html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: In which I worry for the wrong people.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In which I worry for the wrong people.

Bloggers I read are shocked and disgusted that right-wing blogland is hounding the family that was used as an example of middle-class families needing government health insurance. There has been a lot of this recently; I worry that it is a self-inflicted escalating feedback loop. I worry that the piece of our population that madden themselves so that they’ve forgotten that we don’t drive to people’s houses, accost them and encite others to do the same is getting locked into this dangerous cycle. As a whole, we can’t have them trapped there. They do too much damage in their frothing and their slander. But I don’t know how to get them out.

I will believe that everybody has a core of decency, for their loved ones and tribe, if no others. I think everyone has within them the capacity to connect to every other person and empathize. I also believe that the polarizing politics of the past couple decades, combined with deep immersion in talk radio and blogs promoting fear and hate, has whipped a chunk of people into a frenzy of demonizing the Other. People living in fear and hate and demonizing the Other are capable of doing and saying mean shit, and some of them did. But I’m afraid that doing mean shit the first time starts an addiction to more fear and hate and action. Once you’ve done something vicious, either you start to hear the shamed compassionate voice inside you or you justify what you did with more fear and hate. Or you compound that fear and hate with action, just so you don’t have to listen to your thoughts and guilt. Then you did more mean shit and you need more fear and hate and action to armor yourself against knowing what you did. I’m afraid they’re getting locked into a cycle that demands constant and escalating fear and hate and action to avoid increasing guilt and shame.

I don’t know how this ends. I think the frenzies of right-wing bloggers are relatively benign on the world scale of cultures of violence and all-encompassing, self-negating hatreds. But I think the cycle is the same. I can imagine being on that cycle and I can’t imagine getting off it. What if it were you? What if your compartmentalization failed one day and you realized, “My god. I bombed a church and killed three beautiful girls.” “I ruined a family, a soldier, a child, to keep up my hits.” “My god. What have we done?” I don’t think I could. That is what I am afraid of. I am afraid the people doing this crap cannot stop.

If we want them to stop, we have to give them a way. They will not stop by themselves, because they can’t. I think there are two potential paths, one that is just barely enough to get them to stop, and one that offers redemption and reintegration. I think that giving them a story they can tell themselves to justify how they acted, something in place of the distracting and addicting fear and hate, would be enough to stop the escalation, slow the cycle to a stop. (“You did what you needed to in a time of war, but now it is over and you can stand down, you brave defender of American values.” That might be enough for those who aren’t plagued by intellectual rigor.) The path that offers reintegration is harder. I think it requires a truthtelling and penance. The truthtelling is for the victims and bystanders. The penance is for the wrongdoer, to still the shame and end the need for addictive distractions.

It feels unfair, to have to help people crazed by hate and fear stop being crazy. But the alternative is living with them and the escalating shit they pull. For that, I think we need to look to international reconciliation efforts as models. We can't make them stop by force. There are too many counterbalances in our country to make them stop by force. We can't shame them; shame is one of the drivers in the feedback loop. Adding more shame makes the cycle turn faster. We’re going to need something better. I don’t see another way out, for them or for us. At least we aren’t a couple generations into trading violent and fatal skirmishes.

36 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

From my vantage point, I see little difference in the levels of animosity emitting from either tribe. Also, historically speaking, the animosity levels seem to be well within normal ranges. So I don't see any particular reason to worry about one specific side of the current tribal struggle.

7:38 PM  
Blogger bBass said...

But they would have to want to stop, which they show no evidence of doing.

8:51 PM  
Blogger a progressive crank said...

This is an example of why you are so much better a person that I am.

I have grave doubts that these people who would attack a 12 year old who has been through a serious physical trauma and recovery but has managed to qualify for an excellent school have any core at all. I don't know what motivates them. As best I can tell, they hate everyone they don't see in the mirror when they wash their faces.

Some of the stuff that has been done in the name of "debunking" and "citizen journalism" makes 1984 or the histories of various Eastern European states look like fairy tales. Do Americans really stalk other Americans and make wild conjectures about how they live and how they spend their money? When did attacking someone's children, while hiding behind children yourself, become respectable behavior?

I'm sorry, I non-concur with commenter Mark: I don't see this a bilateral and I don't see it as with the normal range. I have not seen examples of liberal/left pundits or talking heads attacking decorated service people (like Max Cleland) or accusing various public figures of murder (Hillary killed Vince Foster/the Clintons killed Ron Brown) or any of the other hateful stuff that is almost a daily occurrence.

To echo bbass, they -- the speakers of the hate -- or their audience have to say "enough." And I don't see it happening. Ever. It's easier to hate than to tolerate, let alone love, those who are different, apparently.

Keep doing what you're doing, Megan, I'll draw what I can from your strength of character.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous SwissArmyD said...

The sword with no handle cuts both ways.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous YK said...

Yeah, Megan, you are worrying for the wrong people. You may be right that eventually there has to be an attempt to redeem those nutcases with some amount of grace. However, that is a job for moderate Republicans. Democrats have bigger things to worry about.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous bjdouble said...

Wait, the family and the democrats try to blackmail republicans with suffering children and are shocked at the response? Then don't bring children into adult debates. Don't accuse your opponents of molesting puppies.

3:33 AM  
Anonymous Thelonious_Nick said...

I was going to say more or less what Mark said. As recently as the 1960s and 70s, there were violent domestic right- and left-wing terrorist groups operating in the US, so maybe we've actually ratcheted down the tone a little since then.

As far as how to deal with such people on a personal level, see "How to Be Good," by Nick Hornby. More of an explanation than an answer, but very concerned with people who are angry and frustrated as a lifestyle choice.

6:49 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

"blackmail"

I don't think this word means what you think it means.

Seriously, what is "blackmail" about someone who benefits from a program speaking out in favor if it? Is it that children are to be kept out of all political arenas? Because you've got an awful lot of politicians on the hook for that one. Do you think that every child who appears in a campaign ad should be attacked and stalked (actual, restraining order stuff)? Was it "fair game" when Rush held up a picture of 12-yr old Chelsea and called her "the White House dog?" Because, you know, she had "blackmailed" Republicans by saying that people should vote for her father.

As for Mark's comment, I'm fascinated by this viewpoint. Where are the Democrats physically stalking anyone who publicly takes a stand they oppose? Where are the Democrats who call for war opponents to be murdered? And I don't mean cherry-picked blog comments, but figures like Michelle Malkin, who gets to go on national TV as some sort of respectable human being. Democrats in Congress repudiate MoveOn for speaking ill of a gnereal whom other generals have called a p[olitical hack; when Rush Limbaugh calls a decorated, wounded veteran a "suicide bomber" for daring to oppose Republican orthodoxy, Republicans in Congress want to commend him. Do you see more than "a little difference" there?

This faux-Mercutio act has got to stop, or this country doesn't stand a chance.

6:58 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

thelonious-

On the one hand, you're right that the level of radical violence was higher 30+ years ago than it is now. On the other hand, the distance between radicals and the national parties was far greater then. It is routine to see local Republicans only one degree of separation from eliminationist groups (ones similar to Aryan Nation, not to mention quasi-eliminiationist groups like the Minutemen), and national Republicans two degrees of separation (as in hiring people who may not be members of eliminationist groups, but are long-time associates with their leaders). [see Dave Neiwert for the reporting on all this - it's well-documented]

Not only are there essentially no comparable groups on the left (when was the last life intentionally taken by a leftist group?), but also Democrats are afraid to be associated with anyone with a record of strong rhetoric - see John Edwards and the Amanda Marcotte flap. Marcotte in her entire career has said fewer offensive things than Rush does every week, yet Rush has Bush and Cheney on his show for "interviews," and is welcomed on NBC as a commentator, sharing a desk with Russert and Brokaw.

In other words, there is simply no comparison of where the two parties are with respect to radical and violent elements of American political life. As I say, this is a real problem, and not one that will be resolved by a hand-waving false equivalence.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

t_n:

As recently as the 1960s and 70s, there were violent domestic right- and left-wing terrorist groups operating in the US, so maybe we've actually ratcheted down the tone a little since then.

The thing that reset the ratchet, took the tone several notches down was a widespread campaign of non-violence and love, directed at our most fundamental communal wrongness. I want another round of non-violence and love, addressed at people locked into fear and demonizing the other.

Mark,

The animosities are high for both sides, and I wrote the post so it could (mostly) apply to either side. I don't think the mechanism of action/shame/action is reserved for anyone. But I also don't think that both sides are acting the same. I think that the frenzied on the right are doing bad shit, and the frenzied on the left are getting apoplectic pointing that out.

bbass:
If they don't want to stop, which I agree with, then we offer them something that they want more then they want to do what they're doing. I don't know what that is.


Thanks for keeping it friendly so far. I know this is stuff people really care about.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

There are two fundamental points of disagreement.

1) The Greens and the Purples fight for power and then go into their clubs and talk about how evil the other side is. People who mostly listen to their fellow Greens of course believe that all the bad behavior is perpetrated by the Purples, and their side is guilty of at most bad tactics. The story is as old as mankind.

Frankly, I don't see any way to convince a Green who has decided to steep himself in predominantly Green thought and Green discussions and Green social circles. Is there any set of objective data that will convince you otherwise?

All I'm really hoping for is to help you understand my personal point of view and maybe seed a kernel of doubt in someone's head.

2) I seriously doubt the view that historically lovingkindness is a significant force. Without looking, what year would you expect the post-WWII U.S. murder rate [a proxy statistic for domestic strife] to start significantly rising? When does it peak? What level does it fall back down to, at what year?

What I'm trying to get at is that your theory sounds like something you're going to believe whether it's testable or observable or in any way objectively manifest in human conduct. I could simply reply "I'm never going to believe that, no matter what, because that's how I feel." But that isn't building any bridges of any kind.

So I'm probing for some way for us to explore the Truth of your belief. And honest attempts at objective analysis of data is one of the better ways I know how to accomplish that.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Mark:

I understand your point of view (I think), but I don't agree with it. The goal of introducing doubt and skepticism and self-critical analysis is a good one.

Faced with your assertion, I have to decide. I am saying that a violent cycle is escalating and that the greens and the purples are actually acting different. You're saying that the violence looks about the same as history and that the greens and purples are about the same. Which is more likely, that

1. I am completely biased by my news sources and preferences and unaware of that I am so biased?

or

2. That you are biased (but not by news, 'cause you don't consume news) and unaware of your bias.

I can only sketch out your thought processes, since I get small doses of them in comments. So I have to rely on mine. Do I usually have a clear assessment of the big picture? Am I wrong and surprised a lot? Do I avoid aversive thought?

To questions like that, I think, well, some. But not enough that I discount my overall analysis. I am surer of that than I doubt my ability to assess. (I also think that you have biases you enjoy, like contrarianism and individualism, and those discount your assessment by some amount, also probably less than 'all of it'. You're right, for example that compared to real lynchings and early unionizing protests and historical levels of violence, this isn't much. I was only thinking on the scale of my lifetime, when I though the ratchet was creeping.)

What I'm trying to get at is that your theory sounds like something you're going to believe whether it's testable or observable or in any way objectively manifest in human conduct.

Here's where I'm at. I am still putting it together. It got a huge boost recently when I read Altemeyer's work on authoritarians, which gave me a mechanism for why lovingkindness could work when other approaches don't. It isn't right to say that it hasn't been a historical force when it both freed India and transformed American race laws and relations.

But I want to believe in it for two reasons. First, it accords with what I've seen, in cases where conflict has escalated and also been defused. (Also, people I respect (private and public figures) support it.) Second, it offers a VERY HARD path out of polarization, for everyone. Since I have even more doubts about other paths (although maybe demographic succession offers something), and I refuse to give up, lovingkindness is what I am left with.

8:21 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Is there any set of objective data that will convince you otherwise?

All I'm really hoping for is to help you understand my personal point of view and maybe seed a kernel of doubt in someone's head.

Any data whatsoever would be a good start.

There are three levels of animosity to think about. One is saying that the other side is wrong, that they hate America, etc. While I think it's worth discussing which group has the facts on their side, I don't disagree that this animosity is essentially equal on both sides. I also think it's not especially important - "old as mankind," as you say.

The next level is eliminationist rhetoric. I hope you'll agree that there's a qualitative difference between "Republicans are jerks" and "Republicans are vermin who must be exterminated." The former is mere shouting, while the latter is laying the groundwork - intentionally or not - for actual uncivil actions. You're going to have to provide me with a LOT of data to convince me that this behavior is equal - or even close - on both sides. I'll set the bar low for you: show me a single liberal/Democrat who uses the rhetoric of Ann Coulter while being feted by national Democratic officeholders, and I'll start to consider your point.

Lastly, we have violence. I can name, off the top of my head, 5 instances of political/ideological murder perpetrated by the (radical) right in the last 15 years, with a death toll in the hundreds. Can you name me even two coming from the left? If not, then I would suggest that this might be a "particular reason to worry about one specific side of the current tribal struggle."

8:23 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Just another data point for Mark and BJDouble to respond to:

Remember Bush's "Ashley's Story" ads, where he comforted some kid who's dad died on 9/11 (or something)?

Did anyone - anyone - on the anti-Bush side say, much less do, a single inapprorpiate thing about Ashley?

You false equivalence looks falser every minute.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

JRoth,

Shug, where are you coming from right now? Mind spinning and sounding righter and righter? Pissed that people are saying wrong shit and it matters?

Take a sec and watch your reactions and how your thought feels. How's your body? Clenched? Loose and aggro? Jaw? Shoulders?

Far as I can tell through the internet, you're revved up. I happen to think that you're accurate and share your beliefs. I completely agree with you. But right now you're in a mode that can only reinforce itself and put out information.

If you don't already know how to step outside that mode and see that it is happening, now is a good time to observe yourself. When you feel like you do now, what happens next?


(I only say this to you because I trust you to be able to handle it.)

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Thelonious_Nick said...

"show me a single liberal/Democrat who uses the rhetoric of Ann Coulter while being feted by national Democratic officeholders"

Michael Moore
Cynthia McKinney

True, there have been no recent left-wing activities in the US that are the equivalent to Timothy McVeigh, James Nichols, or Eric Rudolph (I assume those are who you're referring to). I'm not quite sure those actors wouldn't have done what they did in any case, no matter the ambient level of political animosity or even their personal political identification.

"the level of radical violence was higher 30+ years ago than it is now. On the other hand, the distance between radicals and the national parties was far greater then"

Not at all sure about this. We are not so far removed from Strom Thurmond winning 4 states in a presidential election, or members of the KKK holding state-wide offices across the South and parts of the Midwest.

jroth, I get the feeling you believe that the US in 2007 is in a post-Reichstag Fire period, and I just don't see it. There have been some unfortunate policy choices made in the past few years concerning civil liberties, but I don't believe there are any important political figures winking at their brownshirted supporters and waiting for just the right moment to hijack the democracy.

As far as political rhetoric being especially heated now, when was the alleged Golden Age when civility and respect bridged partisan differences? Not the 1990s (impeachment), or the 1980s (Bork, Iran Contra), or the 1970s (impeachment), or the 1960s (do I have to spell it out?), or the 1950s (McCarthy), or the 1850s or the 1750s.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Thelonious_Nick said...

Megan, you posted while I was still working on my post. Sorry, I tried not to escalate things.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I will be so pleased if this stays interested and kind. We're getting into stuff people feel real strong about.

10:43 AM  
Blogger a progressive crank said...

I hope this doesn't devolve to a point-scoring match, where each side trots out examples of the other's offenses. For one thing, it's unhelpful and for another, I think one side has cornered the market on that behavior.

Anyway, leaving that aside, what common ground is there left? I really have to agree with something attributed to Pat Buchanan, where he said he didn't care if he broke the country, so long as his team ended up with the bigger piece.

I think we're dealing with a lot of deferred decisions that other liberal democracies have dealt with long ago (health care rationing based on need, not on ability to pay; taxing luxuries like cars to fund necessities like transit, zoning and housing issues -- some places have outlawed homelessness).

I really don't know how this is going to work out, but 2008 might be a watershed. If the religious right (which is neither) withdraws from its uneasy marriage with the statists who call themselves the GOP, the Buchanan plan may come to pass, but not in the way he intended.

11:34 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Actually, Megan, I wasn't feeling especially wound up or tight then (which isn't to say that I'm always wound up, so that moment didn't stand out...). I just happened upon that example at Ezra's, and it's such a sound refutation of the idea that both sides do this sort of thing that I wanted to get it up here.

I'm all about the data on this issue, and I'm open to learning that there are roving bands of liberals terrorizing hapless Republicans. But I don't want it merely asserted.

I appreciate, btw, your intentions in stepping in.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

I don't know jroth, I'm pretty sure I remember reading a lot of people talking about how they hoped a lot of US soldiers would be killed so the public would get sick of the war and want to end it.

I know I've read about anti-war people sending false death notices to families of soldiers. And anti-war people calling to harass the families of soldiers who were recently killed (I know there was a religious group showing up at the funerals of soldiers to harass the families too).

And don't leftist groups like ELF and ALF do fairly terroristic things? I remember something about burning some car dealerships, and death threats to people who do research on animals, and bomb threats to research labs, etc etc etc....

No, bad behavior isn't one sided.

And as always, I'm going to say that this particular case wouldn't happen if people weren't pushing public health care. Anything you demand be covered by the public is going to become public, it's going to fall under public scrutiny, like it or not. Check the UK for examples.

Justin

1:24 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Megan,

I do indeed have very strong biases toward individualism and contrariness. It's a big part of the reason why I was a Yellow for a large chunk of my adult life, and still feel the pull of the Yellow tribe.

A very large inherent disfunction in greater-than-small-scale human interactions is that our tribal affiliations trump all evidence. We will seize on the data that makes the best case for our tribe, and rationalize policy that is good for our tribe's causes.

Altemeyer's online book is one I am familiar with. It does a great job of two things:
1) Outlining all the ways in which Purples want to abuse power.
2) Showing, through the author himself, how the Greens go about pretending that they don't want to abuse power in their own ways themselves.

The study questions are severely slanted to bundle Purple opinion and "authoritarianism" together as one thing. So the Green author can then scientifically pretend to himself that he isn't anything like his evil opponents he's got under the microscope.

His entire paper is a conclusion in search of evidence, sure sign of tribe-think. Your "But I want to believe in it for two reasons...." is a marker for the same sort of thing: a conclusion in search of evidence so you can rationalize something that will make you comfortable.

Yes, I absolutely do this myself. But since I've removed myself from the struggle for power, I think I'm in an advantageous position to see a little clearer a little more often. That plus the fact that my borderline-sociopathic tendencies make the tribal pull much weaker for me.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

Thelonius, there is just no equivalence between Michael Moore and Ann Coulter. They may play similar roles as agitators, but the things they say are completely different. Coulter is far, far more violent and hostile. I'd encourage you to read / listen to them both and judge for yourself, although I can hardly stand to do that with Coulter any more.

Cynthia McKinney is a very marginal figure on the left.

2:40 PM  
Blogger John said...

Megan, you ask if it is plausible to believe that

1. I am completely biased by my news sources and preferences and unaware of that I am so biased?

Yes. All we need to support this view is

1. a basic understanding of cognitive and social psychology, and
2. the assumption that you are a normal human being.

We know a lot about cognitive bias. People ALWAYS think my side is smarter, more honest, etc than the other side. People especially think "my side plays more fairly" than the other.

The only people about whom I don't believe this are ones who are perfectly neutral about the issue in question, or those who are in regular intimate contact with many members of the other group. Does either apply to you?

Even if the media you consumed were unbiased, selection and retention bias easily accounts for you noticing objectionable behavior by the other side more than your own. Since I assume you consume media whihc is produced by a group which is about 90% of your own side, we could expect that effect to be even stronger. But perhaps I misunderstand what media you consume. I am happy to be educated.

Americans in the two parties regularly marry each other (I did), have siblings of the other side (my 3 brothers and I are 2 nd 2), are educated in the same schools, and have a big overlap in where they go to church. I find it implausible that there is any significant difference between the political morals of the group.

In any case, the standard rule in science is that you have to bring the evidence to disprove the null hypothesis, ie the burden is on you to devise an replcable experiment that would show a difference between the groups. Perhaps you can. But "I have been watching and I really think so" has been shown many times to have no value. Look up the U Michigan football study.

Also, the case we are talkign about partly turns on an analysis of the economic circumstance sof the family. My understanding is that that's why some people are publishing their address, not to promote harassment. That said, I think publishing it is a very bad idea.

Sorry to think you are full of it today. I like your blog a lot, and I have really enjoyed reading the perspective of a committed public servant.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

John,

I know about the biases you describe. That's why I lay out my assumptions and train of reasoning in my posts. But I think it is also possible to have biases, be aware of them, evaluate your ideas and still trust your conclusions. Which I do.

3:41 PM  
Blogger matt said...

Bouncing off Justin's comment, I have known individuals who have cheered when seeing the death tolls from Iraq. In most cases, the response to my questions has been along green/purple lines: if enough people die, they'll have to lose power / give up /etc.

Megan, I'm curious as to what you see as the most effective way of implementing a philosophy of lovingkindness.

4:00 PM  
Blogger matt said...

Marcus, I heard Michael Moore speak just before the 2004 presidential election -- less than two weeks out. While not directly encouraging riots, his language was distinctly inflammatory.

I'm not disagreeing that Coulter is a bit more violent / aggressive, but I think the reactions they inspire are often quite similar.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Aw man, you're getting ahead of me.

Um, a charismatic leader?

Large scale? Being in a citywide conflict and realizing that nothing is working except the crazy stuff we haven't tried, like a radical approach?

I am also playing around with the idea (and having yet firmed my views on it) that lovingkindness is so counternatural (until it is learned by practice) that it requires religious faith to sustain it. I mean, I don't have that religious faith. But the mediators I've known have drawn on aspects of their Quaker or Buddhist or Catholic faith. I haven't yet figured out whether that is mandatory when the going gets really rough. But if it is paired with religion, then using religion may be a route to widespread adoption. That's what Shane Claiborne is working on (far as I can tell).

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marcus, I heard Michael Moore speak just before the 2004 presidential election -- less than two weeks out. While not directly encouraging riots, his language was distinctly inflammatory.

I'm not disagreeing that Coulter is a bit more violent / aggressive, but I think the reactions they inspire are often quite similar.


If that's the best you can come up with, you've admitted there's no equivalence between the behavior of the left and the right.

Being predisposed to see both sides as equally bad, and oneself as above the fray, is just as much of a bias as identifying with the left or with the right.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

Agreeing that Ann Coulter is more aggressive that Michael Moore, is far from saying the radical right is worse than the radical left. Especially since, as far as I know, neither of these two are actually out killing people, making them not actually radical enough to be worth discussing in this context I'd say.

I'm not an expert in this field, but the only radical right-wing group I'm aware of that has done any killing is the Pro-life group that attacks Doctors who give abortions. As for the left the previously mentioned ALF and ELF come to mind.

As far as hateful and inflammatory speech goes, I would say the sides are about the same on average.

Conservatives invariably think Liberals are much worse, and Liberals think Conservatives are worse, that says something there I think. It's also important to note that inflammatory and aggressive speech doesn't seem so bad when you agree with the person saying, and you're less likely to hear about it and remember anyway.

If I had to give and edge to one side, I would have to say the left, on average is worse. This comes not from the media but personal experience. I've never had my life or well-being threatened by a right-winger during a political argument, but it happens so frequently when I argue with lefties that I don't even bat an eye anymore. A relevant bias is that I find conservatives in general are less willing to talk politics, and therefore less likely to get in an argument with me.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Thelonious_Nick said...

The lead item on this site is apropos this discussion. http://www.waiterrant.net/

11:34 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

I hadn't heard of this until I read your blog post. I tried to find blogs attacking the child, but could only find blogs attacking the parents of the child -- attacking them for using government assistance (taxpayers' money) when their family income is very close to the median for the US, their assets are far above the median, and their spending and other choices reveal a serious lack of effort to budget and plan for their health care expenses.

I don't think it's crazed for people to have an angry, "how dare you?" type reaction when someone pretends to be poor and uses it as justification to take people's money from them.

This family was held up as an example of a "poor" family needing government assistance. I think it's perfectly legitimate to point back at them and say, if this is an example of the type of families who qualify for this program, than the program covers way too many people who don't actually need help.

6:09 PM  
Blogger a progressive crank said...

I'm pretty sure I remember reading a lot of people talking about how they hoped a lot of US soldiers would be killed so the public would get sick of the war and want to end it.

I have never seen this and I wallow pretty exclusively in angry leftist company. I have never seen anyone wish anything ill on the fighting men and women in the field, their commanders, or anyone in uniform. Shrill language, even unto hatred, directed at the civilian leadership, yes, aplenty. I think the Constitution provides for that, though.

The comment before mine means I can no longer read this thread.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

I'm pretty sure I remember reading a lot of people talking about how they hoped a lot of US soldiers would be killed so the public would get sick of the war and want to end it.

I have never seen this and I wallow pretty exclusively in angry leftist company.


I have seen this more than once, even among people I personally know. I hear much less of it now that death totals are actually fairly high.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark

Which planet do you live on?

On which planet did a group of liberal bloggers in real life *stalk* a kid with health problems?

I mean they stalked this kid. And none of them or their apologists have the nerve to apologise.

In which planet did a group of liberals *deploy* to America's borders, brandishing guns, to 'save' it from illegal immigrants?

In which planet do liberal religious leaders suggest it was morally justificable to attack abortion clinics (or anything else) with bombs and guns?

In which planet do liberals call Americans who support military invasions of countries, such as Iraq, that have not even attacked the US, as 'traitors'?

8:28 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

A8:28,

Mark lives on our planet. I can vouch for this.

I agree with your perspective, but please address my friends in a friendly tone. He'll do the same. Thanks.

10:19 AM  

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