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Identity and Party Politics

When we identify with one group only, in a serious context, we contribute to class envy and animosity. It’s one thing to march in a St Paddy’s Day parade and wear green, but it’s quite another thing to exclude people from other general activities because they’re not Irish. Or Latino. Or straight, or female. It’s great to embrace all comers to a cause, but to create “allies or else” is destructive, intimidating of free speech, and counter-productive. It breeds this Cancel Culture.

Most people are afraid of being cancelled or exiled or shunned just for expressing a point of view counter to the politically correct. I don’t suffer from that. I’ll be cancelled when I’m dead, so the unwashed masses will have to grin and bear it.

I thought the left wanted diversity? You can’t have diversity without inclusion. That’s why it’s called a party, not an army. But the left only wants diversity of the myriad identities that spring from victimhood. Diversity of thought need not be engaged.

Be silent. Or else.

To subscribe to the notion that we must qualify our speech before we make a statement is asinine. For instance, if I want to speak on a topic that rankles people, I can’t because I am not defined, by you or me or anyone, as being in that victim-like subset.

That’s a prejudice. To assume that because I am not Indian, or not gay, or not a woman, or not a teacher, or not a democrat that I cannot speak on issues of the day that include those people and their issues treats me, or you, as only an identity defined by someone else… not an individual independent man or woman of ideas and opinions that move the discussion forward.

Now we all understand some causes or clubs or what-have-you require a form of assimilation – but not outright rejection. Churches require it and are protected by our Constitution. But to exclude some in the belief that “we are better than you and don’t want your presence” is an immoral gulley that is always wrong, wrong, wrong.

So is being deliberately disruptive, mob-like, and uncivil. Just as abusive. Just as immoral. Just as wrong. And all these identities disabuse the idea that we are all individuals who should be judged on our character, and our actions, and not our gender, orientation, race, or faith.

The idea that anyone can win by being a victim is bizarre and defines people before they can define themselves. That is prejudice, exactly what victims rail against, the whole point of their being. Victim identity is evil and takes away the inherent ability of a person to strive to be the best he or she may be… A person with a soul, not a person with a grievance that will never be satisfied.

I have to tell you. I do not identify as a white male, and if someone describes me that way I consider it a pejorative. My identity does not hate or negate anyone else’s: I am Catholic, a husband, father and grandfather, a brother, a proud former Marine who was thankfully never shot at, spent my entire adult career with one company, and I’m from New Jersey. I am proud of all of that, and it has been largely an accident of birth. But even my life accidents have meant focus, rigorous application of faith, embracing my family, maintaining and cultivating friendships old and new, and a great deal of happy work.

Party politics should not be binary, not be black and white with no gray area. A political party corrals ideas and interests and should bring people together, on their hopes and dreams and collective interests… not some bullhorn screamer’s idea of victim identity.

E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.

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