My turn from left to right began with the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas debacle, and Captain Ed does a great job of demonstrating in this post exactly how despicable and underhanded was the behavior of the left in that circumstance.
Ed has been writing about Clarence Thomas for several days now, and all of his posts are worth reading, but do read that first one I’ve linked to, because I remember watching that exchange and becoming more and more frustrated by what I saw members of my party doing. I remember watching this “high-tech lynching” and knowing that Thomas was correct; that was exactly what it was. I remember people testifying on behalf of Thomas and both the press and the congress simply dismissing them (in much the same way Democrats dismissed Gen. David Petraeus, recently) before they’d opened their mouths. I remember the whole sense of bared-teeth salivation coming from my party, and I remember thinking, “wait…this isn’t right…” It was like a coming of age.
I remember reading my local newspaper and finally canceling it, because the writing had clearly and distinctly moved from “reportage” to “propaganda” in the space of what seemed like a few weeks. When I called to cancel the subscription they asked why and I told them pretty much this: “I’m very interested in these hearings, and I look to the paper for information and instead I’m being served something very different from what my own eyes are seeing, what my own brain is receiving. Instead of unbiased information that allows me to decide for myself, I’m getting something very unbalanced, and I don’t want it.”
A few hours later a woman from that newspaper actually called me up and asked me if it was true that I had canceled my subscription because of their coverage. I said yes, and she said, “you mean you actually believe him?”
I was stunned. “Yes, I do,” I said. “And I can’t believe you’re calling me like this. Your job is supposed to be about informing, not persuading.” She sputtered but by then I was hanging up.
The Clarence Thomas hearings were the beginning, for me. They were when I began to open my eyes and see something happening within my party – the Democrat party my entire family had been loyal to for as long as I could remember – that I really did not like.
I didn’t leave the left just then. But I started paying more attention to everything, and trusting the press and my own party a bit less…then a bit less…then a bit less. When it got to the point where I felt I was no longer allowed to dissent from the “Democratic position” without being thought of as a “bad person,” when it began to feel like I was simply supposed to “fall in line,” and parrot the party, when I began to feel completely disrespected by other Democrats for daring to think for myself and form my own opinions, (when I was essentially made to feel that I was not entitled to those opinions or to full respect for them), and when it became clear to me that the word “liberal” no longer meant “open-minded, respectful and broad” but quite the opposite, that’s when I finally left the left.
I’ve been trying to balance myself, ever since. For a little while, I believe I may have gone too far right in an over-correction, but that was another uncomfortable fit and not where I wanted to be, either. There are plenty of folks on the right who are as interested in a lockstep mentality as there are on the left, and nastiness abounds on both sides, so I’ve recently found myself stepping more and more toward the center and marching to my own drum. I keep thinking back to Abraham Lincoln’s important words, which I quoted here:
Organized anger on either side leaves the masses ripe for manipulation. Matters are much too serious – throughout the world and in our country – to allow emotionalism to seize and carry the day. I think Abraham Lincoln said something like that, back in the day:
“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.” Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.
“We must disenthrall ourselves…” That means moving beyond all the sputtering rage, to clear thinking and problem-solving rendered with respectful tongues and open minds.
We really must get ahold of our emotions and not allow them to replace reason when it comes to the future of our nation. Having said that – as much as I am now trying to step to my own drum, I can echo to you what Ronald Reagan said: I did not leave the Democrat party; it left me. And these Clarence Thomas hearings were the start of it.
Frankly, watching the Democrats do this incredible, manufactured smear job on Rush Limbaugh (of whom I have more than once written I am not a fan) tells me I’m well out of it, too. This “scorched earth” policy which the Clinton’s brought to the fore during the Clinton 42 campaigns is ruthless and shameless, and it is intellectually so dishonest as to be embarrassing. And the tit-for-tat “oh, you didn’t like the Petraeus ad, but Rush did it too,” mentality is remarkably idiotic; the Petraeus ad was a planned and thought-out slander; the “phony soldiers” remark was a spontaneous moment of a conversation – a simple brain/mouth shortcut that delivered imprecise language, such as we are all capable of delivering at times. And the Democrats are revealing something incredibly ugly about the state of that party as they go about trying to make something huge out of something small, something real out of something not real.
The Democrats are revealing that they are not serious about real issues, anymore; they’re only serious about winning elections, consolidating power and destroying identified enemies who – incredibly – are all domestic.
As they try to crack down on dissent both within and without the party (is there any dissent anymore, within the Democrat party? Is there a dissenting Democrat who dares to do so, in the press? In the Congress? On the blogs?), and within alternative media, they’re actually getting a little scary, to me.
Taranto has a must-read on Thomas and those hearings.
Btw, I just ordered my copy of My Grandfather’s Son, by Clarence Thomas, last night.