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.