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January 07, 2006

A Conservative Conclusion

At Cobb, I came to represent the Old School and have done so for the past several years primarily through the personal and the political. In making a lot of noise about my conversion from the standard 'black Independent' to throwing in my lot with the GOP, I have learned a great deal. At this juncture, I can't think of anything in particular that I haven't covered or that compels me to say much more on that subject, although I'm certain that I will again from time to time.

Over the past year, I have gone from self-employment, which began in 2001 to working for a small corporation of about 700. Consequently, I have gone from having plenty of cash and time to having less of both and from rising through the upper middle class to settling into the bottom of it more or less comfortably. Therefore my ambitions to organize GOP politics in Southern Cal and online have taken a back seat to more conventional concerns, like overtime for the bossman.

I have gone through a generation of the blogosphere having created and witnessed the birth and maturity of my progressive group blog Vision Circle which is now hobbling on the legs of one author. I have also created The Conservative Brotherhood which ambles on with its new portal despite defections. Here at Cobb where I spend the overwhelming majority of my time I have been very pleased to join in with the Bear Flag League and attain and maintain Large Mammal status. Although I was invited, I declined membership in Pajamas Media. I don't do ads. I have benefitted greatly from the support and sponsorship of Scott Peterson's Punditdrome, frequent mentions by Shay Riley's Booker Rising and inclusion in Black Blogger's Association syndications. A considerable debt is also owed to my three greatest blogfathers, DenBeste at the late USS Clueless, Sean-Paul Kelley The Agonist and the ever mellow and indescribably warm and collegial George Kelly of Negrophile and all points sophisticated. A special shout out goes to BTD Steve too.

I would also like to spend a moment thanking my most faithful supporters and faithless detractors. You know who you are. Temple3, Matt128, Memer, Southernxyl, Prometheus6, Spence, Brown, Anderson, Dean, Nulan, Dell, Ed, T-Steel, Liz Ditz, Caltechgirl, Brotherbrown, Unclesmrgol, XRLQ and whomever slaps me for not recognizing...

OK stop biting your lip. This isn't an obituary. I'm just done with politics as a prime motivator. Cobb will remain and continue. But I'm probably going to change the tagline. If I deal with politics here, it will be dealt with in wry and snarky rather than arrogant and paternalistic terms, most likely through the comic. I'm still a Republican. Call me an ordinary political animal rather than a predator.

Here's what I conclude at the end of several years of blogging more or less politics vis a vis where I'm standing regards to black politics. The consensus political sensibilities of black folk are in line with the economic positions of black folk, most of whom are blue collar folks. There is and remains no great consequence to the difference between blue collar and white collar politics, the American system is designed to work out compromise. Nor should there any great surprise about those differences.

What remains critically important and has since the devolution of the Black Power Movement is that the failures of Nationalism to do an economic and political race raising are reconciled to American standards of class. They have been, with rare exception, those exceptions primarily being those Progressives of the white collar class who adopt the political sensibilities of the blue collar class and/or the poor and indigent. This, of course, raises the burden of proof of the legitimacy of the Progressive agenda since they work against their own class interests for collective aims, however there is ample precedent and parallels in white Liberalism.

The primary burdens of upper middle and upper class blacks whose politics follows their class interests are mostly existential, which is to say that while their class status is not in question, their blackness is. But that is an inappropriately political question begged by the imposition of identity politics. It should be clearly self-evident that the political ambitions of socially and economically advanced blackfolks are reality-based. This question of blackness, however stems from overworked notions about the unifying ability of Progressives who intend to inherit the mantle and the following of Black Nationalist politics, long after its economic failure. The extent to which either American political party recognizes and deals constructively with the rift between Progressive and Conservative black elites, however is minimal. In the end, I have concluded that the debate is mostly between these two groups and that either party will do what they will. What remains is what to make of this rift. It's an answer that requires perhaps 300 pages I have no interest in writing. In those 300 pages each group would be reconciled to the historical development of their various political positions and everybody will stand on their square and be square, or at least they should.

Whether or not that reconciliation happens, as a Conservative, I am greatly consoled by the reconciliation of my philosophy with the Western concept of the individual. If there be only 2% of African Americans who stand behind Bush, I'd be prefectly happy with those 600 thousand people. That I have personally met with individuals such as Michael Steele of Maryland allows me to be perfectly content in the knowledge that however small my minority is, it is not lunatic nor on any fringe. It's not about the numbers, it's about the principles. In the context of the history of African Americans I'm on more solid ground than those co-hackers of Nat Turner. I hardly need to be militantly righteous. I am perfectly willing to accept the bourgie differences between various black political positions and philosophies. I'm betting against it coming to militancy in my lifetime. In the end, I've got other things to worry about.

I will continue to monitor the barkings and ravings of my political opponents with amusement, and I will continue to make as crystal as possible those principled differences between us. I'm not putting down the verbal sword by any measure, I'm simply not leading with it. I will however be less likely to get caught up in the struggle at the blogospheric level as I am convinced there is no political forum of substance, depth and popularity here which is capable of changing the dynamic of what goes on in the greater public. I have seen the black blogosphere and it is what it is. But it is hardly the catalyst for change I might have imagined, nor is there any indication to me that may be in the offing. Practically speaking that means I will spend a whole lot less effort making writing things 'for posterity'. With black and other politics, I will be in Popeye mode. I yam what I yam, and iffen you don't like it, prepare for an impatient ass whoopin'. So long as I have kids at home, they deserve my wisdom more than you. Bite me if you don't like it.

What will occupy that fat end of my brain fat will be the more philosophical matters attending to the nature of Religion and ethics here and abroad. I am fully satisfied that American politics, being that it represents the art of the possible, is about as ethical as it needs to be, which is to say sufficient to keep people with pitchforks and torches off the streets and other nations from wiping their asses with our leadership. I am absolutely convinced that there is no impending crisis which makes cops question their loyalties, nor ordinary middle class folks to consider the necessity of taking up arms against the powers that be. In other words, as implied by my lack of tears attending taking up the bossman's business, I can give up studied bloviation because in the end, well it's all just studied bloviation.

The Revolution won't be televised because there is no Revolution. What goes on in the heads of those who believe there will be is beyond my concern.

Posted by mbowen at January 7, 2006 01:47 PM

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And in the immortal word of every black church congregation, from the small to the mega:


Personal revolution and revelation is my path. I build it, if you come, it is good. If not, peace by upon you. :)

Posted by: T-Steel at January 7, 2006 05:16 PM

You're welcome.

I think we used to cross each other's paths on Salon years ago. I told a story about a photographer for a college newspaper who took a picture of some students playing cards on a rainy day and captioned it "A Fine Day for Spades"; she got in trouble because the kids were black. You laughed your head off. (Although I felt sorry for her, I did too.) Does that ring a bell?

Posted by: Laura(southernxyl) at January 8, 2006 02:48 PM

I've gone through several internet lives. It's quite possible that we've crossed paths before when I was Boohab. I did definitely hang out at Salon, back before Sherman Alexie became famous.

I don't recall the incident, and generally I'm pretty good at that. These days I probably wouldn't laught. I have less patience with snark. Boohab was definitely a snarky character.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 8, 2006 03:44 PM

Thanks you for supporting me, Michael.

Posted by: Juliette Ochieng [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 11, 2006 12:19 PM