some of the “good ones.”
Soon, the white people realize they can become immune to racism by ignoring it. They figure out that if you just don’t look at racism, it won’t make you feel bad. So they quickly decide they would never acknowledge the existence of racism, which would prevent them from being attacked.
In the movie, Lil’ Rel plays a character who has studied racism for years. He tries to explain to everyone that racism has existed since the beginning of time, but no one will listen to him because he’s not educated, he’s just some dude who works at a grocery store.
The only thing the uneducated black guy is good for is helping them get some food from his grocery store. He helps them get through the bad neighborhood that is torn apart by racism. When they get to the store, they discover that there are some crazy people who have looked directly into the eyes of racism. Lil’ Rel eventually dies saving them from a guy who was trying to tell them about racism, but that guy spent time in the criminal justice system, so he was obviously crazy.
But instead of listening to the self-taught black man or the crazy people, Miss White Privilege discovers that a little birdie will tell her when racism is near. So she finds some birds that were going to be sold as chattel and keeps them caged up for the purposes of keeping racism away. Of course, the birds want to be free, but they must remain in a box because… after all, how else would the white people survive?