Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Friday, October 22, 2004

A Correction

posted by Jazz at 10/22/2004 08:09:00 AM


In a previous post, I commented on an essay by Dean Esmay which covered a variety of topics. Dean has taken exception to some of my comments and pointed out that I incorrectly interpreted one or more of his views, and claimed he implied something he never actually said. Specifically, regarding Dean's opinion on Michael Moore, I wrote:

"We aren't seeing the opinion of a man who disagrees with Michael Moore. (And for the record, I think Moore is as much of a loon as Al Franken and Rush Limbaugh and Anne "the toxic twig" Coulter.) We are seeing the opinion of somebody who is outraged that all of America isn't screaming for the head of a person who disagrees with Bush on a silver platter. He doesn't want Moore to be proven wrong in public debate... he wants Moore to be silenced."

In the interest of fairness, I'll include Dean's response of the following comments:

"Jazz, you have quoted me out of context and completely twisted by the spirit and the letter of what I've written. 1) At no time, anywhere in my essay, anywhere, did I so much as suggest that I want the "head of a person who disagrees with Bush on a silver platter." That is an outrageous mischaracterization, and a rather slimy insinuation about my character.

I am deeply offended.
I want evil people with hateful messages to be recognized for what they are and treated accordingly. I no more want them 'silenced" or to have their "head on a platter" than I want the KKK or the people at STORMFRONT silenced or to have their heads on a platter.

2) It is a frightening example of left-wing groupthink--not to mention kneejerk, reactionary stereotyping--that any time someone's patriotism is questioned, this means that everyone who won't toe a specific ideological line is to be considered unpatriotic. Balls.

If you look at my entire statement in context, it should have been clear to you that there is all kinds of room for disagreement and criticism, and that only certain types of behavior are unpatriotic in my view.
And if you were unclear on that, you could have asked.

I'll further note that my right to call some asshole unpatriotic is in no way anything but my own expression of free speech. You're free to call me unpatriotic if you want, and that might offend me but that wouldn't change your right to say it. But please, do me a favor: don't mischaracterize my remarks and quote them out of context as you have done here."

Fair enough. It's true that he never said he wanted him "silenced" nor did he specifically say he wanted his "head on a platter." Consider that a correction.

Dean does not want Moore to be silenced. He is willing to preserve Moore's freedom of speech. He simply wants everyone in America to join in together condemning Moore and to equate him with the KKK. I still fail to see where that was "out of context" or mischaracterized in any way, but it is better to be accurate.

As to the "unpatriotic" comments, that's one that we'll never see the same way, I suppose. Everyone is free to call anyone else unpatriotic as per their own freedom of speech. This still frightens the hell out of me, of course. We have experienced a very rapid migration from a nation where questioning or criticizing the actions of the government when you disagree with them was a constitutional duty to a groupthink among a seemingly large number of people that it is unpatriotic and traitorous.

As I've stated in the past, I think Michael Moore is a bit of a loon. I don't agree with several of the points he makes in his latest movie, while others are thought provoking and seem on the mark. I take it as a left wing, partisan statement against the Bush presidency. I don't view him as being very much different than the Swiftboat guys in that regard, though of course they are releasing their partisan attacks in the opposite direction.

What I do not hold with, though, is this attitude that you find among so many right wingers indicating that Moore is somehow a traitor to his country for making his film, or that he is somehow able to affect the safety or success of our troops overseas. The sheer level of venom and bile that gets directed at Moore (and Dean's post is an excellent example) is mind boggling to me.

I realize that we don't like to agree with or praise anyone who points out negative things about whichever candidate we favor, but Moore seems to work Bush defenders up to a full lather with blood in their eyes. I've never understood that. I wish that the Swift Boat vets would just shut up and go away also, but they're not going to, and they are well funded by conservative partisan interests to continue their negative campaigning. I just accept that as part of the poisonous climate of today's politics. I have to wonder why conservatives can't just treat Moore the same and ignore him.