The Angry Liberal?
In response to this post, a comment:
In fact, at least amongst the liberal Catholic blogs I've seen, you strike me as one of the more angry ones around. Even though I vehemently disagree, for example, with a lot of what Joe Cecil writes, I don't sense the anger that I see in your posts.
No, no, no, no, no: you don't see much anger on this blog. Anger is a whole other qualitatively different level of speech. What you see on this blog is passion, not unlike you'll see on other activist liberal blogs. The perceived meanness to conservatives comes from being direct and straightforward and honest about what I think.
As far as things I say to and about conservatives and GW Bush. Bush is the worst president in US history and a liar who has caused the deaths of thousands. I only tell the truth about him. AS for conservatives, I have mentioned in a previous post that I drew the line back in 2002 when I decided I was done with the sacramental life of the Church because I can not sit at the same table of Christ with certain conservatives. That was prior to all the shenanigans of the 2004 election.
I do not get angry at conservatives. I am sometimes still shocked at them, but the truth is that I have a very low opinion of Catholic conservatives as a group (I judge conservative individuals by a different far more lenient standard in person). Secondly, I have no desire to be liked or respected by conservatives. Thirdly, harsh things I say about conservatives, I say because I believe them to be true. There are nuances in my views about conservatives but in the midst of flame-throwing, no one's really interested in nuances, most especially when we aren't trying to be friends.
Why? As I mentioned, there's my 2002 decision. But then there's two 2004 events that colored the way I veiw conservatives: the Deal Hudson issue and the Swift Boat Veterans thing. Up till then, I ascribed good misguided intentions to conservatives, but when Hudson did his thing to get me fired, i can assure you that it is a weird feeling to wake up in the morning and know that there are literally thousands of people, conservatives, Jesus-and-Mary-loving Catholics, in this case, who want to destroy your life. I mean that literally. All of sudden you realize that you aren't in Kansas anymore. That changes you. You realize that sweet ol' orthodox conservative Mr and Mrs Smith are not quite as sweet as they would seem. Further, when I left the USCCB, there was rejoicing, so to speak, amongst conservatives. Trust me, that is very strange feeling when you see Christians take joy in your or anyone's misfortune. It makes it clear that you all are not on the same side.
The other event was the Swift Boat Vets against Kerry. These men were simply liars. Everyone knew that they were liars and were engaged in pure calumny against a very good and honorable man. I lost any remaining respect I had for conservative Catholics when they jumped on that bandwagon enthusiastically. It was clear that they were Republican hacks first and Christian . . . fourth and little concern for the common good.
Also, I was 100% disgusted with the way conservative Catholics dealt with Kerry. Here is a man who goes to Mass every Sunday. In fact, he "met" his current wife while at Mass in Brazil at an environmental conference. She noticed someone belting out the songs in attrocious Portuguese and saw it was John Kerry. This is a man who thought about the priesthood, who takes his faith very seriously, and all Catholic conservatives wanted to do was smear him regardless of truth. It is hard to respect people like that. Most especially when their champion, Mr Bush, hardly ever goes to church himself.
Back to anger, this blog and in general, even after the Deal Husdon thing, I was not angry or hateful towards conservatives. I had made a decision about how I felt about them, but anger was not in my mind. In fact, I had a meeting in DC with a couple of Catholic liberal activists who specifically asked if I was interested in going after Hudson, that they'd jump in with me. I declined. My reason? The violence has to stop somewhere. Someone's got to eat it and not retaliate. Even when Hudson's side activities came to light, I got a call from the Washington Post asking for an interview and my reaction. Basically, I told them how I felt, I took not one ounce of pleasure in the whole affair. If I ever felt that I deserved any type of redress against Hudson or the Right, that was not what I wanted. I said something similar to Mike Hayes of Busted Halo.
One thing that political liberals have noted in the past year, is that even though we want to emulate the organization and some of the strategies on the Right, we absolutely do not want to become like them. If you notice in the Democratic Primaries, relatively little personal attacks go on. The meannest charge you'll find in the Democratic Party is that your health plan is weak. (Which is why Dean paid a price for his personal attacks). Democrats generally don't smear and go after people. Republicans on the other hand, base their campaigns precisely on smearing the other candidate. Republican primaries are smear-fests and this carries through to the general election. So while Kerry is speaking about the merits of his education plan, George Bush is thinking of what next to smear him with.
My political approach on this blog and in general is to take no prisoners. Generally, for me, it is a for or against proposition. I am a flame thrower and agitator and relish that role. I am grateful, however, for the people like Jcecil who consider themselves liberal, who enjoy debate, dialog and preserve civility. Quite frankly God did not make me for that. I couldn't enter in such discussions with conservatives even if I tried. For Joe, it is clear that at the end of the day, he is interested in preserving friendship and a positive relationship. I can only envy that skill and desire. I have no such desire. Joe and others maybe the ones who can heal this rift between liberals and conservatives. BTW, if that ever happened,i.e., a healing of the rift, I'm not quite sure what I'd do. I'd be so lost. Can you imagine life with no one to attack? Scary.
I should say in closing that I have actually do have quite a few conservative and very conservative friends in non-blog life. Let's put it this way, we all steer clear of ecclesiastical and secular politics, and do very well.