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[Xmca-l] Re: Political constructions of self vs political constructions of identity


Larry made a very interesting juxtaposition between conceptual constructions of self and identity and how that appears to be playing out in the election.

I did not intend to blend the threads of experiential self and identity with an historical meaning of a woman candidate running for president for a major party in the American election, but it seems Larry has done that. However, I will move that conversation to a new thread, if it proves to be appropriate and acceptable to all of you.

One of the problems I see in the discourse of Trump is this false notion that we must all be the same and we must all assimilate into sameness. This seems to be what fascism is all about, right? At the same time, this sameness creates otherness. Otherness is what happens to those who do not (or cannot) assimilate into this sameness.

For a want of intimacy in the public sphere we long for sameness in that public sphere, and for expediency that sameness is to be a subject to Trump's strong man.

On of the problems I see in the discourse of Clinton is this false notion that we must each be of a category and that category must entail a property of a particular quality of difference, but not if that category is not a category that is a sanctioned difference.

(Did I get my double negatives wrong?? or did I say that right?)

For example, if one identifies as a socialist, an anarchist, an atheist, an anti-christian, or is from the green party, the freedom and liberty party, etc, or an independent, or one is a hybrid of any of these various categories, or exists in a category that has not yet been defined (nor sanctioned) which 40 years ago may have been transgender for example, or today might be those who consider themselves to be polyamorous or polygamous, etc.

Also, I'm using the word "category" very loosely. What I attempt to reference I hope successfully is the notion that there is something valid about pluralism (vs pluralistic). The anthropologist David Graeber makes an interesting discussion about this in his definitions of democracy as something being the default for human activity, and not an invention from Ancient Greece, which we claim to mimic in the U.S. I like his discussion.

There is also something to consider in Larry's post that has to do with What Is Identity, in the sense of whether I decide my identity or my society does. Or can it be both?

There is also something important to understand in the pathology of an authoritarian personality, not only as it pertains to that individual person, but how it pertains to manifesting in a society as such.

If an authoritarian personality were just a category identity among many others, and of equal influence and standing, then we could accept The Donald as just another category. Like a different flavor of ice-cream. But it isn't just another category. There appears in this sense a dependence of that identity upon an other, similarly to how a king must have subjects in order to be considered king. Otherwise The Donald cannot exist.

I'm not sure how to make a parallel analysis to Hillary. She certainly is a lightning rod, but I'm not sure if is entirely because she is woman, or whether it has to do that she is the wife of a disgraced former president. Maybe it is because she has had to become a politician in order to get the work done, and we share an impractical notion that any human being should be able to work in government and not become a politician. That being elected and being all together honest and forthright is an easily feasible human practice. Maybe also it has to do with the unrealistic notion that women are supposed to be unstained in their virtue and deal with others ethically, just for being a woman, as if these are essential properties of a woman.

These are different contrasts and juxtapositions that I extend from Larry's discussion.

I also agree with Larry that we must keep hope alive and not let despair roost upon us.

Remember we have 100 days to act meaningfully.

Kind regards,