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Yah, free choice is just like selling your country to the Nazis. Go with that, it's great. - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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Yah, free choice is just like selling your country to the Nazis. Go with that, it's great. [Oct. 7th, 2010|12:30 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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When I lived in California, nothing I read in the paper ever shocked me, and now that I've moved back home, this is no longer the case. You'd think this would be backwards, that being culturally realigned to where I'm more comfortable would lead to being shocked less. But no. In California this sort of thing never, ever happened. Here's what I mean, right here in this state politics article. Second page.

Did you see it? Did you see what language the Republican party chair used there? On the one hand I was shocked that they reprinted it in the newspaper, but on the other hand they had to, once he said it right out in public like that.

He called people quislings. Right there in public. Out loud.

This never, ever happened when I lived in California.

Here, here's the quote: "Republican Party chairman Tony Sutton took it a step further, dismissing defectors as 'a generation of Republicans that were not successful, the permanent minority. There's a special place in hell for these quislings.'" He's talking about people who are supporting an Independence Party candidate. And he called them the q-word. I could not believe it when markgritter read it to me.

I also couldn't believe that it wasn't in the article's headline, but hey, they're not paying headline writers what they used to. Still. Uff da, this year's elections.

[User Picture]From: sageautumn
2010-10-07 05:39 pm (UTC)
This is really a silly question... but... any chance the newspaper didn't realize what the word he said meant?

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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-10-07 07:22 pm (UTC)
Not the Strib. No. This is Minnesota.
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[User Picture]From: sageautumn
2010-10-07 07:28 pm (UTC)
.nods. I've never heard that word.
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[User Picture]From: zunger
2010-10-07 05:51 pm (UTC)
I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that Godwin's Law applies more strongly to politics than to any other subject. (obligatory photo)
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-10-07 05:58 pm (UTC)
In California you could get hauled in for a hate crime if you said that!
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[User Picture]From: kizmet_42
2010-10-07 06:15 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I never knew that quisling fell into the same category as boycott and lynch. Nor did I know it held such a strong connotation - well, I should, we're talking traitor here.

But your reaction is far stronger than mine. I wouldn't have hesitated it use it in company. Is there something I'm missing?
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[User Picture]From: kizmet_42
2010-10-07 06:43 pm (UTC)
Yes, I read that. But I don't hesitate to use other words based on names - a quick look with google shows me dozens of eponyms (google showed me that word too, I couldn't remember it) so I'm stumped at Marissa's response.

Had the party chairman called those who voted independent "Benedict Arnolds" I think it would have been more shocking, presuming these people knew their American history.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-10-07 07:20 pm (UTC)
I...don't know how to explain this to you. The Canadians in 1820 did not have it particularly bad, compared to the people who wound up under German rule in the 1940s. Sure, Benedict Arnold betrayed America in particular rather than some other country. What makes that particularly worse or more shocking? He betrayed it to the British of the mid-18th century. While we didn't want to stay ruled by them, they were not, in fact the Third Reich. This is not a Godwin's Law situation. I am not comparing Quisling's treachery to someone who would sell his country to Hitler. He did sell his country to Hitler. George III was not awesome. But he was not, in fact, Hitler.

And there are Minnesotans alive and voting now who remember fighting Hitler. There are Minnesotans alive now who suffered under the Quisling regime, and Minnesotans whose family did. Benedict Arnold's treachery not only failed, but it failed generations ago. Quisling temporarily succeeded, and did so in a way that affected the Minnesotans around us. timprov's dad knew a man who died last month who was part of the liberation of Norway. This is real, and it matters.

And to compare someone who disagrees with you on which candidate for governor in a free election is best to someone who was the puppet ruler for a fascist regime responsible for the murder of millions across Europe is so far beyond bounds of civil political discourse, I can hardly say. It is deeply shocking to me that someone in high position in a political party in this state--in this state, for all love--would consider that a reasonable position to take in public.
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[User Picture]From: kizmet_42
2010-10-08 01:20 am (UTC)
Thank you for explaining it. My family members who served in WWII have all passed, and that sense of the affront is lost on me. Nor do I live in an area where there are many Scandinavians who would maintain the memory and thus the strength of the insult.

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[User Picture]From: adrian_turtle
2010-10-07 07:43 pm (UTC)
I suspect that a California newspaper would not have bothered using the word, because so many California readers wouldn't perceive it as expressing exceptional outrage. (I mean, not more exceptional outrage than "traitor." I would prefer that it not be part of civil political discourse to say one's opponents are traitors, but that dirigible seems to have sailed.) When I was in middle school in the Detroit area, a teacher defined "quisling" for us as "a traitor who actively collaborates with the enemy." Thus, more specific than "traitor," but not intrinsically specific to a particular enemy. I would expect it to come across as a much stronger insult in a community with strong Scandinavian heritage.
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[User Picture]From: freelikebeer
2010-10-07 09:05 pm (UTC)

I tweeted a link to this WSJ article ...

found here. Reading your answer reminded me of it. It frustrates me when my sense of [gray]scale isn't well calibrated. As well, it pains me to see other people whose perspective is so badly calibrated.
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[User Picture]From: columbina
2010-10-07 06:19 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to say that my experience is that most people are not aware that "quisling" even ever referred to a specific human. I bet I could take a poll of 50 of my (generally well-educated) friends and not more than 5 or so would know that the word was anything more than a peculiar generic for "traitor."

I should imagine the proportion would be higher in ScanAm communities for obvious reasons.
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[User Picture]From: jhetley
2010-10-07 07:12 pm (UTC)
Probably another of those age things. My generation got their WWII history from first-hand sources.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-10-08 05:03 pm (UTC)
You see this not only with war occupation or conquest but with any crime, any victim. People want to believe that it cannot happen to them, and they are unbearably cruel to the people it did happen to as a result. They will bluster about the things they would have done, forgetting that they would have had small children or elderly parents or neighbors who would have suffered for their reckless actions or any of a number of things that would have caused their action movie fantasies to be simply not plausible in real life.

Sometimes, of course, people do manage to escape or fight back against large- or small-scale crimes, and when they can, that's good. More power to them. But, "If I'd been there..." is a fantasy, and not the good kind.
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From: dsgood
2010-10-07 06:22 pm (UTC)
In Colorado, it's possible that after the upcoming election, the GOP will no longer qualify as a major party.

In Minnesota, that might take a few more elections.
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[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-10-07 06:44 pm (UTC)
Oh my god.
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[User Picture]From: mamculuna
2010-10-07 07:18 pm (UTC)
That's really freaky, but I live in South Carolina and I can't begin to tell you the weird stuff that's in the local paper *every day.*

Still, quislings. In Minnesota...
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[User Picture]From: hbevert
2010-10-14 04:10 pm (UTC)
Uff da, exactly. Quislings were collaborators with a deadly dangerous empire, not folks who switched from one democratically electable party to another because of ideological differences. Makes Sutton sound just about as unreasonable as those Nazi propagandists.
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