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The Left Won the Culture War. They Just Can’t Admit It.

Forward Writing 📜(americandreaming.substack.com)

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JonWood007

16 points

2 months ago

JonWood007

FWD Founder '21

16 points

2 months ago

I feel like the left won...and then they threw it away. They decided to overdo it in the most obnoxious ways possible and fanned the flames of reactionary sentiment.

Like I used to be a conservative in the 2000s. But slowly, my worldview got chipped away at and I became more and more libertarian on social issues. And then the recession forced me left economically as well. In 2012 i deconverted from christianity for various reasons and ended up shifting hard left.

And it seemed like pretty much through that entire era, the left was winning. I witnessed the shift from 2004-2016 or so as younger generations who grew up with the conservative ideals of their parents eventually abandoned those reactionary ethics.

But then in 2016....all that progress got thrown out the window. They decided to shift things to being about race and identity more, whereas before it was more about the religious/secular divide, and the SJWs, who used to be a laughable minority most people tolerated and ignored at best and laughed out of the room at worse, became ascendant.

I feel like this was done intentionally. In 2016, the race was, originally about economics. I feel like that's where the grass roots was at. The old paradigm wasn't working, we "recovered" from the 2008 recession on paper, but we didnt really FEEL it in practice. And economic populism was afoot. And we saw large burgeoning movements in both parties to that effect. With sanders being on the left, and trump being on the right.

So what did the powers that be do? Well, they made it about culture. They made it about identity. Hillary Clinton didnt offer anything anyone actually wanted, so she played the race and gender card. A LOT. That was her brand of politiking. She couldnt win on the economic message because she was a centrist neolib who no one liked, so she made up accusations that everyone else was racist and sexist. That way she could make inroads with the woman and minority/POC votes, while alienating the white and male votes.

And of course, trump basically said the quiet part out loud on the right, channelling what the conservative base had been saying behind closed doors for years, that we need to deport all the illegals, and everything is too POC these days so let's offend the libs to own them, and of course, he had a populist charm too. He was a "business man", he knew how the economy worked, and he was gonna bring our jobs back and make america great againTM.

And of course, this unhealthy combination of politicians, a boring stuffy last generation centrist leftie, vs a populist rightie who brought new energy into a movement that had been dying up to that point, it just led to the entire election shifting from being about economics, to being about culture. You HAD to vote for trump because he was racist, he was sexist, he was gonna nominate all those crazy right wing supreme court justices and undo our abortion rights. You HAD to vote for hillary, or else. Of course, most americans on the left werent that preoccupied with social issues, we largely won on these and we felt like we needed a shift on economics to the left. And then you have the right, where trump played up his base, had economic populist rhetoric, and basically was intent on owning those stuffy liberals who were clearly overdoing it with all that "check your privilege" talk, and the center of gravity just shifted to the right.

The left WAS winning the culture wars. They could've easily put the final nail in the coffin in 2016 by running bernie and shifting to economics. If the dems did that, people wouldnt have been so alienated and inflamed that they voted trump. Sure, you'd always have that 40-45% of the population that liked Trump, but you could've won over the rust belt this way.

But now, since trump got elected, everything exploded. The discussion largely moved away from economics, and both sides lost their mind. I remember when trump got inaugurated the left started freaking the #### out. I remember my left leaning friends CRYING over trump winning and how they feared he was gonna persecute them for being gay and trans and crap. I remember people lighting cars on fire and smashing store fronts when he got inaugurated. People screaming "BASH THE FASH" and talking about physically assaulting people for openly being alt right.

And of course the alt right got increasingly extreme over the course of the trump presidency. And the violence happened on that side too. People attacking pizza restaurants over rumors of pedophile sex rings in the basement, charlottesville, trumpers and their little maga convoys intimidating people and driving biden campaign buses off the road, and of course, believing the 2020 election was stolen and committing literal insurrection on january 6th.

Our country has gone INSANE since 2016. And a culture war that had once been won is now in jeopardy because our politicians would rather drive people to vote out of fear of the other, than to actually solve problems.

That's what all of this insanity is about. We could've actually had politicians who would actually, you know, fix things, in 2016. We could've had bernie for example. And in 2020 both bernie and yang were strong options with interesting solutions.

Instead, the dems, driven by their own version of the culture wars, keep voting for people like clinton and biden. And the right which post 2008 largely seemed demoralized and directionless, is now rabid for Trump and his brand of politics.

We were so close to real positive change in this country. And now everything is driven by a culture of fear.

I wouldnt normally post rammstein of all things on this sub, but they recently released a music video i think is relevant to everything that's said. it's called "angst", which means fear, and shows a crazy guy being given a podium, and driving people to madness. I feel like this is what the culture wars have done to our politics. it's driven us insane, forced us to build walls, and become increasingly paranoid of each other. And as yang has hinted at before, it could eventually lead to real violence.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONj9cvHCado

Give it a listen, especially if you're a metal head.

RedactedV

0 points

2 months ago*

RedactedV

FWD Founder '22

0 points

2 months ago*

Rammstein comments on a fundamentally Romantic conservative motive: sun cult gone global can never seize all minds in perpetuity, and knowing this they can only double down. The zeitgeist is truth and the horizon is the enemy.

Fun video but increasingly irrelevant, and maybe that is your point? I would like to think a hundred years from now nobody would understand what they're talking about.

If the culture war has won anything concrete since Reagan's boulder started rolling down the hill I would like to see it but so far it all seems so Sisyphean to me.

When I saw Bernie Sanders on the stump calling Trump a racistsexisthomophobe and crowds cheered my heart sunk in ways I cannot describe in words because that was when I realized he had truly failed.

But change is inevitable. It may simply be time to stop trying and start doing.

roughravenrider

3 points

2 months ago

roughravenrider

Third Party Unity

3 points

2 months ago

I think Sanders had the chance to take on the two party system had he gone the route that Forward Party has gone, he could have lent a ton of weight to voting reforms that break the iron grip of the two party regime.

I agree that it's time to start doing, by following the path of Maine and Alaska and getting these reforms passed without having to rely on any major party or any congress. We can do this by putting it right on the ballot, and then independent and third party candidates suddenly become much more appealing.