John Edwards And Ann Coulter
With which of the following statements do you agree?
1) Former John Edwards blogger Amanda Marcotte ought to be anathemetized for writing “the Catholic church is not about to let something like compassion for girls get in the way of using the state as an instrument to force women to bear more tithing Catholics.”
2) Amanda Marcotte ought not be anathematized for that statement.
3) Ann Coulter ought to be anathematized for calling John Edwards a faggot.
4) Ann Coulter ought not be anathematized for calling John Edwards a faggot.
I’m Catholic and straight, but I’m strongly inclined to pick 2 and 3.
It isn’t that I agree with Amanda Marcotte, but you can at least defend her statement. First, with people like Bill Donahue as standard bearers for the Church, I’m really not surprised that folks attribute ill-will to the Church. Second, the statement is at least an attempt to discuss a position taken by the Church: Opposing a law in Chile that would have allowed the distribution of contraceptives to teenage girls.
Go read all the “anti-Catholic” posts by the two defrocked Edwards bloggers. I posted what I saw as the worst of the lot. For the rest, sure they use some, uhh, colorful language, but they concern specific issues, issues on which certain Catholics have taken very public positions. If you’re going to make an argument about some public policy, I don’t know why you ought to get a pass on criticism just because your argument has a religious basis. A dumb idea is a dumb idea, whether or not it’s religious. If your religious faith can’t handle criticism, than don’t try to make your faith the basis of public policy.
Again, I’m not saying I agree with them, or that the way they expressed their disagreements with Catholics is a good way to have debates. I’m not even denying that underneath their vehement disputes over policies might be some real anti-Catholic hatred. I’m just saying that what they wrote is at least defensible.
But calling John Edwards a faggot? Patent bigotry, that.
Two more issues here.
First, the party line post-Coulter craziness is always the same: “Not representative of conservatism, improper, unwise, yada yada yada.” But check out the response to her comments when she made them at a gathering billed as an event “where thousands of conservative activists and leaders from across the country join together for a three-day event to discuss current issues and policies and to set the agenda for the future of the conservative movement.”
Now, I’ve heard it said that character is what you do when no-one is looking. And what were all those conservative activists and leaders doing in response to Coulter’s statements before the press, the bloggers and the rest of the country began looking them? They began with a few laughs, and proceeded to clap and cheer, requiring Coulter to pause for several seconds and bask in their approval. There were no awkward silences, no condemnations, just hearty approval. It was as if the audience members each thought momentarily “she can’t say that” before realizing no-one in the room would object and then fully revelling in their angry ignorance.
Second, she made the comments about John Edwards on the same weekend that other Democratic candidates were in Selma for the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. I can’t help but notice a few similarities between Ann Coulter and the scum beating the marchers on that day.
Faggot and Nigger are words of the same species. Neither tells anyone anything about the group they are supposed to describe, but they do reveal the user as an ignorant, hateful p-o-s. Black, negro, gay, queer: These all may be inappropriate. But Faggot just as much as Nigger says “I don’t know you, but I hate you, you are not worthy of life, nor a place in my society.” These aren’t just impolite words, words that go beyond what’s “politically correct,” these are words designed to degrade, humiliate, and if they could, kill.
Just like the words are the same, so are the people who use them. There’s no difference between Ann Coulter, the cowards who laughed at her “joke,” and Fred Phelps, just like there was no difference between White Citizens Councils and the KKK. Bigotry dressed in a nice suit is still bigotry. MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail forced respectable folks to make a choice: Bull Connor and George Wallace or Justice? The same choice is before us today: Justice or Fred Phelps and Ann Coulter? The video reveals what the conservatives at CPAC chose. I’ve got more faith in the rest of us.
That’s my view, anyway. But I’m a middle class white guy who only knows about the civil rights movement from books. It sure would be nice to hear someone who experienced it make these connections.