When Your Ideology Makes You Mean

Dennis Prager writes:

Only a fool believes that all those with whom he differs are bad people. Moreover, just about all of us live the reality — often within our own family — of knowing good and loving people with whom we strongly differ on political, religious, social and economic issues.
That said, I have come to believe that the more committed one is to leftism, the more likely one is to become meaner.
Two examples in just the past week offer compelling evidence.
Prominent left-wing commentators used the way in which Rick Santorum and his wife handled the death of one of their children to attack — make that mock — the former Pennsylvania senator.
In a lifetime of observing and participating in political debate, I have seen a lot of meanness. But one just assumes that some things — not many, just some — are off limits to political pundits and activists.
Among these few things, one has to believe, is the death of a child.
But I was wrong.
In 1996, Karen Santorum gave birth to a premature baby boy who died two hours later. After spending the night in the hospital with their baby son between them, the grieving parents brought the lifeless infant home for a brief period because, Santorum explained, it was important to them for their other children to “know they had a brother.” The Santorums didn’t want Gabriel Michael Santorum to be an abstraction to his siblings.
First, Alan Colmes on Fox News: “Once (voters) get a load of some of the crazy things he’s said and done, like taking his 2-hour-old baby who died right after childbirth home and played with it for a couple of hours so his other children would know that the child was real …”
Colmes was then interrupted by Rich Lowry: “You are mocking him. They lost a child, Alan. That’s very serious and it’s not something you should be mocking on national TV.”
Colmes’ response: “I’m not mocking the losing of the child. But what I’m saying is I think it shows a certain unusual attitude toward taking a 2-hour-baby home who died to play with his other children.”
In addition to engaging in a cheap and mean shot, Colmes simply made up the notion that the Santorums had brought the baby home for their other children “to play with.”
The next day, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer-Prize winning left-wing columnist for The Washington Post, said on MSNBC, Santorum is “not a little weird. He’s really weird. Some of his positions he’s taken are just so weird that I think some Republicans are going to be off-put. Not everybody is going to be down, for example, with the story of how he and his wife handled the stillborn child whose body they took home to kind of sleep with and introduce to the rest of the family. It’s a very weird story.”
Four times Robinson calls Santorum “weird,” using the story about the death of the child as evidence. He was wrong on an important detail — the child was not “stillborn.” And, like Colmes, he made up a mocking detail — that they took the child home “to kind of sleep with.”
The meanness of these comments is self-evident, as Alan Colmes realized and later apologized to Santorum. Robinson, on the other hand, never apologized — as RealClearPolitics, which has no political agenda, correctly reported — even though repeatedly challenged to do so on MSNBC.
I raise these issues for only one reason: to provide further evidence of my belief that leftism makes more than a few of its adherents meaner people.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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