Sure, the guy I support blows up poor brown people on a daily basis with drone strikes and cluster bombs while backing a war on drugs responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people and the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands more, mostly poor minorities, but at least he’s not a racist!
My favorite part of (trigger warning) Amanda Marcotte’s characteristically angry and poorly written screed against American’s favorite cranky uncle — lulz, she calls his supporters Paulbots! — is perhaps the line toward the beginning where she suggests only white men smoke pot and that anyone who supports or maybe just utters a non-derogatory remark about Ron Paul embraces all of his positions, the latter a particularly risky stance to take for someone who supports a guy, Barack Obama, whose administration has proposed record-high defense budgets and has deported so many immigrants you’d think Pat Buchanan and his pitchfork were in the White House.
Alas, Marcotte — who, since she’s calling someone else a racist, it should be noted once published a book that depicted indigenous peoples as brutish savages — isn’t one for sophisticated, nuanced arguments, nor is she seemingly aware of how her own crude attacks could be used against her. Her eager, slavish Democratic partisanship matched in its tediousness only by her unimaginative, “batshit”-sprinkled prose, Marcotte earlier reduced the problems with the American political system to the existence of Republicans, after all, so sophisticated political analysis isn’t exactly her thing. And so in the midst of spitting venom at the mean old Ron Paul who in his old meanness forgot that hating on FEMA went out of style when Bush left office, the ever-edgy Marcotte declares of his imaginary strawmen supporters that “it’s fucking disgusting to believe it’s more important for dudes to have legal rights to joints than women to have legal rights to abortion,” presumably addressing all three of the posters on Reddit who actually believe that.
Adopting Marcotte’s line of argument, though, one could easily argue that it’s fucking disgusting to believe it’s more important to elect politicians who will, every two to four years, make a big show of defending a women’s legal right to abortion than it is to elect one who at least won’t burn little children to death with cluster bombs and won’t support ramping up funding for a racist drug war that has made the United States home to the largest prison population in world history. It’s especially disgusting to elevate abortion rights, by which Marcottee means the election of Democrats, over issues of war and peace when the politician you’re slavishly supporting has actually done more to undermine that right with a single executive order than any Texas Republican ever has.
Now, by all means, say nasty things about Ron Paul. He’s a politician! Indeed, while I’ve argued he’s more progressive than Obama — while adding the huge caveat that I won’t be voting for him because electoral politics is a fraud — he’s nonetheless a guy who believes some pretty awful things, like using the power of the state to penalize those who cross arbitrary geopolitical borders. He’s also associated with people I think can fairly be called racists and he let his name be used as the byline for some of the awful things they’ve written. Go ahead, call him an asshole! But — and here’s another huge caveat — make sure that if you’re doing so, you’re not neglecting to mention the guy who is actually in the White House and who is actually deporting record numbers of immigrants and who is actually ordering bombs to be dropped in more than a half-dozen countries and who actually propped up the company responsible for perhaps the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Otherwise, well, you’re going to come across as an asshole too.