Welcome to the fold: continuing a conversation on tone in the political discourse

Yesterday at American Thinker, I ran into an open letter from a recovering liberal, making amends for his past. It’s an interesting continuation of my previous post, concerning tone in the political debate as it regards liberals & conservatives. My basic contention is that, generally speaking, the left is either unwilling or incapable of engaging in a civilized, point for point debate on the issues, with a few exceptions I’m sure. 

I’m not talking about snark. Snark is an acceptable tone of response, if not an occasionally irritating one. I’m talking about responses to arguments that don’t deal with issues, facts, or points at all but immediately degenerate to vile ad hominem attacks. Take some of the responses to my Monday post that I didn’t put in the comments section, but rather relegated to the spam folder. Here are a few snippets from bobxxxx:

“Creation Matters” can be translated to “MAGIC Matters”. You, sir, really are nuts if you think anyone is going to be impressed by your ignorant Liars-For-Magic.

It would appear that bob disagrees with me, but he doesn’t further the debate, he’s simply rudely dismissive. In another well thought out and constructed comment, he says:

Speaking of morons, the author of this article is an idiot and a liar. There are exactly zero competent biologists who doubt the truth of evolution. All the evidence supports it. Only Liars for Jeebus have a problem with evolution because they’re cowards who are terrified of reality.

Now, that’s scientific evidence that’s difficult to argue with! Again, he hasn’t engaged in the conversation, he has angrily dodged the conversation and attempted to marginalize anyone who would think differently from him, with more personal attacks. Here’s my favorite:

I have a suggestion for creationists who like to complain about name calling. If you don’t like being called a drooling idiot, why don’t you god-soaked hicks grow up and educate yourselves. Every educated person knows the basic facts of evolution are the strongest facts of science. Religious alternatives are childish fantasies and anyone who believes these insane creation myths deserves to be ridiculed. Also, anyone who tries to rename their childish belief in magic to “intelligent design” is a bloody liar who wants to destroy America’s science education. They deserve nothing but contempt. So creationists, just stop being so dishonest, and stop being so hopelessly stupid, and us educated people might stop laughing at you.

If bobxxxx is an educated person, he has failed to let any of that education leak into his posts or his thoughts, and has instead failed to achieve even the lowest level of conversation. I wish bobxxxx were the exception. Unfortunately, he’s not.

Which brings me back to the letter at American Thinker. Robin, the author, after apologizing to many of those impacted by her years of liberalism begins to delve into why she would switch sides:

In February of 2008, I saw a new client, a bright and sensitive young woman who came in looking like she just escaped a war zone. In some ways she had; she had innocently shared with others at her job that she voted for Hillary rather than Obama. Immediately she was being targeted for abuse that put her in fear for not only her job, but her life.

So it is not enough to be a liberal, you must be the RIGHT KIND of liberal. You didn’t hear about supports of Romney being targeted for attack by Huckabee supporters, we played the game, voted in the primaries, and then wished we had voted for someone different (McCain snark). Robin goes on:

Things went from bad to worse when Sarah Palin entered the scene. When Geraldine Ferraro ran for Vice President, there was no debasement of her character, no sexual threats. But with Palin, a full scale “wilding” ensued that chillingly reminded me of the random sexual attacks on women by gangs of men in New York. She was called every vile name in the book by both male and female liberals.

This, to me, was the great question of the campaign. Where were the feminists in support of a woman rising to the top? Light bulbs should go on, radical leftist feminism isn’t about advancement of women, it’s about destruction of the system. Sarah Palin was a threat, despite her gender, so she was fair game. The mask came off, and I hope people noticed.

Actress Sandra Bernhardt hoped a gang of black males would rape her.

Remember that? What would the response have been had Dennis Miller hoped that Michelle Obama would suffer the same fate by a gang of skin heads?

The final straw for me was when a close friend flew into a rage at me when she learned I wasn’t supporting Obama. The political became personal when she began impugning my character. Worse yet, she tried to intimidate me into changing my mind by threatening to dump me.

President Obama ran on promises to change the tone in Washington. To a degree I don’t hold him responsible. These closed-minded biggots aren’t marching at his orders, they are slaves to their own smallishness. They are afraid of ideas, and they are aware of their inability to hold an adult conversation, so they revert to interrupting, fillibustering, and attacking any person who would differ or disagree with them.

On the other hand, President Obama and his administration hasn’t been above reproach. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs can’t help but be insulting, arrogant, and repeatedly going back to bashing those who have gone before before answering serious questions about the current administration. President Obama himself has taken personal shots at Rush Limbaugh. Whether he likes or agrees with Rush (and no one would mistake that he does), the President has set the tone of discourse in this country.

Regardless of the substance of the debate, there is little hope for reconciliation in America unless we can begin to communicate. My invitation to those on the left is to engage with facts rather than attacks. Debate the veracity and merit of the issues and policy, not people.

I am proud to be a conservative, mostly because I believe conservative ideals put for the best hope for America to thrive again, politically and socially. See, no matter how much you think such and such a program will be nicer and kinder to people… it will only be as kind as the people who administer it. So far, from what I’ve see on the left, there’s not much hope for change in the current administration.

Crossposted with updates at realityunwound