The two wings of American political discourse

I was reading the latest two entries in the Letters To The New York Times blog written by someone under the pseudonym Kilgore Trout and I was struck again by how well-written they are. While the articles have the very liberal bent, most such left-wing blogs have too much MacBethian defeatism that is missing here. The precision of language and the ability to “stay the course” during the entire essay puts my random meanderings to shame. I wish I could write so well.

This caused me to revisit another obscure part of my RSS subscriptions: a right-wing reactionary blog called Flyover 101. This blog purports to teach the “American Left” and Europeans about right politics. The irony is this self-proclaimed defender of the “flyover people” lives in a non-flyover state. It is doubly so because the term “flyover state” probably has origins in the Republican Party, not the Democratic campaign of 2004 as the author implies.1

I read his articles because it reminds me how far I’ve come personally for it is obvious from his language and words, that this author and I share similar age, education, and social background. Many of my friends were (and are) much like him.

The triumphalism apparent in all his essays was not something I saw discussions with right-wing friends in high school, college and graduate school. It reminds me of how I might feel about the Pittsburgh Steelers right before they lose a championship game, yet again, to the New England Patriots. Political discourse from the Right has become no different than waving terrible towels for their hometown sports team. I see that attitude more often: three days ago, I caught a freudian slip when a friend saying “my party”—he meant the Republican Party. 😉

Why is this amusing? Because we are witnessing a sea change in political thought in America and my right-wing friends are blithely unaware of it. Ask yourself where the Alex P. Keatons and Alan Pinkards in todays sitcoms are—they don’t exist anymore. This coming from a graduate of the school that produced Admiral John Poindexter. What will happen when it is so no longer cool among the geeks to be a Right-winger that they no longer even bother making fun of you in television? I don’t know but we’re going to be seeing that in the next decade what a brain drain of the Right will look like.

People like me and Mr. Flyover 101, we’re extinct. And if that doesn’t turn angry railing into quiet amusement and a sigh of relief, it should.

1 You see this a lot in media: “the Party of Sam’s Club, not just the country club.” My preparatory school was sandwiched between two exclusive country clubs so I find this highly amusing. While the Waltons have no trouble taking my money at Sam’s Club when I bought blow pops for my students, I don’t think I could get into either country club because of my ethnic, financial and political disposition.

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