Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Aravosis - Limbaugh of the Left

I have two related confessions to make. First, as a child I read, listened, and watched Rush Limbaugh religiously. Then I realized Limbaugh was a divisive, ignorant, and arrogant bastard. Second, there was a time when I read AmericaBLOG religiously. But over time I came to realize that its creator, John Aravosis, shares the three aforementioned adjectives with Limbaugh.

Let me state right out the outset, I am keenly aware that his blog has readership in the hundreds of thousands while this blog has a readership of oh, say, 8? Fine. But to what lows of decency has Aravosis fallen in doing so? Let's take a look at one of his commentaries today, attacking comments by Newt Gingrich:

"Go to Russia or Tehran if you hate freedom this much. I have had it with Republicans who hate America, who hate our freedoms, who hate what this country stands for, and who think that the only way to save our freedoms from the terrorists is for us to destroy those freedoms first. Honestly, how do these scaredy-cat, quaking-in-their-boots, America-haters even dare call themselves patriotic Americans? They are terrified of their own shadow, these Republicans."

Look, Gingrich is dead wrong in suggesting we need a 'different set of rules' regarding freedom of speech in the modern era. I agree that such a notion is ill-founded and would cut away at the core values of our nation. But I wholeheartedly disagree that to espouse such views is tantamount to hating America, being unpatriotic, or even hating our freedoms. Indeed, through his choice of terms, Aravosis invokes the conservative frame of terrorists, not-so-subtly implying Republicans are the equivalents of terrorists. EVERY progressive should know how dastardly and unjust these charges are.

Most every American, the staunchest of the neo-conservatives included, wants what is best for this country. We often have profound differences of opinion on what that looks like and how to get there; we will often have sharply contrasting understandings of the freedoms we all share and desire. We will argue, fight, and struggle until the end of times over these questions. This is good, this is healthy; democracy requires such a struggle. So Newt espouses views with which I completely disagree. Fine, nothing new there. And we musn't remain silent in the face of proposals that would effectively curtail the freedoms we hold most dear; we are not even required to play nice. What we cannot countenance, however, are resorts to attacks on one another's patriotism, much less calling one another terrorists.

Perhaps Aravosis seeks to be ironic, slinging back the same allegations we have faced, but the time for that has long-since come and gone, if it ever existed in the first place.

(For more examples of Aravosis's intolerance, see almost any post of his)

As progressives, we do not win through intimidation, we do not win condescension. We win through conveying our values through vigorous, open, and honest debate (and great marketing).

1 comment:

Alex Kim said...

Thank you Karl. Beautiful.