Right-Wing Commentators and the Problem of Decorum
I've been traveling so much, I haven't had time to blog at any real length — and I'll be traveling for a few more days still. Some of this is to promote my new young adult adventure novel If We Survive, and if you haven't yet bought this for the young adult in your life — or bought it pretending it's for a young adult while secretly reading it yourself — c'mon! It's good! Buy it! Now.
One interesting aspect of my most recent trip was that it began among conservatives at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Restoration Weekend in Florida and ended among friends and family in New York, many of whom are on the left. It was downright bizarre to spend time with, say, Ann Coulter — who is smart, sweet, generous and kind — and then, only days later, hear her off-handedly derided by lefties as bigoted, evil and cruel. And because my lefty friends and relatives are lovely people, I wondered greatly at this disparity between their firmly held convictions and the truth.
Leftists of good will (and don't write in to say there aren't any because it only proves you don't get out enough) profess themselves appalled by what I'll call the lack of decorum of right-wing commentators. Ann called someone a retard! Rush called someone a slut! Glenn or Sean called some radical a radical! Who says such awful things??? It doesn't seem to matter to these lefties that Chris Matthews routinely slanders people as racist who are not; that Paul Krugman blames right wingers for violence they didn't commit; that network news anchors attribute foul motives and actions to a peaceful and patriotic Tea Party while glorifying the violent and anti-semitic Occupy movement. These left-wing commentators may lie like dogs — but they have decorum! They don't use words like retard and slut. They don't raise their voices. You could invite them to dinner without embarrassing yourself.
In his novel Empire of Lies (which you can pick up while you're buying If We Survive), the very wise and extraordinarily attractive author has one of his characters declare that, "In an empire of lies, only a crazy man would speak the truth." The character then goes on to explain that the empire can then destroy the crazy man, not for the truth he speaks, but for doing the crazy things that crazy people do.
Ann and Rush, Sean and Glenn aren't crazy, but the sort of person willing to hurl himself against the vast machinery of the left-wing information empire is not likely to be all that concerned about decorum. This puts a weapon of slander in the hands of the left-wing media and they use it effectively to demonize these truth-tellers and stopper the ears of those who might hear them and be convinced.
It's easy to be calm and polite when you have the power to destroy the reputations of your enemies — it's a lot tougher for the rebel brave enough to fight back.