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Of Narrow-Minded Critics & Broad-Minded Friends

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:01 pm - May 2, 2007.
Filed under: Blogging,Bush-hatred,Civil Discourse,Friendship,Liberals

For the past week or and haven’t had as much time to focus on the blog as I would like. My greatest contact with the blog has been via the “Moderation Queue” where our server holds e-mails which it “thinks” may be spam.

When I read some of the flagged comments, what strikes me (yet again) is the narrow-minded vitriol, the hate, of some of our critics. How they take time to read the blog of people who they have decided are self-hating hypocrites (or worse) and level insults against us or otherwise spew mean-spirited venom. Rarely do they seem to recognize our arguments, even those put forward in the post to which they attach their comments. (I know I’ve said this before.)

Incredulous that gays could be conservatives or Republicans, they just continue to define us as they want to see us and act as if this blog serves as a vehicle for them to spout their narrow nonsense. As if the opinions expressed by the blog owners, those who write here, matter little, except as things to deride. You’d think that if they spend so much time here, they’d at least make an effort to familiarize themselves with our ideas, to try to understand why we are conservative, why we generally support the GOP even when disagreeing from time to time (particularly on social issues) with our party’s platform and leadership. And why we take the time to write.

It’s just the same with their attitude toward the President. When they take issue with his policies, they all but ignore the justification he has offered for them. Instead, they deride him as a liar (more on that anon). And barely mentioning the words he has spoken (unless to use snippets, frequently taken out of context (à la Michael Moore)), they assume he has diabolical or dastardly motives. Instead of doing the noble thing and saying why they think he’s wrong, they resort to attacking his motives (that is, his motives as they (his critics) determine them to be).

Now, I’m sure there are haters on the right. Those who would rather malign the left than engage them. And I certainly decry such attacks. But, I write as a gay conservative, a blogger on this blog and address its critics (and others who attack conservatives as do they). So it won’t do for our critics to justify their behavior by saying conservatives do it too. It’s wrong when either side does it. (I’ve said this before as well.)

But, today it’s becoming increasingly difficult to engage the left because instead of putting forward ideas, many on the left merely oppose the President’s policies because the president is George W. Bush. In their mind, his policies must necessarily be wrong because they’re his. Because he’s George W. Bush and he’s horrible, no good and very bad.

Just as many on the left assume that the president’s motivations are deception, greed or big oil, many of our critics assume ours are self-hatred (or something similar). It’s too bad that for all the time they spend here, they show such little respect for our ideas. Or for the time we take to put together our posts.

I wonder if they would have a better opinion of us, of me at least, if they learned that one of my best friends is a Democrat who has never voted Republican in his life. Indeed, many of my close friends are Democrats.

Being a gay Republican, while challenging at times, gives me a better chance to determine a man’s worth. Since so many gay people are of the left, we can see if they are as intolerant of conservatives as they contend Republicans are intolerant of gays. If they dismiss us merely because of our politics, then we know what kind of people they are — and realize, early on, that they wouldn’t make good friends. But, if they accept us as they are even when they disagree with our politics, we see that they are good and decent people who look beyond an individual’s political affiliation to see his truth worth.

It’s unfortunate that too many of our critics are of the former category. And I’m more than grateful that I have recently met many Democrats of the latter. For their friendship has greatly enriched my personal life. And made me see yet again that a man’s political views are only one aspect of his identity. And frequently of little consequence when building a real relationship.

- B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)

UPDATE: Over at Hugh Hewitt Dean Barnett notes this phenomenon in the debate on torture, where people would rather insult than to engage in a thoughtful discussion of ideas:

For some prominent blogosphere residents, name-calling is practically a cottage industry. It’s certainly easier to personally insult someone as, say, a Christianist, than to thoughtfully respond to their ideas. In deriding their chosen art form, I was peeing in their virtual garden. Sorry about that, fellas.

Now that I’ve whet your appetite, just read the whole thing!