Why Is Identity Politics Evil?
It is understandable that those of us who voted against Barack Obama, the Community Disorganizer, should be upset over his triumph. Like Joe Biden reading an Umberto Eco novel, we cannot help but feel rather listless and disoriented these days. Feelings of vulnerability can very easily transmogrify into anger, so one must never lose one's sense of humor; apropos, I draw your attention to the New York Times of November 10, in which Maureen Dowd reflects on Mitt Romney's loss:
Team Romney has every reason to be shellshocked. Its candidate, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing.
Mitt Romney is the president of white male America.
Maybe the group can retreat to a man cave in a Whiter House, with mahogany paneling, brown leather Chesterfields, a moose head over the fireplace, an elevator for the presidential limo, and one of those men’s club signs on the phone that reads: “Telephone Tips: ‘Just Left,’ 25 cents; ‘On His Way,’ 50 cents; ‘Not here,’ $1; ‘Who?’ $5.”
In its delusional death spiral, the white male patriarchy was so hard core, so redolent of country clubs and Cadillacs, it made little effort not to alienate women. The election had the largest gender gap in the history of the Gallup poll, with Obama winning the vote of single women by 36 percentage points.
Forgive the lengthy quote; writing like that is harder to swallow than grape Dimetapp. Note, for instance, the cliches attempting to pass for edgy turns of phrase: white guys in mahogany rooms with moose heads over the fireplaces. (Aren't Bentleys more suitable to these images than Cadillacs?) Dowd really knows how to squat over the page and deliver nuggets of wisdom. And isn't that just like an intellectual: her only knowledge of millions of Americans (whom she slanders but whose tax money she craves and craves) comes from Edith Wharton stereotypes and episodes of Mad Men.
As a writer, an effective way to tell whether you're full of crap is to imagine yourself face-to-face with the person or group you're criticizing and to ask yourself whether you would then have the guts to say out loud what you've written for your fawning readers. Oh, I can picture it: Ms. Dowd in front of the unemployed white blue-collar workers in Michigan and New Jersey. "You're just white patriarchs," she might say. "Your days in power are over."
Here's Ms. Dowd in front of a crowd of white middle-class men in Long Beach, New York, fishing what's left of their belongings out of modest houses flooded by Hurricane Sandy: "It's about time men like you put away your cigars and brandy and stepped outside your mahogany country clubs!" And here's Ms. Dowd in front of the white Marines in the 2nd Battalion in Afghanistan: "All you who voted for Romney represent the dead-enders of white male domination." (Note: "dead enders of white male domination" actually appears in Dowd's column.)