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Something Worth Living For

Rather than worry about identity politics, we might concern ourselves now with strategies of containment in US political culture – anti-democratic strategies across the left, right, and center of the political spectrum that mobilize arguments for the reprivatization of the lives and issues of huge segments of the population. There is a broad call for normative, respectable representations of constituencies and issues – including on the left, and in gay politics. These normative, respectable worlds of enforced Unity, Maturity, and Pragmatic Efficiency are nothing like any left or queer movement I ever wishfully imagined. They define either a faux, faintly authoritarian populism or a narrow elitism, founded on cultural conformity and exclusion; they make my nightmares. The time is upon us, not to posit unitary utopias, but to locate resources for a more promiscuously public, cantankerously democratic, libidinously imaginative, prolifically creative, compellingly attractive politics of freedom, equality, and justice. In other words, to find something worth living for.

- Lisa Duggan, “Commentary: Dreaming Democracy,” New Literary History, Vol. 31, No. 4

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