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thinking out loud

Noticing something interesting.

I'm still diving into the sewer of DU, even though the election is over. It's interesting, in a morbid sort of way, to see how these people behave when faced with their loss.

But I am noticing a sort of divide among the inhabitants of DU. There have been some angry, bitter and downright disgusting threads on that site in the past two days, like this one with the poll asking if 9/11 was more depressing than the election (guess which one is winning?) and this one, about a missing preacher whose wife was found decapitated.

Some of the comments are beyond ugly. Lots of laughter at the fate of this family and "the more the merrier" attitude that, because these people were religious, they must be Bush supporters and, well, good riddance to rubbish.

On both these threads, many of the veteran DU posters (those with 1000+ posts) are asking their brethren to stop their messages of hate, or are horrified at what their cohorts are saying.

Those that do talk down the hate and rage are attacked by everyone else. Let the healing begin? Not likely. I think their are wounds within the left that are just beginning to open.

I wonder now what is going to happen to the left. Have a good portion of them had enough of the bitterness and hatefulness? And are a portion of them sliding further towards the edge, revving up the hate? I do wonder if there will be a split of sorts, with some of them going on to work towards something better and the rest left wallowing in their own stink. I further wonder which side will have greater numbers.

Alternately, I wonder what will happen to the right, in the same vein. Will those of us who look for a complete separation of church and state drift apart from those who want to legislate morality and rule with religion in mind? Will the Republicans who support gay rights and a woman's right to choose branch off into their own faction?

I've already seen the fallout starting, with people questioning my (and others) dedication to the Republican party because I'm not swallowing the pill whole. Politics is not an all or nothing proposition. I'm a some from column A, some from column B kind of person. The fact that I'm an atheist with socially liberal tendencies is clearly giving some people pause for concern, as if I am going to now become a detriment to the party. They got what they wanted from me - in my vote - and now they can discard me because I won't follow the fold all the way down the line.

Four days ago, all of my negative email came from folks on the left. Interesting now that Bus has won, some people from my own party are taking the liberty to email me or leave comments telling me that if I don't follow their lead towards what they consider a moral mandate, I am worth nothing to them.

We need to be careful of the direction our party will now take. Alienation of those who did not vote with moral values as their core belief will only serve to break the party in half. We won the election. If we start off by swinging swords at the necks of those who oppose the idea of church and state , we will only spite ourselves in the end. We need to find ways to work together, not ways to make a victory a weapon of divisiveness.

Honestly, I don't believe that we are moving towards some sort of religious dictatorship. I'm quite confident that in the next four years, I will not be given chance to doubt my vote for the president. But it still wouldn't hurt for a dialogue to begin between those of us on the left and on the right who don't tend towards the edges of our respective parties. We also need to figure out how we can become cohesive units within our own party rather than a disoraganized swarm of attack dogs. It's for the good of our country's future that we all learn how talk to our own without talking down or further breaking down the political dialogue amongst ourselves. We're gloating about the meltdown of the left, but from what I see personally, we're heading towards a minor meltdown ourselves that, if left unchecked, will be the demise of us in 2008.

Just some stream of conscious thoughts for a Saturday morning, unedited, not proofread and suffering from the writer's lack of caffeine.

Update: Whoa, chill out, people. I'm not in any way saying that I suddenly think DU is a place of moderation and tolerance. I was just wondering if there are more than a few veterans of that place who have had enough.

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» The diverse right from Peppermint Patty
Michele a a Big Victory (formerly Small) is pondering how the new, diverse right can co-exist on social issues. I'm thinking about that too. I am a social conservative, I am religous (Catholic). I don't want to impose my viewpoint... [Read More]

» Saturday reading from Darleen's Place
I realize that the Left would take Kerry's loss hard and the last few days of whipsawed emotionalism from the usual moonbat quarters -- from depressed whining to seething anger -- was not entirely unexpected. I had hoped a few... [Read More]

» Journeys from Plum Crazy
Michele ruminates on how the more extreme factions of our two major parties are tearing at the center, which causes me to ponder about my own political journey. Once upon a time, in my wayward youth, I was a Republican. This is because, when I first re... [Read More]

» Politics in an Analog World from Game the World
Two things are happening in the blogosphere currently. One is trying to figure out what happened and why. (Link via Instapundit) The other is the intra-party bickering of who is truly loyal. The roots of both of these debates are the urge to shoe ho... [Read More]

» The future of the Republican coalition from A World of Speculation
What the Republicans offer at this point, to social liberals and social conservatives alike, is an emphasis on freedom, pushing the authority downward as much as possible to states, cities, neighborhoods, families, private persons. We'll argue over w... [Read More]

» Thread Collection from Ilyka Damen
A short list of open threads, necessarily incomplete. There are too many to keep up with, but here a few focusing mainly on the election aftermath: Open thread to define liberal morals, culture of life, and values. If your first... [Read More]

Comments

How odd...I am crusing through the "far right" site of Free Republic and I DON'T see any calls for theocracy, but calls to follow the constitution and the law.

Meanwhile I see calls on DU, Atrios and Indymedia for violent coups, revolution, riots and hints of assisnation. I see complete contempt for our American system of government. And yet I don't read any condemnation of this from Kevin Drumm, Oliver Willis, etc....

So I am confused about your post...unless it is just purposely irrational in order to extend the olive branch? If so, sorry I had to point this out -- but it might be better to be honest about your bascially good intentions instead of wrapping them in some sort of moral relativism.

You're right to bring up this issue. The dynamic this year was unique, in that positions in the WOT cobbled people together who might not have teamed up otherwise.

I always come out near the center of the spectrum on those political tests. The (dis)advantage of my perspective is that I often end up pissing off people on both sides of me.

As far as the religion issue goes, I think the key for a healthy party is to show tolerance for (and respect for) folks' religious beliefs, without making religion a cornerstone of a party's platform. In my estimation, most people with religious beliefs just don't want to be treated like freaks.

While religious beliefs inform people's views on certain issues like abortion and stem cell research, in reality, there's not much the government can do to make our lives more religious or more secular overall. It's more a matter of wanting to feel like your elected leaders are not sneering at you (whether you're religious, an atheist, or somewhere in between).

Othello,

I don't see any irrationality or moral relativism in Michele's post.

I think it's unwise to chuck out a loaded term like "moral relativism" in the beginning of a discussion like this. Look back to the post:

It's for the good of our country's future that we all learn how talk to our own without talking down or further breaking down the political dialogue amongst ourselves.

Othello, read again. I'm talking about personal instances of emails and comments I received. No idea what they are doing over at FR because I don't read that site.

I'm talking about moderates here, not hate filled morons like Willis, Atrios and their commenters. Does not apply to people who can't think beyond their bitterness.

sorry I had to point this out -- but it might be better to be honest about your bascially good intentions instead of wrapping them in some sort of moral relativism.

Sorry I have to point this out, but you obviously read something that wasn't there. But thanks for sharing.

Good morning Michele, and congratulations on the fame that your pithy remarks are bringing to you. Naturally, you are also attracting some unwanted attention, remarkably enough - just like some hollywood types - and so are getting the bad aspects of it as well as the good.

I should hope that you will take heart, however, in the fact that you are not alone. I've been a staunch Republican since 1978, and a Christian all my life, but am still realistic enough to know that all of my views are not shared by everyone. Nor would I want them to be. How would I ever learn from my mistakes if everyone around me told me I was always doing the right thing? And I think that now, more than ever, we moderate Republicans should not let the 10 percent of the far right hijack the agenda. We should avoid the errors of the Democrats, and not let ourselves be split up by the zealots. The Republican party is like any large family - we may disagree, but it's more important that we stay together.

I think that the Republican Party should not consider casting out those with different religious and social views as the Christian Conservatives. Not having everyone agree with oneself is part of the spice of life. It brings about opportunities for true discourse to understand why other folks might hold views different than our own, which provides us with the chance to truly understand our own beliefs. Remember that line from Voltaire "Sir, I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". I hope that in future we can all "discuss amongst ourselves with that attitude in mind.

I do not know the content of the correspondence that you received, but the 'moral mandate' arguement seems to be emanating from the press, not the population (at least the population that I know who voted for Bush in blue state MD).

I would gather that most on the right feel that the President's mandate is with regards to national security, not gay marriage. Analysis has already begun (I cannot remember specific links, but Instapundit links to one I believe) on how the vote broke in the 11 states with the gay marriage and its correlation with each candidates' share of the popular vote.

Just like the Democrats, the Republicans have a vocal fringe. I agree with you that now is not the time for internal fighting, but I do believe that sensible discussion is necessary, otherwise the Republicans with suffer the same sectarian internal squabbles that the Democrats have in recent years.

I apologize in advance for not understanding the post or any incoherent rambling on my part, it is Saturday and I am just finishing my first cup of coffee.

I think that's a reasonable convesation to have. I don't think religious folks want to impose their veiwpoint politically, they just want the courts to stop imposing their viewpoint. For me, I'm fine with the states deciding the social issues and believe that to be the best thing.

The only interesting discussions on these issues are taking place on the now very big and diverse right. I think that's a good thing too. Many of us are brought together in this political season by a shared view on how to fight terrorism, but disagree on social issues, and we'll all either have to find common ground, or we'll look like the Democrats in ten years. I think it's more likely to happen because I hope we're all more likely to listen to each other and find more creative ways to look at those issues and how to resolve them without pretending those differences don't exist.

Patty said:

Many of us are brought together in this political season by a shared view on how to fight terrorism, but disagree on social issues, and we'll all either have to find common ground, or we'll look like the Democrats in ten years.

Bingo.

The attitude I see from the fundamentalists toward moderate Republicans is "Just try to oppose us - we'll crush you and leave you with no future in the Republican Party". I'm afraid that what happened to Arlen Specter yesterday is just a small glimpse of what's to come for anyone who dares stand up to these people. They will tolerate having moderates in the Party, but only so long as they don't try to interfere with plans to implement the fundamentalist agenda. I know there are a lot of thoughtful, moderate people like Michele in the Republican Party, but I just don't see them as having much influence or power.

I'm very concerned about what the Christian right has in store for us, and I don't think I'm being paranoid or irrational.

I'm glad I don't get your email, michele. I think I'd go nuts.....

I was talking the other day to a guy who worked as a precinct captain for the Bush campaign. He's a church going, conservative by his own admission.

He believes (as I do) that abortion should remain legal. He also believes (as I do) that "partial birth" abortion is barbaric and should be banned on humanitarian grounds.

He personally doesn't care what gays do and would support civil unions but doesn't like gay marriage. His real peeve is judicial fiat instead of legislative solutions.

Why write all this? Just to let you know that the "Christian Right" is not the monolithic juggernaut that the press and the lefties want people to believe.

And sorry, MikeR, but I really believe that fearing the Christian Right is irrational. They simply could never get a theocracy going in this country. Americans are 'way to independent for that to work out well.

MikeR

My church is already planning on entering moderates' homes and removing thier televisions and any books on the Baptist's banned book list. All provacative clothing with be replaced with appropriate dresses with hemlines at the ankles. Women will no longer be allowed to wear pants, cut thier hair or wear makeup. Gift-giving will also cease on birthdays and Christmas.

Soon all of your morals belong to us.

Michele, I've been thinking about this issue, too. I'm concerned that the Republican party might be as much a victim of its own success as the Democrat party is of its own failure. I see Bush's win as a mandate for the GWOT, not so much as a mandate for a full-bore march to the right.

My thoughts on this are not fully developed, and hopefully, I can hash them out enough for a post about it on my own blog, but I just wanted to point out that you're not alone in thinking along these lines. (Maybe we need too form some sort of Republican Atheist Caucus.)

Somehow I find it interesting that I know Kerry is a Catholic (pointed out often by the MSM) but I don't know what faith Bush is even though he is supposedly "more religious" than Kerry.

My church is already planning on entering moderates' homes and removing thier televisions and any books on the Baptist's banned book list. All provacative clothing with be replaced with appropriate dresses with hemlines at the ankles.

Take my clothing, go ahead. But you will pry my television out of my cold, dead hands.

Wait. Can you leave the black dress? I need it for funerals.

Oh, y'all will get your turn for in-fighting soon enough.

BTW: Most of the time, change is never a radical, overnight thing. Just the gradual chipping away ... But humans don't notice all the changes as they're happening. Then, hey wake up one morning and say, "WTF?"

As I was watching the 700 Club last night, Pat was lamenting the impending Ashcroft exit. boy, he sure does think the election was a mandate. And he's pretty mad at Specter, too.

Pat, he's a Methodist, and he's made pretty public that he disagrees with his church on issues such as the death penalty. It seems to really bother them.

I've already seen the fallout starting, with people questioning my (and others) dedication to the Republican party because I'm not swallowing the pill whole.

There's a reason I quit reading Redstate even before the election...

As for the left side the population, I don't think I've ever been more angry and depressed about such a large chunk of my country as I have been over the last few days. I have one friend in particular who has emailed the transcript to Osama's last video. She told a bunch of us that there was a lot of smart stuff in it. Today she sent "the concession Kerry should have given," recycling all the standard "Americans are so dumb and we need to shut them up forever" stuff. (I love that, despite being such a dumb Bush voter, I can lord my Phi Beta Kappa membership over these people).

I officially declare that I was wrong every time I told people that it would be fun to see the left's reaction to Bush's victory.

"I'm quite confident that in the next four years, I will not be given chance to doubt my vote for the president."

The President clearly thinks he has a mandate. It is still up in the air what he truly wants to do with it, or (more to the point) what he will be willing to actually work at doing with it.

Will he and his Party use their newly increased power to push the country in the direction of authoritarian Protestant theocracy? Quite possibly.

It is noteworthy in this regard that the particular Defense of Marriage Amendment passed in my state outlawed ALL contractual relations between ANY domestic partners, straight or gay, outside of different sex marriage.

This has, effectively, deprived thousands of couples of any legal status beyond that of "roommates".

This is the sort of thing that I cannot recall ever being discussed here in from a viewpoint of "moderation". Is this really a good idea or not? What do you think, Michele?

I certainly would be willing to participate in a dialog about actual political compromise, but I would point out that, to do that, all the parties here would finally have to address what the President and Congress have actually done or proposed to do.

In other words, they would have to talk policy and address facts rather than merely fulminate against the more extreme opinions in the political landscape.

More generally, Michele, I would phrase the question this way: Now that the President has a confirming majority and a more strongly Republican Congress, what to YOU think he should do?

This was a good and thoughtful post, Michele. I too am watching the right just as closely as the left, and wondering if some of the far-right aren't feeling a bit too cocky and getting set to overplay their hand. President Bush has won with a mandate, but we still have to LIVE with the 54Million who voted against him. Zealotry on either end won't serve the nation or our ideals.

It's always been fascinating and saddening to me that the extreme left and extreme right both promise tolerance and love for all mankind, when in practice they seem to use similar tactics and, at the core of it, similar messages: "our way or the highway".

I can assure you the Republican Party recognizes the importance of reasoning individuals of every belief. It's the basic rule of "don't foul your own next"; political entities can't afford to offend those who may support them. I am convinced if President Bush had only had the support of those who share his religious views, he would have faced an overwhelming loss. Also, if Kerry hadn't had some support from the 'religious zealots' the DU so often villifies, he wouldn't have won more than 2 or 3 states.

I couldn't agree more that we need to get past the anger and hatred. Cliched, yes. But the United States has always been about people with differences coming together for a common ideal, and I can't believe that our core ideals have really changed that much. All we really want is a life where we can feel both free and secure, with the opportunity to listen to our own consciences without others telling us how to do it.

And that's all I have to say about that.

I just hope the President spends his political capital wisely. He'll be making a big mistake if he starts pushing a moral crusade too hard. My advice to him is to spend that capital on reforming entitlements and the tax code, as well as continuing the fight against Islamic theocracy. I'm pretty confident he'll do the right thing.

I also hope he starts promoting his return to the Moon program again.

IMHO the irrational fear of Xtians has been fed for a long time by the MSM ... the insular, rather incestual, community of media & celebs living/working in the nexus of NYC/LA/Frisco. They rarely leave their hothouse and beyond the pale they see the Xtian borg as wild-eyed and chin-spittled just looking for an opening to invade and conquer.

I do believe both sides need to take a breather and look for common ground. Funny thing is, I haven't heard one bit of the concilitory tone from the Left. The Los Angeles Times editorial page right after the election was one of fingerwagging at the President and Republicans that it was their exclusive responsibility to reach out to the disaffected Democrats, least the Republicans drive CA and NY further away. On the opposite page was one of those "disaffected" who the Republicans are supposed to make unilateral nice-nice with ranting about how GW will never be her President and the most insulting terms used for any person of faith.

Middle America, flyover states, people of faith, conservatives, et al, have been the butt of MSM jokes, insulting stereotypes, slander, etc. They've been ignored or dismissed. Shouted down, shoved out and told they have no business in the public square.

And now it's up to them alone to make the left "feel good?"

Sure...just as a battered wife is supposed to apologize to her husband for burning the dinner that forced him to slap her around.

:::deep breath:::

Ok, the last was hyperbolic. But I'm trying to make a point. Finding a common ground requires both sides to seek it.

Oh...and I'd like to point out in this discussion, too, that all law is based on morality. The question in a representative society is whose morality and how much of it gets made into law.

OK Darleen, I'll ask you the same question I just asked Michele: Now that George W. Bush has a mandate and a clearly Republican Congress, what do YOU think he should do?

Finding a common ground requires both sides to seek it.

And it's the victor who can best afford to be conciliatory.

I'm thinking of a post Treacher wrote where he pointed out how in little league, the losing team has to shake the winning team's hands and say good game, and of course, the losing team never really feels like doing it, but they do it in the interests of good sportsmanship. That's true enough.

But if the winning team stands around waiting for that, expecting it, demanding it, taunting the losers with, "Well? Aren't you gonna shake hands, losers? Well? WELL? I said shake my HAND, bitch!" . . . you know, that ain't good sportsmanship either.

JM

Short list from off the cuff

Follow through in Iraq (make sure the elections take place in January, just as the elections took place in Afghanistan)
Ramp up on war on Islamist terrorism
Reform Social Security
Restructure the intelligence community
Restructure the tax code
Make significant changes to the Healthcare system (more power to individuals)
Let the FMA die away* while appointing judges with a record of judging not legislating

*the FMA has never been a passion of GW's, but things like MA and Newsom brought it to the fore because the left refused to allow states to decide for themselves how to handle the same-sex marriage question. GW himself has said he has no problem with civil unions.

Now Joseph, whose responsibility is it to stop things like this or this or this?

ilyka

In soccer, both teams go to the middle of the field and shake.

Tennis, too.

All the calls I've seen for conciliation is that it is the sole responsibility of GW and the GOP.

I don't buy it.

In all reality, all political parties move left (statist) over time. (Can you say "Power Corrupts") The rebublicans have done so too. (Can you say "Big Gov't Repubs", even the DU's "Theocracy Boogie Man under the bed" is statist). The recent shift of power toward the republicans can either be the result of the center shifting to the right, or both parties having moved left and the republicans now covering more of the middle. I believe it to be the latter. If the democrats don't move back toward the center they may go the way of the previous left party, the Whigs. (At one time the Democrats were the conservatives) Since a one party system is not practically possible in a republic, a new right invariable emerges. When the whigs left the republicans emerged. They swapped left and right for a while, but the dems became the left and the repubs took the right. The question is who becomes the new right should the dems go further left? Personnally, I hope the libertarians can shake off some of their more kooky members and draw out some from that wing of the republican party. The libertarians won the third party race despite Nader getting all the press. Imagine what they could have done had they choosen to try to protect Americans from Islamofascism. They'll probably swap left and right for a while too as the libertarians arrive at some of the left's social principals by applying the right's free market model to social settings. I don't think the libertarian model of society is practical right now, but with a culture of personal responsibility it might be able to work.

For those of you who think Bush has governed from the far right, you should try to read some of those sites. They loath him at the NRO. There is a running gag on "and he calls himself a conservative" because of it's over use there. Most of Bush's policies haven't been that different from Clinton's except for the hawkish foreign policy.

And for those of you who are afraid of the Theocracy boogie man, don't be. Most Christians don't want to impose their morality on you. They're just tired of judges imposing your morality on them.

I think that with the Democrats held at bay for the time being, those of us in the GOP's big tent now have the opportunity to actually find the middle ground on social issues. The DNC is not a big tent - dissent is not tolerated. But in the GOP, the Guiliani wing and the Santorum wing can have discussion and find a compromise.

Many people feel that religious conservatives will run rough-shod over the libertarian conservatives, since Bush supposedly has evangelicals to thank for his victory. I don't entirely buy that. For one thing, there's no social conservative on the scene right now who looks likely for the 08 nomination. McCain & Guiliani are the more likely options (who could win against a Democrat), so the GOP is going to have to find a middle-ground if it wants to win next time.

Johnny Walker Red

Your point -- in the GOP, the Guiliani wing and the Santorum wing can have discussion and find a compromise -- is illustrated by this frank discussion.

Well, Darleen, that's a good start. Why don't you take one of those ideas and run with it a little further.

As far as your links go, when the actions are criminal, they are the province of the police and the courts, who are surely not impotent in, say North Carolina. If they are merely obnoxious we can wait for them to subside. It usually takes about three weeks.

The point of your mandate is that all the rest of it is irrelevant. My agenda as a liberal clearly has to go into the deep freeze for four years. It only matters what I want insofar as you (or George) needs to persuade me to cooperate.

So let's talk a little more about what you want.

It may take me until Sunday afternoon to pick this back up, so if you can cross post over on my latest blog entry, it might help.

Joseph, I'll tell you once more. You want to start a separate conversation, take it to your own blog.

When you threadjack you make the baby jesus cry.

Darleen, I am not debating whether those on the left are behaving well. I am debating whether it is effective to expect them to behave well, where by "effective" I mean, effective at healing the divisiveness of the last four years.

Or to put it in parentspeak: I do not care who started it. I do not care who hit harder. I do not care who called who a name first. I care that it stops, period.

I do not have the power to make Kerry voters "be nice." I do have the power to make myself be nice. Everything else is out of my control.

I'm a conservative Christian, and I'm a little discouraged to find that some moderate Republicans are almost as scared of me as are the moonbats at DU. Please do yourselves a favor, and stop believing the MSM & Lefties' propaganda. "Masked Menace" was just about right. Most conservative Christians don't want to shove our morality down your throats. We just want to be allowed a little space of our own to live in a way that pleases and serves God. And we are VERY tired of runaway judges forcing all kinds of nonsense down our throats without even the benefit of a vote.

Yes, we're evangelical. We are called to spread the Gospel. However, the Gospel is a message of forgiveness, not judgement. More importantly, nobody can be forced into a saving faith. I would oppose any attempt to legislate the Christian faith just as strongly as any hardcore lefty would. Christian evangelism (or outreach, if you're afraid of the "e" word) is all about love, reason, patience, and a little more love.

That said, there is one area in which meaningful compromise with many of us is not possible: abortion. If the unborn child is a human being (a conclusion that is supported by science), then abortion is evil, period. Even in the "hard" cases. Even when we are really REALLY sympathetic for the woman who has been stuck in a difficult situation. Abortion is still killing an innocent human being, and must be stopped. IMO, that's why so many politicians are afraid of abortion. Politicians like compromise, and there isn't a good compromise here.

That's also why Specter's bravado has many of us concerned. If he had simply chosen to assert his independence in a non-specific way, it would be less troubling. Instead, Specter chose to hold up Roe v. Wade as a great Constitutional right that cannot be questioned. I'm sorry, but that's unacceptable. He's clearly not suitable to chair the Judiciary Committee.

Now that I've scared you, let me try to reassure you again. Christians aren't irrational, not any more than any other people. And we're not haters, not most of us anyway. We can have a discussion about things, and we will stay polite and respectful. Just don't ask us to compromise essentials so that "we can all get along". Abolitionists wouldn't compromise on slavery, suffragists wouldn't compromise on voting rights, and most pro-lifers won't compromise on killing unborn children.

ilyka:
To go back to your sports analogy. Both teams should come to the middle and shake hands, but what happens when the winners show up at the middle and the losing side refuses? Is it the winners fault? Let's face it, if the country stays devided Bush will be blamed regardless of whether or not he showed up in the middle to shake hands.

What I'm seeing right now is "We're mad that you won, you should apologize immediatly or we won't be your friends anymore". I'm sorry, I am more than willing to come to the middle and shake hands, but when faced with that, there really is no point.

I know you said that you don't really care who started it, you just want it to stop. The winners often can get that done easier. But is it ultimately beneficial? The reason that Bush was re-elected and the House and Senate skewed even more heavily R is not because we're stupid, knuckle dragging, homophobic, misogynistic, fascist thugs who have been duped into voting against their own interests, it is because most of the people agree with their agenda. Sure the Rs can make them feel better about losing, but will it really help the Democratic party?

Michele,

I like you just fine the way you are.

RobSF:
It is also possible to object to abortion on completely secular grounds. The feminist argument about choice over their own body misses the point. There are two bodies involved and two lives, not just one. My libertarian streak dictates that a person can do anything they want so long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of someone else thru force or fraud. I believe that abortion is the forceable removal of someones elses right to life.

You want to cut off a finger, go right ahead. It does not, and never could, exist independently of you. A child however is a seperate body (it even has it's own independent blood supply) and a seperate life. Your right to liberty does not give you the right to forceable remove someone elses right to life.

Caveat: Just as there are exceptions to murder (justifiable homicide) there are exceptions to this as well. When the mothers life is in danger, I don't consider this to be a question of whether someone dies or not, just a question of who, so it's not about rights at all. I believe that decision should be left to the parents.

Nice site -- great discussions, so here is my two cents.

Michelle --- How much of the immediate focus on values do you ascribe to the Old Media? The Old Media seems bent on stoking the values fire as much as they can. My guess is they are trying their best to fracture the Republican coalition before it even arrives in Congress. Are we to assume the exit polls that were so right about the vote are correct about why people voted? Food for thought.

Somehow Republicans need to focus on coalitions not absolutes. It's a maturity thing. Republicans haven't held power that long. I think Bush might be able to help. Bush started out on right the track -- we need to get judges appointed to the bench that strictly interpret the US Constitution, not make it up as they go along. Here here -- about time.

bill

Michele, I just book-marked this site.

I found this site from a reference Mark Steyn made in one of his articles he linked to on his site.

Like you, I'm (culturally) Jewish, but an atheist in reality. I am pro-choice, pro gay rights, and yet at the end of the day I also voted for Bush. I though Chris Hitchens and I were the only ones who thought like that. Nice to know we're not alone.

Oh, and just to add to my comment above, I too visit DU all the time, only to see what the most disturbed and revolting among us are doing. It's like watching roadkill.

RobSF said exactly what I wanted to say. So I shan't repeat it!

Darleen:

whose responsibility is it to stop things like this

I only got to the first one, but your point is taken. What I don't get is, why do you think it's anyone's "responsibility to stop" that? Look at most of those people... they're doing it to let off steam. Why is that a problem for you?

The thing is, most of the stuff the anti-war protesters spout in their protests is nothing more than emotionally-driven hyperbole. And another commenter made a good point about how similar in style the far left and far right really are. They both preach fire and brimstone in their own ways, and both are unequivocal, intolerant, sanctimonious, and overbearing in expressing their views. The only real difference I can see is that the far right does it on talk radio and in churches, while the far left does it by holding up signs. Which would you say is more effective and threatening? The group with a pre-existing centralized organizational and promotional infrastructure, or the loosely-knit group of peaceniks, tree-huggers, and jaded hippies? Sorry, but Michael Moore will just never seem as threatening to me as Bible-thumping moralizers who claim to possess an inside track on the will of God.

No, I don't think they're going to establish a theocracy, though not because of any lack of desire. They will, however, expect to receive some dividends for helping to tip the scales in this election. Moderate Republicans, particularly those who aren't "conservative enough" for the likes of Pat Robertson -- and, I hate to tell you, but this includes most non-Christians, if you know what I mean -- are going to have to wake up one day and take a good, long look at who they've gotten into bed with.

I think that RobSF, Masked Menace, and I would get along fairly well, along with lots of others. There are different ways to approach the abortion issue, just as there are different ways to approach other issues. Things like this are discovered as we discuss them in a mature manner. There is still a very wide range of political/moral views in Congress, the Executive branch, and the Judiciary. I don't see any extreme position living to see the light of day for the next four years. There will have to be compromise for meaningful work/legislation to be done. While I am not going to agree with Michele on everything, I do find a lot of common ground with her, and respect her thoughtfulness.

Also, in the link to the protest pictures, note that even your guy pointed out that the "Black Bloq" was not at all associated with the specifically anti-Bush protesters. Those people are nuts, and have nothing whatsoever to do with liberalism. What, are the peaceniks supposed to make them leave? Come on.

RobSF:

We are called to spread the Gospel. However, the Gospel is a message of forgiveness, not judgement

and

Christian evangelism (or outreach, if you're afraid of the "e" word) is all about love, reason, patience, and a little more love.

and

And we're not haters, not most of us anyway.

That's all nice in theory, and I can accept that that's the way Christianity is intended. But let me ask you two things:

1) If the message is supposed to be about love and forgiveness, then why are so many Christian preachers and their surrogates in talk radio constantly saying such hateful things about liberals? Even supposing that liberals are completely wrong about everything, wouldn't that just be because we know not what we do? And in that case, shouldn't you forgive us rather than preaching about our "moral depravity"?

2) Think about some of the things you hear from the anti-war left, and from people who believe in social programs for the poor, fair wages, etc. Doesn't the idea behind it sound a little bit like "love thy neighbor as thyself"? I'm not religious at all, but I think that's a great principle on which to base a good life. I hear a lot less about that from the Christian right than I do about all the rules and regulations, and everything we do wrong, and what sinners we are. Sounds a lot like passing judgment to me. And what scares me about the people doing the judging is, if they think I'm going to Hell anyway, why should they care at all what happens to me here on Earth?

'Black Bloq' - is this a reference to the DU/ANSWER/MoveOn.org far left? I ask because I have been trying to think or find a phrase that describes them, and this one sounds good.

Mike:

No, the Black Bloq is apparently some kind of anarchist group in San Francisco. They have nothing to do with any anti-war groups. They are, in fact, objectively pro-war insofar as it promotes their agenda of bringing down civilization as we know it. Now that just doesn't jibe with "nanny state" liberalism, does it? Or do you want to pin the genesis of that idea on MoveOn.org too?

I don't want to pin the 'genesis' of any idea on the folks at MoveOn.org. But I would like to find a better adjective for the far left than 'far left.' But it appears Black Bloq is taken.

While we're asking each other questions, Walter, why turn to the radio to listen to what born-again evangelical Christians think? Why not just ask your friends who are born-again? I'd be surprised if they parroted the hate you say you hear on the radio. Mine don't.

Walter,

I don't know that most of the talk radio hosts are even Christian, so how they are surrogates for preachers?

Listening to the anti-war left has sounded more like "Bushhitler," "fascist," and "Nazi" being hurled loud enough to cause pain. "Love thy neighbor?" Hardly.

I'm too busy tripping over rainbows at Free Republic and Lucianne to check out DU. Let me know how this turns out.

I think that with the Democrats held at bay for the time being, those of us in the GOP's big tent now have the opportunity to actually find the middle ground on social issues. The DNC is not a big tent - dissent is not tolerated. But in the GOP, the Guiliani wing and the Santorum wing can have discussion and find a compromise.

So we can only kill half the babies? Well, it's a start.

Listening to the anti-war left has sounded more like "Bushhitler," "fascist," and "Nazi" being hurled loud enough to cause pain. "Love thy neighbor?" Hardly.

cough Hitlery cough

Face it, we both loathe each other. If you don't believe me, go read the aforementioned web sites, Misha, Adam Y. or Kimmy the Midget South African Gunslinger.

United Hates of America. God bless us. We need it. May the snarkiest, most underhanded win.

Mike:

Why not just ask your friends who are born-again? I'd be surprised if they parroted the hate you say you hear on the radio. Mine don't.

Exactly. And neither do my liberal friends go around spasmodically shouting "Bushitler!". Those protests are called that for a reason. They're trying to get attention and release pent-up anger and frustration. As much as the religious right objects to "killing babies" in the abortion office, the anti-war left objects to killing Arabs in their own countries. You have to realize that the emotion is exactly analogous, and the "hate" that supposedly emanates from the very pores of everyone to the left of Joe Lieberman is actually just anger and guilt at the inability to stop what they believe is immoral killing. The only real difference I can see between the far left and the far right is that we know the people we're killing in other countries are fully-alive human beings, whereas we don't know whether a fetus is a human life separate from the mother. That said, I really do understand the anti-abortion position; I just wish some people on the right would make a little more effort to understand the position of the anti-war crowd rather than just calling them "traitors" and "terrorist sympathizers".

Walter, I'll disagree. I do know people who would clearly be identified, by both themselves, and anyone else, as far left. They do believe that America is not worth defending, and I have heard them say so verbatim. Not on a talk show or a blog or on the radio, but to me personally. While they may agree in principal that Osama Bin Laden is an imperialist and a fascist, they also feel that in a 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' type of reasoning, that Al Queda is at war with the American government, and they sadly find common cause with this. It is this group, and this pole of the left, that I fear and despise.

You know, I don't even care if this gets me banned, but Angela? Go fuck yourself.

If Ilyka gets banned, then I get banned!

Angela, go fuck yourself. Seriously.

/bans self

Frankly, I think the single most important thing for Bush and the Republicans to do with their newfound influence is remember that it was the center that won it for them.

As for the hate thrown out by preachers versus that thrown out by leftists, it would seem the object lesson here is that they are people. There's a snarling shit-flinging chimp somewhere in all of us. What counts is how those who haven't let their inner chimp get the better of them treat their ideological brethren who have. Me, I have staunchly anti-war friends who haven't succumbed to the inner chimp. No one benefits from living in an echo chamber. At the same time, when you see a barking, snarling dog, you don't go "Aw, he must be a nice puppy" and pat him on the head.

Mike:

I do know people who would clearly be identified, by both themselves, and anyone else, as far left.

I'm not trying to argue that no one should be identified as "far left"; I'm just saying that being on the "far left" does not make one a traitor or a terrorist sympathizer, or any of the myriad other memes that have been thrown around at least as frequently as the Bushitler stuff, and probably more.

They do believe that America is not worth defending, and I have heard them say so verbatim.

Fine. There are anarchists in the world. As I tried to point out earlier, these people have nothing to do with liberalism. They are, in effect, consummate libertarians, believing that any form of authority is inherently unjust. Practical? No. Frightening? A little, but I doubt they'll ever get organized enough to have a significant effect, since to them, being part of a hierarchy or organizational structure of any kind is roughly equivalent to bending over and dropping one's pants in the middle of a prison shower room.

But look, my point here is that I think it's ridiculous to tar the entire anti-war movement with that brush. Most pacifists I know find anarchists as frightening as anyone else does. You really need to recognize that anti-war demonstrators can't exactly screen the participants in their rallies, or, for that matter, their regular activists. As I said before, the anti-war movement is not like a church, which is a well-established institution with clearly-defined distinctions between members and non-members. Blaming the anti-war movement for not screening out all the crazies would be like blaming the Catholic Church for failing to detect the potential for child molestation in candidates for the priesthood.

The attitude I see from the fundamentalists toward moderate Republicans is "Just try to oppose us - we'll crush you and leave you with no future in the Republican Party".

I've seen that myself. I've also seen Christian conservatives telling the fundamentalists that they are being idiots, which was very heartening.

As for the hate thrown out by preachers versus that thrown out by leftists, it would seem the object lesson here is that they are people.

Exactly.

There's a snarling shit-flinging chimp somewhere in all of us.

That is pure poetry. I love it. In fact, I'm going to put it into my bank of awesome metaphorical visuals. I also agree completely with the sentiment behind it, which is why I get tired of hearing about what horrible people peaceniks are because some of them get angry sometimes and say mean things.

At the same time, when you see a barking, snarling dog, you don't go "Aw, he must be a nice puppy" and pat him on the head.

Point taken. Some people go over the line, and I can't see any reason to expect their targets not to respond in kind. The thing is, it's so mind-bogglingly obvious to me that the vast majority of liberals are nothing like that, and are in fact quite decent folks -- as the fella says -- that I have a hard time taking the unequivocal assertions from the right of moral and behavioral superiority very seriously. In fact, they mostly just piss me off, because it seems like those who make such assertions must be deliberately ignoring the overwhelming mountains of evidence to the contrary in order to score political points and get positive feedback from like-minded haters. Then again, I suppose when Michael Moore says things like "These are people who get up in the morning and think 'which minority am I going to harm today?'." people on the right have pretty much the same reaction. I don't know, but I can only speak from experience, and as one who has gone from moderate center-right to pretty far left to center-left, I've experienced far, far more vileness from the right than I have from the left.

I feel for them. They are my countrymen. I know in years past that the struggle has been more intense than now (I'm old enough to remember the riots of '68). Communications is fast now..

I wonder how we healed from the deepest struggles our nation has faced? How long did it take to bring the South back the the Union? How much personal grief and anger had to be healed?

I don't know. But I pray for it. And for those who are angry, and hurt. And I believe we will overcome this.

Also, how can you hate this?

Walter Sobchak asked:
"1) If the message is supposed to be about love and forgiveness, then why are so many Christian preachers and their surrogates in talk radio constantly saying such hateful things about liberals? Even supposing that liberals are completely wrong about everything, wouldn't that just be because we know not what we do? And in that case, shouldn't you forgive us rather than preaching about our 'moral depravity'?"

Strangely, I listen to Christian radio quite frequently, and I don't hear this hatred that you have heard. Jim Dobson doesn't preach hatred (and isn't a pastor anyway), Chuck Swindoll doesn't preach hatred, none of my favorite preachers preach hatred. There's a reason for that. True Christians try very hard to never hate another human being. God loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you. As a member of the Body of Christ, it's completely inappropriate for me to hate anyone, no matter how much I am tempted. NOTE: I'm not perfect, and there are times when I succumb to hatred. When I do, I try to repent and make reparations as quickly as possible.

Do you have any specific names of Christians who are preaching hatred? If your list includes people like Ann Coulter, then please keep two things in mind. 1) She's a pundit, not a preacher. 2) Even I find Ann Coulter to be over-the-top much of the time.

On the other hand, if your list includes Jerry Fallwell and Pat Robertson, they don't have as much following among Christians as non-Christians seem to think. Their hatred is a big part of why. Those clowns tried to portray 9/11 as God's judgement against sin. Don't they know that God has clearly expressed his disapproval with those people who portray Him falsely?

"2) Think about some of the things you hear from the anti-war left, and from people who believe in social programs for the poor, fair wages, etc. Doesn't the idea behind it sound a little bit like 'love thy neighbor as thyself'? I'm not religious at all, but I think that's a great principle on which to base a good life. I hear a lot less about that from the Christian right than I do about all the rules and regulations, and everything we do wrong, and what sinners we are. Sounds a lot like passing judgment to me. And what scares me about the people doing the judging is, if they think I'm going to Hell anyway, why should they care at all what happens to me here on Earth?"

There are liberal Christians in the world. For all of the attention that the MSM lavishes on us would-be theocrats on the religious right, there is also a strong and vibrant religious left. They tend to make the same sorts of arguments that you just did.

Plenty of conservative Christians are uncomfortable with "war without end". However, Romans 13 makes it clear that the state has the right (and duty) to use deadly force in defense of its own people. Obviously, such force should be used in a way that attempts to minimize innocent suffering and death. I believe we're meeting that standard in Iraq, but I recognize that there is room for debate on the subject.

On the economic issues, most Christians would agree with your goals. After all, God told His people to take care of the poor among them. Almost all Christian churches are involved with acts of charity like food banks, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etcetera. However, implementation is the issue. Why should I trust the government to care for the poor? Let's be honest, we've tried that approach for 40 years now. It hasn't worked very well.

Contrary to liberal propaganda, conservatives don't want to ship all of the poor people to concentration camps. We want to care for the poor as much as you do. We simply have different ideas about how to do so.

About judgement: one of the most mis-quoted passages in the Bible is "Judge not, lest ye be judged." In context, this passage means that I should not try to judge the salvation of my fellow Christians. God commands His people to use discernment. In other words, we are expected to know the difference between good behavior and bad, between good teaching and bad, and between good motives and bad.

Finally, about Hell and whether or not Christians should care about non-Christians: Christians are expected to love non-Christians just as much as we are loved. As I said, God loves you enough to send His Son to die for you. I can't sustain that perfect love, but I am called to do the best I can within my limitations.

RobSF. You need a blog! I'd read it.

Walter- with all due respect, as a more-or-less to the right person, the major difference in treatment I've seen is that the peace rallies are frequently organized by what I'd classify as "the crazies" (several major ones organized by International ANSWER, a front group for a Stalinist organization), and that I frequently see some fairly extreme stuff coming from leftist columnists in the mainstream media. At least the Christian Right tends to barricade its wingnuts in AM radio lately. They learned from spending eight years out of the White House.

I agree that liberals are by large majority decent folk. I do think to some degree they've let the nuts speak louder than they should, by silence, lack of condemnation, or both. Until the Democratic party can quelch them enough to get back the center, they'll remain out of power.

My response to anyone who thinks moderates and liberals should just not worry and be happy about future judicial nominations: Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. If you can't understand why the idea of more Scalias and Thomases on the Supreme Court scares the crap out of us, there's probably no point in my attempting to explain.

If you don't believe that the Ralph Reeds and Tom Coburns of the world are going to attempt to eviscerate anyone who stands in the way of their getting more Scalias and Thomases, you're probably accustomed to having frequent heartfelt conversations with the Easter Bunny.

I have little doubt that we are going to be reading all kinds of strange things originating in the far left. I believe the word "liberal" when applied in that area is an obvious misnomer, but then we seem to be blessed by lunatic fringe groups from both ends of the political spectrum.

I like to think of myself as a Theodore Roosevelt type of republican. With this in mind if the country needs a third party that represents the moderate middle, so be it. It has been said that a political rule of thumb is that about 40% of the voters will vote democrat and about the same percentage votes republican for what could be described as "traditional" reasons. The remaining 20% of independent voters decide the election. Subtracting 10% of the voting population from the two major parties could form a centrist majority party. Don't think this can be done? Look what Ross Perot did to the republican party and George Sr.

In closing I will say that the so called religious right deserves to be marginalized until it learns that the word "tolerance" can quickly become a necessity if the nation is to survive. Maybe if people in general practiced this and set aside convenience a bit things would work better:

If I say so, I will try
If I say I shall, I will do
If I say "I promise", I am bound.

Therein lies the state called "honor".

Scalia and Thomas are strict constructionists who interpret law instead of writing it, MikeR. Is that why you are so scared of them?

Nobody wants to force Christianity on anyone, we just want it to have an equal playing field. If you see what the hypocrite Left is doing correctly, you will know good and well that seperation of church and state is a principle that only applies to Christianity. Don't believe me? Just look at the actions of the ACLU.

If you live long enough, you'll see everything twice.

What gives me a half-hearted grin this morning is how much this conversation reminds me of many I had during the early 80s when the "Moral Majority" laid claim to "Reagan Revolution."

My apologies to you Michele. Your comments offer no trash can for me to do so, but please feel free to delete my posts.

I still would like to know, however, what YOU think the President and his Congress should do with their mandate.

I still would like to see you talk about policy and facts and real choices of government.

And I would be genuinely interested in hearing your views beyond the anger at the rhetoric of contentious liberal folks like me.

I don't demand this, but I would enjoy it.

Walter:

"But look, my point here is that I think it's ridiculous to tar the entire anti-war movement with that brush."

I never did.

"Those protests are called that for a reason. They're trying to get attention and release pent-up anger and frustration. As much as the religious right objects to "killing babies" in the abortion office, the anti-war left objects to killing Arabs in their own countries."

If this really were true, than they should have been out 'protesting' the regimes of Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad of Syria long ago. Needless to say, this never happened.

"I'm not trying to argue that no one should be identified as "far left"; I'm just saying that being on the "far left" does not make one a traitor or a terrorist sympathizer, or any of the myriad other memes that have been thrown around at least as frequently as the Bushitler stuff, and probably more."

You're not digesting what I'm saying here. There are those on the 'far left' that feel empathy for what they perceive to be Al Queda's grievances, and they are comfortable saying so. Does being far left make one a terrorist sympathizer? No. Of course not. Are there those on the far left that are? I know that there are, without question. They would tell you the same thing.

"Frightening? A little, but I doubt they'll ever get organized enough to have a significant effect, since to them, being part of a hierarchy or organizational structure of any kind is roughly equivalent to bending over and dropping one's pants in the middle of a prison shower room."

I strongly disagree. If you are telling me that ANSWER, and organizations of the like, are not organized into a cohesive structure with a sense of mission, you are just plain wrong. In my opinion, they will, at some point, aid and abet a terrorist attack, if not initiate one themselves. Time will tell. I hope I'm wrong. I doubt I am. You greatly underestimate their determination and what I regard as terribly misplaced passion.

Walter

You link to a movie with a cute little munchkin who ends a list of "is mommy awesome?" "YES!" , etc..with "is Pres. Bush awesome?" "NO" and ask how one can "hate" that?

I don't hate it..the kid is cute. But I'd like to slap the parent.

This is personal. We live in So. Cal. and my husband's ex-wife lives in Oregon and has his son full time (save for summers and holidays). Edward is ten. Hubby calls him often in order to be in on the day-to-day stuff..homework, school, etc. Last Wednesday he had to cut short his phone call with Edward rather than losing his temper because Edward was ranting..actually ranting ... about Bush's re-election. And how it is all the fault of redneck Republicans.

You know he hasn't a friggin' clue wtf he's talking about, he's parroting his hippie mom & grandpa who are of the Bu$hitler persuasian... And my husband is just about as far from a "redneck" Republican as one can get.

George

I've seen a h*ll of a lot less "tolerance" from the so-called "party of tolerance" then I've seen from what you term "religious right."

Suggested reading: A Jew defends Evangelical Christians
insofar as offensiveness and tolerance are concerned, who do you think has it tougher -- a Jew living and working among evangelical Christians or a conservative living and working among strongly committed liberals?

Mike

If I may, I'd like to add to your excellent comments about the "anti-war" movement.

After the first few "marches" organized by ANSWER and NION, wherein they welcomed blatant anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, it is no longer an acceptable excuse that others in the march are "clean" of the "far left" label.

I certainly wouldn't accept any excuses from "clean" conservatives who would march in a protest organized by the KKK or Fred Phelps.

Wow... Once again a GREAT set of inciteful comments from the ASV readership... Wow, really..

The extreme on the left and right will ALWAYS get the biggest airplay, because extremism sells. Whether it is books by Al Franken, radio advertising from Rush or Howard, or lectures by Ann Coulter, or the promise of virgins to the martyrs it's all about who can boil the most blood.

Yep, I equate the intolerance of the far left, far right with totalitarininstic doctrine, and religious fundamentalism. To me, it's pretty damn simple.

The inability of those at the extremes to tolerate any alternative viewpoint is what causes most of the suffering in the world. Darlene's posts of extreme lefties and anarchists is a good example. Book burning and murders of OB-GYN's who perform abortions are another.

This stuff gets the lead on the evening news, on CBS and Fox and CNN, PAX and Al Jazera. All are equally guilty of pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Folks, get outside. Talk to your neighbors. Cancel you newspapers, kill your television and THINK for yourselves. Take the country BACK to the middle, underwhich the whole she-bang was founded.

That's just my opinion. WTF do I know anyway...

Most of what I have seen on the conservitive blogosphere is like the original post. But that might just be where I hang out. Even the zaniest right wingers I read are more interested in preserving and moving forward the gains of this year in the future. No conservitive is talking about wholesale change of the type the DU types fear. There will be tax reform, and Social Security reform. But taxes will still be an outrage, the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS will still be around. Lots of folks want to move the ball forward a bit.

You wonder where the left gets its fears from. It certainly isn't from checking out any conservitive forum I know of

"Hitlery?"

Aw, crap, I thought it was "Shrillary." I haven't been getting my VRWC memos.

I didn't know that I would get Angela going with the little bit I said.

Sorry, Michele.

The Way I see it (and I haven't sifted through the comments, rather just want to comment on the post) It seems to me that what's gonna happen, is what really needs to happen. it's obvious to me that the far left is on a road to oblivion, and god bless them, they just keep heading in that direction at a fever pitch because they haven't got a single clue when it comes to the issues of morality and values. they decided, well we lost because we were just an echo, we need to be MORE left. so once the far left in the democratic party hits that cliff, we'll be left with the more moderate, which will actually stabilize the party back to what people like Zell Miller would like the party to be. then all the moderates who had to jump ship under the far left regime of the democratic party over to the republican party can jump back on board. we'll still be divided, as we have been since the dawn of man, but at least for a bit we'll be divided with the ability to disagree with the new left moderates without having them get so feverishly angry that they start praising the deaths of religious folk, and acting like there will never be a tomorrow.

I can't wait, i prefer to argue with rational people, rather than people who end up on the argument of "you're dumb" and then they run away in fear of hearing something new that might actually sway their opinion because it truly is the right way to think.

(ahem)

"Black bloq" is a tactic. It's not a group. It's a model of street organization.

Yo, Walter -- If I were the owner of a McDonalds' where these rotten fucks were active, I'd be happy to help 'em "let off steam" with 7.62mm fire, because their lives mean nothing to me when they're dedicated to relieving me of my property.

"Friend, I would do thee no harm in the world, but thou are standing right where I am about to shoot."

Get it?