Sunday, June 18, 2006

Is Ann Coulter Correct?

I wrote this on an Amazon message board last night, hoping for a response that'd shed some light on this for me... So far, I haven't gotten any response at all...

In all the hubbub regarding Miss Ann & the Jersey Girls, no one yet has cogently explained the underlying point that she was trying to make. (Most who talk about these passages & her subsequent appearances--regardless of side--get stopped cold by the offensiveness of her words, but even those who try to get past "how she said it" (mostly those on her side, of course) seem to take as a given that "what she was saying"--the idea that the left is "trotting out" these women & other victims of tragedy to speak because they have a built in "shield of infalability" and thus cannot have their ideas criticized--is true.

Probably needless to say, I don't believe Miss Ann's theory of infallibility is correct, but I'm willing to listen if anyone would like to step past the rhetoric and explain it.

Here's my thoughts on this thing, so far...

Contrary to Ann's theory, these IF's (infallable folk) HAVE been criticized, both on their ideas and personally, prior to Ann's screed. Some of that criticizm has even come from the left. (I'd have to google for concrete citations, but I recall a good bit of talk when Cindy Sheehan started making statements about Israel, ferinstance.) Didn't Falafel Bill make a point of saying on his first "post-harpies" show that he "beat" Mrs. Sheehan on the facts, without resorting to the invective that Ann employs. (Of course, on the very same show, he also said he agreed with Ann's point, though not her words. I guess Bill criticized Cindy without criticizing her... ...though he neglected to explain how, then or since.)
Further, no one--not Ann, or Bill, or David Horowitz, or, well, any of the outright Coulter supporters or the "I wouldn't say it that way, but..." folks--no one has yet shown even one instance where anyone has said "You can't disagree with them, they're WIDOWS (or amputees, or the parent of a dead child), for gosh sakes!!" The way I read her words, Ann is suggesting that this sentiment is so widespread as to've silenced the rightwingers (until Ann "heroically" broke the taboo, of course), but it certainly doesn't seem so.

Ann Claims that these IF's are being "used" by the left, as though they either don't actually hold the opinions they claim to, or would not be voicing them were it not for their leftie handlers. Of course she cites nothing in the way of proof...
I believe that the Jersey Girls were profoundly affected by the murder of their husbands, and by the Bush administration's response to those murders. (It's my understanding that at least two of them were loyal Republicans who voted for Mr. Bush in 2000.) They wanted to understand exactly how this tragedy could've happened, & felt the Bush administration was resistant to finding out & telling them. All of them became less enchanted with Bush & the Republican party as a result of their experiences, and said so to anyone who would listen.
Did the left help the Jersey Girls get their message out? Sure. Did the left benefit from helping the Jersey Girls get their message out. Yes, again. I maintain that no one maliciously or wantonly used anyone, here. Both the Jersey Girls and the left at large were helping each other achieve what were often shared objectives.
Cindy Sheehan & Michael Berg started out on the left in the first place. Both were peace & justice activists before their sons were killed, and losing them only made their commitment to such things stronger. As they are already "on" the left, it's hard to say they're being used by it. The murders of their sons affected them, too, strengthening their political ideals. While I don't agree with everything they say, I'm glad they're out there speaking up.

Ann claims that her remarks are confined to these particular widows, & not 9/11 widows in general. I contend that Ann needs this to be true to somewhat mitigate the criticism she's received from the public, and particularly from other 9/11 widows. How true it actually is, depends on why Ann actually has a problem with these women. (The why is something I'm particularly fuzzy about...)
It can't be because these women "used" the murder of their husbands to attain money or fame or to advance a political position because, to whatever extent the Jersey Girls have done so, so have other 9/11 family members. A few quick examples:
Lisa Beamer wrote a book & had a hand in the movie.
Ashley Faulkner appeared in an election ad for Mr. Bush.
Debra Burlingame has repeatedly made speeches, testified before congress, and appeared on rightwing media programs advocating her political positions & beliefs.
The only thing that makes these women different from the Jersey girls is that these women have done these things in support of Bush & the Republican party.

Some have suggested that the Jersey Girls (& Cindy, Michael, ...) have no business dictating public policy, as they lack the know how. A fair point, which is why they are NOT dictating policy. Like the rightwing women above, along with MADD, Christopher Reeve, Carolyn McCarthy (before she got informed, ran for office & thus became one of those knowledgeable decisionmakers) they are advocating for a particular position, & trying to get those who DO have the requisite know how to take their positions into account.

So, what am I not getting? Am I misunderstanding Ann's point, or are there other facts about which I am not aware?

I'm really not looking for a "you suck" or "typical liberal" response... (I mean, if you really can't help yourself, go for it, but it's really not going to do much for (or to) anyone aside yourself... If that's the response you choose to give to my honest inquiries, your opinion of me isn't going to have me losing any sleep) I'm trying to get beyond "how she said it," and discuss "what she said," without inviting debate on "how I said it." I'd appreciate the same in return. Customer Discussions: Is Ann Correct? How so?

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