Sad versus Sadder Americans

Via Clancy Radcliff’s blog (she’s a grad student at U of Minnesota), I came across this post from a “Sad American,” who (basically) is an anonymous and young Southern woman who insist she would have voted for Kerry under slightly different circumstances. It’s kind of a long post and it has 281 comments attached to it, but it’s worth browsing through.

What makes all this all the more interesting is this response from a sadder American. This writer pretty much goes point for point what I would have said, so I’d encourage you to read this bit after reading the merely sad American.

Let me repost what I wrote over at Clancy’s blog in brief:

I can never remember who said it, but you can’t change someone’s ideology (or “beliefs,” for that matter) with the “facts.” What I think is really interesting in the “Sad American’s” message is that in my reading, she’s sort of struggling with what she seems to know (or think) is “true” and how that is at odds with what she believes. When I was in grad school, I personally experienced this sort of thing a couple of times when encountering post-structualist theories of one sort or another: for me to agree with “x,” I have to bring into question belief “y,” if that makes sense. I see this in my students (undergrad and grad) now, and what happens too often is they retreat back into the comfort of their own ideological framework. Something along the lines of this: “I realize we’ve read all this stuff for class about how feminist are really just striving for equality among men and women, and for equal rights and consideration for women, and I even agree with it. But you know, I still don’t think I could ever be a feminist because I don’t hate men, and that Rush Limbaugh has a point with the whole ‘feminazi’ thing.”

What I’m seeing here is “Sad American” really wants to believe in Kerry and while she deep down inside knows that Bush is wrong, her ideological apparatus is not allowing her to change course that easily. And I think you see this in some of the logical fallacies in her argument, as pointed out by “Sadder American.” Of course, that could be my own ideological aparatus creeping in….

Anyway, what I think is really fascinating about “Sad American” is the same thing I see in first year composition class essays once in a while: a sort of tone from the writer that is trying to convince herself that, despite the evidence, she is still right. It’s no wonder that there are 281 replies to the SA. A lot of people trying to convince themselves they made the correct choice, right?

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