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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Burn It Blue

Yesterday I noted that the Washington Post, in their stereotype-flogging series about Blue vs. Red America. Yesterday, they went to Sugar Land, Texas and found a stereotypical conservative Republican household.

Today they found a liberal family living in the heart of San Francisco.

Being who I am, I found the "Blue" family much more compelling. They, like the "Red" family, are practicing Catholics, but have a differing outlook on life and on religion. Each family member has had problems in their life, and challenges to face, and yet have perservered.

Of course it will be easy for conservatives to demonize the "Blue" family - headed by an recovering alcoholic, with a mother from a broken home - compared to the "Red" one, which seems to be perfectly functioning according to the Ozzie & Harriet ideal, at least on the surface. (As typical of most conservatives, particularly in the suburbs, where appearance is nearly everything. they prefer to sweep any problems there might be under the carpet, so any issues there might be don't show up in that article)

As a liberal, I focused Instead of demonizing the "other" they way the Texans did, Mr. Harrison summed up his thoughts on Red America, more specifically, the idea that Red America considers his side "whiners" :
They've got the same dreams and hopes and desires and needs that everybody does...they're human beings. Except that they've got one gear that goes backwards. They're eating well; they've got a roof over their heads...they've got everything. There are no luckier people. How can they complain? About anything?"

It struck me that in the "Red" article, Sugar Land was described as a "utopia" by some of its residents. The Right is fond of characterizing the Left as being hopelessly utopian, and yet it seems that few urban progressives would describe any patch of earth in this country "utopia," least of all some place where your neighbors knocked on your door to bitch to you about a brown patch in your front lawn, and not any "Blue" major city, either, where you can often find poverty and homelessness at your front step.

I will hand it to the Post that they exceeded my expectations by finding a liberal household that's not quite as easy to pigeonhole as I had feared they would be based on yesterday's article. Nonetheless, I stand by my criticism that I think this exercise was far less useful than what it could have been, and was another chance for carefully selected people on the extreme ends of the American political dialogue to fling stereotypes at each other.


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