I take Umbrage at a recent comment by “Dan” about me in www.moveonandshutup.org. Actually, I am too congenial to really take umbrage, but I do love the word. Take umbrage. Nice.
Before I respond to Dan in substance, I have to say that any organization that starts dialogue under the banner “move on and shut up” may not be the best form for intelligent discussion. Happily, to use the expression, their bark is worse than their bite. Despite the doff of the cap to sensationalism, they operate well within the bounds of civil discord. The fact that their views are almost always wrong does not take away from the reasonable way they display their angst. These are the type of folks you could have over for dinner and enjoy what the late Sun-Times columnist and TV talk show host, Irv Kucinet, used to call “the lively art of conversation.” They may be on the inner edge of the fringe (we must be precise in our placement of people, eh?), but they are not a bunch of morons.
Which brings me to my point.
Writing on MoveOn …etc., Dan said, “I think it's fair to call the wingnut elements of the right wing a bunch of morons. Larry doesn't.” Actually, I thought that was exactly the point of my written comments. I am a critic of what I call the strident right – which I personally prefer over the word “moron.” I suggest that it is the left that is recultanct to call out the extremists on the radical left.
The right tends to boot out corrupt officials. The left re-elects them. The Right tends to repudiate those with extremist so-called right wing views. Skin heads and David Duke. The left gives homage to their extremeists. Cindy Sheehan et al.
Libeals believe that right field extends only five feet from the foul line and left field consumes the remainder of the outfield. For them, the moderation of center field is well into left field territory.
Therefore, I want to both correct and challenge Dan. I do very much disdain the politics of stridency and extremism, but reject the notion that solid philosophic belief or aggressive debate is equivalent to extremism. My challenge is to hear Dan cite the examples of left wingnut policies and personalities he would call moronic. And if Cindy Sheehan is not on his list, he is being duplicitous.
I do agree with Dan on the practical side of the gay rights issue. It is a loser for the GOP. One only has to see what happened to the donkey party in the 1970s, when they became the party of narrow special interests of the past. They spent the next 30 years sliding into second party status. Whether this last election is a turn around or an anomaly is yet to be seen. However, with the GOP starting to congeal into a party of special interests and the defenders of the old culture, the lesson offered by the Dems should not be overlooked.