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Thursday, February 10, 2005

My Letter to NEWSWEEK

I've never written a letter to Newsweek before. Other magazines. Newspapers. Journals. But never Newsweek.

I was inspired this time by George Will's back page column in which he singles out Michael Moore as "unhinged" and a "blowhard." I find this interesting not because I'm a Michael Moore fan but more because in the past month or so I've heard several pundits for the right slap this label on Moore and say that he's the one that is most responsible for the division in the country. It's Michael Moore that spreads hate and distrust between the parties. And ONLY Michael Moore.

The fact that he's the mouthpiece they've picked to pick on suggest that they fear him a lot more than I think he deserves. They only pull out the big guns when they fear someone/something enough to take precious time and column inches in order to discredit them/it. That they seem to have chosen Moore for this treatment, quite honestly, raises my opinion of him. He must be saying something they're concerned about if they're ganging up on HIM in particular. I must have missed something.

Again, the point of this is NOT Michael Moore. It's the ability of the Right to criticize the LEFT for doing poorly what the RIGHT does so well! Remarkably well. EXTREMELY well! And, if it were something truly worthy, ADMIRABLY well!

As it is, being the best at dividing the country you wish to serve is like a tapeworm being chosen "BEST PARASITE"...it's hardly an award worth winning and it does no one any good in the long run.

Anyway, Will's column contained the following paragraph:

"Last week Howard Dean, almost certainly the next Democratic Party chairman, said: "I hate Republicans and everything they stand for." Either Dean means what he says, in which case he is as unhinged as the rest of the party's Michael Moore caucus, or he does not, in which case he is a blowhard like, well, Moore. Yet for several weeks Dean has been one of the four most conspicuous Democrats on the national stage."

Which then prompted me to write this:
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I usually enjoy George Will's opinions even though I seldom agree with them. Hearing both sides of an issue is always more enjoyable than having just one opinion battered over and over again. I was therefore surprised upon seeing him fall into the current Republican trend of bashing Michael Moore as a divider, something I hear from right-wing pundits I respect far FAR less than Mr. Will.

The Right and the mouths at their disposal (getting paid for their support or not) have effectively used division to their benefit. They have done this so successfully that it would be admirable if it were a worthy goal (simply winning an election is NOT a worthy goal). As it is, I hear pundit after pundit from the right slam Moore as if he's the sole reason for the country's polarization -- totally forgetting, apparently, the titles of some of their player's books such as, "How to Talk to a Liberal...if You Must" or "If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It" or "Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism."

I don't know...I think calling liberals "evil" and ranking them with terrorists does it's part in dividing the nation, as does Coulter's obvious distaste for even talking to liberals. These things do not benefit America nor are they a conservative ideal as I was raised to understand conservative ideals.

Moore has plenty of faults, without a doubt, but at least he's out there talking...or trying to talk...to both sides, willingly...not because he "must."

I do agree with Mr. Will regarding Howard Dean's comments about "hating" Republicans. Very unfortunate choice on his part and one that, were I a Democrat, would exclude him from any list of party hopefuls I might have. In the party's attempt to market themselves more like Republicans, he seems to have taken the wrong page out of the Right's playbook. Hate doesn't work with folks who want to be inclusive nearly as well as those who casually brand those with a different opinion about Social Security as "evil."

Oh, I know...a bit melodramatic...sue me. They'd never print anything that long, and if they do, they'll cut it all to hell anyway so some of my doubts and beliefs would be excised anyway. I do, however, believe that the left using words like "hate" with regards to Republicans is not a good idea...especially this close to a lost election. It was a sad choice on his part, and one that shows a misunderstanding what the Left should stand for and the path the Right has set out before it.

Francisco Goya, the painter, said, "El sueño de la razón produce monstruos." That is, "When reason falls asleep, monsters are produced." I believe this (look at the Iraqi prison abuse issue if you have any doubts) and Dean's comments show its effects very well too. Reason has gone out the window in the wake of the lost election and the Dems are looking for hate in all the wrong places in an effort to win next time.

Entering the realm where words like "hate" become commonplace when referring to someone with a different opinion is dangerous territory indeed and leads to nothing good. Dean and the rest of the Dems should take note of the signpost usually hung on the edge of such territory: "Here there be monsters."

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