Two Americas? Really?

Posted by on December 21, 2013
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american-flag-2aI usually try to comment on greater, overarching issues and political philosophy in my posts and do it in a light hearted manner. Getting worked up over what an individual says or thinks isn’t usually worth my time or effort, even when Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee speaks. However, today I read an article so painful that I feel compelled to open my mouth. Josh Barro from Slate wrote an article titled There are Two Americas and One Is Better Than the Other regarding the Duck Dynasty kerfuffle, which stunned me. The only good aspect of this article is that it shows us how the Left really thinks. Writing this without making ad hominem attacks and using vulgar language will be a personal challenge. I’ve decided to award myself with a cookie if I can write this without resorting to very colorful, Anglo-Saxon language.

His basic premise is that there are two camps in America, one in which calling homosexuals bad names and comparing them to adulterers and loud talkers in theaters is acceptable and one where it is not. He stands firmly in the latter camp, of course. His view of America has the thoughtful, educated, considerate Left against the crude, unthinking and generally vulgar Right. As I have mentioned in previous writings, this is the basis for the Leftist view of the world. The Left represents all that is good and pure in this world and they are locked in heroic battle with the evil Right who slobber on themselves and hate children and old people, especially gay minority children and old people. There is no grey, only black and white.

I have three problems with this point of view. The first is that it is painfully simplistic, bordering on juvenile. The idea that there are only two possible stances on an issue in this country is absurd. It echoes Bush’s much reviled comment about countries being either with or against the US. There are many ways to view any situation, especially this one. Is this a freedom of speech issue? Is it a hate speech issue? This dividing of good against evil

Secondly, this is typical emotional blackmail. If you want to be a good person you must condemn Phil Robertson. As I’ve said before, emotional blackmail just irritates me and doesn’t work. It’s also pretty darn patronizing. “We on the Left know how to behave and we hope that one day you on the Right might be brought into the One True Light. Until that glorious day we will tell you what is acceptable behavior and try to nudge you onto the path of righteousness.”

Thirdly, the hypocrisy is astounding! In Mr. Barro’s “Better” America it is perfectly fine to wish death to political opponents, and their children. It is acceptable to wish members of a national organization be shot. It’s fine for a news anchor to wish someone would defecate in a politician’s mouth. It’s also acceptable to make fun of Special Olympic participants and to advocate forced abortions. This is better? We all tend to have a blind spot when it comes to our side of the fence, but before casting the proverbial stones it’s wise to consider how sturdy your own house is. Of course, it helps if you cherry pick quotes and deliberately misinterpret statements, but in the long run it doesn’t really help and just opens you up to ridicule.

Another article I read also brings thing into perspective. In Phil Robertson- A Duck of a Different Calling, Craig Andresen points out a real flaw on both sides of the fence and it has to do with priorities. The Christians are riled up about Mr. Robertson being fired, but not rallying around the Christians in Syria who are facing religious cleansing at the hand of the rebels. Which is a bigger deal? GLADD and their lot are furious about someone disagreeing with them, but are not holding protest rallies against Iran and other countries that are executing people for sodomy. They will make an occasional fuss over an African state, usually a Christian one, for persecuting homosexuals, but give the Middle Eastern states a pass. Which situation really matters?

With the Andresen article in mind I’m forced to question why this is fight was necessary. I keep coming back to the idea that both sides see this as a battle in a great war between good and evil with straw men hacking at each other on the great battlefield of American politics. To involve outside problems would make the battles less clear. To condemn Iran might bring CAIR down on GLAAD’s head and intervention in the war in Syria to save Christians would be problematic and generally very messy. Waging battles in the US is also great for fundraising. “We’re battling the forces of evil and need your help… and money.”

So I’ve made it this far without any colorful language and feel pretty good about that. Mr. Barro’s article is useful in understanding the mentality of the Left, but is so sufficiently deficient in all other qualities that its existence is regrettable. Well, I feel better now. I’m off for a cookie and I can now put the article by that jackass behind me.

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Lloyd Dodd was a PhD student in International Relations at the University of Aberdeen, from which he also received his Master’s in Strategic Study. He’s currently trying to finish his dissertation from his home in Texas where the weather is better. His area of research is Military Keynesianism in Europe but currently hates it, academics, furry animals and probably you.

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