Thursday, April 19, 2007

An Ass Hat (Well, Not a Total One ) Responds

James Winter, over at his blog Northcoast Exile, talks about why he doesn't like blogs that get political. Quote:

I could easily jack this blog's traffic up into the tens of thousands per day if only I would either hold President Bush up to the ridicule he so richly deserves day in and day out or defend him by asking why those who oppose him hate America.

And I'd be a total ass hat for doing it.

Please read his original post before going further.

To be fair, Jim, in the comments, allowed as how I'm not a total ass hat. Good to know.

In response, I offer this post, and my response below, cross posted from the comments section of Jim's blog.

One of the things that's really wrong with this post, Jim, is the assumption that liberals are "cry babies" and are against free speech, because they're afraid of being offended. This assumes that all liberals back so-called "speech codes" (in fact only a few really noisy far-leftists do). Trust me, the vast majority of us are very much pro-free speech, which is why we're so pissed at people like the Bushistas, who are telling us "you need to watch what you say."

Just because liberals slam people who are bigoted, hateful and racist, BTW, does not mean we're "anti-free speech". If I use my free speech right to criticize what someone else says, it's not because I want the government to keep him from speaking. I'm offended by your post, and I'm saying so. This does not mean I'm asking the FBI to shut down your blog.

I'm also mightily pissed off at the assertion that liberals "believe screwing everyone equally is the best way to ensure that everyone is treated equal. And anyone with ten bucks more than them is causing war, disease, starvation, and global warming." This is, pure and simply, bullshit, and I'm really amazed that a thoughtful fellow like you has swallowed this piece of right wing propaganda.

Recognizing that some people in this country are getting screwed and are unequally bearing the consequences of bad policy in a higher percentage than other does not mean we want everyone else to "get screwed equally". And BTW, bearing your share of the responsibilities of citizenship in a free and prosperous society is not "getting screwed." This attitude has the whiny tone of my teenagers acting as if they're being sent to the gulags because they're asked to do the dishes after the wife and I have worked all day.

But what really chaps my ass about this post is this: the assertion that people, both liberal and conservative, can't take positions without "checking to see if its liberal enough or conservative enough to do." This assumes that neither liberals nor conservatives have any other values or deeply held beliefs other thant "being liberal" or "being conservative."

I'll let conservative readers tell you about their feelings on this, but as a liberal, I am sick to goddamn death of smug Republicans telling me, in response to any criticism of this incompetent and criminal Administration, "you just say that because you hate George Bush," as if that's the only value I hold. And that kind of condescension doesn't sit any better coming from a declared independent.

It's easy to believe that "conservatives and liberals and libertarians--they all suck" if you oversimplify what they believe and act like it's all just dogma wrapped in posturing.

And while I'm thinking about it, where the hell are my tens of thousands of hits?


David Terrenoire said...

From one asshat to another, congratulations.

Nothing pisses me off more than somebody telling me what all liberals think.

And I saw Michael Moore in Durham last week and that guy is one great American. We could use a lot more like him.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I don't want to wage war on this topic, but I will say something as a Canadian. We have more than two political parties, so we automatically have more than three political positions. In our last federal election we had 15 parties, plus independents, running. The parties included:

Conservative (the winner)
Liberals (the outgoing losers)
Bloc Quebecois (who only run candidates in Quebec but are a 'national' party)
New Democratic Party
Green Party (can you guess their agenda?)
Christian Heritage Party of Canada
Progressive Party of Canada
Communist Party of Canada
Marijuana Party (gotta love a nation that can have a party devoted to pot)
The other communist party of Canada (one is Marxist-Leninist, the other is...???)
Western Block Party
Libertarian Party
First Nations National Party
Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party

I think all we're missing is the sex parties.

And yet, for all our parties, for all our allowable positions, we tend to only see one of two parties in power - the conservatives, as they're now known, or the liberals. We all know there isn't a chance the communisits or marijuana enthusiasts will likely claim a single seat, never mind form a government.

But the one thing they do do is keep other parties from forgetting things outside their platform. Would that our parties would put aside all the partisan bs and vote for what's right, not what's traditionally 'liberal' or 'conservative' more often. This has, in a way, happened. People feared a conservative government would reopen the same sex marriage debate, being more inclined to oppose the legislation the liberals passed. They have let same sex marriage stand.

It really is supposed to be representation of the people, not an ideology. One of the things our old Reform party advocated was MP recall - that if an elected official voted contrary to the majority consensus of opinion in their riding the people of that riding could fire them. The Reform party had some damn impressive ideas.

I am a fiscal conservative, but in other areas liberal and I like the ndp as long as they don't win or form the official opposition, as they make everyone else pay attention to health care and education.

In my experience, most Americans aren't so far from that. The only difference is, at the end of the day their options are to vote Republican, Democrat or not at all. Here we have the illusion of more options, but we still only elect the two main parties - it's no different.

There are a lot of shades of blue. When it comes to politics, I think it helps to remember that.

Unknown said...

Dusty, you can't see me. But man, I'm standing up and applauding.

Anonymous said...

On a tangent . . . there's a really good piece at Salon by Joan Walsh about commentators, who happen to be conservatives, blaming the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings.

I'm a liberal and I refuse to be cowed by the demonization of that word, much as I refuse to disavow feminism just because others have projected ugly stereotypes on that word.

I'm glad Imus got fired because it was a triumph for _capitalism_ -- hey, you can say what you want, but the marketplace might decline to subsidize you. Most conservatives should be thrilled by this. It wasn't government intervention or the FCC, it was advertisers yanking their dollars.