BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
Carrie Prejean: Are Progressives Becoming as Intolerant as Conservatives?
I've always been proud to consider myself a progressive, because being a progressive meant that I was open-minded, willing to assess every issue on its own merit, and I'm tolerant of varying points of view. But it seems that many of today's "progressives" have corrupted the term. Though many of these people call themselves progressives, they are not progressive thinkers–they are progressive in name only. Over the years they seem to have somehow lost their way, and as a result, have managed to redefined the term "progressive" to simply mean, not conservative.
A case in point is the unconscionable way in which the so-called progressive community has demonized Carrie Prejean after she indicated, almost apologetically during the Miss America Pageant, that she thought marriage should be between a man and a woman. Why in the world did she say that?!! Thereafter, she was called a bitch, seminude photos of her have been posted on the Internet, and she's been generally, dragged through the mud. It is unbelievable that people who call themselves progressive could do that to that young woman.
While I 'm in total disagreement with her views on same-sex marriage, those are her views, and she has every right to them. She didn't try to shove her point of view down America's throat; she was specifically asked whether SHE thought same-sex marriage should be legalized. And she and she responded– quite honestly, diplomatically, and in my opinion, quite courageously, that she didn't. Then the judge, Perez, I think his name was, taped a video on Youtube calling her "a dumb bitch." So I ask you, what kind of progressive thinker can take the position that a person doesn't have a right to their own views? Perez even went so far as to dictate how Ms. Prejean SHOULD have answered the question. Who the Hell is he to tell a person what they should think?
People like, Perez, is more damaging to their cause than they are helpful, because in many cases, it's not the issue that people are against, they just don't like the people who represent the issue. I agree with Perez on this issue, but I don't like him. So if I was on the fence regarding same-sex marriage, I'd vote against it–not against the issue, but against him, and I'm certain that many progressive issues are being voted down for that very reason.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines a progressive as "A person who actively favors or strives for progress toward better conditions, as in society or government." Granted, Ms. Prejean's attitude toward same-sex marriage is far less than progressive, but she never claimed to be a progressive. She said she was a Christian, so there's nothing unusual for her to adhere to a belief system that she's been taught all of her life. On the other hand, however, for so-called progressives to denigrate this young lady as though she doesn't have a right to her private opinion, nor religious beliefs, is far more destructive to society and backward thinking, than anything that she's ever publicly uttered, at least to my knowledge--and such a position is certainly not a progressive point of view.
Many of the people who call themselves progressives today seem to have been infected by what old-school progressives considered their most ardent foe and the most pernicious bane on society--intolerance. It's no longer good enough to say that gays and lesbians should be afforded equal rights and be allowed to marry like anyone else in our society, now it is required that everyone must enthusiastically embrace that position–in spite of their religious beliefs, and even in their private thoughts. And it's no longer good enough to say that women deserve equal rights in the workplace, now, any woman who chooses to be a full-time mother and homemaker is considered a turncoat to the feminist movement, and "unenlightened."
And please don't let a woman use her femininity in the workplace to get ahead–just as men use their masculinity on a daily basis–she's immediately demonized. In fact, I'm virtually certain that Ms. Prejean's feminine beauty is playing a large part in her demonization. And the irony is, such demonization is often led by other women. Due to our leftist indoctrination, they fail to realize that's the very worst kind of sexual discrimination. They've allowed themselves to be convinced that the only way a woman can truly validate herself as being a worthy individual is to prove that she can be just like a man. A similar mindset is reflected in the Black community. Many Blacks feel like the only way that they can validate themselves is by proving how "White" they can be. Both assumptions are silly, premised on backward thinking, and are highly derogatory to what it means to be a woman, and/or, a Black person. Both President and First Lady Obama are excellent examples of the fact that you have to abandon neither your heritage nor your femininity to embrace excellence.
Thus, in this progressive's opinion, such thinking is the very height of ignorance. In fact, it's laying the groundwork for a new kind of latter-day conservatism. After all, it is not so much what Rush Limbaugh and the GOP leadership think that is so insidious, it's their belief that no one should be allowed to disagree with them. And any so-called progressives who share that mindset not only validate Limbaugh's point of view, but are in fact, conservatives themselves. The only difference between them and Limbaugh is that they're conservative regarding a different set of issues. They even share the conservative trait of hypocrisy.
A true progressive recognizes that the most important characteristic of any free and viable society is tolerance. They clearly understand that the only difference between the old U.S.S.R. and Nazi Germany was one was led by lift-wing radicals and the other by right-wing reactionaries. But in spite of that, they had more in common than they had that set them apart–they were both dictatorships, they were both oppressive, and like every dictatorship, they were both intolerant of individual beliefs.
The very same dynamic is at work, though to a much lesser degree, in this country. Thus, progressives must always remain cognizant of the fact that we corner the market on neither wisdom, intellect, nor morality. Therefore, once we begin to give priority to dogma over independent thought, we cease being progressives, and become just another group of fanatical wingnuts--like Perez Hilton.
Eric L. Wattree
A moderate is one who embraces truth over ideology, and reason over conflict.