In my last post, I discussed the current state of the American Left. I talked about the problems stemming from lazy discourse and the refusal of some to face the world head-on, as we are supposed to if we want to call ourselves revolutionaries. My main issues with that mindset are 1) the sectarianism of “call-out culture”, and 2) the rejection of the class struggle in favor of identitarianism. But I did not mean it to be an attack against my comrades. I simply don’t want us to lose sight of our goals.
But today I want to go a little deeper into this issue of sensitivity. How it affects discourse, how it shuts down conversations, and who is actually doing all the damage. I’m about to say something that goes against the mainstream portrayal of who’s “too sensitive,” but it is something that has become more and more obvious as the days go by:
No one is more sensitive, whiny, mouth-foamingly insecure as right-wingers. They win the Biggest Cry Baby Award by a longshot. Seriously, it’s gotten so bad that talking to them is almost pointless. They will get offended at even the most innocent claim or question. They will call others names like they think they’re in a VH1 reality show shouting match rather than a debate. They’ll use sarcasm rather than argument. They’ll cry about “MY TAX MONEY!!” when that doesn’t have anything to do with the discussion (it’s like their default response when backed into a corner).
Don’t believe me? Ok, next time a Rightist tells you that the Left is “too sensitive,” remind them that Harriet Tubman is going to be on our currency, or that cops sometimes murder innocent people, or just show them a Beyonce music video. When they’re done flipping the fuck out and shivering with anger, ask them who’s too sensitive.
While the Left is getting mad and fighting back against racism, misogynistic violence, discrimination, murder-by-cop, and perpetual war, the Rightists are collectively crying about having to eventually see someone’s face on a piece of paper that looks different than them, or who gets to take a shit in which bathroom, or science being taught in science class, or someone using an EBT card, or other people following a religion of their choice (or none at all), or the existence of humans who think differently than them. They’ll laugh at those suffering from PTSD, and then get “triggered” themselves just because *GASP* there are people out there who aren’t exactly like them. THE HORROR!
Besides everything listed above, there is a new demon the right-wingers feel the need to exorcise: the dreaded millenials. Yes, apparently all of the world’s problems can be blamed on a generation that has only been in adulthood for less than a decade. None of us hold any public office. None of us are writing legislation. None of us really have any political power–as far as the bourgeois state goes. We’ve been of voting age for two presidential elections at most, in races run by boomers. But I guess at some point in our childhood or teen years, we really fucked up. I’m not sure how we put the economy in the tank while we were on the school playground, or how we incarcerated millions of people while we were at summer camp, or how we started so many wars and acts of military aggression while we were learning how to drive. But, apparently, it’s all our fault.
Not really, though.
This is just an example of the Rightists shifting the blame onto others, and it has got to be one of the strangest cases of scapegoating in history. For you right-wingers who seem to have forgotten all about the concept of time, let me spell it out for you in the simplest way I can: As far as the political/economic/social scene goes, we just got here. It’s like we millenials were forced to go to a house party that we really didn’t want to attend because the people throwing it are notorious for making everything terrible, and before we even arrived some shitbag from Texas broke a lamp and pissed all over the living room floor. Then, as soon as we walked through the door, the hosts of the party started screaming at us to clean up the mess and telling us that Texas Shitbag wouldn’t have done any of that if we had dressed appropriately and didn’t use our goddamn phones so much. (By the way, who invented the smart-phone? Which generation created such an evil device and sold it for profit?)
Blaming any specific generation for society’s shortcomings is a new level of ignorance. The boomers can’t be entirely blamed for the actions of the past–many of them fought against the issues of their time, and continue to do so. Same with us and every other generation. Not a single generation in history was monolithic when it came to political ideology or action. Economic crises, imperialist war, class oppression–none of these are the fault of any given generation, they are the products of capitalism. But millenials are seen as the exception to this fact, for reasons that are never given.
Ok, I’m getting off of this whole generation thing now. I just have one more thing to say on the subject: Right-wingers, please, please, PLEASE keep doing this. By demonizing the up-and-coming generations, by alienating them, by ridiculing them, by rejecting them, you are basically ensuring your own downfall. You are doing the Left’s job for us. I may call you an ignorant asshole for it, but I also want to thank you for isolating yourselves. It’s probably the best thing you have ever done for the people and our future. Good work.
Anyway. We can clearly see that it isn’t the Left that is “too sensitive.” The Right is mistaking “sensitivity” for “not gonna take your shit anymore.” If anything, when looking at the history of the Left, and the struggles we have waged in past and present, it is us who have the stronger backbone. Revolutions, mass strikes, facing off against the most powerful institutions in existence–this is our legacy. The legacy of the reactionaries? Fear of change, complacency, stepping on the downtrodden, hiding behind the barricades of the bourgeoisie’s military and police apparatus–the actions of cowards. When college students want to prevent and put an end to rape on campus, they are laughed at. When a Rightist witnesses something as simple as a parent using food stamps to feed their children, they act so traumatized that they feel the need to explode in rage. So, sexual violence is “no big deal” and the Leftists “need to stop whining about it,” but GOD FUCKING FORBID ANYONE BUY A SNICKERS BAR WITH EBT.
All of this is an example of the more general problems with bourgeois, reactionary ideology. There are plenty of others. For instance, last month, when millions of workers around the world protested low wages and demanded higher pay and a union, the Rightists, once again, got all worked up. At the demonstration in my city, hundreds of people stood outside of a McDonald’s, holding signs and chanting. We received mostly positive responses from those driving by, but we also got a few pieces of that sage right-wing advice from drivers who were so upset at what they saw that they felt the need to take their eyes off the road, roll down their windows, scream at us while giving us the finger and almost cause a wreck. Now that is what I would call “too sensitive.” We all laughed at them and just chanted louder.
But reactionary inconsistency doesn’t end with their whining. Something else I noticed in the reactions to the Fight for $15 protests were the oddly familiar arguments the capitalists used. They said that fast food jobs are supposed to be temporary, but that “lazy people” weren’t moving on. Now, if I were to turn the tables, I could say that, by their own arguments, they are proving two things: 1) Capitalism isn’t working the way it’s supposed to (or, “it only works on paper”), and 2) Then capitalism must go against “human nature.” Strange how I feel like I’ve heard these two arguments used before, except they were used against socialism. Very weird, but that is a subject for another day.
So, in conclusion, I hope this rambling, disorganized rant of mine set some things straight. The Left isn’t “weak,” or “too sensitive,” or “sheltered” by fighting and speaking out against oppression and exploitation. It is the Right that has filled its ranks with people who are utterly terrified of change, who shake at the thought of anyone being different than them, who cry when they aren’t allowed to control the bodies and lives of others. They even go so far as being afraid of people who are younger than them.
As the political environment becomes more and more polarized and the Left grows by the day, the reactionaries are shaking in their boots while they laugh nervously. They may be playing arrogant right now, but when that horrifying Red Tide comes to shore, they’ll be clamoring for a safe space of their own. Good luck.