Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Anguishing Over Andrew

There has been much talk over the last few days on the reasonableness of Andrew Sullivan. A couple of days ago Andrew reacted to a U.S. military man helping tsunami vitims. The soldier said he much rather help these people than killing someone in a war, to which Andrew gave the response "Earth to Whitsett: You're A Soldier." Nice. Clearly he crossed a line, but some at Atrios' site tried to stick up for him as reasonable, to which Atrios reminds us to never forget that Andrew was "one of the earliest adopters of the idea that the most appropriate response to September 11 was to figure how to to use it to pit American against American" when Andrew said:
The terrorists have done the rest. The middle part of the country - the great red zone that voted for Bush - is clearly ready for war. The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead - and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column....

But we might as well be aware of the enemy within the West itself - a paralyzing, pseudo-clever, morally nihilist fifth column that will surely ramp up its hatred in the days and months ahead.
Digby then echoes the outrage by reminding Andrew of a fairly famous quote:
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron." --Dwight Eisenhower 1953 speech
But James Wolcott provides some enlightening insight to that "cwazy mixed-up kid":
He's a gay British Catholic Tory conservative "eagle" who deplores the etiolated patriotism and willpower of the coastal elites but resides in the blue lagoons of Washington, DC and Provincetown. His sympathies keeps tugging him in so many different directions that he intellectually resembles Steve Martin in All of Me, herkily-jerkily battling with himself as if being yanked by an invisible leash. (Read his graf today about the nomination of Albert Gonzalez for A.G. and watch him tug himself back and forth.) Sullivan seemed to take forever to recognize what was apparent to the statues on Easter Island statues, that the Republican Party is hostile to gay marriage and gay identity, eager to support homophobia for political gain, and that the only gays it's comfortable with are white men and women who look like wedding-cake couples and stay discreetly in the closet. He kept holding out hope that because Bush, based on anecdotal evidence, was personally comfortable with gay people, he wouldn't push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Then came the inevitable disappointment. One by one the inevitable disappointments succeed one another, like a line of tumbling dominos, and each day Sullivan returns to his little fort, ready to give the Bushies the benefit of the doubt yet again.
Of those I typically disagree with, Andrew Sullivan is by far my favorite blogger. Sure, part of the reason is we do agree on so much; I certainly support him on gay rights where he is actually more aggressive than I. (I find the word "marriage" completely negotiable as long as actual legal rights are granted to gay couples.) Actually, he is more aggressive than me on everything, which is both part of the charm and the outrage.

But the main reason I read his blog isn't that Andrew is reasonable per-se, but he is non-partisan. Despite his cheerleading for war, despite the benefit of the doubt he constantly gives Bush, despite his attacks on liberals and praise for red states, this is a guy who eventually endorsed Kerry. The eyes through which he sees the world are not my eyes so every time I read him I gain some insight, some point of view that I know he actually holds, not just some Republican talking point.

They say that a cynic is just an idealist a few years later. Andrew is still an idealist, despite everything. Gotta love him for that. And sometimes he comes through with posts like today's:
I hope you remember Irshad Manji's wonderful little book, "The Trouble With Islam." At great personal risk, this Canadian woman has taken on Islamist intolerance. And when she reports progress and hope, it gladdens the heart. Here's an email I received from her today:
Some of you haven't heard from me in a while. Please forgive the silence. I'm barely keeping up now that I don't have an assistant. But this isn't a personal update -- not exactly. It's a note of hope. At a time when disasters from the natural to the man-made are on our minds, good news seems sparse. Key word: "seems".

In the last couple of weeks, I've tried to catch up on emails received through my site (www.muslim-refusenik.com). I'm happy to report that I'm hearing far more support than hostility from Muslims around the world. Even disagreement -- of which there is plenty -- tends to be more introspective than it was a year ago...
There's hope. Thanks to heroes like Irshad. Her website is here.
Go read the letters to Irshad at Andrew's site and checkout Irshad's website as well. Ironically, it is Andrew Sullivan, more than anyone, that reminds me that fighting radical Islamic Fundamentalists is a liberal cause. But fighting need not mean war. It is only in this topsy-turvy world Bush built with his foolish war in Iraq that liberals somehow seem (to the right, at least) as on the same side the Islamic Fundamentalist that, among other things, execute women for having sex. What a topsy-turvy world it is.