2011/05/02

Response to letter in DelCo Times

I submitted this comment to the DelCo Times in response to a letter there, but several hours later, it still hasn't been posted. Here it is anyway:


I was out of town when my letter was published on April 18th, but feel that I am obliged to respond to the latest from Margaret Kane. First off, someone asked me what a “progressive” was as opposed to a “liberal.” Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is a liberal while Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) is a progressive. Ideologically, they're very similar, but Schakowsky and Durbin were both members of the “Cat Food Commission” (Officially, the “Deficit Commission,” or “Bowles-Simpson”) but Schakowsky quit in disgust, denounced the group and produced her own (much better) deficit-reduction plan as the other members clearly just wanted to punish all non-millionaires for not being millionaires. Durbin voted for the Commission's recommendations, pathetically mewling that he had to maintain credibility with the hard-core Republicans in the group. Today, Durbin is further disgracing himself by remaining with the “Gang of Six,” even though the Republicans in the group have said “No way, no how, ain't gonna happen” to any sort of tax increase.
So essentially, liberals are wimpier versions of progressives.
As a progressive, I absolutely and unequivocally denounce JimmyG's comment that he desires the death of Sarah Palin. Back during the Bush-Cheney years, we progressives made it a point that “I oppose the death penalty so much, I wouldn't even apply to Bush or Cheney.” Even with all of the evil those guys performed, we still didn't want to call for their deaths. We wanted people to oppose the Bush-Cheney policies and not Bush and Cheney as people.
As to Kane's essential point, that “both sides do it” and that progressives and right-wingers are equally bad in calling for violence against their opponents, this is what we call a “false equivalence.” The examples have some elements in common, but they're simply not the same. The reporter/blogger David Neiwert has documented a rising tide of right-wing violence that simply has no equivalence on the left.
And yes, Sarah Palin was contributing to increasingly violent language in politics with her “target” map and richly deserved to be denounced for it. Was she the one and only example? Not at all, but she was an especially high-profile target for critics as her map was especially irresponsible in normalizing talk of violence in politics.

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