Red America, I Am Everything You Hate

This post-election red-state/blue-state conventional wisdom is full of perversities. More people get divorced in the red states than the blue states. The amoral gay-marriage condoning pagans in Massachusetts have the lowest divorce rate in the country. The richest states in America–Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York–are all blue. The “moral values” people in the poorest, reddest states have divorce rates 50% above the national average.

Despite these many inconsistencies, indicating that things are far more complicated than they seem, the blue-state liberal stereotype remains so ingrained that “sushi-eating, latte-drinking, New York Times-reading, yoga-doing, Volvo-driving, multiply-pierced, sexually lax” liberal is still an epithet, though it has long been a cliche. One reason for the tenacity of this stereotype is that the right wing has relocated what should be an economic debate (some people are rich and other people are poor) to a social debate (some people like guns and other people like yoga). Hating people who do yoga and eat sushi is a way for poor people to hate rich people. What is ingenious about the Republican party is that they have helped relocate poor people’s hatred of rich people specifically to rich urban liberals. In truth, all rich people enjoy some form of raw seafood.

While I do not consider myself a “rich urban liberal,” while I am in fact, in ideology and bank account, a nearly-broke urban radical, I doubt Red America would see me that way. They don’t care if I try to follow Martin Luther King, Jr.’s example and reserve my deepest ire for the liberals who are the greatest enemies of revolution. They don’t care if I don’t own property or even one of their despised Volvos. They don’t care that I, in fact, do not love John Kerry very much, and in fact only despise him marginally less than I despise the Moron Puppet. They don’t care that what they might see as a “liberal lifestyle” to me is a kind of hedonism I would like to one day experience completely outside the bounds of “normal” society, so I do not have to buy my organic produce at the inflated prices set by coporate entities like Whole Foods, Inc. I have enough markers of East Coast urban liberal elitism to be identified as such, especially if the debate has been relocated away from political disempowerment, away from economic disparity, away even from the amorphous and ungraspable entity of God, to the more palpable terrain of lifestyle.

It is with this in mind that I publish here the anecdotal evidence that notwithstanding my revolutionary goals, rejection of my upper-middle-class-assimilationist-Jewish privileges, critical consciousness and deep-seated loathing of guilty liberals, I am, in fact, the embodiment of Red America’s worst nightmare.

My Liberal Weekend

by Emily SuperLefty

Friday afternoon I dropped in on a yoga class taught by an old friend. After I breathed in unison, removed stored tension from my Soas muscle and prayed for peace for all beings with twenty other New Yorkers, my old friend and I went to eat some soup and drink some green tea. We reminisced about when we used to go to Jewish socialist art camp together as teenagers in the mid-90s. At socialist art camp, God was never mentioned, except derisively, and we were encouraged to express ourselves creatively and freely. We were encouraged to explore close feelings for our same-sex bunkmates and listen to lesbian feminist folk music. At socialist art camp, the Fourth of July was not observed, and instead Bastille Day was observed, on which the campers were encouraged to dress in drag.

My friend told me what it is like to teach yoga to pregnant women, how the pregnant women can feel what is happening inside their bodies. I made plans to attend her upcoming dance performance, during which she says she gives birth and is inseminated by a fruit.

In need of a quick snack, I grabbed a salmon-and-avocado sushi at the health food store.

I spent several hours walking around the West Village sampling gourmet cheese and buying chocolate and organic shade-grown fair trade coffee from Mexico.

Settling in for a quiet evening at home, I smoked some marijuana. I watched Waking Life, a movie in which people philosophize about the meaning of existence. Then I made myself a salad. This was what was in my salad: baby spinach, roasted pecans, grapefruit, alfalfa sprouts and goat cheese. I made a maple-syrup-dijon-mustard vinagrette for my salad. I enjoyed my salad with a glass of red wine and finished up this week’s New Yorker. I made some espresso and sat down to work around midnight.

I spent the next 6.5 hours writing left-wing screeds on my Apple iBook computer while using the internet to read other people’s left-wing screeds. Shortly after dawn, I brushed my teeth with non-fluoride toothpaste and got into bed to read Joan Didion essays until I fell asleep.

On Saturday, after I spent the afternoon encouraging two sixteen-year-olds to question the way power functions in the media and politics. While discussing an article that had been censored on the school paper, I introduced them to the concept of self-censorship as it relates to the mainstream news media. Then I went home to make a fresh mozzarella appetizer for the dinner party I had been invited to that evening.

The dinner party was on the Upper West Side. A delightful group of people sat around drinking fancy cocktails in fluted martini glasses. We also drank chardonnay and laughed heartily at each other’s many witticisms. We ate a delicious pesto lasagna and a cheesecake. I got kind of drunk at this dinner party, but I remember that many topics were discussed, including the current political situation, sexual and political messages we received at summer camp, the implications of fan violence at American sporting events and British sporting events, drug use, figure skating, public health, logarithms, marriage, stemware that can be procured through marriage, dog training and waterbeds.

On Sunday, I woke up and made espresso. My roommate and I bought the New York Times and read it until it was time for yoga class. After yoga class, we had Thai food and went home to watch a movie in which the main character is named Fuckhead.

The End

I think we can safely say that there is not one aspect of my weekend that red state “real Americans” could not be easily incited to vilify and despise.

The questions to be dealt with in short order, therefore, are “How, why and what does it mean for America?”

But first, I am off to yoga class, followed by an experimental music performance on the Lower East Side.

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