Even when they’re winning, they’re losing

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, October 21, 2008 22:37 EDT
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This video is being posted all over the liberal blogs because it’s such a nice reminder of how much of our opposition is composed of mindless theocrats. I’m posting it because I like that her invocation of the Christian cliche, “I’ll pray for you,” is without any ambiguity. There’s going to be a point where upwards of 95% of threats to pray for someone will mean, “I wish I could force you to do X, but I know I can’t (yet), so I’m going to ask god to force you.” We probably reached that percentage during this election season.

But really, I want to point out how awesomely bitter this woman is. She appears to have lost the ability to close her mouth without pursing her lips in a disapproving fashion. It’s tempting to look at someone like that and think, man, they’re really angry that they’re losing. And to a large extent, that’s true. The ugliness has gotten more hideous as election day draws near with Obama still ahead in the polls. But honestly, I suspect this woman and her fundie brethern will stay bitter even if McCain wins. And even if he gets Roe overturned and helps make sodomy illegal again.

It was a big frustration for liberals, how conservatives portrayed themselves as perpetually disempowered even when they had the Supreme Court, the White House, and both houses of Congress. Conservative media is still about railing against the liberal elite who control everything, presumably through magic and in secret, because they sure as hell don’t control the government. But I’ve been reading Reading Lolita in Tehran, and Azar Nafisi’s observations about the endless toil of the true believers in Iran to control and scold the population made me realize—even when the theocrats get a theocracy, they aren’t happy. The religious police are constantly on guard for subversion, because even though they completely control the country and have made life very hard for people of a secular inclination, they haven’t managed to get complete submission. And so they can never relax but always have to find ways to torment people because the battle never ends, no matter how powerful you are. It’s very exhausting.

In this country, our theocrats have to contend with the fact that even when they’re winning, they’re losing. Eight years of Bush has crippled our economy and mired us in an unwinnable war, but it did not actually do a damn thing to make your kids quit fucking or make everyone convert immediately to fundamentalist Christianity. Atheists still published books and those books sold. Homosexuality not only didn’t disappear, it gained more social acceptance. Women have not en masse abandoned our desires for careers and self-actualization in favor of servitude to men. Fucking for pleasure instead of procreation remains as wildly popular as it has since they invented effective contraception, which is only slightly more popular than it was when people had to risk it. Stopping the tide of modernism isn’t going to be as easy as winning an election or even winning every election. Hollywood has to be toppled. People have to give up TV. Widespread literacy gets in the way. People have tasted secular humanism and don’t want to go back to the Dark Ages, full stop.

I doubt women like this woman even fully grasp the extent of the problem they have before them, which is why they get bitter, because they think it shouldn’t be so fucking difficult and yet nothing they do achieves the intended results.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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