In my misspent youth, an old fraud in a punched-out cowboy hat lured the hicks into his carnival sideshow with this pitch: “Shake the hand of the man who shook the hand of Buffalo Bill Cody.”
Having never shaken the hand of the man who may have shaken the old Wild West showman’s hand (presumably, never washed), we cannot relate whatever enrichment the experience may have provided. But the concept has merit, especially in our dislocated age.
Where lesser lights sense exploitation, your Humble Squire smells opportunity! And a quick buck!
The Blaska Policy Werkes is on task to repurpose one of Madame Brenda’s tiny homeless houses (there’s a contradiction, if ever!). Park it on the Square. In an endless loop, a tinny loudspeaker squawks: “Step right up, folks. Don’t be bashful. Shake the hand of a real, honest-to-gosh conservative!”
Having paid their sawbuck, the curious will note Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose on the bookshelf, and assorted issues of National Review, 4-Wheel and Off-Road magazine, and the NRA’s Rifleman. And a Bible.
Fox News plays on the flat-screen TV. A crucifix hangs from the wall. A bottle of J. Henry bourbon stands at the ready. A little Dave Brubeck burbles from the stereo speakers, alternating with some Del McCoury and Led Zep.
An LED track spotlight highlights your real-life conservative. He is lounging in a leather easy chair, wearing relaxed fit Dockers, a Badger sweatshirt, and a Harley Davidson baseball cap.
“Don’t be afraid, my little snow flake,” he soothes. “Come on ahead.”
The Madison liberal is shocked. S/he was expecting empty beer bottles, Velvet Elvis on the wall, manure on the boots, tobacco juice on the chin, missing teeth. Dogs under the porch and a Klan hood. Perhaps a Koch brother in the corner, hideous to behold! The smell of sulphur.
But the tiny house conservative (they work shifts, like department store Santas) differs little in appearance from the typical habitué of a Monroe Street coffee shop. Except that he is as likely to own a Ruger LCR as an Apple laptop.
“What do you say?” the conservative prompts his timid visitor, in perfectly good English. (Why, he is not missing a single tooth!) Mother of all shocks, conservative Santa isn’t angry! He’s actually friendly!
“Want to talk education reform? Personal responsibility? Men in the ladies’ room?”
With that, the Madison liberal-progressive-socialist covers his ears and runs off shrieking to the safe space of the Capitol Sing-along.
Congressman Sean Duffy, R-Trumpkinville, has taken some righteous umbrage for calling our fair Madison a Bolshevik redoubt. Our Mayor for Life is particularly aggrieved that the U.S. Rep missed the subtle nuances implicit in that proud day when Paul Soglin pressed the keys to this city into the cold dead hands of El Jefe, the Cuban dictator. (Time to change the locks.)
At the great University, gangs of sociology majors attempt to impose the heckler’s veto on conservative speakers. At small Edgewood College, a tiny Post-it sticky note suggesting scholars accommodate themselves to the verdict of November 8 provokes a Def-Con One alert.
In city council chambers, police are blamed for defending themselves against attack and arresting too many criminals. In the cube farms of state government, workers who deviate from pure blue keep their heads down and their opinions to themselves.
Aside from Miss Vicki, Mitch on occasion, and Yours Truly, you’re more likely to hear Hmong hymns than the conservative voice in Mad-Town.
When the city’s self-described “progressive voice” tries to explain Trump voters, it consults university professors — having never actually encountered one, apparently. Editor Paul Fanlund writes that these boobs are “angry white people out there.” (Dig the locution: “out there!”) Resuming the quote, they are “men mostly. Guys who lacked education … victims of clever Republican messaging.”
Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times:
“We liberals are adept at pointing out the hypocrisies of Trump, but we should also address our own hypocrisy in terrain we govern, such as most universities: Too often, we embrace diversity of all kinds except for ideological. Repeated studies have found that about 10% of professors in the social sciences or the humanities are Republicans.
“We champion tolerance, except for conservatives and evangelical Christians. We want to be inclusive of people who don’t look like us — so long as they think like us.
“I fear that liberal outrage at Trump’s presidency will exacerbate the problem of liberal echo chambers, by creating a more hostile environment for conservatives and evangelicals.”
Understanding the Boobouisie 101
Fanlund cites a Berkley professor [!] to explain the working class. “[She] explains that the white working class generally resents highly educated professionals, often liberal-learning, because they resemble managers who hassle them at work every day.”
“Trump promises a return to an era ‘when men were men and women knew their place.’” as Fanlund quotes her.
Yeah, right. Archie Bunker stifling Edith. Stereotypes — where would our … acquaintances be without them? Aside from the casual insults, what is striking is the utter unfamiliarity with working people.
Besides, how many HVAC installers, backhoe operators, dairy farmers, over-the-road truckers have college-educated dispatchers “hassling them at work every day”?
“I suspect many Democrats recognize they need to be less defined by identity politics even as they continue to fight racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia.”
Proving even that as he decries that old demon rum of identity politics, Paul can’t resist taking another swig from the jug.
Y’know, Paul, it might help if you actually spoke to some conservatives and/or Trump voters instead of other liberals, progressives, and socialists who think they’ve uncovered the Rosetta stone.