April 12, 2018

Believe it or not, today’s “must-read” op-ed is by Sally Kohn, a liberal activist and CNN commentator. But she’s written something pretty remarkable and quite laudable, and that is likely to get her ostracized and cursed by many of her liberal friends. I apologize in advance if my defense of her makes that worse.

Ms Kohn did something that very few of the current partisan poison-spitters do: she spent several years getting to know people on the other side, as a regular guest on Fox News. I suspect most liberals who foam at the mouth over “Faux News” (they think repeating that for the 400 millionth time is witty) have never even spent several minutes watching it. Her Fox News gig forced her to do something that precious few people on either extreme side of the partisan gulch ever do: meet, talk with and actually get to know people who think differently from her.

What she discovered is that it is actually possible for someone to hold an opposing opinion on policy issues yet not be a hateful, angry, sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic deplorable (if Hillary Clinton reads one op-ed by a liberal writer today, please, Lord, let it be this one.) Maybe they’re perfectly nice, intelligent people who just see things differently from you. Kohn cites as an example her Aunt Lucy, a conservative Republican who lives in “flyover country” and watches Fox News, and who is also an intelligent, informed, curious, decent, kind person who loves her family and is completely accepting of Ms Kohn’s same-sex partner.

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From this point on, much of the article is a primer for liberals on how to argue with conservatives without being combative or insulting (I hate to say it, but it’s still pretty condescending.) Anyway, I have a feeling many liberals might have a hard time sticking to it, particularly once they discover that swaying conservatives isn’t like horse-whispering: most are perfectly capable of countering liberal arguments with logic and evidence, just as I would refute her example, an assertion that “comprehensive immigration reform actually raises wages and working standards for immigrant and citizen workers.” But I don’t want to get sidetracked into that debate here. The point at hand is that a liberal is actually telling fellow liberals that conservatives are not necessarily drooling, Nazi monsters – and in Time magazine, yet! That alone deserves applause and encouragement.

Incidentally, I want to make an observation about her mention of the stunning difference between the nice conservatives she knew at Fox News and the angry conservatives who sent her vicious messages on the Internet (Lesson to remember, fellow conservatives: You seldom convince someone you’re right when you start off with “You’re an idiot!”) That’s partially a symptom of our deep partisan divide, but I think it’s mostly a result of what I call “anti-social media.”

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The Internet has allowed people with extreme views to find and talk only to each other while blocking anyone with differing views until they self-select into little cliques of radical intolerance. The bubble-bred reinforcement and relative anonymity of the Internet have emboldened people to say things online (profanity, personal insults, even violent threats against the President and others) that they would never dare say to someone’s face – either out of politeness, awkwardness, or more likely, a fear of getting punched in the nose.

We see this ugly trend not only in politics but other controversial areas, such as religion. Atheists who used to adopt a stance of calm, polite rationality to avoid alienating people now routinely lob insults, playground taunts and tired, juvenile clichés like “flying spaghetti monster” at all religious believers. This kind of childish bullying convinces nobody of anything, other than that the Internet has spawned a whole new meaning for the Biblical phrase, “jawbone of an ass.”


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Comments 1-9 of 9

  • Stephen Russell

    04/13/2018 11:54 AM

    Wow a Rare open minded Leftist? Very rare species we see here.
    How many more among the Joe Dem Voters for DNC among those ranks??
    & or how many in Mgmt ranks in Leftist groups.
    Wow Open to ideas Leftist.
    Beats Narrow minded colleges & Indoc teachings.

  • Jason Wert

    04/12/2018 08:18 PM

    Rex is correct in his comment that many bigots hide behind the label of "liberal" to mask their hatred, intolerance and bigotry. They made support "liberal" ideas but things like we've seen with David Hogg wanting to destroy the careers of conservative commentators and the people who went after writer Kevin Williamson for being pro-life and calling abortion murder is starting to be commonplace.

    While I applaud Ms. Kohn for writing what she did, I will be impressed when I see her on CNN calling out the bigots hiding behind the liberal label for their bigoted behavior. When I see that, then I will truly believe she's wanting more civil discourse.

  • Rex Horwood

    04/12/2018 05:25 PM

    The problem with most Liberals is that they are not liberal and maybe this article will help educate them. As they all should know a Liberal should be willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one's own and be open to new ideas. Obviously Ms Kohn only became Liberal after she worked at Fox News. Nowadays most people who call themselves Liberals are not, in fact they are bigots, a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions. It does seem that a lack of education plus not socialising with people who have opposing views is the problem.

  • Vickie Fiorentino

    04/12/2018 02:27 PM

    Excellent article; will still never understand why a persons who shoots and kills a pregnant woman is charged with 2 counts of murder, but it is acceptable for the woman to kill the child herself. Or, just because I choose to lover everyone, but disagree with them on various forums, that I am all those horrible things they usually call conservatives.

  • Brenda Turner

    04/12/2018 02:08 PM

    Yes it got condescending after the Aunt Lucy..."let me give you 3 facts", after that it became condescending "how to handle a rotting pile of poop" or whatever she called us. I like "deplorable", those characterization I hated.

  • Raymond Purdy

    04/12/2018 01:51 PM

    Right on she was!

  • Pamela Moreau

    04/12/2018 01:01 PM

    I really liked the article. I had to think along time how I would put the ABC process to work. My mouth moves faster than my brain. Practice, practice, practice. I have lost only a few friends and alienated 2 family members but we still email. You know what I miss most? My very liberal friend with the cat videos on Facebook but the Women's March with the vagina suits (sorry for the vulgarity) did us in. Thank you for posting the article Mr. Huckabee.

  • Lisa Clore

    04/12/2018 12:53 PM

    Thank you for sharing that. I am a conservative and I agree with her about the need to be civil no matter what our views are.

  • Joyce R Hill

    04/12/2018 12:40 PM

    Interesting read. Perhaps this reflects a glimpse of sanity and/or a ray of hope that we are realizing that we are related to each other through citizenship in this country and that we can agree to disagree without flying into name calling and get on with our lives. Definitely something to seek the Lord's wisdom and mercy in prayer for all of us.