Sunday, July 26, 2009

Can You Feel the Love Tonight?

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Good friends and gentle readers, it has come to my attention that my poking fun at people on the right -- including but not limited to soon-to-be-former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin -- might be construed as an expression, not of humor, but of hate.

Well, you know me, friends. I am not just an educator, but a perpetual and humble student of life and of the human condition. I'm always willing to learn.

Brothers and sisters, I have learned. I have searched my soul. And I wish to tell you, I have had me an epiphany.

I intend now to turn from hate and embrace love, like my friends on the right. I want to be filled with joy and respect for my fellow man, like my brothers and sisters in the conservative movement.

But from now on, instead of jokes that might be construed as mean-spirited or ugly, I intend to use gentle humor. Something in the spirit of, say, the old Andy Griffith shows, just like those folks on the right.

Take Fox News host Glenn Beck. He was so moved with love toward a caller on his radio show who questioned him about his stance on health care that he began bellowing at the top of his lungs: "GET OFF MY PHONE, YOU LITTLE PINHEAD!" His voice then rose to a near-incoherent shriek as he hysterically demanded again, "GET OFF MY PHONE!"

That's what I called being overwhelmed with love.

Or Dennis Miller. Miller, I seem to remember, used to be one of those hateful liberals. But since 9/11 he's become one of those paragons of conservative love and kindness, as he was when he referred to soon-to-be-Justice Sonia Sotomayor as "Roseanne Barrio" (an apparent reference to the rather large, or should we say, gravitationally enhanced, comedienne Roseanne Barr).

Warms you right down to the cockles of your heart, doesn't it? Because nothing says "I love you" like calling someone fat and making fun of their ethnicity at the same time. I'm sure Dennis was just concerned about Judge Sotomayor's health.

Then there are the good Americans over at the right-wing Web site Free Republic, where love really rules. Like the love they expressed for the pre-teen daughter of President Obama when young Sasha was photographed wearing a T-shirt with an old-fashioned '60s-style peace sign on it. "A typical street whore," one commenter said lovingly. "A bunch of ghetto thugs," cooed another. Other loving comments included, "Ghetto street trash" and, "Wonder when she will get her first abortion."

All this affection was directed at an 11-year-old. For wearing a T-shirt with a peace sign. But fear not, some of that charity was saved for her mother, the first lady. The story was accompanied by a photo of Michelle Obama speaking to her other daughter, Malia, with the caption, "To entertain her daughter, Michelle Obama loves to make monkey sounds."

I was plumb overcome with admiration with that expression of love, as one would be in the presence of the saints, or the Dalai Lama.

You might think that all this conservative lovingkindness is reserved for children. Au contraire. Check out these loving comments from Free Republic about the late and legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite: "Where do traitors go when they die?" "Should have been shot for treason years ago." "Say hello to Pol Pot Howard and all the communist leaders of Vietnam you gave aid and comfort to."

When it's time to talk about right-wing love, though, the real spiritual leader has to be Pat Buchanan. Here's Pat Buchanan's prescription of loving correction for Levi Johnson, the father of Bristol Palin's baby, who'd opined that the governor had resigned because she can make more money elsewhere: "First Dude Todd Palin needs to take Levi down to the creek and hold his head under the water until the thrashing stops."

Oh, I'm sure Pat was joking. But, as we've learned, jokes can be hateful. Unless, of course, they're voiced by a conservative. Then they're an expression of love. Because conservatism's all about the love.



Madam Backslash said...

This would be that "Compassionate Conservatism" we've heard so much about in the last few years, then?

Sidney said...

True examples of the milk of human kindness.

Selma said...

Excellent post. We have had a rise of conservatism in Australia and the hatred and bigotry that has come along with it is quite alarming. Sadly, my parents who are very right wing are two of the worst offenders. My mother is deeply religious and is always preaching about Jesus and love but hates people because they're black. It astounds me she cannot see her own inner contradictions.

You keep on writing in the vein you are. We 'socialists' need more people like you!

Linda Stamberger said...

This blog post is perfection!

F. M. Meredith, author said...

I can assure you that many of us on the right do not like what the people you are referring to say or do we think it's funny, nor more than what those on the left who say the same kind of cruel and mean things say.

I stopped listening to those people long ago just because of what you've stated here, but both sides say the same kind of awful things.

I don't see any love being thrown around either way.


JD Rhoades said...

Marilyn, I appreciate what you're saying, but the major difference is that the "cruel and mean things" from the right are not coming from fringe figures, but from prominent national figures and leaders of the conservative movement. Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore take a lot of flak, but have you ever heard them suggesting that a critic of John Kerry or Barack Obama or Howard Dean be taken out and drowned? And can you imagine the media outcry if they did? Can you imagine, say, Rachel Maddow shrieking at someone to "GET OFF MY PHONE" and being allowed to keep her show on the air?

David said...

If any prominent (or even semi-prominent) figure on the liberal/Democratic side suggested that a critic of John Kerry or Barack Obama or Howard Dean be taken out and drowned, they'd probably earn "Worst Person" dishonors - and rightly so.

Anonymous said...

Dusty. You are and always have been and will be a genius and a wordsmith of epic proportions.

When people use stereotypes or
exercise their will in the context of debasing others in order to advance their own cause or stature it weakens us all. Since we now live in a world where the electronic media provides the opportunity for geo-cultural communications to take place between peoples where previously that did not exist, we live on delicate planes -- Planes in the trilogy for your reference.

However, we must all take care to observe the common thread of modesty and dicorum with the way we use this new found medium as we do not always realize how deeply the comments we make are taken by those on the receiveing end - with the exception of those times when rat bastards out there need to be called out for what they truly represent. Like the fool who designed this piece of crap Dell laptop which if you have had one you know what I mean - good desktops and servers but not so much with laptops -

Anyway, you coined the phrase so well one time when you told me several years ago "We are living in a rat race and now the rats are the referee's" so if number 00 is for buckshot to shoot a deer and in smaller increments for smaller game such that number 7 rounds are scatter shots for rabbit hunting and small pheasants etc, please tell me what kind of ammunition should we be packing for these rats or should we just go back to the guillotine.

Gerard said...