Friday, May 27, 2005

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.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Matty Millner said...

I thought all Hudson did was give you a little publicity for your site? Your bishop fired you, as he should have. If publicising your work is an offense, does that mean that you admit you were wrong to do it in the first place?

Further, the saddest thing I can imagine is forgoing the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, not to mention His forgiveness, because you don't like some of the other folks He is also forgiving.

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ono,

I can't disagree with a word that Matty said. Beyond that, I'll have to think some on what you said, as it's closing in on 2:00 AM, and I'm going to be gone for the Memorial Day weekend. Perhaps I'll comment when I get back. That said, I'll just add to what Matty said, and say how sad it is that you turn away from Christ and His Church, and the Sacraments that give us the grace needed in our lives.

Also, again, where is the love, compassion, kindness, etc.? You come right out and admit you have no desire, basically, to exhibit any of this towards conservative Catholics. You wish to blame and play the victim, instead of looking in the mirror and acknowledging the role YOU played in bringing about the end of your employment at the USCCB. You ask neither pardon (nor even seem to consider that you possibly have done anything wrong), nor offer forgiveness to those who have hurt you. Recall Christ's words, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." How can you ask Him to forgive you, when you are unwilling to forgive others? Turn back to Christ and His Church, Ono. That's the only place you will find peace. Without the Sacraments, particularly the Holy Eucharist, you have nothing.

David B

1:45 AM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Ono, some of what you wrote made me smile and chuckle a bit. I obviously don't agree with some of what you say, but I have faith that some day you'll come to your senses and see things my way ;)

Have a great weekend!

6:50 AM  
Blogger Ono said...

Steve, Steve. . . how long shall I suffer you? Have I been with you this long, yet you doubt that I am right.

I am always right!!! He who sees me sees the truth.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Ono said...

Let's make it clear about the USCCB. If they could have fired me, they would have. Believe me, they sat on this thing for a while trying to find a way to get rid of me. There were absolutely no rules broken by me at the USCCB, they simply did not like my political stand and they were afraid of Deal Hudson and the rabid conservatives.

Secondly, if I were a Bush supporter and had criticized the Bishops for not supporting the war or something similar, the worst that would have happened would've been a mild rebuke, if anything at all. It was clear to everyone involved and who observed, I was targeted specifically for my support for Kerry. The interesting thing in my meetings with my superiors was that I kept asking why I was here. What was the specific problem? I never quite got an answer, they were searching. In the third week was when they came up with a couple of things:

1. My political activity and endorsement of a political candidate may jeopardize their non-profit status. (You've got to be kidding me!)

2. My criticism of the Bishops would undermine my work with them (That was reasonable and a factor in why I chose to resign)

Here's an interesting tidbit. In one of the initial discussions I had with them, I was told that I had no right to free public speech as an employee of the Bishops. I asked them to put that in writing, but I got nothing.

So the nonsense about the "role" I played, etc. I played no role. All I did was support a candidate they did not like.

Now, also the stuff about forgiving. Spare me the self-righteous instruction. You have absolutely no idea what goes on in my heart. I think I made it clear in my post and the links therein about my stance towards Hudson and the guys and gals. If there is anything to be forgiven, they got it. But either you think me naive or fool to thrust myself and life back into their loving arms, knowing that they only have my best interest at heart. Believe that and I'd like to sell you the Wilson Bridge at 20% discount, act now and I'll throw in the draw bridge.

About the Eucharist. Let me put it this way. The way many Catholic feel about the Eucharist is probably the way i feel about the Bible. I can't live without it and it is God to me, in not so many words. I don't feel that strong about the Eucharist, obviously (I do respect/revere it for what it is, but I don't feel I need it). Further, I can't help but see it as an instrument of control by the hierarchy. i think this view of control has been justified with all the communion shenanigans that has gone on, i.e., threatening Catholic politicians with the Eucharist. It is clear that regardless of what the Eucharist is in itself, the hierarchy sees it as its trump card and will use it. There is no more liberating feeling than saying, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." Basically, I'm no longer dependent on the whims of the Bishops or the hierarchy, all I depend on now is Christ himself.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Matty Millner said...

Well, since you are a protestant now, maybe St. Blogs could remove you from the blogroll?

1:00 PM  
Blogger Ono said...

You got a problem with Protestants? Otherwise known as Christians?

10:47 PM  

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