May 30, 2003

A REPORTER COMES OUT OF THE CLOSET after “passing” for years. It’s a must-read. Excerpt:

The sad fact of the matter is that many progressive Democrats are intolerant and mean toward those with whom they disagree politically. Their behavior doesn’t hurt so much as amuse. I’ve been sitting at their dinner parties for two decades now, sipping Chardonnay, munching on salmon steaks, and listening to self-professed progressive thinkers talk like bigots. It makes me chuckle to think that, on average, even here in the mid-South, I probably hear 10 bigoted comments about Republicans for each time I am exposed to the “n” word. To be sure, some perspective is needed. Clearly, the many minorities in Nashville and elsewhere whose lives are daily and cruelly affected by bigotry have it worse than your average golf-playing Republican.

The profile of people who use the term “Republican” in a bigoted fashion tends to be fairly straightforward: Educated, intellectually gifted and generally thoughtful in their speech. They are the very people I sat next to in newsrooms in New York, Chicago, Tokyo and Johannesburg. They are my friends and neighbors. They are academics, lawyers, bankers and stay-at-home moms—decent, kind and sensitive people, for the most part.

But they are, and remain bigots.

Read the rest.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

Bigot is a very strong word, sir. And I would thank you to qualify your tacit endorsement of this man’s piece. I consider myself a progressive, and yes, I have little patience for the POLICIES of Republicans. So, I’m intolerant. So what. The Republican party has given and continues to give shelter to the most offensive sociopaths in American society: White Supremicists, Anti-Semites, Homophobes, Fundamentalist Christians, Pat Buchanan. This is largely why we’re so bigoted towards Republicans. If you want to label Progressives bigots, fine, I’ll accept that title. Be aware that your sitting in a glass house, and progressives aren’t in short supply of stones either.

P.S. This sort of finger-pointing reflects terribly on you, as someone whose intelligence I would like to respect.

But people are always throwing stones at me. Well, verbal ones, anyway, which don’t actually break my bones or anything.

But, you know, the lumping together of fundamentalist Christians — with whom I disaagree on a lot of things, but who are a rather diverse crowd — with white supremacists and anti-semites (actually, a lot of fundamentalists are pretty pro-semitic — remember that whole “evangelicals for Israel are running the White House” meme that people have been peddling?) seems pretty bigoted itself.

So I think the guy has a point. Any kind of speech that the hearer might find “offensive” is un-PC, unless, of course, it’s directed at those who hold un-PC beliefs. If that’s not bigotry, it’s hypocrisy of the first order, and mean-spirited hypocrisy at that. Which is close enough for me.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Geoff Matthews emails:

The funniest thing about this reader’s e-mail condemning Republicans because of their support for Buchanan is that Pat Buchanan left the Republican Party for the Reform Party (and promptly turned it into an irrelevant organization).

Heh. And Buchanan supporters are nothing if not diverse — at least as long as he’s got Justin Raimondo!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Damon Chetson observes:

Your email correspondent’s email – “Bigot is a very strong word, sir.”

Bigot is indeed a strong word. So why do some Democrats use it to describe people who simply oppose affirmative action?

Because that’s different.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Tony Adragna says it’s about partisanship and points out that there’s plenty of vitriol from the right. And that’s true — but it’s sort of like responding to the Bill Bennett gambling story by noting that Democrats, gamble, too. Bennett set himself up as a moral arbiter, which made people see what he did as hypocritical.

In the same way, Stern is remarking on how PC types who make a fetish of avoiding name-calling and stereotyping are in fact happy to do just that. Which makes them seem, well, hypocritical. And just as Bennett seemed to a lot of people to be immoral by the standards that he professed, so too do these people seem bigoted by the standards that they profess. When Bennett said “but I never condemned gambling,” it was about as persuasive as when these people say “but we never condemned this sort of thing when it was aimed at Republicans!

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