Friday, October 22, 2004

I get letters.

"Before I say anything, I want you to know that we are on the same side: I think Bush has been a simply terrible President, and I will certainly vote for Mr. Kerry. But sometimes too many of those who are liberals, or progressives if you prefer, are adopting the tactics of the right, using anger and invective to make a point. This is not a good idea. Aside from my discomfort at imitating such people, I think such tactics may be less than effective and may only succeed in turning people off to what you are saying." - Larry K.

Larry, ten years ago I would have agreed with you, but I honestly believe that different situations call for different tactics. As you point out, the tactics of the right-wing have been pretty low - "anger and invective," as you say. The problem is that anger and invective have succeeded in giving them the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the Presidency. Those tactics have BEEN effective. And that isn't abstract: because of it, they are able to effect public policy in a way that has a negative impact upon millions and millions of people. Because they weren't afraid to use anger and invective. If a little anger and invective - very justified anger, in my opinion - can wind up having a positive impact on millions and millions of people, I certainly think that's worth it.

And forgetting the sheer pragmatism of tactics, on a personal level I have very hard time being polite to people who are either totally delusional or lying to my face. These guys look you in the eye and justify absolutely everything this President does, no matter how transparently horrible it is. Every lie is spun away. Every error is denied and then excused. We are standing in the pouring rain listening to people who SWEAR that the sun is shining. It's not POSSIBLE to have a reasonable conversation with that. Reasonable conversation assumes that we are talking to reasonable people, and we aren't. It isn't possible for someone in the reality-based community to have an intelligent discussion with inhabitants of the fantasy-based community. At least, that's how I see it.

Thanks very much for your note.

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