Day 8: Two Worlds

Talking to American liberals ins an exercise in extreme frustration. Because everything American conservatives say, everything I’ve been fighting off when Australian and British conservatives try to adopt the argument to use against non-conservatives in those countries, all the talk about ‘ivory towers’, ‘out-of-touch’, ‘elitist’ – for the majority, they’re completely true.

America doesn’t have a ‘left’, or social democracy or (lol) socialism. There are individuals (Bernie Sanders What Up) and small groups, but it doesn’t exist as a movement. This means there is nobody in America who gives a practical, effective shit about the poor or the working class.

To most American liberals, the poor and the working class are a symptom. Remember Obama’s stupid, stupid comment about ‘clinging to guns and religion’? He’s not Pat Malone there, such talk is the bread and butter of American liberals. There is no attempt to reach out to and communicate with the poor or working class, the ones who can’t afford to spend an evening enjoying complementary wine at an art gallery. The word “empathy”, one I’ve always considered to be utterly essential to any intelligent person’s political understanding – not merely sympathy, but empathy, understanding, an appreciation – is alien to most American liberals.

I remember talking to someone in 2008, who said that they’d “never met anyone who would vote for McCain”. That’s because that sort of person, as I’m quickly realising in a situation even worse than I anticipated, doesn’t just not pay attention to the sort of person who might not vote Democratic, but who actively avoids them, gates themselves off from them. America is an utterly polarised country – how a nation manages to get itself stuck between ‘right’ and ‘far-right’, I have no explanation other than all of the usual comments about inevitable products of unbridled capitalism which I’m sure most of you have started ignoring at this point. And that polarisation, that vulnerability to wedges and culture wars, is its pathetic weakness.

Chattering classes. Latte sippers. Elitists. It’s all true.

And they wonder why they keep losing elections.


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