1.16.2011

Liberals in Maine can "kiss my butt" (PS I am a Liberal)

Alternative title: I'm not making any friends today.

Are liberals and democrats angry for the right reason? Honestly - had Governor Paul LePage said "kiss my butt" to George W. Bush instead of the NAACP, Democrats wouldn't be freaking out. In fact, they'd probably be praising him for speaking publicly what many of them have felt for years.

It has angered most people simply because he was so rude to an organization they support, not just uncivil in general. That doesn't excuse LePage from what he said. His behavior was uncouth and hope his economics makes up for it. A short note to the NAACP respectfully declining their invitation and apologizing for having too big of a work load (uh, taking over the governorship ain't a walk in the park) would have sufficed. It's one thing to speak candidly as a private citizen, it's another to serve as governor - as a role model for aspiring politicians. In office he sets a precedence.


Oh and for people that don't know me, it's not that I dislike liberals. I am one! (Maybe that excuses me from using my post title, like having a black son excuses LePage.)

Update: The Coastal Packet was also a bit late arriving on the scene of this political gaff, but I really like their conclusion.
Discrimination is never neat. It targets the weakest in a particular place: blacks in the south, latinos in the southwest, Franco Americans in Maine. And it recruits heavily from the misery of those who aren't, in fact, that much better off than those against whom they discriminate. Southern segregation depended in no small part on the white elite convincing poor whites that poor blacks were their real problem. And even today, that great sleeping political giant - a latino-black coalition - can't be born in part because of each part's suspicions of the other.

So it isn't all that surprising that a once bitterly poor and abused Franco American from Waterville doesn't know how to deal with the NAACP. But the solution doesn't lie in scolding; it lies in the more secure helping the less secure evolve towards better ways. In effect, helping the LePages of the world rewrite their stories so they don't keep blaming the wrong people for the wrong things.

A good place to start would be to remain cool about being told to "kiss my ass" and, instead, to just keep one's eyes on the prize. 
I talk about nonviolence a lot as it pertains primarily to war and suppressive circumstances, but the principal of nonviolence - 'love thy enemy' - still applies in day to day interactions. The NAACP does more to serve it's overall mission by reaching out to LePage in a more positive manner instead of striking back at him. As much as I scorn sour political discourse on my blog, I recognize the difference between a political gaff and an oppressive and racist policy implementation. My friends on the left would be better off to recognize it too.

5 Intelligent Comment(s):

Anonymous said...

As usual I agree with what you have to say and therefore can't spur much debate, but it goes without saying that there are more polite ways with dealing with organizations you don't favor. As governor LePage should certainly know better than to burn bridges, especially this early on. I'm all about freedom of speech and saying what you mean, but there is no reason to get "mean" while doing it, that doesn't help anyone and only gets the point across that you're an ass.

Jeremy Corbally-Hammond said...

You're right. And given that it's a tradition for governors of Maine to attend MLK services - it's doubly upsetting that he declined.

Abner said...

I dig your consistency here, Jeremy (calling out rudeness on both sides). I agree that he should have handled it better but cant pretend that I didn't smile widely when I read that he had declined and why. Let's not forget Obama wanting to know "who's ass to kick" this summer and the lauding he received from the average liberal for being ready and willing to tackle the evil oil companies... Double standards continuously trip up both parties. I think it goes back to the fact that politicians and grown in some secret lab, not raised by people.

Abner said...

"...politicians are grown..."

Jeremy Corbally-Hammond said...

You might be somewhat accurate about politicians being "grown in a secret lab." There's one thing I appreciate about the Tea Party is that the politicians they elect seem, so far, to be fairly unconventional - representing more "regular" Americans. Now if the left could just get off its ass and offer some unconventional politicians themselves to balance things out.

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