Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ordinary Conservatives to Coulter: "Not Helping!"

It says something about modern culture that no one in high visibility positions of the media (whether news or entertainment) seems able to communicate without going for the "zinger." That one sound bite guaranteed to catapult them back into the limelight, where they will spend the next umpteen months having to defend themselves.

Et tu, Ann?

I have admired some things Coulter has said in the past because they show that many conservatives are not afraid to confront the insanity we see in the so-called "progressive" movement from the political left. "Progressive" is another word for "irresponsible" in most cases, as it denotes the kind of philosophy that worships at the altars of "choice" (abortion), "diversity" (gay marriage), and "immigration reform" (entitlement programs). As a conservative I find these things unpalatable, and I've certainly never been shy about saying so. Count me firmly among those who count entitlement programs as socially irredeeming, gay marriage as just another attack on the traditional family unit, and abortion as pre-meditated murder in most cases (not all cases, but that's a subject for a much later date).

No matter what my views may be, however, and no matter how passionately I believe those views, I see absolutely nothing of value in lowering ourselves into the depths of bitterness and gall that generate the kinds of filthy mud-slinging we've seen in recent decades in our on-going national debate. Vehemently disagreeing with an opponent is one thing; calling that opponent a "faggot," even indirectly, is worthless.

It's as if every nationally visible firebrand - conservative, liberal, and everything in-between - attended the same twelve-step program that I attended briefly in the 90's. "Speaking your mind, even if it's profane, is therapeutic," they said. This is the same kind of empowerment and enablement that has created an entire generation of comics who can't generate any true comedy of their own without resorting to what used to be shocking and vulgar language. This verbal dysentery has now spilled over into what used to be a reasoned and insightful discussion of the issues we all face. Global warming, the war, gun control, gangs; these are topics that need reason and insight, not an ability to out-shout or out-profane the other side.

Wanna know what effect profanity and name-calling have on Woody and his family? We have no idea who you are, because you have made yourselves irrelevant in our lives. Truly. Do you think this family ever has seen or ever will see "South Park?" Not a chance. Do you know how nervous I get whenever a movie comes out that we think we'd like to see but worry about it because it has Robin Williams in it? We generally don't see those movies in theaters anymore because Mrs. Woody and I feel a strong need to pre-screen them before we let the kids see them.

Well, Ann Coulter has just placed herself in the same category as Margaret Cho. One is a failed comic who tries to impress us with her "social awareness" and sewer-mouth, while the other is a failing pundit who can only express herself in terms of perceived liberal inhumanity.

John Edwards learned the hard way what happens when one allows guttersnipes to represent one's image to the nation. You become that image, even if that may be an unfair representation. You assume responsibility for the actions of those who are associated with you. At least, you assume that responsibility in the eyes and minds of your intended audience. Whether or not that may be fair, it's still a fact. Your reality is created by your audience's perceptions. You can't escape it.

I refuse to read Kos because this is a world that thinks comparing people with insulting bodily functions is funny, and who seriously believe that assassinating the Vice President is not only funny, but necessary. I don't need people like that running my country. I have a hard enough time trusting the ones that don't talk that way.

Which is precisely why, Ann, what you said at CPAC - joke or not - did absolutely no good to the conservative cause. We're supposed to be better than that. We're supposed to be able to express our ideas without insulting the honor of the office we're striving to capture. That is why the candidates are backing away from you. Sure you're an intelligent pundit. You definitely have a firm grasp on the issues that most concern us. But you're also a loose cannon, and candidates do well to separate themselves from loose cannons. So do we average, ordinary conservatives.

Pack it up, Ann. You're not helping.

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