“Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist” [Darleen Click]
Mugged by reality
Those posting messages in this left-wing forumpublicly announced that they did what they did every day, from voting to attending a rally to planning a life, because they wanted to destroy something, and because they hated someone, rather than because they wanted to build something, or because they loved someone. You went to an anti-war rally because you hated Bush, not because you loved peace. Thus, when Obama bombed, you didn’t hold any anti-war rally, because you didn’t hate Obama.
I experienced powerful cognitive dissonance when I recognized the hate. The rightest of my right-wing acquaintances — I had no right-wing friends — expressed nothing like this. My right-wing acquaintances talked about loving: God, their family, their community. I’m not saying that the right-wingers I knew were better people; I don’t know that they were. I’m speaking here, merely, about language.
In 1995 I developed a crippling illness. I couldn’t work, lost my life savings, and traveled through three states, from surgery to surgery.
A left-wing friend, Pete, sent me emails raging against Republicans like George Bush, whom he referred to as “Bushitler.” The Republicans were to blame because they opposed socialized medicine.
In any case, at the time I was diagnosed, Bush wasn’t president; Clinton was. And, as I pointed out to Pete, his unceasing and vehement expressions of hatred against Republicans did nothing for me.
I had a friend, a nun, Mary Montgomery, one of the Sisters of Providence, who took me out to lunch every six months or so, and gave me twenty-dollar Target gift cards on Christmas. Her gestures to support someone, rather than expressions of hate against someone — even though these gestures were miniscule and did nothing to restore me to health — meant a great deal to me.
Recently, I was trying to explain this aspect of why I stopped being a leftist to a left-wing friend, Julie. She replied, “No, I’m not an unpleasant person. I try to be nice to everybody.”
“Julie,” I said, “You are an active member of the Occupy Movement. You could spend your days teaching children to read, or visiting the elderly in nursing homes, or organizing cleanup crews in a garbage-strewn slum. You don’t. You spend your time protestingand trying to destroy something — capitalism.”
“Yes, but I’m very nice about it,” she insisted. “I always protest with a smile.”