Monday, January 10, 2011

'Moi? You do it, too!!' Isn't What Jesus Would Have Said

Let's exclude for a minute the gross disparity between left and right with respect to elinimationist rhetoric, which Dave Neiwart's been tracking for years on Orcinus. Let's exclude, too, the fact that there's been no leftie political violence to speak of for decades, and the wild extent to which righties embrace the Second Amendment and have been buying guns and ammo. Let's, for the sake of argument, accept the idea that both sides have been immoderate in their rhetoric, reacting against each other's excesses in a vicious circle. Consider how few of those good Christian souls can't react to the murders by mourning the dead, caring for the living, and looking to themselves, reaching out, trying to understand, see that there's a problem out there and be part of solving it, out of empathy and love and a larger vision than us v them, trying to help.

But that isn't what they do. They don't just accept bitter partisanship; they revel in it. It defines them. A day without dehumanizing others is like a day without sunshine. Coming together? That smacks of reknitting a social contract, of weakness and appeasement and moral relativism. And it would threaten their movement to its core.

A few of us on the docs' blog have tried to cast the matter in the terms I outlined in the first paragraph, trying to keep a dialogue going. A gratifying number of righties there, who have seemed decent guys/gals anyway and with whom I get along pretty well despite our different politics, have joined and extended the idea, even to the extent of saying, essentially, what Keith Olbermann said: that there's been too much crap out there, that we shouldn't add to it ourselves or accept it from others, that we can be better than that. Amongst them was perhaps the most politically active and most widely respected guy in the group. Many of the docs there, even the righties and Randers and libertarian types, have actually moved, on this issue, more in a positive direction than I've seen elsewhere. One of them, to my astonishment and admiration, even authored a post citing moderate Muslims acting generously and courageously against extremists, reconsidering a former position he'd held equating Islam with terror, abuse of women and medieval Shar'ia. Then there were others (like the guy who playfully associated Michelle Obama with the Tontons Macoutes) whose pathetic bloviations could be reduced entirely to 'Moi? They do it too!', in a manner that'd be entirely unacceptable in a second grader.

The docs there have done better as a group than I've seen the right do in general. I've been upset by this one, and have taken to responding to the trolls with 'Mourn the dead, hope for the living and shut the fuck up.' The very least you can do. Put down the shit for a minute, stop flinging it, and wonder about how we can stop killing nine-year-old girls in this country. And, if you can't do that, I'll personally rip that fucking 'What would Jesus do?' bumper sticker off your car.

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