I’m exhausted. The process of my radicalisation proceeds. Tonight, in the mess hall, one of my fellows was going on about the Iran situation. That led to a comment of a cynical nature, about the Gulf of Tonkin, and then my support (when I was told not to pull a Rosie O’Donnell) was to point out the problem of the “unaccounted for yellowcake from Niger” that Rice trotted out as part of our justification for the war.
Things went a tad south after that. I pointed out that his claims that no one had positively disproved that Hussein might have gotten uranium from Niger was asking to prove a negative, and the argument that, “there might be some from somewhere” could always be trotted out.
When he said the Middle East’s problems were that no one was making them get rid of Islamists, he went so far as to draw an analogy, saying that , were the Mormons to start engaging in radical behaviors, the President would jump on them, and tell them to clean up their act. He didn’t like my response, which was that no one was doing that to the Christianists here now.
He didn’t like the numbers I had on attacks on abortion clinics (and the rise of them of late), nor of the Christianists who had the sodium cyanide bombs in their car. When he said he’d not heard of that, I said he was right, because no one is willing to talk about it.
When he tried to tell me that KGO in SF was the equal of Michael Reagan, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Ann Coulter, he got another earful. He did have to admit, when pressed, that he’d not actually heard Tom “x” calling for the killing of Republicans just for being Republicans, but only after he’d compared KGO’s content to the calls of the Limbaughs and Savages encouragement of eliminating “Liberals”.
I pounded on how Beck (who was on the television) and Coulter are being paid to spout this stuff, and that while the Right is fêting them, it’s demanding the Left, repudiate the most fringe of people: The Ward Churchills who wrote things years ago, which had been ignored; as cracked, and now are, “The Voice of the Left.”
Ten years ago, I kept my mouth shut when that sort of thing came up. Five years ago I made half-hearted efforts to respond. Today, I tend to restrain myself, not injecting myself into conversations, but when they do come, I am much more aggressive than I used to be. Tonight my conversation drove him from the field. It was peaceable, his saying we’d have to agree to disagree, but he wasn’t leaving from a position of parity. He’d been bested.
It was draining. A sort of confrontation (the loss of amity in a fellow was a possibility) which I don’t care for, and try to avoid; even online I tend to allow some wiggle room to people. But I’m no longer, so it seems, giving many inches to those who tell me things about how the “left” is evil, and that there is some sort of equivalence to the rhetoric of both sides.
I’m sort of proud of it, the sense of being more willing to stand up for what I believe, of risking something personal to stake a claim. I am also saddened, that it has come to this, the point I can’t just assume that some silly thing is mostly harmless, and let it slide, instead of coming back to my computer with a sense of frustration and adrenaline.