Oliver Willis

We Are At War And Patricia Arquette Is Not The Enemy

“Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that “we are holding our position.” We’re not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose and we’re going to kick him in the ass. We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!” – Patton, (1970)

Patricia Arquette was way off base with her comments about how minorities and LGBT women have to get behind women to fight for equal pay as payback for past fights for equal rights. But she is not the person or movement that stands between us and national progress on the issue of pay equity.

Arquette did, however, use a national stage with an extraordinarily high viewership to elevate an issue of key importance for the progressive coalition.

I shouldn’t have to say so, but that’s a good thing.

The left has a long long history of shoving its head way up its own butt and ignoring the long fight for progress. It has often thanks to visionary leaders, both outside the official halls of power and within it, that the movement has had its discordant energy pointed in the right direction towards great national goals.

Along that way, it seems so often as if the left is not happy because while they got 70-80% of the cake, they didn’t get that 20% so nobody should have cake forever — until the mythical day we can get 100% cake (which is never coming and has never happened, ever in history).

We are at war with forces whose expressed desires are to undo the advances of the 20th and 21st centuries. They are opposed to modernity, more equality, and the social safety net.

With that backdrop, I fail to understand the need to pummel an actress for her backstage speech after winning an Oscar for not getting into the nitty-gritty nuances of feminism and race. What is the point? The quest for purity is not worth setting up a wall of alienation. She didn’t get it 100% right, and in the long run she should be educated on the topic. But the vast majority of the Oscar-watching audience was not thinking about wage inequality the way political observers and activists do.

Arquette made some of them – a sliver of them at best – think about this issue and perhaps triggered a “you know, she’s right” spark inside them that they can carry into their communities and to the ballot box in order for the goal to be achieved.

The glass is beginning to fill, let’s not knock it off the table in search of the perfect pour.