SADLY, OUR FRIENDS ON THE LEFT HONESTLY DON’T GET IT
“Civility as we pursue it is the ability to disagree with others while respecting their sincerity and decency.” –CivilPolitics.org. Consider the following:
“At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do, it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.” –Barack Obama, January, 2011
“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re going to punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s going to be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.” –Barack Obama, November, 2010
“We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I gotta say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time. Maybe they’ll need a moat, maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat.” –Barack Obama, May, 2011
From the Boston Globe on Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon’s decision to refuse a prestigious award from the University of Notre Dame rather than appear on the same platform with Barack Obama:
“One has to say that there is a political game going on here, and part of that is that you demonize the people who disagree with you, you question their integrity, you challenge their character, and you brand these people as moral poison.”
But in 2006, the Globe seems to have had a different opinion:
Nearly 100 faculty members at Boston College have signed a letter objecting to the college’s decision to award Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice an honorary degree. The letter entitled “Condoleezza Rice Does Not Deserve a Boston College Honorary Degree,”was written by the Rev. Kenneth Himes:
“On the levels of both moral principle and practical moral judgment, Secretary Rice’s approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College’s commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university’s work.”
This is nothing new; consider the headlines in the New York Times following the deaths of Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond:
Robert Byrd, Respected Voice of the Senate, Dies at 92
Strom Thurmond, Foe of Integration, Dies at 100
(For the record, both obituaries were written by the same guy, Adam Clymer.)
Byrd, who once referred to Martin Luther King as a “negro troublemaker,” wrote a letter to a fellow senator early in his career, stating: “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side … rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”
There is no dispute that Thurmond was a foe of integration early in his career, having once spoke on the floor of the Senate for more than 24 hours in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He was also an outspoken critic of the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision which desegregated public schools.
During the early 1940s, Byrd was not only a member of the Ku Klux Klan; he recruited others to join the cause. Thurmond, who never joined the Klan, spoke out against lynching and said that the KKK stood for “the most abominable type of lawlessness.”
The point here is not a silly game of “who was worse?” It is an example of the standards to which liberals hold conservatives, while dismissing, or rationalizing the behavior of their own. Their response to Robert Byrd? “He changed.” As for Strom Thurmond’s ability to change his views? Not so much.
Trent Lott was forced to resign as Minority Leader of the Senate following remarks he made on Thurmond’s 100th birthday, of which he later said: “My comments were not an endorsement of his positions of over 50 years ago, but of the man and his life.”
Yet Harry Reid can say the country is ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama – “a light-skinned African American with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” and all is excused and forgotten.
The liberal media recently piled on Rand Paul for daring to engage Rachael Maddow in a philosophical debate over the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Liberals immediately began referring to the senator as “KKK Rand” and suggesting that he wanted to repeal the Civil Rights Act.
Rand’s “racist” position?
“Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws. I’m not in favor of any discrimination of any form; I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race…What’s important about this debate is…What about freedom of speech? Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent? Should we limit racists from speaking? I don’t want to be associated with those people, but I also don’t want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that’s one of the things freedom requires.”
Is this not precisely the argument we hear from the left, for example, when an “artist” submerges a crucifix in urine, or a rapper raps of killing cops and beating ‘hoes?'” Or, of the rights of anarchists and atheists to be heard – without censorship? Why is it good for the proverbial goose, yet not the gander?
And of course, there’s the Tea Party, which brings out the “best” in liberal pundits:
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “The marriage between the Republicans and the Tea Party is based on hatred, hatred of government, hatred of the Democrats, hatred of Barack Obama. What’s love got to do with it?”
And of course, Bill Maher: “Tea-baggers are unfortunate people because they are corporate America’s useful idiots who don’t allow facts to get in that tin foil-helmet. I don’t have any respect, no, I don’t have any respect for the tea-baggers. And I do call them the tea-baggers even though they hate it. I will stop calling them tea-baggers when they stop calling it Obamacare.”
And just for grins, there’s Janeane Garofalo: “They’re just a bunch of teabagging rednecks. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up.”
Is the irony lost on anyone that those who attack conservatives for intolerance of homosexuality are fond of the term “tea-baggers” when referring to the Tea Party?
In the collective mind of the left, a distasteful sexual reference is the moral equivalent of attaching the president’s name to a healthcare bill for which he is principally responsible. One wonders why they wouldn’t be proud of the term “ObamaCare” if they truly believed it to be in the best interest of the country.
In an article several months ago, liberal author Ravi Iyer made the following observation:
“Rush Limbaugh recently talked explicitly about calls for civility in the media, saying that ‘civility is the new censorship.’ In a sense, he is correct, in that when liberals (myself included) talk about civility, we specifically mean people like Limbaugh. I have to admit that when I talk about civility in politics, as someone who views civility as an intrinsic part of their work, I have Limbaugh in mind, not Rachel Maddow, the liberal equivalent.”
“It is time to unilaterally withdraw from the symbiotic relationship that the far left has with the far right. We should ‘be the change’ we want to see in the world. [Ghandi says] You don’t win by defeating your opponents, you win by converting them to your cause.”
Unfortunately, things will get worse before they get better, with the 2012 election right around the corner. We thought it couldn’t any worse in 2008. We were wrong.