In my own journey, I’ve often wondered if the old “right” and “left” political binary have become obsolete. Binaries in my neck of the woods are considered fluid, flimsy as gossamer veils, subject to endless interrogation. Binaries are very nearly, “evil” or at least, tainted by a certainty that is stolid and suffocating — repressive. Now, really, I think that type of thinking is just plain wrongheaded. I mean, binaries are also creative and generative of possibility, while also supportive of a basic structure that is fundamental and sustaining. Any way, there are all kinds of binaries and one is — left and right.
I began to question my own allegiance to the left, which was deeply rooted in my identity as an outsider, when I kept running up against a morbid and deep intolerance. That’s right, an intolerance from the left. I was too manly, when I became a man, and too heterosexual, when I became an apparently straight or heterosexual dude. I used words that were too raw and primal in my writing, I was not endlessly qualifying or non-judgmental in my language or tone. I made fun of people, everyone, but still, I made fun of people. And, while I made fun of the religious right and Republicans, I also made fun of genderqueers and feminists. The first got me laughs, and the other got me in trouble. I made fun of what I considered pretense on the left. I was pro feminist but also not anti-male, at least not enough to satisfy my critics.
So, I began to question. Was I right? Or, was I wrong? Or, were those not even the things I should be considering. Had I just not seen deeply enough my “male privilege” now that I was a man?
Over time, I began to see that my critics, my radical leftist feminist critics, often saw the world in a very cartoonish way. In some way, I discovered, they were as simplistic as any right-wing theocratic hate-monger – our nemesis. They were just as simplistic and as certain of their own righteousness, and therefore just as dangerous and deluded, even if these “progressives” were nominally on “my side”. And, really the bile and hatred hurt more, coming from the left, my left, my home, then it ever could from the right.
Any way, I started to look around, and I now am bringing you in on this journey. I’ve found another perspective. And, I have come to realize that the left I loved, is not the left as it is today, or maybe– it is quite possible that I did not see them so clearly before. It is possible, yes – it is.
You see, I think that the hard left, the one that was once called “communist”, but is now simply the left, the progressive left, that left sucks up various groups that are embattled and fighting for their voice or rights, or that feel squeezed out or misunderstood, I think the left takes those groups and uses them. It uses them for its own purposes, it is very, very opportunistic. Now, I am not saying that there have not been actual rights won, or crucial battles that needed to be fought. Even so, these legitimate grievances are used for a greater agenda, that I have found, to be antithetical to the rights of individuals – to liberty. These groups become victims and oppressed champions of the struggle, the struggle for that utopian ideal, and they are — the latest flavor of oppressed. All is fine until, someone in one of these groups says something outside the program, and it is a program. Until you write or paint or dream or just are, something that doesn’t fit in the little place they’ve got for you. Until you no longer sound one day, like the victim. Then, you have problems.
I leave you with that thought. Those thoughts, and I’ll be back, to add some more.