by Reid Fitzsimons
During the 2012 Democratic convention a delegate from NY, Julia Rodriguez, fantasized in a video interview that she would like to kill Mitt Romney (“If I see him I would like to kill him”). An internet search for this incident revealed minimal follow-up, mostly that a Secret Service representative said, “We are aware of it,” and the agency is “taking the appropriate follow-up steps.” Beyond this the internet trail went cold so presumably Delegate Rodriguez returned to the Bronx uneventfully and is not in a Federal slammer subsisting on multigrain bread and Evian bottled water (for disclosure purposes I should mention I worked in a Federal Prison from 1982-1986).
Conservatives, and perhaps other sentient beings, hear of this type of thing and see a dichotomy. If a Republican delegate had said something similar of Obama, one could almost envision the climactic scene in The Blues Brothers as multiple SWAT teams converged on Jake and Elwood at the Cook County Assessor’s Office (the above photo if you aren't familiar with the movie). In reality it is unlikely a conservative would think such a sentiment let alone say it- while we are certainly not free of emotions of the moment we are generally constrained by the tradition of civility in discourse and rationality of thought. There are plenty of things I would like to either ask or say to our president were I to see him, but murderous fantasy is more the domain of progressives.
Fantasy and delusion have become so prevalent in the core of progressivism that it is largely a defining characteristic. This in more than the bizarre but partly affected fantasies we recall from the sexual swooning over Bill Clinton in the 1990s. This living in make-believe has infused the most serious of the progressive players. Elizabeth Warren is presumably a serious-minded leftist but her delusions of being a Native American were an integral part of her self-perception, or at least a means to advance her career. Hillary Clinton seemed to have Rambo-like fantasies during her 2008 campaign in her yarn about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia, though to be fair she was probably consciously lying and just hoping she wouldn’t be caught. I wonder if Joe Bidden fantasizes he’s not a buffoon.
Perhaps the best portrayal of progressive fantasy in popular culture can be found in the Seinfeld episode featuring the hapless restaurateur Babu Bhatt. Babu is a Pakistani who opened a small café in Seinfeld’s neighborhood. He offers an eclectic menu, from ethnic options to franks and beans, but he can’t attract customers. Seinfeld sees this and, despite having no knowledge or experience whatsoever in such matters, suggests Babu change to an all-Pakistani fare (“How bad can it be?” he asks himself). Babu is taken in by the idea and tells Seinfeld he is a “very good man.” Seinfeld reflects on this and satisfyingly thinks to himself, “My mother was right, I am a good person.” Of course the change to all-Pakistani is a complete failure, Babu loses everything, and angrily scolds Seinfeld as a “very bad man.” Seinfeld then asks himself, “Could my mother have been wrong?”
Unlike most progressives at least Seinfeld was loosely aware he didn’t really know what he was talking about. In the real progressive world there is no such insight- simply the belief that they are “good” provides a sufficient basis to make whatever demands they elect to make, always of others, never of themselves. Once the rule, action, law, policy, etc they demanded fails, they just blame someone else, pretend it was actually a success, or simply ignore the failure and drag us into the next abyss. The result is of no importance, leaving people damaged in the wake is of no significance. What matters is the comforting sense, no matter how transient or fantastic, that they are indeed good and righteous. Fantasies are not necessarily a bad way of psychologically defending one’s self from the reality of personal impotence, inadequacies, etc, but they are better kept private and not forced upon society at large. Over 20 years later, I wonder if Bill Clinton still inspires sexual fantasies among progressive women; it was an unsettling image then and only more so now.