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State Rep. Winkler: It’s Okay to say “Uncle Tom”

Last week, I posted on Barbara Walters’ and Whoopie Goldberg’s bizarre defense of Bill Maher, who had apparently called out Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome child as “retarded”. A quick refresher:

Walters speculated that Maher did not know the word [ed: "retarded"] could be hurtful…

Goldberg lamely tried to assist Walters, saying “we, society took the word ‘retarded’ and made it into something derogatory…When I was a kid, it wasn’t derogatory…”

Now MN State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D/Labor Party) has called Justice Thomas an “Uncle Tom.” His defense? Guess.

[from Twitter] I did not understand “Uncle Tom” as a racist term, and there seems to be some debate about it…

[from Winkler's weak 'apology' statement] I was very disappointed today in the Supreme Court decision…In expressing that disappointment on twitter, I hastily used a loaded term…

I see a trend!

Now, let’s be clear. Winkler didn’t use “a loaded term”, he used a racial slur.


Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:52 pm - June 24, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse

Just because Barack Obama won the 2012 election, in large part, by dishonestly portraying Mitt Romney as a cold, uncaring, out-of-touch plutocrat does not mean our readers have grounds to level similar personal charges against our (and their) critics.

And please do not make assumptions about my left-of-center friends.

As I’ve said on numerous occasions, take issue with the arguments they raise, but do not level personal attacks on the individual making them.  You don’t know that person.  You don’t know why he has made the case that he has.

I do not check the comments all that regularly, but in the past few days, have received repeated reports from readers about commenters using ad hominem attacks in exchanges with their adversaries.

More on this after I’ve discussed the matter with Bruce.

Let us not forget, protestors once compared Bush to Hitler. . .

Back in 2009, at the outset of the Obama administration,when  a few Tea Party protestors compared the President of the United States to Adolph Hitler, the blogger Zombie, in this retrospective, reminded us how regularly liberal protestors did the same thing when George W. Bush was president. “One”, that blogger observed,

. . . would think that this would not be particularly newsworthy, but Democrats, the White House and their supporters are expressing outrage at this “horrifying” and “menacing” turn of events. (Or faux-outrage, at least.) Pundits, bloggers, media outlets and even top politicians like Nancy Pelosi are claiming that such signs are unprecedented, racist, and even that anyone who brings a swastika to a protest must be self-identifying as a Nazi (instead of accusing their opponents of being Nazis).

This all came to mind when, over the weekend, a left-of-center friend posted on Facebook that she was appalled

. . . to see a group of anti-Obama protesters with slur written signs towards our President as well as signs using the Nazi sign – I believe everyone has a right to their beliefs but the amount of disrespect towards this President is unfathomable and disgusting…what made it worse was the number of people cheering them on or honking their horns in agreement – a sad state of affairs we have reached in America…

She is right to be appalled.  It is wrong to compare the President of the United States to the “Führer” of the Third Reich.  That said, the amount of disrespect shown toward Mr. Obama is no less disgusting than that shown to Mr. Bush.

One only wonders why some only started speaking up against such slurs after George W. Bush left office.

We have indeed reached a sad state of affairs in America when people slur the President of the United States as do those who compare him to Hitler.  But, we had reached that state of affairs long before Barack Obama took office, indeed, long before George W. Bush took office.

Let us hope that in the next Republican administration, those who today express such concerns about civil discourse will continue to do so.

NB:   (more…)

Is Its Smear Campaign a Sign of Democratic Disarray?

Democrats and their allies in the legacy media keep telling us that the GOP is in dire straits.  And I’ll grant that my party has work to do.  But, I do wonder if the president’s party is not in straits even more dire than that of is political rival, its problems papered over by the strong support Barack Obama enjoys in some segments of society (especially in the various newsrooms that dot America’s coasts).

If the Democrats have such an appeal with the American people — and are so confident in their message, why must they regularly resort to dishonest demagoguery, misrepresenting Republican stands on issues and regularly calling their partisan rivals “extreme.” Bear in mind that Barack Obama did not win reelection running on his record but by demonizing Mitt Romney, airing over a quarter-billion dollars of attacks ads — before the party conventions.

Saw two examples of this yesterday on Facebook:

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 7.18.58 PM

Ms. Gillibrand is trying to advance her own cause by misrepresenting her partisan rivals — and stirring up fears among African-Americans.

Look  likes Ms. Gillibrand’s dishonest, mean-spirited rhetoric has earned her an interesting admirer: (more…)

Walters and Goldberg: It’s Okay to say “retarded”

In GP comments, we’ve seen the occasional mini-kerfuffle over someone’s references to the mentally handicapped: whether they were hurtful, or whether the critics (those claiming hurt) were just playing mind games, etc.

In that light, it’s interesting to note that beloved lefties Bill Maher, Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters all agree that it’s perfectly OK for a comedian to mock Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome child as “retarded”:

Maher mocked Palin’s special needs son by referring to him as “retarded” during a June 8 Las Vegas show…

Walters, who grew up with a special needs sister, said on June 17 on The View that she did not think Maher was “mean-spirited” when he referred to Palin’s son as “retarded.” Walters speculated that Maher did not know the word could be hurtful…even Walters’s in-studio audience was not buying this defense and was left silent…

Goldberg lamely tried to assist Walters, saying “we, society took the word ‘retarded’ and made it into something derogatory…When I was a kid, it wasn’t derogatory…” Video here.

I regret that I couldn’t find the exact original quote of Maher’s, but Walters and Goldberg clearly wanted to speak out in Maher’s favor: the camera flashed to an old family photo of Walters’ as she spoke, which means that Walters’ remarks were planned.

So, what’s the official standard? Is it still baaaaad to refer to anybody (whether mentally challenged or not) as “retarded” – with an exception for Republicans perhaps, or Sarah Palin’s children? On what grounds?

Lefties, please don’t try to say “Oh who cares, it’s only Bill Maher” – because it isn’t, now: it’s also Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters.

President lashes out at protesters in polarized country

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 pm - June 9, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Politics abroad,Random Thoughts

Sound familiar?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to two cities where unrest has occurred and again condemned his detractors as “a handful of looters” and vandals.

In the southern city of Adana, where pro- and anti-government protesters clashed Saturday night, Erdogan greeted supporters from the top of a bus before lashing out at his opponents in the highly polarized country

If he wanted to defuse the situation, he might do well to acknowledge the protestor’s grievances rather than insult them.

Another nation’s leader said that Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey, “is one of the few foreign leaders with whom he has developed “’friendships and the bonds of trust.’

Once again, a plea for civility in the comments

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:35 am - May 8, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse

I don’t often check the comments, so have to come to rely on readers’ e-mails to learn what is going on in this or that thread.  While I do occasionally hear of a substantive (or otherwise interesting) exchange, more often than not, I learn of one commenter responding to another not with arguments but with insults.

If another’s argument is ludicrous, there is no need to engage in innuendo, just tear it apart point by point, without addressing the motivations of the commenter or making allegations about his (or her) personal life.  Just last night, a concerned reader (with a political philosophy pretty close to my own) alerted me about some particularly nasty threads.  With permission, I quote from this individual’s e-mail:

Social-issue threads are sometimes a hundred or more comments long.  This is not because substantive debate is going on, but because they’re being hijacked by one or two loons.  They tend to be laced with profanity and crude sexual innuendo.  I can only imagine what straight conservatives who check out GP think.  If we don’t want them to think gay conservatives have filthy minds, they’ll nonetheless get that notion if they read those threads. . . .

Nobody with any sense is going to keep commenting on a blog when they’re treated that way. I have better things to do with my time, and as many former commenters have simply gone away, it’s evident that they do, too. GP has become an important source of information for many people. I hate to see this happen.

Look, I know that life is not easy.  And we each face our own challenges.  Sometimes in the face of frustration as we struggle with setbacks, we need, well, we feel that we need to vent.  A lot of people seem to do that in the political sphere, projecting their personal demons onto their ideological adversaries. (more…)

“The Internet home for the American gay conservative”

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 5:35 pm - April 26, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse,Gay Leftist Lickspittles

That title, as the eagle-eyed will notice, is the GayPatriot blog’s tagline.

In my years of participating in GP threads, I’ve noticed that some who are opposed to the blog or its usual viewpoint, may be excessively fond of the “consistency game”, demanding that anyone who would criticize them must first meet some standard of consistency that has been issued by themselves.

It’s a cute game. They declare the standards and they appoint themselves the judges – which means they can’t be criticized in the thread, because they will never judge their critic as having been consistent enough, and will always change the subject back to their critic’s alleged inconsistency.

I called it “cute”, because little kids do it to their parents (or try to). But the game’s effects, and likely its intent, are destructive.

What I’m really talking about here is Alinsky Rule 4, as heliotrope and NDT have pointed out to me before. Played skillfully enough, it can strangle a thread, destroying any useful process of conversation. (more…)

Silencing and slurring those with poltically incorrect views

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:18 pm - April 12, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage,Liberal Intolerance

Pick any issue currently being advanced by progressives“, writes Doug Manwaring today in the American Thinker:

. . . same-sex marriage, state-mandated free contraception, abortion, man-made global warming and strict gun control, to name a few. Publicly question or resist any of these and be prepared to be judged as an anti-science, homophobic, misogynist, racist, xenophobic, Neanderthal.

As with little Anthony, to attempt to enter into legitimate discussion or debate on these issues is out of the question, and met with severe consequences. Your have only two options: Start thinking “happy thoughts,” or brace yourself for the cornfield.

Read the whole thing.  H/t: reader Heliotrope. Manwaring cites an episode of the Twilight Zone where little Anthony Freeman with his special powers will banish you to the cornfield if you don’t think “happy thoughts” or “say happy things.”

Even if we don’t agree with Manwaring on gay marriage (he’s gay, but believes “ the definition of Marriage is immutable”), we can at least recognize that instead of addressing the arguments of their critics, all too many gay marriage advocates resort to name-calling and ostracism of individuals who oppose their cause.

How often do they accuse such opponents of hatred?  (More on this topic as time allows.)

Magnanimity in the marriage wars

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:18 pm - March 31, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage

In a thoughtful piece yesterday in the New York Times, Ross Douthat contended that the view Andrew Sullivan offered on gay marriage in the 1990s “has carried the day almost completely.

That argument, much different from the one the one-time New Republic editor has offered in the current century, held that “far from being radical, gay marriage was more likely to be stabilizing, ‘sending a message about matrimonial responsibility and mutual caring’ to gays and straights alike.

Let us hope that message emerges from the current debates on state recognition of same-sex marriage.  Indeed, many same-sex couples who have elected marriage (and even many who have not) have lived that message, forsaking all others looking after their spouses in sickness and in health.  They provide examples of mature relationships between adults of the same sex and evidence that gay man and women are capable of the same kind of commitment our straight counterparts have shown.

Douthat, however, laments that as gay marriage advocates seem to be winning the argument, they aren’t conceding any points to defenders of traditional marriage:

A more honest, less triumphalist case for gay marriage would be willing to concede that, yes, there might be some social costs to redefining marriage. It would simply argue that those costs are too diffuse and hard to quantify to outweigh the immediate benefits of recognizing gay couples’ love and commitment.

Such honesty would make social liberals more magnanimous in what looks increasingly like victory, and less likely to hound and harass religious institutions that still want to elevate and defend the older marital ideal.

But whether people think they’re on the side of God or of History, magnanimity has rarely been a feature of the culture war.

Read the whole thing.  The debate on gay marriage is not entirely pathetic.

Would be nice if partisans on both sides of the debate could acknowledge the points their adversaries make.

Our pathetic debate on gay marriage

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:18 pm - March 27, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage,Random Thoughts

A post (and the ensuing comment thread) my friend David Boaz linked today on Facebook reminded me why I have been so reluctant in recent days to re-enter the gay marriage fray.

For many years, particularly when I was in college and law school and working in Washington, D.C.’s public policy sector, I read widely about a great variety of issues, including social issues like marriage and child-rearing.  Conservative organizations presented much solid research on the social benefits of traditional marriage and the damaging effects of divorce.

I had always wondered why so few advocates of gay marriage looked at that research on traditional marriage in order to suggest that it could be applied to same-sex unions as well.  I am only aware of one group which has done so and blogged about it here.

In the current debate, instead of acknowledging the social conservatives’ broader point, all too many advocates merely repeat their slogans about “fairness” and “equality” while badmouthing anyone who would dare disagree with them, calling them “haters” –even going so far as to label hateful those who, like James Taranto, believe the Supreme Court should uphold “Proposition 8 and leave . . . the matter for the states to decide.

And whereas the gay left have engaged in name-calling (if you don’t believe me, just check your Facebook feed), the social conservative opponents of gay marriage have been little better.  Which brings me to David’s link, leading to his own post where he takes aim at “Jim DeMint, former senator and future president of the Heritage Foundation” for attempting in a USA Today op-ed to link “family breakdown” and “welfare spending” to state recognition of gay marriage.

Yes, there is considerable evidence that welfare spending undermines the family unit  – and is bad for children.  And there is also considerable evidence that divorce is bad for children.  But, Mr. DeMint, like many social conservatives making similar arguments, fails to show how state recognition of gay marriage is bad for children.  Or for society.  The former Senator, as David puts it, just makes his case “with a sleight of hand.” (more…)

My Unrecognizable Democratic Party

The title is from Ted Van Dyk’s recent column. He’s a lifelong Democrat. As a former Democrat myself, who left in the early Naughties[1], I was intrigued. Read the whole thing, of course. A few highlights:

Mr. Obama was elected in 2008 on the basis of his persona and his pledge to end political and ideological polarization…On taking office, however, the president adopted a my-way-or-the-highway style of governance. He pursued his stimulus and health-care proposals on a congressional-Democrats-only basis. He rejected proposals of his own bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission, which would have provided long-term deficit reduction…He opted instead to demonize Republicans…

No serious attempt—for instance, by offering tort reform or allowing the sale of health-insurance products across state lines—was made to enlist GOP congressional support for the health bill…

Faced with a…GOP House takeover [in 1995], President Bill Clinton shifted to bipartisan governance. Mr. Obama [in 2011] did not...

…I couldn’t have imagined any one of the Democratic presidents or presidential candidates I served from 1960-92 using such down-on-all-fours tactics [as Obama did in 2012]. The unifier of 2008 became the calculated divider of 2012. Yes, it worked, but only narrowly, as the president’s vote total fell off sharply from 2008…

In 1965, Lyndon Johnson had Democratic congressional majorities sufficient to pass any legislation he wanted. But he sought and received GOP congressional support for Medicare, Medicaid, civil rights, education and other Great Society legislation. He knew that in order to last, these initiatives needed consensus support…

…former Democratic presidents would…know today that no Democratic or liberal agenda can go forward…if presidential and Democratic Party rhetoric consistently portrays loyal-opposition leaders as having devious or extremist motives….

Nice to see a Democrat who can admit it; a Democrat who remembers the party we used to know.

[1]As the party went insane over Gore-Bush, Iraq and more.

UPDATE: Even David Brooks, the New York Times’ notion of “conservative” who was so impressed by the crease in Obama’s pants in 2008, is starting to get it.

The progressive [Democrat] budget in the House seems to have been written by people hermetically sealed in the house of government. They work in government. They represent public-sector workers. They seem to have had little contact with private-sector job creators… while Republicans may embarrass on a daily basis, many progressives have lost touch with what actually produces growth and prosperity.

Misadventures in Multicultural Studies Indoctrination

Jeff’s post the other day about the questionable workshop at Brown University came to mind recently when I saw a very far-left Facebook friend link to this article by a professor named Warren Blumenfeld who had just retired from a position as a professor of education at Iowa State University.  The article contains the professor’s reflections and gives voice to both his lamentations and his indignity about those students who took his class who were not won over to his worldview and who had the temerity to announce that fact in their final papers.

The course was entitled “Multicultural Foundations in Schools and Society,” and Blumenfeld describes it in the following terms:

I base the course on a number of key concepts and assumptions, including how issues of power, privilege, and domination within the United States center on inequitable social divisions regarding race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, sex, gender identity, sexual identity, religion, nationality, linguistic background, physical and mental ability/disability, and age. I address how issues around social identities impact generally on life outcomes, and specifically on educational outcomes. Virtually all students registered for this course, which is mandatory for students registered in the Teacher Education program, are pre-service teachers.

In other words, this is a required course in “multicultural studies” indoctrination.  If the course were voluntary, it would be a slightly different situation, but as a required course, it amounts to an example of the sort of thing that conservatives can easily point to as illustrating the left-wing biases of academia.

Professor Blumenfeld is particularly alarmed by the case of two female students who tell him quite boldly that the course has not changed their socially conservative Christian worldview:

On a final course paper, one student wrote that, while she enjoyed the course, and she felt that both myself and my graduate assistant — who had come out to the class earlier as lesbian — were very knowledgeable and good professors with great senses of humor, nonetheless, she felt obliged to inform us that we are still going to Hell for being so-called “practicing homosexuals.” Another student two years later wrote on her course paper that homosexuality and transgenderism are sins in the same category as stealing and murder. This student not only reiterated that I will travel to Hell if I continued to act on my same-sex desires, but she went further in amplifying the first student’s proclamations by self-righteously insisting that I will not receive an invitation to enter Heaven if I do not accept Jesus as my personal savior since I am a Jew, regardless of my sexual behavior. Anyone who doubts this, she concluded, “Only death will tell!”

Now while we might question the wisdom of both students in advertising the heresy represented by their beliefs so boldly in a graded assignment,  I think we might also be heartened by their courage in being true to their faith, even if we do not agree with all of the particulars of their worldview.

The professor, however, is shocked and appalled, and the rest of the essay is his attempt to reconcile–through reference to one leftist theory and tract after another–what he calls “our campus environment, one that emboldens some students to notify their professor and graduate assistant that their final destination will be the depths of Hell.”  Notice his word choice, there.  The problem is with the “campus environment” which “emboldens some students.”  It seems like a foreign idea to this professor to think that a university could be a place for the free and open exchange of ideas, especially those ideas that are unpopular.  I trust we will not find him quoting Voltaire or Jefferson anytime soon.

No, instead what we get is a description of and a reflection on a course that sounds like it could have been lifted straight from  the pages of Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, albeit with a more contemporary reading list.  While the professor uses the (more…)

Grownups join the gay marriage debate

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:18 pm - February 1, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage

First, let me apologize for not getting to this earlier.  The New York Times reported the story on Tuesday.  And Stephen Miller drew my attention to it that very day. I had meant to blog about it on Wednesday, but a friend from out of town invited me to join him at Disneyland that afternoon.  The following day (yesterday), I was preoccupied with determining the reasons for the dragon’s attack on Nah-nathas.  (And for the better part of today, I was tweaking the now-presentable Chapter Six to better set up that attack.)

Okay, now the issue.  One-time gay marriage opponent David Blankenhorn is spearheading a new coalition which, as the Times reports,

. . . plans to issue “A Call for a New Conversation on Marriage,” a tract renouncing the culture war that he was once part of, in favor of a different pro-marriage agenda. The proposed conversation will try to bring together gay men and lesbians who want to strengthen marriage with heterosexuals who want to do the same.

Miller links the group’s mission statement indicating that the group wants to begin a

. . . conversation that brings together gays and lesbians who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same. The new conversation does not presuppose or require agreement on gay marriage, but it does ask a new question. The current question is, Should gays marry? The new question is, Who among us, gay or straight, wants to strengthen marriage?

Emphasis added. It’s about time.  It seems that many advocates of gay marriage focus on what they deem the “right to marry” (but mean the privilege of state recognition) instead of the meaning of the institution.  By proposing to strengthen marriage, those in this new coalition understand that the institution is worthy of preservation and in need of strengthening.

Too often, gay marriage advocates tell us that marriage is declining, so why not include gays?  They should instead, as Jonathan Rauch has done, use their movement to secure state recognition of marriage to remind us of the institution’s importance.

Given the group’s roster, it seems pretty clear that its leaders want to have a conversation about the importance of marriage.  A welcome move.

Let us hope this group comes to dominate the debate.

Legacy media help Democrats craft false narratives about GOP

Glenn linked something yesterday which really gets at the advantage the legacy media accord to Democrats.  When some fringe figure at a Republican rally hurls an angry epithet, prominent Democrats call for party leaders to “differentiate themselves” from the lone nut-bag lest he come to define the party.  And folks in the legacy media often pick up on the story, portraying the isolated voice as representative of the GOP.

But, when an angry leftist hoists a mean-spirited sign at a liberal rally, that’s just one angry liberal and not a representative of the party.  Heck, if a prominent Democrat says something stupid, well, it’s just not news.  And when a liberal columnist uses harsh language to describe Republican, there’s no need for any differentiation–because the Republicans really are that bad.

Democrats, Stephen Kruiser writes

. . . will forever be aided by the MSM lap dogs who do their bidding when it comes to false narrative writing. This one is basically parroting the president. That doesn’t mean it is impossible to counter. But it will take leadership who is willing shout “Oh, HELL no!” every time they’re painted as evil or violent.

Read the whole thing.

Wonder what media reaction would be in conservative pundit called for killing Democratic leaders?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:42 pm - January 3, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Liberal Hypocrisy,Media Bias

Iowa Lib Calls For Killing Gun Owners & Dragging Boehner & McConnell Behind Chevy Truck

In the Des Moines Register, liberal columnist Donald Kaul wrote:

I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control.

Can you imagine a major daily even publishing a column where a conservative called for the dragging death of Democratic leaders?  Can you imagine a conservative pundit making that kind of call?

Do wonder if Democrats, particularly from the Hawkeye State, will, to borrow an expression, differentiate themselves from this mean-spirited man.  Shouldn’t they be saying the simple truth, that no responsible newspaper should run a column with such language?

For Obama to be truly magnanimous. . .

. . .  he needs not merely meet with his erstwhile opponent for the White House and negotiate in good faith with Republican legislators, he also needs acknowledge the sincerity ofRepublican concerns and appreciate that over 49% of Americans who voted in the presidential contest had legitimate reasons for voting against him.

And by acknowledge of Republican concerns, he needs express his understanding of why Republicans fear tax hikes, even if just on the “wealthy,” might dampen the sluggish recovery.  And if he is going to insist on this tax hike, he needs counter their argument in civil terms.

After 4 years of Hope & Change™, Nation Is More Divided Than Ever

Four years after Hope and Change™, we are, as a county, more divided than ever.  A liberal friend posted on my Facebook page that Mitt Romney makes her sick.  How did she come to gain that opinion of a good, decent and compassionate man?

Other friends have called him a “vulture capitalist” or repeated slurs about his faith.  Where do these slurs get started?  Have top Democrats differentiated themselves from such rhetoric?  Has Obama himself asked his supporters to tone it down and to focus on the issues?

No, instead, he tells them that “voting is the best revenge.”  For that Democrat, as Ed Morrissey puts it, Spite and revenge is the new hope and change:

. . . Obama’s “revenge” remarks are at least as revealing about this campaign, and of Obama’s approach to both this election and to public policy, as were Romney’s 47 percent statements. The president, in both his campaign and his administration, has gone fully populist, attempting to divide the country along class lines as a distraction from his record in his term in office. In fact, the best description of Obama’s politics since September 2011 is “the politics of revenge.”

Read the whole thing.  (Via Instapundit.)

ADDENDUM:  If you have friends on both sides of the political aisle, just take a gander at your Facebook feed, you’ll often wonder what happened to civil discourse.  Our side abandons civility too sometimes.  But, at least the GOP presidential nominee is not encouraging such rhetoric.

On the humanity of our (political) adversaries

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:04 pm - October 16, 2012.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,New Media

I assiduously avoid posting political items on my Facebook Wall, seeing the forum as a means to connect/communicate with friends across the ideological spectrum.  And I try (not always successfully) to avoid commenting on liberal friends’ political posts.  All too few of them (alas) wish to engage my arguments.  I’d rather focus on what we have in common.

Sunday evening, left-wing blogress Pam Spaulding reminded me yet again that you can share a passion with a political adversary when she posted on about a YouTube gem she found.  When she found the 1965 CBS production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (featuring Lesley Ann Warren in the title role), she recalled watching it “as a child almost every year it aired (when did they stop airing it?).”  I know I’ve seen that one, but do have a preference for the Julie Andrews version (okay it’s black and white, but, it’s Julie).

It was a nice reminder how certain stories we heard or movies and TV shows we watched as children retain a certain sweetness when we encounter them again as an adult.  It’s not just the story they recall, but the impression it made upon us.

This past weekend, a liberal blogress reminded me of that simple truth.  Bear that in mind when you prepare to respond to a critic of one of our posts.  Or, if you disagree with our posts, bear that in mind as you prepare to express your disagreement.

These folks aren’t just their politics.

Like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Family Research Council may have some strange views, but neither is a “hate group”

Disagreeing with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins’ contention that “the SPLC [Southern Poverty Law Center] had given [the FRC shooter] ‘a license to shoot’“, saying the comment “goes too far”, the National Review’s Rich Lowry reminds conservatives that

Nothing the SPLC does sanctions violence, and [the shooter]’s alleged crime is his responsibility and his alone. But the SPLC’s designation of the Family Research Council is intolerant all the same, a bullying attempt to short-circuit free debate.

It’s not as if the SPLC considers the Family Research Council mildly offensive, or barely hateful. Asked if someone addressing a Family Research Council meeting was as guilty as someone addressing an Aryan Nation rally, the SPLC’s research director said “yes.”

I agree with Lowry that the SPLC goes too far in labeling the Family Research Council a “hate group.”  They may put out some pretty strange and generally inaccurate statements/opinions on gay people, but, like many groups with strange opinions, including the SPLC, they don’t advocate violence against the individuals or groups they criticize.  Rich laments that it’s fortunate the outfit . . .

. . . can’t tell the difference between people who hate blacks and people who support the traditional definition of marriage. . . .

The SPLC calls the Family Research Council a “hate group.” This puts it in the same league as the True Invisible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nation, the Supreme White Alliance, the Old Glory Skinheads and, of course, the American Nazi Party.

As they ask in kindergarten, which of these things isn’t like all the others?

Via Instapundit.  Read the whole thing  Lowry goes on to call the SPLC’s categorizing “profoundly illiberal” and suggest is purpose is to shut down discourse on gay marriage.

They’re not the only group who wants to shut down debate on this topic.  If gay marriage advocates believe they have a strong case to make for state recognition of same-sex marriage, they should welcome criticism as it will afford them a better opportunity to make their case, which (they believe) is the stronger argument (than the case for traditional marriage).