Archive: November, 2012
When you write about religion, you can expect some feedback from the asylums.
This week was no exception.
In response to my recent column about the birth control mandate, several irate readers (who apparently get newspaper privileges between electro-shock therapy) took issue with my suggestion that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment prohibited the government from forcing private organizations to directly or indirectly subsidize birth control if this violated their beliefs.
And so, the saga of the Boy Scouts continues.
The City of Brotherly Love, not content with a federal court decision ordering it to leave the kerchief-wearing, square knot-tying tykes alone, is back in court.
As anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock will recall, the city has been trying to evict the Cradle of Liberty Chapter of the Boy Scouts for a number of years, after failing to ‘convince’ them to drop a national policy that precludes openly gay members. The city has been stymied at every legal turn, losing at both the state and federal levels. But they’re not finished yet.
There’s been a lot of talk about ‘coming together’ in the wake of a very divisive election.
That’s disingenuous talk, especially from the mouths of those who voted for a man who used the politics of divide and conquer to win re-election.
But don’t listen to me. Listen to a hero, a man who spent seven years in a Prisoner of War camp in Vietnam. This is someone who knows what it means to long for freedom, and who has some specific ideas about peace as well.
When you tell someone that you don’t respect their choices, they tend to react with anger. That’s what happened last week, when I made a very public acknowledgement of my sorrow at the re-election of Barack Obama. The emails were numerous, many caustic, some unprintable in a family newspaper, and a few threatening. One fellow called me a “dirty cu*t,” another questioned my sanity and a third tried to use his law degree to shame me into silence. Note to the middle-aged male attorneys out there: save your arrogance for the pretty little things on bar stools who are more susceptible to your checkbook-er-charms.
Given the fact that I’m a conservative in a very liberal town, one in which there were precincts that registered zero votes for Mitt Romney (voter fraud? What voter fraud?) the hostility of my readers doesn’t surprise. What does, however, is the level of vitriol that spews from mouths and fingers when you say something that annoys.
I spent a good part of Thursday ‘unfriending’ people from Facebook, and not only the crass-and-crowing liberals. Some of the comments lobbed by suicidal conservatives made me realize that even among my fellow travelers there are extremes which should be avoided at all costs. Of course, the balance is always tipped in favor of liberals when it comes to offensive behavior; remember the nice things allegedly mature women said about Sarah Palin? Remember how they accused her of not being the mother of her Downs Syndrome child, the one a few shameless souls thought she should abort? And remember the deafening silence of the Democrats or, more specifically, female Democrats? The hatred was palpable.
I’m nowhere as important or ubiquitous as the comely and savvy governor, so my critics are both less vocal and less newsworthy. Still, it was with profound sadness that I read the emails in response to my piece last week, because they represented a hollowing-out of the human soul, a degradation of the spirit that separates sentient beings from damp clods of earth. I have learned that when someone is unable to defend his position, he resorts to ad hominem attacks with tangential topics. For example, there was the fellow who assured me I was racist because I refused to use the term “President Obama” in my column, even though I’d referred to him as “president.” There was the woman who said that she was a Catholic who believed in abortion, and don’t dare tell me that she wasn’t in good standing with the church (okay, I won’t. I’ll leave that to the Bishops.)
There was the gay man from San Francisco who, even though I hadn’t said anything about same-sex marriage in the piece, felt it necessary to tell me that his ‘husband’ was a much better “American” than I was because his “people” came over on the Mayflower. There was the black woman who said that Barack Obama was so much better than those mediocre white men who had been keeping her people down all these years. To her, I was moved to mention that mediocre white men had freed the slaves, passed the Civil Rights Act, ended segregation, and risked death at KKK road blocks like my father. I also reminded her that this president had come from the womb of a mediocre white woman
I could tell the comment was not appreciated by the response, which included several words not even Andrew Dice Clay could pronounce.
Some people actually tried to engage in civil discourse, but they were about as common as a bar of soap at an Occupy rally. Others mocked my sadness, going so far as to say that I should just jump in front of a Regional Rail car and be done with it. Given the problems SEPTA has in running its trains on time, this is probably not the most effective way to do myself in if I were so inclined.
And then there were those who were convinced that I hated Barack Obama, even though I said I didn’t. Apparently, when a white person doesn’t vote for the “First Black President” and then brazenly admits it in print, she must be hiding some crisp percale sheets in her linen closet. These were the most depressing emails, the ones that saw racism in the shadows and refused to believe that anyone could actually embrace a conservative without ulterior, sinister motives.
Every four years, there are winners and losers. But there is a bitter edge to it this time, a sense that we’ve been ripped along jagged lines that draw blood.
I’m not done fighting for my beliefs, not by a long shot. But I do seek an armistice of sorts. Not yielding, not compromising.
Just finding that place where, as Yeats wrote, “peace comes dropping slow.”
Two of my good lady lawyer friends, smart and conservative and courageous, recently made me aware of just how low some liberals will sink when they are drunk on pyrrhic victory.
Linda Kerns, a tenacious defender of the right to vote, posted on her Facebook page a link to a recent Fox News Story involving Martin Bashir, Charles Krauthammer, and hateful hypocrisy. Commenting on Krauthammer’s appearance on Fox after the election, Bashir quipped to his MSNBC audience that ““Now I need to apologize to any young viewers who may have been frightened by that face.”
“That face” is one that poignantly reflects in its features the peerless courage of a man who was paralyzed while in medical school, completed his Harvard degree, became a certified member of the American Board of Psychology and Neurology and, in his free time, picked up a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1987.
It’s no surprise that I had no patience with the “We’re the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For” mantra of Obama, version 2008. The crowds that fell for that almost mystical, transcendental message and adored the messenger seemed a little kooky to this rosary-clinging, gun-slinging chick.
And yet, I’ve come to realize that even the sanest among us (and that ain’t exactly me) can be overwhelmed with emotion when the stars are aligned correctly and you believe in the man and the meaning.
That happened to me last night at the Romney rally in Bucks County. The night was frigid, the crowds monumental, and the comfort level nil. It didn’t help that I’d walked a mile and a half to get to the rally site, and then waited in line for about two hours, before waiting another two hours for the candidate to show up. And my ankle, more twisted than Sandra Fluke’s reasoning, throbbed in pain.