Friday, February 12, 2010

PA's Palin Poll - A Thoughtful View by Another Friend

[my friend and colleague, Linda Kellen Biegel, at her outstanding blog, Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis, has posted an article that comments on aspects of the debate brought out by PA's publication of the current poll on Palin. The article appears at Linda's blog, where it is also accompanied by its own set of comments from her regular readers. Please also go there and read the comments. Earlier in the week PA published Steve Aufrecht's unique article on his reactions, and Mel Green's compelling essay on hers. Her essay, Progressive bloggers and Palin: Civility versus Namecalling, can be found at this link. Steve's, Blogger Tourettes, can be found here. I hope to respond to all critical essays this weekend. I'd like to thank Linda, Mel and Steve for allowing PA to cross-post their articles here.]

Is it possible to reason with Palin's "Rebiblicans"?

--- by Linda Kellen Biegel

There has been a debate the last several days around the blogosphere regarding blog posts and civility. There are many who believe we should be careful in our language, avoid namecalling, etc...(good rules-of-thumb for debating). They make a good argument for trying to leave things open for engagement between us and the right-wingers. At the very least, being careful in our writing provides us more credibility.


However, in the discussion process, I wondered if folks actually thought that there may actually be a chance for Progressives to influence Palin's "Rebiblican" followers. These are folks who want the entire US to be run according to the Bible. Commenters mentioned quotes from Martin Luther King about peaceful resistence. They used his success in the civil rights movement as an example of how the same can be done by Progressives in this current political climate.


There is a very large difference between then and now: MLK was a pastor and linked the teachings of Jesus and his Baptist religion with social justice. Today, the right wing Rebiblicans have systematically and successfully stripped religion from the Left in the minds of many Americans...even though 74% of Progressives identify as Christians and many of the rest are devout followers of other faiths. Somehow, they've also replaced the Gospels of Jesus with the vengeful God from the Old Testament...a God who deals out often fatal punishment to "the godless."


The problem: their definition of "the godless" shifts and changes with whomever they are told (by "leaders" who may or may not be believers, but definitely know how to manipulate) fits that description. Sometimes, it's as simple as a judge who ruled against Sarah's family in a custody case.


Yesterday, I wrote this in the comments of another blog about my experience with the teabaggers (with edits):


...it doesn't matter whether you are actively writing anything about Palin or not. Once you are on their radar, they will continue to send regular messages with hate, insults and threats. I get about 10 a week even if I'm just writing gardening posts-more if I'm writing political ones.


Also, getting on their radar frequently has nothing to do with whether or not you are insulting...it also has more to do with if you are effective and people are actually paying attention. Then, if you're not truly being insulting, they start making stuff up.


Let's be clear...when they talk about "civility" it is like every other rule in Palin's world...only meant for us and not for her or her followers. We could stop all negative posts about Palin (no matter how civil) and the insults and threats would continue because they would believe that's why those posts had stopped...because it's important for them to take credit for everything...because it's important for them to think they are "God's chosen ones" and we are evil.


That's what these people believe...by the very fact we call ourselves Dems, Libs or Progressives we are evil and we're all going to hell. Therefore, they do not have to treat us as if we are human beings.


An example is part of an email I received today:


You poor dear, God turned his back on your very existence and Satan stepped in. Now we know from whence all your vitriol, evil compositions and repugnance originate.


We will all pray for your soul, although it surely is already lost forever.


Making us the "ultimate enemy" gives them license to do whatever they want...and we have "earned" that not because of anything most of us have ever said or done, but because of what we believe.


The difference between the Civil Rights battle and the current political climate is that rather than using a vision of God to fight FOR our rights and protections, the Rebiblicans and the Rebiblican DINOs (Democrats In Name Only) want to circumvent them:


As progressives, we are well aware of the role of the Religious Right in issues such as gay rights and women's rights. However, the Religious Right's war on progressive economic policy, regulation, progressive tax structures, and labor unions is often overlooked. Radical free market ideology is being taught to students and adults as a biblical mandate and those in opposition are being literally demonized. Revisionist textbooks rewriting science and social sciences to align with literal biblical interpretations, are widely used in homeschooling, some private schools, and also by "family values" organizations and adult seminars.


This includes taking away something that distinguished us from every other country when it was first instituted, the right of every child to have a free, secular education:


Federal government statistics show homeschooling increasing rapidly with an estimate of 1.5 million students home schooled in 2007. Homeschooling organizations and the Alliance for Separation of School and State claim that number is growing rapidly. The latter is an organization which aims to eradicate public education in America. This agenda to privatize all schooling is supported by numerous religious leaders, and includes Rep. Ron Paul, syndicated columnist John Rosemond, and former Secretary of the Interior Don Hodel.

That's something the religious civil rights advocates in King's day would march to prevent.



(to be cont'd)

30 comments:

frsbdg said...

Sadly, no. It isn't possible to reason with these people. Occasionally, I drop by the C4P site, and the word that best describes them is "delusional."

And Linda is absolutely right. The thing they hate the most are facts.

Anonymous said...

Linda K. Biegel's post is the most persuasive of your friends, Mr. Munger, for two main reasons:

1) She addresses the true nature of Palin's rightwing followers: "Let's be clear...when they talk about "civility" it is like every other rule in Palin's world...only meant for us and not for her or her followers. We could stop all negative posts about Palin (no matter how civil) and the insults and threats would continue because they would believe that's why those posts had stopped...because it's important for them to take credit for everything...because it's important for them to think they are "God's chosen ones" and we are evil."

2) She appears to be the least judgmental of you as a friend. Mr. Aufrecht's post, in particular, oozed judgmentalism which I would personally find hard to tolerate in one of my own friends.

Anonymous said...

The discussion which has developed this week derives from Phil's description of Sarah Palin as a "slut" and a whore, in addition to a post in which he used the expression "Palin handjobs".

That sort of highly charged, sexually aggressive language seems to me to close down the very possibility of civil exchange.

Strong and rational criticism of Phil's conduct has come from people whom Phil considers to be close friends.... precisely those people who are least likely to leap to judgement. So when such people do offer judgement maybe it would be sensible to listen.

There is little credibility in the descent to demeaning language which carries aggressively misogynistic undertones.

A friend would tell Phil that, regardless of whether others are civil or not, and regardless of whether Phil wants to hear it or not.

Anonymous said...

This is so true. When I protested at Sarah's Columbus book tour the taunts I got were mostly hurtful things about my "lack of Christianity" (They said I was in league with the devil etc), or told me where I was going to be after I died (in hell etc) or they gleefully said they would laugh at me when they were being lifted into heaven in the rapture as I stood on earth to be punished. But they also said things about my intellect (I was mush brained etc). Not everyone in line yelled at me but I saw no one protesting or disagreeing with the those yelling.

All these things were said with no proof of anything other than what it said on my sign: I am a real American; Sarah Lies; Sarah uses her children as props; Sarah quits; and Sarah blames others.

It was very scary and there were two times that the police had to ask Sarah's fans to move back from me. I am glad that I protested because I am not sure I would believe the level of evil that they project when you are in their way if I had not experienced it first hand.

Mel said...

The first person who commented on this post over at Linda's blog said this (in part):

don't think the point of civility is to try to persuade the hardcore Palin supporters, honestly.

And I don't think civility has any relation to whether the other side is civil or not.

We are not in a battle for the hearts and minds of the right wing fringe, nor for the Sarah-lovers. The battle is for the undecided, and those still with an open mind.

Civility becomes, at that point, crucial. Look at how Sarah has suddenly made a series of highly publicized showings, while losing favorability points at the same time. Her snarky, angry, negative message hardens her base but actually loses support in the middle - the ultimate self-limiting feature of her personality.


Besides which, we're not unaffected by our own ugly behavior.

Anonymous said...

Phil's narcissistic preoccupation with Phil is becoming nauseating. I won't return to PA for a couple of weeks and will see then whether this blog is about something other than the blogster.

clark said...

you can't write about yourself on your personal blog now?
has the whole world gone crazy?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mel, for citing my comment above.

I have always looked to Phil's blog as a place to learn. He has wide-ranging positions on many issues, usually well argued.

I remember when he said he was stepping away from Sarah Palin. I was disappointed, due to my own curiosity about her, but I could not argue with his logic - nor do I disagree with his reason for commenting on her now.

But I think my comment on civility makes clear that I find some of Phil's recent posts to be counter-productive (which to me is even worse than being rude).

At the same time, who but Phil would embrace the criticism and allow so many onto his page to criticize him? That's why I will continue to look to this blog to learn, and think...
Rob

Mel said...

Anonymous at 8:46 AM wrote about a really horrible experience at Palin's Columbus book tour.

... I found myself wondering how much of that crowd's nasty behavior comes from flocking or mob behavior. Would each of the people shouting those things at you say those same things if they were to sit down at a table with you (one at a time, not as a crowd), have a cup of coffee with you, talk? Some of them probably would, sure, but would each & every one of them? How much of our ugly behavior stems from seeing it enacted all around us by our friends & family & the huge ramped-up crowd that were standing amongst?

I don’t know, really. I’ve seen more than my fair share of ugliness from the right — remembering all the “Truth is Not Hate” hate speech at last year’s Assembly hearings on AO-64. But I don’t like any more seeing that kind of ugliness issuing from the mouths or pens of my friends & allies.

I think Linda is right about a lot of their behavior, at least in crowds. I don't want us to catch ourselves acting the same way.

Mel said...

Or maybe I should say, if we're doing it, I do want us to catch ourselves -- & then stop doing it.

Anonymous said...

"I think Linda is right about a lot of their behavior, at least in crowds. I don't want us to catch ourselves acting the same way."

Oh, give me a break. Have you ever attended an ANSWER rally as a pro-American conservative? Ever attended an immigration amnesty protest with a "Secure The Borders" sign ? Ever see the video of the guy wearing a McCain T-shirt being mobbed by Obama supporters ? This pathetic belief that you guys are some kind of enlightened beings and the 70% of Americans who don't believe in your world view are evil, rabble-rousers is beneath contempt. Yes, convince yourselves that conservatives are evil and delusional....dehumanize all you want ...and once you've turned them into caricatures it's easy to hate, then it's just another step to wishing them silenced ...forever.

Your blinkered view of conservatives is turning you into everything you , as progressives, are supposed to be against. I've read dozens of blogs from all parts of the political spectrum and believe me, the bile SOME of you guys spout against Palin is matched only on extreme right-wing blogs. I see nothing like this kind of bile at Powerline, Hugh Hewitt, Instapundit or Newsbusters. Wake up, guys, you aren't better then "Them"....you're as bad and because you claim to be liberals it actually makes you worse.

But why listen to me, in your minds I'm already a "effing retarded, teabagging, racist, homophobic, slut, whore." God help America.

Mel said...

Anonymous @ 11:53 AM writes: Have you ever attended an ANSWER rally as a pro-American conservative? Ever attended an immigration amnesty protest with a "Secure The Borders" sign ?

Obviously not, since I'm not a conservative or an anti-immigration amnesty protester.

But once again, here's an anonymous conservative is going after me for criticizing the very same behavior that he (or she) is criticizing -- except that I'm criticizing it on both sides, whereas he (or she) only condemns bad behavior from the left.

Anonymous said...

"except that I'm criticizing it on both sides, whereas he (or she) only condemns bad behavior from the left."

Umm, no. When you say...

"I think Linda is right about a lot of their behavior, at least in crowds. I don't want us to catch ourselves acting the same way."

where are you criticizing the Left? Your implication is that the right behaves like this anyway, but it's an aberration when the Left does it. I'm merely pointing out that the Left has been behaving like this for as long as the right. Human nature in crowds is to get hyper and sometimes behave badly. I've been spat on at Leftist rallies merely for standing by and holding the Stars And Stripes. It's too late for you to say "I don't want to catch ourselves acting the same way". The mob mentality is as evident on the Left as it is on the right. You're trying to sound post-partisan, but prefacing every comment with "let's not get as bad as THEM" is self-defeating. Your side is already as bad as THEM. Let's start from there and stop the holier-than-thou posturing.

Mel said...

Anonymous @12:34, you have excellent skills of taking two sentence that I wrote & removing them from the full context of what I wrote in order to attempt to make your point.

Sorry, but I remember the full context of what I said, not to mention all that I've been writing the past few days since Phil posted his insulting "slut" comment & "slut vs. saint" poll about Palin in which I have persistently & consistently condemned incivility and ugly behavior from other progressives, & have been criticized by some of them for taking a stand & for criticizing Phil about his poll.

But just because I criticize those of my fellow progressives for crappy behavior doesn't mean I'm going to stop criticizing conservatives who engage in crappy behavior.

Too bad so many people on both sides are more interested in pointing out the specks in their opponents eyes than in noticing the logs in their own eyes. You display a great deal of talent in that area.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 11:53 AM says "Wake up, guys, you aren't better then "Them"....you're as bad and because you claim to be liberals it actually makes you worse."

Conservative blogger, Charles Johnson of greenlittlefootballs, weighs in on the acrimonious debate of left vs right civility:

"Since I began to break ranks with the right wing noisemakers, I’ve been receiving an average of five hate mails every single day, often more. (snip)

The amount of hate mail I’ve received from angry right wingers is far, far beyond anything I ever received from angry Islamists, or even from angry CODEPINK leftists. And the level of venom and vitriol is pretty amazing. Many of them exhibit cowardly stalker-like behavior, using proxy IPs and fake email addresses to hide their identities, and putting titles on their hate mails that sound innocuous to “trick” me into reading them."

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/35702_We_Got_Mail!

Welcome to reality.

Anonymous said...

Bizarre to see Linda's whitewash of PA's hate-speech then turn (somehow) into a convoluted attack on home-schooling. Perhaps if the teaching unions cared more for our kids then their wages and were more interested in promoting America than attacking it, the number of home-schoolers would drop.

"The NEA fights school vouchers even more fiercely than it opposes charters. In Washington, D.C., where public schools are a national embarrassment—tops in spending, last in achievement—the union set its sights on the Opportunity Scholarship Program. This tiny but successful voucher program gave 1,700 financially strapped parents, mostly poor African-Americans, the opportunity to free their children from horrendous public schools, getting a few thousand of their tax dollars back to help pay the tuition at private schools of their choosing. A number of the 1,700 lucky lottery winners were able to attend Sidwell Friends, the same school that President Obama’s daughters attend.

Here’s what NEA president Dennis Van Roekel wrote to Democratic congressmen last March:

The National Education Association strongly opposes any extension of the District of Columbia private school voucher . . . program. We expect that Members of Congress who support public education, and whom we have supported, will stand firm against any proposal to extend the pilot program. Actions associated with these issues WILL be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress.

Vouchers are not real education reform. . . . Opposition to vouchers is a top priority for NEA.

Three months later, Congress dutifully voted to kill the program. Who are the “right-wing bastards” here? The black parents and children who benefited from the voucher program?"

So, Obama decided that poor African-Americans shouldn't get the chance to attended the same school as his daughters. Liberalism in action. "Good for me but not for thee "!

Anonymous said...

"Conservative blogger, Charles Johnson of greenlittlefootballs, weighs in on the acrimonious debate of left vs right civility:"

Is this the best you can do ? It's common knowledge that Johnson has become one of the biggest jokes on the blogosphere. No one takes him seriously anymore. His current followers post racist comments at right-wing sites and then attack those sites for not removing said comments quickly enough. Johnson himself has become paranoid and anyone questioning his blog posts are banned from his site. Anything he says should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Philip Munger said...

"It's common knowledge that Johnson has become one of the biggest jokes on the blogosphere. No one takes him seriously anymore. His current followers post racist comments at right-wing sites and then attack those sites for not removing said comments quickly enough. Johnson himself has become paranoid and anyone questioning his blog posts are banned from his site."

--- I've been following lgf and Johnson from almost day one. His site - back before he came around - was highly critical of TSaW & me, and hosted 'Rachel Corrie as flattened out pancake' contests, along with some of the other far-right, high-traffic blogs in 2003 through the cancellation of My Name is Rachel Corrie, in NYC in 2007.

I think you've made most of what you just wrote up. Please provide a link to back up your assertion, "His current followers post racist comments at right-wing sites and then attack those sites for not removing said comments quickly enough."

By as link, I mean solid, tangible proof.

Anonymous said...

On the night of the 17th September 2009, Kilgore Trout (one of Charles Johnson's inner circle) went to Hot Air blog site in the middle of the night and posted racist comments that include the word n*gg*r in an attempt to embarrass Hot Air. Kilgore knew the site's moderators would not be moderating comments at that time.

The following posts from LGF the next day show Kilgore admitting what he did , followed by Johnson saying he didn't agree with the tactic but Hot Air was still "racist" or something. If you don't believe me, stop thinking up new insults for Palin and do some research. Whatever you may think of Hot Air, what Kilgore Trout did was disgusting.

"965 Killgore Trout9/18/2009 10:06:23 am PDT

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re: #962 Sharmuta

They're starting to delete wookie comments over there now. My tactics were certainly questionable but it did get them to pay attention to the open displays of racism."

"947 Charles Fri, Sep 18, 2009 9:20:04am replyquote

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I just took a look at that Hot Air thread, and they’re still making comments about wookies. Some of the names are bloggers who run anti-Muslim blogs. The bigotry is completely out of control.

I can’t really applaud KT for doing this — I wouldn’t have done it, and didn’t advise him to do it, by the way, to head off the inevitable accusations that I was behind this — but his point is absolutely valid. They’re accepting a disgusting amount of racism and extremism at Hot Air."

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 4:18 PM

"I can’t really applaud KT for doing this — I wouldn’t have done it, and didn’t advise him to do it, by the way, to head off the inevitable accusations that I was behind this — but his point is absolutely valid. They’re accepting a disgusting amount of racism and extremism at Hot Air."

Excellent response by Charles. He didn't approve of the action but he saw the salient point behind the action (aka being able to see the forest AND the trees). No wonder he split off from the rightwing extremists.

Philip Munger said...

one guy.

Kilgore was weird on his own, without any help from Johnson. Surely you must know that.

Anonymous said...

No, one guy that admitted it. other posters tried the same thing.And how do you that Johnson didn't encourage it ? What proof do you have ?

"Excellent response by Charles. He didn't approve of the action but he saw the salient point behind the action (aka being able to see the forest AND the trees). No wonder he split off from the rightwing extremists."

So, you would have no problem with people coming here at 3 in the morning and posting the most vile anti-Palin comments imaginable (yeah, I know it would be hard to top the foulness that the followers of this blog already spew out) and then blame PA ?

Yet another liberal who believes the end justifies any means however foul they are.

Steve said...

Let's see if I got this right.
1. Person A calls people names and regularly blasts people for this and that on his blog.
2. Person B, on his blog, raises questions about whether Person A's style might be counterproductive to getting his political message across.
3. Person C says
a. Person A has a right to say whatever he pleases on his blog.
b. Person B has no right to say whatever he pleases on his blog (like raise questions about what Person A said.)

Can someone explain to me how Person C became the rule maker who decides what Person A and Person B can say?

When is this movie coming out?

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 5:48 PM

I approve of how Charles handled the situation. Period. You conveniently extrapolated my comment to fit your prejudices and agenda on this blog. Resorting to ad hominen attacks no doubt makes you feel in control of the situation but such attacks are typical of the very types of posters you are railing so sanctimoniously about.

Chill out, bro. or sis. You're not going to change hearts and minds by attacking everyone who thinks differently than you, eh?

Anonymous said...

Hey RAM glad to see you are earning you $12K via SarahScamPac...!

Anonymous said...

Okay, people, let's get back to the real issue here. As of this writing, 87% choose "slut" as the better descriptor of $P. Of course, the teabagger founder is now describing her as a "wolf in sheep's clothing." That is an apt description, also too. Add "narcissistic sociopath" and I think our work is done. Wink wink.

Anonymous said...

New interview in Vogue featuring Tina Fey on the cover. She details all the hate mail she gets now from Palin supporters.

Anonymous said...

There is hate on both sides and it is disgusting. It is possible to discuss issues and agree to disagree without getting hateful. It is a sign of weakness that a person needs everyone to agree with them and if they don't, they attack them.

Some extreme people on both sides behave badly. That doesn't mean everyone on each side is like that.

Anonymous said...

I do believe in the laws of karma and for those of you (on both sides) that use such vile terms, slut in this case, will find this coming back to you and your children.

Anonymous said...

Y'all remind me of a bunch of sixth grade drama queens.