San Diego –– I have now received several emails asking why I even bothered to try to educate Ellen to the existence of another side and a couple emails offering shorter, pithier, and more graphic retorts I could have used, at least one of which is, I believe, physiologically impossible. But if I had done that, then such response could have simply been written off as some angry but unreasonable retort.
And the truth is I was not so much angry at Ellen as I was surprised and confused that she would hold to her position that there was no other side to it except the one she presented, even after I spent all that time quoting the other side. After all, I had not asked her, or anyone else, to accept the other side as correct, just to admit it existed. But she refused, holding to the assertion that no other interpretation than the one she presented was possible and that the issue was well and long settled. So I felt compelled to add that last entry just to tie up — or burn off — any loose ends.
But the exchange was revealing and hopefully so to anyone reading the blog. It appears to me that the side of the political aisle which her argument represents is simply not interested in reality — ANY reality — that conflicts with their ideology. It is like the old bumper sticker: “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!”
In fact their ideology is far more akin to a religion than a political philosophy in terms of how they accept its tenets at face value and on faith despite all history and reason to the contrary. And all the while they are evangelizing their “faith,” they are denigrating believers in other religions, especially Christianity, for basing their beliefs the same way – on faith.
I find that fascinating nearly as much as I find it infuriating. But it certainly helps to explain, by example, why our current crop of legislators is so dysfunctional and grid locked. Both sides cannot see past their own ideologies and we have, trying to steer this ship of state, two navigators both of whom have thrown their compasses away, now pointing in different directions. It is the willfully blind on one side shouting slurs at the willfully blind on the other.
This past week we have seen another example of a red herring used skillfully to take our eyes off of the real issues. A young female law school student, trying to turn the power play over mandated health care into an issues of both women’s rights and women’s health testified in Congress. She delivered a tearjerker of a speech talking about how she and her friends were embarrassed at not being able to afford contraception at the local pharmacy. She did ignore the fact that within blocks of her school was a Planned Parenthood facility that gives them away free to anyone and that many private health care plans do too. Her like-minded listeners also skimmed over the bottom line that she was, essentially, asking for us, the taxpayers, to pay the costs so she could enjoy her recreational sex and implying that there was some “Right” to do that. In fact, the issue was presented in such an obviously bogus, whiny, self-entitled, self-indulgent, stereotypically left leaning package that, left alone, it would have been forgotten quickly as the mediocre try to re-frame the issue that it was.
But into that quagmire stepped Rush Limbaugh, and in an attempt to be cute, he completely forgot that it is OK for liberals to call conservative women the foulest of names and imply the most heinous of deviant activities to them without raising a single eyebrow or cry of unacceptability by the press or other liberals. He further failed to take note that even women’s groups can call a conservative woman a fake women with impunity in that hypocrisy laden world. But worst of all, he failed to remember that to use even a mild slur toward a liberal women, was akin to blasphemy and heresy elevated to a capital crime, and in that state of forgetfullness he called her, gasp, a “slut.” What was he thinking?
Instantly, the left was revitalized and given new life and a new cause célèbre. By reducing himself to their own level of invective, which is protected when they do it, Limbaugh gave them a gift of bogus issues that could, in this frenzied environment, give them the election.
Immediately the cries of a “war on women by the right” was emblazoned on banners across newspapers and social networks, all using Limbaugh as the poster child for the women-hating right. The fact that there is not a shred of reality behind it is no longer part of the engagement. Those on the right are now forced into a position to try to defend against a non-existent attitude, something incredibly hard to do, especially when, just as in the exchange with Ellen, no amount of quotes supporting women and women’s causes, will even be accepted as existing. It is, as was my exchange, essentially pointless.
And the truly bad news is that this completely bogus issue, is so volatile that it has the potential of allowing the press to remove all interest in the really important issues facing this country starting with the economic debacle and debt crisis, plus the powder keg waiting only a spark in the middle east, or even the issue of energy independence and pricing, because those do not paint a very good picture of the current administration and, frankly, have never been couched in emotional or powerful terms.
“Debt Crisis,” “Fiscal disaster,” “Gas prices,” or even “Middle Eastern War” are terms and phrases so non-emotional, so intellectual sounding, and to which we have become so calloused, that despite the fact they could destroy this country they have nowhere near the riveting effect of a completely fallacious issue such as “war on women” which, even if it were true, would not be as overwhelmingly devastating as a failure of our economy, or a breakout of war in the middle east.
And Limbaugh, who prides himself on a uniquely astute insight into all things political and geopolitical, should have, if his self appraisal is anywhere near accurate, seen the fallout likely to come from his comments. That he did not, is simply stupid on his part. And that he should then offer such a lame “apology” and defense of his comments simply fans the fires already in full flame.
But if we end up allowing the cleverness of the administration folks who seized on Limbaugh’s moronic gift to them, turned it completely around and blew it so utterly out of proportion with a truly brilliant campaign using the press and their own side’s foul mouthed spokes-puppets to continue doing the very thing they are now decrying; if we do not insist they too are called to account for such demeaning comments and demand that calling women foul names is not ever OK, it is not funny, it is not a sign of cleverness or profoundness, and it is simply not acceptable no matter what political orientation they might personally have, then we really will have contributed to that war on women and maybe helped it to become real.
We have pointed out, accurately, that Islamic theocracies have stupidly failed to use their best resources (their women) and continue to hold them in a state of virtual bondage, willing to keep them from even driving, from holding public office or severely limiting it to token positions, to keep them illiterate, to denigrate and demean them, to truly hold them as not second or even third class humans but even lower where they deserve “honor killing” if they step out of the line set for them by men. But, in my opinion, it is only a matter of degrees of difference from that heinous, ignorant, savage view to ours if we think it OK to call women the foulest of names and use the most ugly descriptors of them ONLY because they are women who hold opposing political points of view.
Just like the savage and ignorant men of that belief system who keep their women in a state of slavery (because, in their own words, they –the men– are not men enough to resist the charms and distractions of the women), in our culture we have men so threatened by powerful, dynamic, intelligent women who just happen to disagree with them that the only form of engagement is not intellectual, not debating on the issues where the women may likely be smarter, but to demonize, dehumanize, or in some way denigrate them in order to reduce their standing and position.
And ladies, you need to take note of which side is the most egregious in this behavior. Certainly male idiots on both sides do it, but it is only the left that seems to have certified this line of attack as acceptable. If I were a woman, they would be a problem for me. As a man who likes strong women, it is definitely a problem for me.
So to bring this full circle, you have seen, in the last few posts, an exchange between a women and myself who disagreed on a political/legal point. If I had been a liberal disagreeing with her, I would most likely have called her some foul name related to deviant activity or a disgusting reference to some intimate body part. Instead, I took the time to dig into the issues and try to provide examples leading, I had hoped, to her at least accepting that there was another side. She provided a solid and cogent argument to support her position. I respected that ability so I would far prefer to get her to expand her points of reference and then turn her abilities toward more productive or reality based positions than to blow her off with a stupid epithet and then lose the potential of a future ally on things that might be truly important.
Except in congress, apparently, good, well-intentioned, intelligent, passionate people can agree to disagree on nearly every possible topics and yet come together to fight for one upon which they DO agree. But not if they have become enemies because one of them, or both of them, failing to convince the other on some points, resorted to name calling and hurtful, unacceptable labeling. I see no reason to ever go there.
But that is just me. Perhaps you disagree?