Every time, place and group of people has a "love that dare not speak its name."
Among the intellectuals, artists and academics around whom I spend much of my time, one of those guilty pleasures has been Desperate Housewives. In times past, other cheesy TV programs, movies and pieces of pop music have filled the bill. So has The Da Vinci Code (the book, anyway, even though no one actually finishes it). No one who wants to keep his or her street creds as a person of culture, education or refinement admits publicly to having seen, read or heard such things. Admitting exposure to, much less admiration of, them is like confessing one’s love of Big Macs or Twinkies to a vegan.
Being in an academic setting in one of the bluest states, one doesn’t hear or express much admiration for any politician with an "R" affixed to his or her name. One would more readily take an impressionably sensitive child to a movie rated with that letter, at least in this milieu.
However, one of the "R"-rated public figures is becoming the new shadow darling of at least some members of the liberal intelligentsia. None will publicly admit to preferring his plainspoken forthrightness to the mealy-mouthed arrogance that emanates from members of their favored party as well as from the one that foisted our current President on us. But some echo what he said in his first debate to reach a national audience and may attribute, sotto voce, those sentiments to him.
To whom am I referring? Why, to Ron Paul, of course.
In the demimonde in which I live and work, finding out that someone like Dr. Paul has more consistently expressed your views about US intervention in the Middle East and Government harassment of citizens is like being in your 20’s and realizing that you’ve become one of your parents.
So what do we do when a member of the Grand Old Party does what we know, in our heart of hearts, Hillary doesn’t and Kerry didn’t have the courage to do?
We sing his praises — as long as there aren’t any witnesses. We know that he was probably the only national public figure who warned against, then denounced, not only the Iraq invasion, but the American mischief that preceded it in the Middle East, before most Americans noticed what had happened. We know that he opposed the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act before most of us knew what they were. But we cannot admit that he’s our real hero. Instead, we debate whether Hilary or Barack can keep Rudy at bay, which is a bit like choosing between Delta and Southwestern as alternatives to American Airlines.
Of course no sane person who lived through his Gotham reign wants Giuliani for President. We all know that had 9/11 been just another day, he would probably be a well-fed lapdog of the very capitalists he made such a show of rounding and locking up when he was a prosecutor. We also know that we can’t trust Hilary: She still hasn’t so much as apologized for her support of the Iraq War. As for Obama…He’s handsome, black and well-spoken. So, for that matter, is Denzel Washington.
And even those who support his ban on public smoking and other Big Nanny edicts wouldn’t dream of electing Bloomberg for President. In one breath, they’ll tell you he’s a RINO. But he’s still, well, a Republican and he’s not Jacob Javits. Even if he were, some of them still wouldn’t vote for him.
So what does the Blue Left do when confronted with a candidate who opposes war and government constraints on civil liberties — exactly what they profess to want — and he’s a Libertarian who’s registered with the Republican Party and represents, egad, Texas? They turn redder than Dr. Paul’s home state and don’t talk about him. As with any other guilty pleasure, one simply doesn’t mention that sort of thing in polite company.
Justine Nicholas [send her mail] teaches English at the City University of New York.