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January 14, 2005

The Sneeching of America

Wearing their liberalism on their sleeves:

NEW YORK - After spending 10 days in London with friends who were outspoken about their disdain for President Bush (news - web sites)'s policies, Berns Rothchild came home wishing she had a way to show the world she didn't vote for him.

"I sort of felt ashamed, and didn't really want to be associated with being an American," said Rothchild, who lives in New York City and voted for John Kerry (news - web sites).

A Kerry voter? Not wanting to be associated with "being an American"? Shocking.

Her mother had a suggestion: bracelets, inspired by the Lance Armstrong Foundation's popular "LIVESTRONG" bands, that would signal opposition to Bush.

Thousands of miles away, two women in Idaho had the same idea. So did a woman in Kansas. The result? At least three separate bracelet ventures targeting left-leaning citizens who want to wear their political affiliation on their wrists — and at least one competitor bearing the opposite message.

Rothchild, 35, is selling blue bracelets that say "COUNT ME BLUE," while Laura Adams, of Fairway, Kan., offers blue bracelets that say "HOPE." The McKnight family, of Moscow, Idaho, is even more direct; their black bracelets proclaim: "I DID NOT VOTE 4 BUSH."

"It's kind of like saying, 'This is my tribe,'" said Adams, 43, a Kerry supporter, who was inspired by her 14-year-old stepson's yellow Lance Armstrong band.

Kind of.

I know conservatives do a bit of this too-- the W buttons, etc. Even a simple American flag lapel pin, I suppose, is counted (these days at least) as being a potentially-controversial statement of poltical conviction.

But honestly, I cannot fathom many liberals' compulsion to adorn their Volvos with political bumper stickers and the like.

And now the need to proclaim their political tribe with silly blue bracelets. Why? I don't get it.

And yes, in two weeks, there'll be red bracelets available; and then perhaps some purple ones to indicate independence. Rainbow-colored ones for gay rights, gold, red, green and black ones for black solidarity.

Why?

Politics is sometimes important, sometimes not so. Sometimes it can be fun.

I've said it beore, and I'll say it again: the Democratic Party is not the f'n' Indianapolis Colts. It's not a team whose jerseys and paraphrenalia you're supposed to be buying. It's just... goofy.

And to me it's just misplaced priorities. We're human beings first. We're political creatures second (or preferably third, fourth, or fifth).

It's one thing to have a few t-shirts that make a political point. You wear them every now and again, sometimes when "among friends," sometimes when puttering around the house.

But this bracelet thing, to be worn day-in, day-out, announcing to a world (which largely could give a shit) that you're a liberal and you voted for John Kerry...

Again, why? I hope I'm not being arrogant when I say that my political beliefs are one of the less-interesting things about me, as a person. As a blogger-- sure. People come here, I guess, for some chuckles and some right-leaning analysis.

But as a person, the fact that I voted for George W. Bush just isn't something I'm proud of. Yes, I voted the right way, in my mind, and I'm glad I did it, but it's not as if I did something so wonderful that I ought to advertise it to the world. When I pulled the lever for Bush, no one offered me a cookie or a gold star.

There's just something very weird about investing so much of your sense of personal worth in what stupid party you belong to.

Again, there are conservatives whom I consider a little too wrapped up in politics-as-personal-identity. But this seems to be a very broad and deep phenomenon among liberals.

I don't know. Seems there are two sorts of liberals in the world-- the ones who won't admit it, like Dan Rather, and the ones who just won't shut the fuck up about it.

I'm beginning to have a whole new appreciation for Dan Rather.


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posted by Ace at 08:47 PM

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