Conservative columnist, David Brooks once pointed out that the Internet has had the net effect of not bringing us closer together, but rather, driving us further apart. By allowing individuals to coalesce into narrower, self-reinforcing groups – based on political, ideological, religious or regional sentiments – the Internet has created a society that is characterized by many separate groups where communication is largely within and between group members. Brooks went on to say that one could get up and watch Fox News from dawn to dusk, read conservative newspapers or magazines and listen to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity on talk radio and thus, never come across a competing idea all day. Likewise, the same sort of thing happens amongst the denizens of the left. It reminds me of a comment made by Norman Mailer after the Bush victory in 2004: “How could Bush have won, I don’t know anyone who voted for him.” Mailer was reflecting the fact that as a resident of New York City, one of the Bluest in America, you would never find a Bush supporter, unless you deliberately left the insularity of your own social group.
That brings me to the point of this piece. Many of us who utilize the blogs to traffic in political thought tend to stay on those blogs that are user friendly. We tend to blog on those sites that are supportive of the ideas we ourselves promote and favor. At the same time there are those on the far right who are doing the same thing, peddling their ideas or attacks against the current administration and Progressive ideas in general. These attacks on the very essence of Progressive thought go largely unchallenged with no more than a handful of stalwart progressives waging a counterattack and enduring a tremendous amount of vitriol and abuse in the process. Thus it is time for us to sally forth and bring the battle to the opponent’s home turf. Anyone who has had a peek at the latest trio of reports from the Southern Poverty Law Center knows full well just how violent the rhetoric on the right has become. All one need do is to look at the attacks against those who voted for health care or consider the case of the Hutaree Militia as proof positive that things are getting more confrontational and vicious.
I regularly dust it up with the wing nuts on TownHall.com but there are also several others like AmericanThinker.com; Human Events, and RedState.com to name just a few.
It would be great if we could get some help battling lies and misinformation on these sites and others like them. Townhall.com in particular is easy to deal with, as they don’t restrict your participation unless you engage in bona-fide hate speech. AmericanThinker.com screens your input and RedState.com will redact your comments if they don’t agree with you. I had an article dispelling the lies on health care redacted and I have since been barred from this site so you may only be able to get one shot at them and then you are done. If you’re up for the fight, and you ought to be, considering the stakes, the links are below.
We just fought and won some semblance of a health care reform program and there are plenty of other important battles ahead. As Progressives we need to learn how to throw a punch, figuratively, and stop being seen as a bunch of kumbaya signing pushovers who let the right push us around. My advice to you is the same that Stonewall Jackson gave a group of cadets at the outset of the Civil War. When asked just how bad he expected things to get he replied: “If I were you I would draw my sword and throw away the scabbard.”
Steven J. Gulitti
April 11th, 2010
Rage on the Right
The Year in Hate and Extremism
Fear of FEMA
Midwifing the Militias – Resurgence of the Patriot Movement.