I want to spend some time talking about zealots and zealotry. Already, the situation is growing out of hand, and I expect it to get even worse as we head further into campaign season. The Rebecca Mansour situation yesterday was a case in point. I cannot tell you the number of people who read the Daily Caller article and still emailed me under the belief that Ms. Mansour’s email account had been hacked. Never mind her admission.You know what I’m talking about. Should any of you dare say anything in the slightest way critical of Sarah Palin, you will be savaged, attacked, and bloodied. The same holds true should you say anything critical of Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, or any of the other candidates, potential candidates, or also-rans.This is not unusual, but I think this campaign season is going to be the worst we have seen in a very long time. In 2008, the campaign was largely seen as between Mitt Romney and John McCain. The angriest partisans of the mainstream candidates belonged to Mike Huckabee as his campaign struggled to get taken seriously. When it did, the angst held on.This year, the field is extremely wide open. Unfortunately, as in the case of every race, there are already winners and losers, front runners and also-rans shaping up. Consequently, some people are convinced that their candidate is not getting a fair shake and they have become quite angry quite early.This is the nature of every campaign cycle magnified now by the sheer desire to beat Barack Obama at all costs. Add to this a compelling conviction by partisans of each candidate that only their candidate can beat Barack Obama and you have the recipe for instability and online disaster.So I would like to give a word of caution about RedState. We tolerate a lot during campaign season, but I am already tired of the partisans of various candidates not defending their candidate, but choosing to attack at all costs anyone who may raise the slightest bit of criticism or concern. There are certainly those who take shots at candidates, myself included. But, by and large, I am noticing a trend where should anyone raise a concern about a particular candidate, the person raising the concern is pilloried and savaged quickly.I would offer a word of advice should you find yourself unable to control yourself and feel compelled to attack anyone who may daresay anything you don’t like about your preferred candidate. Christ Jesus himself said to go forth and teach and baptize. Christ did not say go kill the infidel. Christ said to pray for the infidel.The partisans of the various candidates have taken to behaving like radical jihadists instead of the Christians many of them are. It does their preferred candidate no goodand hurts their chances to pick up a skeptical, but willing to be persuaded voter. I cannot tell you the number of times I get angry e-mail from supporters of Herman Cain who demand that I say nicer things about him that I already do. I cannot tell you the number of times I get e-mails from people who tell me raising a criticism of Sarah Palin or Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee is outside the bounds of any reasonable discourse simply because I do not bow prostrate before the throne of that particular candidate.That’s not my job and that is not the purpose of this site. So let me make it clear for you — if you cannot engage constructively for or against the various candidates in the Republican primary, please go elsewhere and when in doubt, tell yourself that Christ said to go out and teach not kill those who disagree. The zealots for a candidate should strive to draw people to their candidate not drive them away through silly attacks, repeated high dudgeons, and an inability to entertain a constructive criticism towards the candidate.None of the candidates are flawless and none of the candidates are without sin, political or otherwise. I intend, during this campaign season, to refrain from endorsing any and all candidates for president. I intend to do my level best to provide the most objective coverage I can of who is up and who is down and who is right and who is wrong in the horse race for President. One week you may like it and one week you may not.I am happy to entertain any and all criticism, but I would ask that you do it constructively and not angrily when you disagree. And you should do that at all times with other people who might disagree with you. Zealots and their zealotry serve a purpose, but I am seeing more and more of the zealots of particular candidates doing those candidates more harm than good. Strive not to be a failed missionary and be willing to let your candidate own his or her own blame for their screw ups.Ultimately, should you be unable to restrain yourself and refrain from unhinged zealotry devoid of any grounding in facts and reality, I would ask one simple thing besides going elsewhere. Instead of putting hand to keyboard or mouth to nonsense, hand over your credit card to your candidate and just fund them. Give your candidate money instead of being an unhinged raving lunatic in their support. You will do them more good by giving them money and not antagonizing those who may ultimately be curious about your candidate.As moms everywhere have always said, if you cannot say anything nice don’t say it at all. And if you still can’t help yourself, fork over some cash to your candidate instead of risking a vote for your candidate because you have an inability in your defensiveness to be civil.
On Zealots and Zealotry
By Erick Erickson | 4:52 PM on May 25, 2011
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