I came home the other day filled with fire and brimstone rhetoric about Rick Perry. Outraged over the injustice done to Cameron Willingham, the man wrongly executed for the deaths of his three children after Perry wantonly disregarded evidence that should have overturned his conviction. After more than a week researching the case I spun off a piece, charging Perry and those on the “Right.”
It was an emotion-laced indictment, one I felt sure any proper Progressive would be appropriately moved by. My wife, whose opinion and wisdom I place above all others sat at the computer to read the piece, as she usually does before I post. Usually supportive and not unduly critical, this time I could feel the tension building in her shoulders and knew she was struggling with the piece.
“I wouldn’t publish this,” she said simply.
I wanted to argue. Lord, how I wanted to argue!
Full of myself and the article I wanted to run through all the points of the Willingham case. I wanted to tell her how terrible for the country Perry is, and that this is a new era in which Progressives must get into the trenches and fight the invective laced smugness and irrationality coming from the other side. My head filled with FOX quotes, Perry’s position on this or that, on right-wing talking points and saving the country from a corporate coup cloaked in evangelism and nationalism. I wanted to. I really did. Instead I took a deep breath.
My heart frequently runs away with me. My wife is always the cornerstone to my sanity.
She turned, her expression pensive, as if expecting that I would bicker. “You want my honest opinion?”
“I do. ” I breathed once more. “I do.”
“It just further deepens the divisions between Right and Left, and that’s the problem. No matter how good your argument, you’ll just chase people on the other side away. They’ll tune out.”
Preaching to the choir, I believe is the saying. I agree with my wife, but to a point. It has been one of my greatest sticking points with both President Obama and fellow Progressives. Obama keeps reaching out his hand to people who throw trash in his face, which begs the question of when one throws trash back?
The other side fills the airwaves with insults, accusations of being anti-life, anti-God and anti-American. They throw cheap shots and then cry foul when someone throws a shot back, decrying themselves as persecuted. They have no intention of compromising in a nation we all share, but instead will settle for nothing less than 100% of what they demand, becoming meaner the more resistence they encounter.
Right-wing talk dominated the discussions over the Iraq War, feeding lies and half-truths about terror connections and weapons of mass destruction that we all realize now as fabrications and fantasies, which speaks to the potential damage (5000 Americans and 300,000 Iraqis killed, and a deep recession) that media dominance can do. The question becomes, how do reasonable Americans counter the rhetoric that causes so much damage? The monkey inside me would hurl trash back at those throwing it at me. Luckily that monkey was smart enough 17 years ago to marry the woman I did. I know Rick Perry doesn’t believe in evolution, but it is easy to see that what ever evolution our species has experienced women likely deserve the most credit for getting us to whatever civilization we men have yet attained.