The latest installment in my running five-part series at The Big Con is now up: "The Politics of the Personal: The Turning". The opening:
- There were two crucial turning points in my relationships with conservatives: December 12, 2000, and September 11, 2001.
When the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Bush v. Gore, it became clear to me that not only had the conservative movement grown into a dogmatic ideology, it had metastasized into a power-hungry, devouring claque of ideologues for whom winning was all that mattered. I also knew, of course, that not everyone who participated in the movement was like this -- but they were all too willing to let those who were run a steamroller over every basic principle of democratic rule -- especially its core of equity and fair play -- in the name of obtaining the White House.
I remember rather vividly, like the day JFK was shot, where I was and what I was doing, the evening the ruling came down. I was in a small harbor town in western Washington, staying with the parents of some close friends (who are themselves good friends) while I covered a manslaughter trial in a nearby town. He is an accountant, she a homemaker, good moderate churchgoing Democrats. We all sat together and watched the bulletins come over the newscasts (I think we were tuned to MSNBC).
And I remember she turned to me and said: "I feel sad. Because I can't vote a mixed ticket anymore." He nodded.
So did I. I knew exactly what she meant.
As I mentioned when the series began, longtime readers will recognize some of this: It's a rewrite/update of a post I wrote back in 2003, which I'm reworking as part of putting my work at Orcinus together into book form. Hope you enjoy.