Some thoughts on my political homelessness, Part III (Lockdown lunacy)

Another big reason I no longer have a political party to call home is because of my purported side’s views on this apparently permanent lockdown. Who are these people cheering on the end of normal life and snitching on anyone who hasn’t happily been locked at home for ten months and counting?

Yet again, this is an issue of class privilege and shining example of how the current public face of the Left is profoundly out of touch with our historic proletarian demographic. It’s easy for them to giggle about how it’s totes no big deal to work and go to school from home, only leave to buy essential groceries, and have no contact with anyone outside the house when they have lots of money in the bank, several computers, jobs with remote options, and huge McMansions with big yards.

How many poor and working-class people have regular, guaranteed access to computers or even smartphones? Some people have had to do college classes from their phones in parking lots, because they have no WiFi or computers. And forget about working remotely when your industry requires in-person work. How can people in mill towns or working retail perform those tasks from a damn computer?

Many of my K–12 classmates came from poor and working-class homes. Thus, their parents had far greater priorities than enriching educational experiences outside of school. When you live paycheck to paycheck and are exhausted by the weekend, you can’t take your kids to a museum or Ren Faire. Having a computer is a luxury. Many of my classmates went right into the working world after graduation, or attended local colleges with low tuition.

These weren’t people with the luxury of deciding between Harvard, Yale, NYU, and Bryn Mawr, or spending over a decade in academia studying Medieval French music. Being out of physical school for almost a year has taken such a toll on kids who aren’t from comfortably bourgeois families. How can we pretend Zoom school is exactly the same as bricks and mortar school?

Also, there’s a reason we rarely, if ever, see poor and working-class families homeschooling or unschooling their kids. That kind of requires at least one parent able to stay home all day, and that’s not possible when they need two salaries to stay afloat. Unlike bourgeois women, working-class women have always worked, even after marriage and kids.

My mother still regrets not working harder to find a way to afford to send me to a private girls’ school after sixth grade. I was certainly smart enough for a scholarship, and the worst of my Aspie issues were resolved by then. Instead I continued in the crappy public school system, which, despite some awesome teachers, wasn’t exactly the best place for intelligent students who wanted more out of school than the basics.

Anyway, so many self-identified U.S. leftists made no bones about supporting indefinite lockdown because “Hurr, durr, Orange Man bad!,” and thus they had to always do the exact opposite. If “Orange Man” was against total lockdown, then, by Jove!, they had to get busy promoting and instituting the most draconian of measures!

Anyone who dares object to such strict lockdown for any reason has been called spoilt, selfish, anti-science, a conspiracy theorist, a right-wing ideologue, and someone who wants to kill Granny. I’m none of those things, but I am deeply concerned about the effects, both short-term and longterm, this is having on the economy and people’s lives.

And how about the heartbreakingly higher rates of women and children being murdered by domestic abusers while in lockdown and unable to leave? Or mental health issues being exacerbated? People unable to pay basic living expenses? Loneliness and isolation, esp. among seniors? Necessary surgeries being postponed and sometimes leading to preventable deaths?

Scientific evidence is starting to come in proving the endless lockdowns in the U.S. and U.K. haven’t had the benefits they were touted as having. Indeed, it’s only made everything worse.

Normal life has to resume sometime. We can’t exist forever in an isolated virtual world, and lockdown hurts the poor and working-class most of all. Yet DNC and Labour Party brass have totally sold out this core demographic to look woke and appeal to blue-haired clowns.

Some thoughts on my political homelessness, Part I

Warning: Any nasty comments personally attacking me will be deleted and the commenters blacklisted.

This is roughly where I’ve consistently measured on the political spectrum since I was a teenager. Probably the only thing keeping me from being all the way to the Left is that I support the death penalty. However, despite my core political views remaining consistent, I’ve felt increasingly politically homeless over the last few years, and my alienation from my purported side of the aisle grows more and more each day. Many other lefties I know feel the same way.

I voted Libertarian in the 2020 presidential election, though I’ve always voted for the Democratic candidate my entire voting life, no matter how milquetoast and same as the old boss. I know a number of other alienated lefties who went Republican for the first time in their lives as a protest vote and/or because at least Republicans aren’t trying to legally replace biological sex with the nebulous concept of gender.

It happened on Biden’s first day, just as he promised for months. He signed an executive order allowing the disastrous, toxic self-identification policy several other countries now have, and which was thankfully soundly defeated in the U.K. recently. Goodbye to women’s sports, scholarships, homeless shelters, rape crisis centres, political shortlists, locker rooms, single-sex swimming pools, everything our foremothers fought so hard to secure.

No, this is absolutely NOT what real feminists ever fought for! We never wanted things like co-ed sports and changing rooms. And for those who, like clockwork, ask, “Hurr, durr, where are all the feminists?,” we’ve been fighting against this and raising awareness of these issues for YEARS! Many of us have been doxxed, no-platformed, fired, stalked, kicked off social media, threatened, you name it.

I’ll be getting into this issue in much greater detail when I resume my Gender-Industrial Complex series! So much has happened on that front since I did that 12-part series in 2016.

Because of the U.S. duopoly, many Americans, through no fault of their own, aren’t aware of the full political spectrum and all the various iterations of left-wing and right-wing beliefs. E.g., Bernie Sanders is considered a centrist in Europe, since things like universal healthcare and a living wage are just matter-of-fact social welfare policies which are proven to dramatically improve quality of life.

Some people are able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make a success of themselves without free or cheap college education and at least $15 an hour, but that’s unfortunately not possible for most people. How can you pull yourself up by your bootstraps when you haven’t any boots?

The loons in Antifa also are NOT even remotely representative of what real leftists are all about, just as people who bomb abortion clinics don’t represent most conservatives. People on both sides need to quit painting one another with such broad brushstrokes and assuming the loudest, most fringe elements speak for everyone.

I wish more liberals and conservatives both would engage in good-faith dialogue with one another, and actually LISTEN when someone explains why s/he came to have such political values, instead of just hearing and immediately reacting. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with their views or convert to their way of thinking, but at least make an attempt to understand that POV.

I’d be more than happy to explain how growing up poor and working-class led me to my views. Were my life circumstances different, I may very well have ended up conservative, centrist, or only moderately left-wing.

I agree with the theory that there’s been a soft coup in the Democratic and Labour Parties over the last few years, and an overall sea change over the last few decades. The party brass now speaks with such disdain about the proletariat, who traditionally formed their core demographic. These blue-haired fools need to get out of their cushy little bourgeois suburbs and ivory towers and see how we truly live.

I dare them to go to a mill town and announce their pronouns, demand people check their privilege, say they’re lithromantic greysexual moongender, call everyone bigots for understanding biological sex is grounded in material reality, and defend prostitution as an exciting career choice no different than any other job.

This is no longer the party of FDR, Harry Truman, and JFK. It’s been hijacked by clowns who don’t live in the real world. Until they kick out the loud woke contingent, I’ll remain politically homeless.

Metropolis at 90, Part V (What it means to me)

I can’t remember exactly when I first saw Metropolis (at least that I was consciously aware of), but I’m pretty sure it was 1991 or 1992. My local PBS station frequently played it in those years, and I watched it on the small black and white TV my family had in the kitchen. Yes, I grew up before all TVs were in color! Our bigger TV in the living room was color, but we also had that smaller set. It also didn’t get all the channels the other TV did.

My entire life, I’d watched old films with my paternal grandma, or took my pick of the old films and historical dramas she had on VHS. I already loved history, so I never thought to dismiss these films as old and musty, unhip, boring. Even today, most of the contemporary films I watch are historical dramas, foreign, or indie.

So many years later, I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly when I learnt films used to be silent. I don’t recall ever watching any silents with my grandma, since she was born in 1927 and grew up with sound films. I don’t mean to stereotype, but let’s be honest, she wasn’t from a generation that tended to like and appreciate silent cinema. It was out with the old, in with the new. The reawakening of interest only really started in the 1950s.

So when I discovered Metropolis as a preteen, I was fascinated. Even with a much-truncated version, years before the near-complete restoration, I thought it was awesome. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to see many silents until 2004, when I finally began actively pursuing my longtime passion.

The initial spark (for anything) is different for every person. While most silent fans recommend comedies as the ideal starting-place, this sci-fi film did it for me. A silent film was so different, new, fascinating. It also helped that I’ve always been different from the crowd, born in the wrong generation on several fronts.

I’ve never been interested in most things from modern pop culture. I love films from my great-grandparents’ and grandparents’ generations; I prefer music from my parents’ generation (along with my childhood decade the Eighties); and I just love history in general. It took years for my parents, esp. my father, to accept this is a genuine passion, not a phase to be mocked.

When I saw this film after my political awakening at age fifteen, in 1995, it took on a whole new personal meaning for me. I realised it was about class struggle and the exploitation of the proletariat by the ruling classes. My political views aren’t something I like to get into here, but this is the kind of post where they’re very pertinent.

I grew up poor and working-class, with deep proletarian roots on both sides of my family. I’ve honestly never aspired to be bourgeois, and would be very happy being respectably working-class for the rest of my life. I just can’t relate to the typical bourgeois lifestyle. I’m 100% NOT some spoilt limousine liberal.

My political views are shaped by my life experiences as a have-not. I’ve never forgotten how awful it was to grow up without a lot of money, denied certain toys my parents wanted to get me but couldn’t afford. My parents didn’t have $10,000 in the bank at one time until I was about fifteen, and we didn’t own our own home till I was a legal adult. At one point, we lived in the ghetto.

While I’m no longer as super-far-Left as I was in my teens and very early Twenties, I’m still much further Left than probably most of my readers (though there are some issues I take a more conservative view on, and my personal beliefs are rather old-fashioned). It’s too complicated to get into here, but I have nothing in common with modern-day neoliberals. I’m a real Leftist, not some regressive neoliberal.

Not only did Metropolis introduce me to silent cinema, but it also took on a whole new meaning, deeper and more personal, after I began coming of age and developing my political views. I doubt a simple comedy could’ve done that!

I’m breaking my silence on where I stand politically!

Note:  Comments are turned off for this post. I, and almost all of my friends, have been in a very bad place since the events of 8 November. We’re heartbroken, and terrified for the future. I now regret having become so private and quiet about my lifelong, passionate left-wing views, and staying silent when Republican friends espoused views which are completely anathema to me.

I wanted to avoid political arguments and bridge-burning, but now I see I was giving silent consent and horribly misrepresenting and denying my lifelong values. Growing up poor and working-class is the primary thing which led me to these views. It just seemed a natural affiliation, given my life experiences and background.

Now, when my emotions are so raw, I don’t care to weather any potential attacks on myself or my political views on my own blog. I’m a left-wing Democrat with (mostly) strongly Socialist views, and that’s not up for debate or criticism. It just is, and always will be, though there are some issues I have a more conservative view on. I’d never force my views on anyone or tell someone s/he’s wrong for being a Republican. Respect runs both ways.

I truthfully really don’t like the idea of putting one label on myself about any issue, wish we would’ve listened when President Washington warned against the danger of political parties, and don’t like labels in general, but when it comes to politics, that’s the most accurate way I can think of to describe myself.

Had I been born into a family with more money, a man, in another part of the country, in another religion, neurotypical, etc., my political views might be very different. We all have to live our own truths, and I don’t begrudge anyone’s different life path. My life path, however, isn’t up for debate, and I won’t be told to “suck it up” or “get over it” when I, and so many of my friends, are dealing with such pain and grief.

Also, almost everyone in my local Jewish community, and many of my Jewish friends online, feel like we’re back in 1933 Germany, and many of them have said they’ll flee to Canada, Germany, or Israel. This isn’t paranoia or overactive imaginations, but a very real fear. I also will be getting my passport renewed as soon as possible.

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More apropos now than ever:

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Even so, one step from my grave,
I believe that cruelty, spite,
The powers of darkness will in time
Be crushed by the spirit of light.

(from “Nobel Prize,” by Boris Leonidovich Pasternak)

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The gates of Hell are open night and day;
Smooth the descent, and easy is the way;
But to return, and view the cheerful skies,
In this the task and mighty labor lies.

(from Virgil’s Aeneid, Book VI, Lines 126–129)

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First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

(One of several poetic versions of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous speech)

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disgusting

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more-hate

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Modern Times at 80, Part III (What it means to me)

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Though I love each of the big four silent clowns (Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Arbuckle) for different reasons, on different levels, I think Chaplin wins it for me on the personal level. Though I was never as poor as he was growing up, I have very deep working-class roots on both sides of my family, and am really proud to be a member of the proletariat. Honestly, I’ve never had any desire to be part of the bourgeoisie. To me, the bourgeois lifestyle and class represent things that are completely alien to my personality, interests, and background. That’s just not who I am. I’d be quite happy to spend my entire life in a respectably working-class existence, hopefully an upper-working-class existence.

The story of Modern Times resonates so very, very deeply with me because I remember all too well what it was like to grow up without a lot of money, with parents who weren’t always in the greatest or most steady jobs. My parents were on welfare when I was born, and two months later went on unemployment insurance. They didn’t have $10,000 in the bank at one time till I was about fifteen. They didn’t own their own house till I was perhaps 19 or 20. Until then, we’d rented apartments and houses.

I have never, ever forgotten how much it stung when my parents couldn’t afford to buy me a rocking horse, talking doll Cricket, or a beautiful redheaded baby doll I named Apricot. I enjoyed simple toys like marbles and toy cars, but I really would’ve liked those other toys. If I’m ever blessed with kids, I never want them to grow up lacking what I did. Samuel will have a rocking horse, no matter how much money I have to spend.

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I don’t like to discuss my political views on this blog, since I want to keep my posts focused on writing and topics related to history (silent and early sound film, people and places I’ve written about, classic rock and pop, antique cars, etc.). I also don’t want to risk alienating readers who may hold much differently, for the same reason I wouldn’t start a very political conversation at the dinner table and just assume everyone present shares my views exactly.

However, this is one of those times when the topic of my political views is pertinent to the discussion. Though I don’t like to put one label on my beliefs, and there’s a very long story behind my political awakening and evolution, the TLDR story is that I’m a very left-wing Democrat, a classical liberal (NOT to be confused with what’s been termed the regressive Left; i.e., SJWs whose minds are so open their brains fell out). I do have a couple of more conservative views, like my support of the death penalty, and I’m more old-fashioned in my personal life, but politically speaking, in most aspects, I’m a Socialist who registered Democrat.

Now that I’ve lived a little longer and am no longer as far Left as I was in my teens and very early twenties, I understand there are many different ways to hold politically. We all need to respect and understand one another. If I’d been born into more money, in a different geographical location, in a different era, as a man, etc., I might very well be much more conservative or middle of the road, or manifest my leftist views in a different way.

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Modern Times speaks to me because it’s the story of two exploited people from the underclass, living from hand to mouth, going through a series of menial jobs, not having a secure home, never knowing if they’ll have enough money to get through the week. As the opening image illustrates, they’re the black sheep among the indistinguishable flock mindlessly going along with the crowd. It’s not just a story of man vs. machine or trying to make a living during the Great Depression, but a story for all time. This is the story of the proletariat, a story I’ve been steeped in my entire life.

No matter how hard the Tramp and the Gamin try, it’s just not good enough in the harsh, cruel world they live in. They dream of having a respectable home, a modern kitchen, good food on the table, modern furniture, nice clothes, all the good things in life, but they just can’t grasp that carrot. They don’t enjoy being poor, living this itinerant existence, and being seen as impersonal cogs in a huge machine.

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The life of the proletariat in the machine age isn’t all gloom and doom, though. The Tramp and the Gamin determinedly pick back up and try again, instead of letting themselves be relegated to a degraded state. Eventually, they’ll find their big break, and be able to create a happy little home. It might not be the type of home or working life the bourgeoisie or upper-classes aspire to, but to people in their world, it’s a beautiful paradise.