identity politics

by I. Liberalis

I am a liberal.  I recognize that some persons are systemically undermined in the U.S. due to demographic attributes over which they have no control, and I find that to be... bad.  I believe that we should strive to overcome these historical shortfalls using whatever civil methods are available:  logical deconstruction of the flawed ideas that got us into this mess, legal deconstruction of said establishment's flawed constraints, and general deconstruction of the 'identities' which enable one group to subjugate another.

With that said, I loathe identity politics.  When Clinton said, "Vote for me because I am a woman," I lost all interest in her.  To me, reducing who she was to the components of her meat suit was exactly the opposite of Liberalism.  I understand that, as a woman, she has had to overcome great barriers.  However, a Liberal would never accept someone saying, "Vote for me because I am a man."  Those sentences are the same.  The logic is the same.  Both sentences are sexist, and they are both the exact opposite of progressive.

Our ideas (and actions) have to stand on their own.  While our individual and collective identities aren't irrelevant, they are mere garnish to what we actually have to say for ourselves.

When I first got to college, I attended a first-year workshop where we read a lot and discussed a lot.  One of the things we read was an "anonymous" work, and I remember the professor asking the group if we thought the author was a man or a woman.

I don't remember the exact outcome of the straw poll, but I do remember that the professor and I both thought it was written by a man.  I assume everything not obviously written by a woman to be written by a man.  Why do I think this?  Well, obviously, because for most of history, men were the only ones who got to write anything, ever.

Enter:  The Internet.

I have seen some serious shitshows because of the internet.  Clinton legitimizing the Pepe Meme because it was so 'popular' on reddit.  What the actual fuck?  Gamergate.  That poor girl who sings about Friday.  "You'll never believe the 14 things in your belly-button lint."  Jesus.  The internet.

But really the internet is a beautiful thing.  In the internet, each of us is that anonymous author, guised only as someone with enough fairy dust to get published.  See these pixels?  These pixels make letters and then words and then I'm inside your head speaking to you in a voice and an accent that probably sounds a lot like your own.  Here, if we are kind and if we are calm, we can disagree productively.  Or agree.  Or feel.  Or teach.  Or laugh.  We can do whatever we want with these little bits and bytes.

Unless this is your first Liberalis reading, you know a little bit about me by now.  And you'll know more over time, I'm sure, since I can't tell you about my liberalism without telling you about myself.

Maybe my strict demographic information will come out, but I hope I don't need to do that.  This is the internet:  who I am doesn't matter matter.  I hope that you just listen to my words as you read, speaking to you in your own voice and with your own accent.  I hope you consider what I have to say regardless of who you think I am, because, in the end, it doesn't matter if the anonymous author is Male or Female or White or Black or Rich or Poor or Criminal or Clean.  It is only the veracity of our words that matter.

This is where "The Left" has stopped being Progressive.  We've all become such special snowflakes that we can't get back far enough to see the beautiful landscape that we all create together.  We can't have it both ways.  We have to step back, step away from identity politics to view the whole picture.