Monday, June 28, 2010

How people view you depends on how you react when a political opponent suffers

In reply to: Cassy Fiano - BREAKING: Senator Robert Byrd dead at 92; conservative blogosphere reacts, and in particular this comment (#3), from Morgan K Freeberg, who says:

I’m sure you realize that if a reader works hard enough, throwing Sen. Byrd’s ancient words into his face could be construed as “mean spirited.” By “could be,” of course, what I really mean is it’s definitely gonna happen.

So just for sake of contrast: You’ll recall former Vice President Dick Cheney was “complaining of discomfort.” Apologies in advance for comparing you to them, Cassy, but here’s the FARK thread where the witty-edgy-college-dorm-set reacts to the news.

Personally, I think the back-and-forth arguments over which side has a monopoly on wonderful-decent-people, and which side is bogged down with slimy awful terrible sleazebag people, is a stupid distraction; decent wonderful people come up with stupid ideas all the time. But the biased editorializing fascinates me, and the minute someone conservative says something less than flattering about Sen. Byrd I know I’m going to be buried in the coverage of it whether I wish it or not. So it’s a productive exercise to skim through the “progressive” comments about Cheney, to maintain a sense of perspective.

Regarding Byrd, best wishes to his family. And the harshest thing I’ll say about him is, since he was known to have so much concern over how much dignity or discredit was being brought to the Senate by this-or-that thing, retiring at about age 80 might’ve been a good move for him. Rest in peace.

Another way of looking it it, Morgan, is that there are both classy people and assholes all along the political spectrum. Perhaps whether people see you personally as classy or as an asshole isn't a function of where your politics lie, but what you do and say when a person with whom you disagree politically suffers or dies. One thing that I'm sure of, is this "team" mentality (We're all "wonderful decent people," and they're all "slimy awful terrible sleazebag people") isn't serving anyone well. Both kinds of people (and everything in between) appear in both camps. If we was smarter, we'd attack the individuals who misbehave, rather than pretending that the worst among 'em represent all of "them," and the best among us represent all of "us." It's useless fiction.

I take issue with those who're attacking Senator Byrd before the body is cold not because they're conservatives, but because they're nasty people who're doing something I find kinda distasteful and inhumane to the people who loved the guy. I feel the same about your "FARK on Cheney" folks, too... Anyone who can't wait until after the mourners have left the gravesite before ripping into the memory of the deceased is kinda goulish, in my humble... YMMV...

I don't know whether or not Cassy Fiano moderates her blog, but hitting "submit" made my comment disappear, and so far, it remains unpublished...

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