2017-10-12 / Opinion

You’re right!

Each year, the celebrated New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd offers her column space for one week to her brother, Kevin. Ms. Dowd is widely regarded as a “liberal,” the only one in her family. Kevin, she says, is an educated, suburban supporter of Donald Trump. In that tradition, I’ve offered my column space this week to my sister, Karen, a Coloradoan and (in years past) occasional Florida visitor who is not an educated, suburban supporter of Donald Trump. But she is educated. Here’s what she wrote.

Can I be honest? I’ve had it. I’m completely fed up. For 12 months now squishy, mushy liberals have been wiggling around in the mud, wracking their brains in an attempt to understand and explain what’s been happening. I’ve heard dozens of them: journalists, commentators, philosophers, civic leaders, brilliant orators. They’ve become bottom-dwellers, full of “if onlys.”

If only we could figure out a way to explain. If only we could articulate more clearly. Maybe we need to present more facts. Possibly another historical analysis would be helpful.

At this point I’m exhausted. I would think all of those bright liberals would be, too. Who are they kidding? Do they really think their arguments are making a difference? Are they just tongue-tied at this point? Shocked? Gob-smacked?

Here’s what I think. I think it’s hopeless. I think there have been too many months of explanations, and too many feeble or even robust arguments presented in an effort to be sincere and/or play fair. I think it was over before it started. I think it’s pointless and fruitless.

I think the 35 percent know exactly what they’re doing.

Here’s the thing: People aren’t all good or all bad. They’re complicated, and they often make decisions knowing just what they’re doing, even if they don’t choose to admit it.

Does anyone really think that 35 percent of Americans don’t understand it’s wrong to exhibit ugly racist behavior? Of course they know. And for some horrible, despicable reason they think it is now justified.

Are there any arguments that can possibly justify the abominable treatment of women in the workplace, in the home, in the realm of reproductive health or anywhere else? Of course not. It’s wrong. We don’t need to think of new, clever, more articulate arguments explaining why. The 35 percent already know: IT’S NOT OK. Don’t bother trying to argue. They know it already. But for some reason they think they’ve now been given license.

Do we really think anyone doesn’t understand we ought to be protecting the Earth and not destroying the Everglades or the animals or the oceans or the air? I don’t believe that. I think, by this point, everyone gets it. And those politicians and business leaders who continue to make decisions that favor the powerful and the moneyed are selfishly putting themselves and their pocketbooks ahead of our future on the Earth. So don’t bother with any more erstwhile arguments in an attempt to explain more clearly what everyone already knows. Let’s just be honest.

And you in the 35 percent — you know what you’re doing. You know it’s wrong. You think, because there is currently an awful human being or two in the White House, that you’ve been given permission to be a despicable racist or a women-hater or a rapist of our Earth.

I say to all those soft-hearted, verbose liberals: STOP NOW. Stop trying to be understanding.

Stop trying to calmly argue or to use “sweet reason.” Just tell the truth. Yes, lay out the facts. But hold to a higher standard. Be tougher. Be absolute.

Because it is not OK to exhibit behavior that is cruel and inhumane. Never. And no one, no leader, no entertainer, not even a family member, can ever make that behavior OK by modeling it.

So from now on when you come across one of those people who argues for cruelty, abuse or destruction in the name of freedom, religion or individual rights, don’t waste your time inventing a credible argument to help educate them, to show them how to be a better person and a steward of the Earth.

Instead, just try these on for size:

¦ Racism is cruel and unacceptable. It’s wrong.

¦ Women must be treated with equality and respect. Anything else is wrong.

¦ If we put personal greed ahead of preservation of the Earth, we will harm the planet forever. That’s wrong.

Come on, squishy liberals. You’re right, whether you’re left or not.

Get tougher and smarter about it. ¦

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