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Liberals, Doobies, Hippie-Hair, Politics, and Personal Identity

This election has transformed a lot of ordinary, “this is what I had for lunch” blogs into hotbeds of unbelievably heated political debate. As you have seen over the last few weeks, this has even affected our own humble little DroppedIn. Now, it’s one thing when Jillian jumps on late-night and drops a few barbs of her own brand of wisdom, but in the course of moderating comment threads and the ensuing discussion, I keep finding myself in the very peculiar position of being called an, “insanely left-wing liberal.” Now, Jillian is practically a Communist, so we won’t discuss her political leanings, but I have been thinking a lot about this perception.

In most aspects of my life, there are a ton of areas that I consider too personal to discuss, and too heavy to engage others in. Politics definitely falls into this category. As I tried to indicate to one of our more rabid commenters a few weeks ago, the discussion of politics is futile. Everyone enters the discussion with their own set of ideas, and, often times, memorized talking points from their favorite radio stations, and there is very little actual intellectual back-and-forth. These discussions can turn into nasty arguments, that neither party has any hope of winning, simply because these discussions are not opportunities to educate or enlighten the other on a particular point of view, but instead boil down to who has the most counterarguments to a particular perspective.

In this vein, I have never identified myself with the “left,” or liberal school of political thinking. I’m certainly by no means right-leaning, either. I find both parties, as they are painted with the hard line drawn between them, to be utterly despicable. I learned a long time ago that one’s only hope of finding the actual truth in a given issue is through drinking in as much media as humanly possible from both the right and left, with the hope that, by hearing each side’s unique spin, one can hope to divine some semblance of what is actually going on.

This leads me to spend a lot of time on many, many different media outlets. You are as likely to find me browsing the fawning sycophants and celebutards over at the Huffington Post as you are to catch me watching clips of The Factor, and that lunatic Bill O’Reilly, over on YouTube. In my old life, I would read the Daily news in the morning, and the NY Post in the evening during my commute. Both trash newspapers, sure…but by combining the coverage of the same event from both papers, you could begin to find the middle.

So why, then, does everyone think I’m such a dirty liberal? Any political statement from my dad starts with either, “I know you hate the right,” (which, when he says it, sounds more like, “I know you love kissing men,”) or, “I know you don’t follow politics.” Now, in my dad’s case, I just add this to the list of things that he BELIEVES to be true, without a lot of hard data. Things like, “You drive 50 MPH over potholes,” or, “Your sink faucet handles are dirty.”

Actually, while I am in the middle of this radical digression, I’ll point something else out that’s kind of weird.

Ever since my early 20s, many of the people I’ve met, even near total strangers, have always made all sorts of weird pro-marijuana comments at me. Things like, “y’know, guys like you and I need to smoke a little weed once in a while,” or, winknudge, “I don’t do anything but puff a little of the cheeb now and again, but you know what that’s like.”

Here’s the thing: I really kind of hate pot and pot smoking. Oh, sure, I went to college, I had a spell. But it’s certainly not something I have engaged much in as an adult. I find it kind of distasteful, honestly. But yet, here it is! I’m Johnny Potguy! Now, granted, it may have a lot do do with the fact that I looked like this for some reason in my early 20s:

…but I certainly don’t, anymore. What is it about my face that says, “stoned?” Okay, so it made sense, then, (even though, I must add, I didn’t smoke pot then, either…god knows where the hairdo and sideburns came from), but now? I guess there is just something, to this day, about me that says, if not, “pot-smoker,” then, “pot-sympathetic.”

So, I guess I come off as, “liberal-sympathetic,” as well. So here it is…in an effort to, once and for all, make my allegiances clear, I will outline my feelings on every issue I can think of. If there are any I missed, please, ask me in the comments, and I will tell you where I stand. If you want, you can also use this as your outline to start a new country:

Healthcare: Socialized medicine doesn’t work. Obama’s plan junk, McCain’s plan possibly worse.

Immigration: The United States is built on the backs of its immigrant population, and could not continue to function without them. Work visas and limited rights for illegals are scary; building a giant wall is scarier. Embrace Mexico, fast.

Family: Let ‘mos get married, ASAP. Look, the argument that marriage continues to be some kind of “holy union before god, between a MAN and a WOMAN, goddamit” is ridiculous. It’s a legal agreement, that gives rights and tax breaks, as well as an opportunity for a committed couple to say to each other, their friends, family, and the world: “I’ve found my person. This is it, and we are going to work together to get through this crazy life together.” The gender of the person you choose to enter into that commitment with is irrelevant to the process.

Iraq: A distracting war started on false pretenses. Withdraw. Cut and run. Bring Sadaam back to life and reinstate him in power; he was the only person capable of maintaining order in that part of the world. Russia’s nothing for now. Ditto India. Give Uzbekitstan some very careful consideration. Maybe spank Iran, while you’re at it.

Energy and environment: Drilling in Alaska is stupid, as it won’t produce oil for years and will not begin to cover our needs and consumption. Hybrids and biodiesel are a ridiculous hip/yuppie stopgap. Stop pussyfooting around; get serious about not just reducing oil needs, but eliminating them. Develop infrastructure for electric and hydrogen. “Clean” coal doesn’t exist; go nuclear, now.

Abortions: I love ‘em. I’m CRAZY about ‘em! I believe in abortion, in fact, up to and including the 9th month. Here’s why. Because I believe that life is a function of biology, being pregnant, then, is a medical condition. And, being a medical condition, the mother in that situation gets to make the decisions, similar to how you get to decide your own course of treatment when you have cancer. Did the father date rape you? You don’t have to have that baby. Are you 14? You don’t have to have that baby. Are there genetic problems that will make the child endure an insanely difficult life, and you aren’t up to the job? You don’t have to have that baby! Now, don’t misunderstand…I don’t believe in abortion as birth-control, but I don’t think anyone is actually doing that in real life. Abortions are TOUGH…I don’t think any couples are putting themselves through that because they don’t feel like wearing a hat. And best of all, it doesn’t matter if you agree with me…because it’s not your decision, and it never, ever should be.

God: Probably not. While it would be great to hang the responsibility for my own life’s challenges on someone else, I resent the idea that I lack the ability to control things myself. Life is biological; it will be a bummer to be in the ground and miss the future. I understand not wanting to believe that will happen. However, what a blessing that I am in full control of the events and my reactions to them leading up to that point.

Economy: Seek greener pastures. Build a new future. Move abroad.

There Are 12 Responses So Far. »

  1. Damn Malcolm! You hit every point 100%, I agree with all of them including listening to the weirdos from both sides occasionally to try and find the truth hidden somewhere in the middle. It’s that hard line drawn down the middle that makes me so pessimistic about the US. If you can’t discuss, or find a point where you can all agree to respect other views, it’s kind of hopeless.

  2. Emerson, Plato and Jon Stewart must be proud of you. I know I am.

    Very thoughtful and honest writing, Malcolm. And I loved the pic. (I see intense curiosity in your eyes.)

    Yes, you are el jefe of your life. May life continue to be good for you and Jillian.

  3. Goddamn Hippie Liberal Bastard.

    Best,
    Fascist Capitalist Bastard.

  4. I knew it! I knew it! You are a liberal!

    You and Jillian look so much better now, too.

  5. Ha…see beachbum? You really got me thinking last night. :)

  6. Very nice!

  7. Malcolm – Well, I agree with everything you said and I consider myself pretty liberal. Though I’m not as far left as my almost-a-damn-Communist husband.

    You are brave to make your opinion known in a public arena and I admire that. I know it can be tough when they come down on you. And I think in this political climate it’s not surprising that some dissenters are being obnoxious.

  8. So those ARE weeds growing in your backyard and not a carefully cultivated crop of “Chelem Choo-Choo”. Damn! I was looking forward to a good harvest.

  9. Wow Malcolm, I think you must be our long lost son since you practically echo our thoughts, whereas our own son always argues with us.
    You are brave to put everything on paper – be prepared for discussions at the next get together of Yolisto.
    I agree with Marlene, you and Jillian look much better now. Like a good wine you imnprove with age

  10. You are absolutely on the money Malcolm….I feel exactly the same way too on everything except God, but nothing wrong with that. Brilliant commentary! Hopefully we see you again this winter (we’ll be down in Jan, Feb, and Mar).

  11. [...] whose only crime was that they happened to be of the same gender (for our take on this argument, see this post), what has become crystal clear in the last few days, was that the Mormon church acted [...]

  12. Malcolm, You rock !! Sounds totally absurd coming from a 69 year old, right wing, ex-military, gun-toting, ARA member. Don’t it ? We agree on so many points it’s scary; probably more so for you than me. I’m too damned old to fear anything but all government! But the great thing is, we can still have a beer and enjoy all the madness. Everything you laid out is why I made it a rule long ago not to discuss party politics or specific religious doctrine. Someone always gets angry or their feelings are hurt. However, I am willing to wade in anytime if the topics are general political ideology or general religious ideology. Too bad you didn’t do the photo shoot when you had that new haircut couple weeks back! Who’s the cute chick ?! Is she available ? Forrest

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