Mathew Gross: The Politics of Victimization

Democrats as abuse victims? I’m taking the second half of the post, go read the first half. It’s interesting.

First, you must admit you are a victim. Then, you must declare the state of affairs unacceptable. Next, you must promise to protect yourself and everyone around you that is being victimized. You don’t do this by responding to their demands, or becoming more like them, or engaging in logical conversation, or trying to persuade them that you are right. You also don’t do this by going catatonic and resigned, by closing up your ears and eyes and covering your head and submitting to the blows, figuring its over faster and hurts less is you don’t resist and fight back. Instead, you walk away. You find other folks like yourself, 56 million of them, who are hurting, broken, and beating themselves up. You tell them what you’ve learned, and that you aren’t going to take it anymore. You stand tall, with 56 million people at your side and behind you, and you look right into the eyes of the abuser and you tell him to go to hell. Then you walk out the door, taking the kids and gays and minorities with you, and you start a new life. The new life is hard. But it’s better than the abuse.

We have a mandate to be as radical and liberal and steadfast as we need to be. The progressive beliefs and social justice we stand for, our core, must not be altered. We are 56 million strong. We are building from the bottom up. We are meeting, on the net, in church basements, at work, in small groups, and right now, we are crying, because we are trying to break free and we don’t know how.

Any battered woman in America, any oppressed person around the globe who has defied her oppressor will tell you this: There is nothing wrong with you. You are in good company. You are safe. You are not alone. You are strong. You must change only one thing: stop responding to the abuser. Don’t let him dictate the terms or frame the debate (he’ll win, not because he’s right, but because force works). Sure, we can build a better grassroots campaign, cultivate and raise up better leaders, reform the election system to make it failproof, stick to our message, learn from the strategy of the other side. But we absolutely must dispense with the notion that we are weak, godless, cowardly, disorganized, crazy, too liberal, naive, amoral, “loose”, irrelevant, outmoded, stupid and soon to be extinct. We have the mandate of the world to back us, and the legacy of oppressed people throughout history.

Even if you do everything right, they’ll hit you anyway. Look at the poor souls who voted for this nonsense. They are working for six dollars an hour if they are working at all, their children are dying overseas and suffering from lack of health care and a depleted environment and a shoddy education. And they don’t even know they are being hit.

In other news, I wish I could post a poll here. There’s probably some way to do so, but I don’t have the time to figure out how right now. What do I do if I don’t get into grad school? New York? Washington? If I’m as serious as I keep saying I might be about getting involved in politics, Washington seems to make more sense than New York, but who wouldn’t want to leave in New York as a twentysomething?

Sigh. Back to the history paper dungeon.


I think this is cool.

I may have mentioned this before. But, if not, I think the Wikimedia Foundation is cool, and that there projects are also quite cool. Although I’m a little bothered by the slogan of the WikiSpecies project: ‘WikiSpecies if free. Because life is public domain!’ For now it is, anyway. Hopefully it’ll stay that way.

I love when…

…historians oh-so-subtlely contradict themselves. For example, in one chapter, the author suggests that dowries were no longer focused on helping the couple to set up shop on thier own, citing the decline in useful, tool-like items that could be used to help the couple subsist. In the next chapter, however, the author suggests that the dowry was still very much about property. What is property if not a way to subsistance? And why don’t I get any dowry inventories? I don’t care if only 2% of dowries in eighteenth-century São Paulo included a townhouse, as opposed to 40% of dowries in the seventeenth century. This doesn’t tell me anything if I don’t know what the other 98/60% of dowries were like. I know they had townhouses, but did they tend to include things that might take the place of a townhouse? Did those families have a townhouse to give?

That’s all. I know I shouldn’t complain if this is the worst of my complaints.

Blog outsourcing…

Communhealth, from Atrios…

Mrs. Atrios and I spent two months in Barcelona in summer 2003. You may remember the good old days when the corrente crowd was posting. While we were there Mrs. Atrios had a wee stomach bug, enough to necessitate a trip to the doctor. After a bit of hunting we found a local health clinic. After a bit of discussion they took her passport number at reception, sat us down, and a half hour or so later she saw a doctor. The doctor inquired about her insurance. My wife explained that we had travel insurance, and the way it worked was that we’d just cover any costs and then submit them upon our return. This troubled the doctor greatly, not because of the cost of the exam, which turned out to be free, but because of concern about the cost of the drugs which were to be prescribed.

We took the prescription, went to our local pharmacy, and had it filled.


About 3 bucks.

Spain spends about 7.5% of its GDP on health care. We spend about 13.9%. About 4% of our GDP is spent on a subset of health care called… ‘health care administration.’

This raises the obvious question — why do they hate freedom?

Yeah. Not much to say on that one. Stuffing, anyone?