MoDo's excellent adventure

Isn't the op—ed page of the New York Times just the best?

The other day, its star columnist, sudden camera—hog, and world's oldest gossipy high schooler, Maureen Dowd, weighed in with her take on the results of the presidential election:

The president got re—elected by dividing the country along fault lines of fear, intolerance, ignorance and religious rule. He doesn't want to heal rifts; he wants to bring any riffraff who disagree to heel. W. ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq — drawing a devoted flock of evangelicals, or "values voters," as they call themselves, to the polls by opposing abortion, suffocating stem cell research and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

Leaving aside the typical leftist sneering (though most would argue that a jihad these days involves cutting off heads and crashing hijacked airplanes into buildings, not being introduced by Lynn Swann and Curt Schilling at rallies in Pennsylvania), her analysis is as instructive as it is trite. Many in the mainstream media — Dowd very prominently among them — have concluded that the election was once again a tie, with the notable exception of the stark—raving mad, gay—hating, bigoted, intolerant white Christian evangelicals whose secret 700 Club decoder rings signaled them to rise simultaneously and vote for President Bush on November 2, delivering him victory and a second term.

It's time for the Times to give their bright shining star some on—the—job retraining. Dowd needs to be voted off of the sheltered island upon which she lives, and get out and talk to the nation she thinks she knows so much about. Her newspaper colleague Paul Krugman is currently on something called 'book leave,' so Dowd could similarly be put on 'education leave.'

For two or three months, Dowd should travel to the 'red areas' of the nation, otherwise known as the place where nobody cares if you aren't carrying a Kate Spade bag. She could spend time just talking to and living among average voters — all without writing a piece for the Times. Mo will no doubt learn that out here in the sticks we have these new—fangled things called televisions, and if ya' hook a cable up to 'em, by gosh, you can get the news, sports, weather, and everything else of the world right there in the family room. Same with them thar computers sittin' by the butter churner. Once she returns to New York, perhaps Dowd will have some new perspectives, a better understanding, and a more interesting column to read.

Dowd could start her sojourn in Michigan and speak with some Iraqi immigrants whose cousins were tortured and murdered by Saddam Hussein. She could talk to people in Macomb County who voted for the President and against the state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. They could explain the complexities of supporting the President's overall agenda while simultaneously thinking social issues don't have a place in constitutional amendments. Assuming this sort of nuance among the rubes does not literally blow her mind, Dowd could move south to Ohio, and talk to people who realize that the President can not give people their jobs back by waving a magic wand and making false promises, and who are savvy enough to realize that in the history of mankind, there has been exactly one Boston Brahmin who ever uttered the words 'I'd like to git me a huntin' license.'

Maybe Maureen could then travel to Iowa or Nebraska and talk to a farmer who drives a super duty pickup truck not for the purposes of destroying that bothersome ozone layer, but to actually haul feed for her dairy cows so that the trust—fund kid wearing the Che Guevara t—shirt can get his venti Brazil Ipanema at Starbucks with a dollop of foamed milk. Perhaps in Kentucky she will run into the gay cousin of a soldier killed in Iraq, who realizes the President is interested in rounding up al Qaeda, not homosexuals.

Dowd can drive her rented American—made car through the Georgia night and talk with some of the ever—growing number of African Americans who live in gorgeous houses in the suburbs of Atlanta. They can tell her about becoming sick and tired of waiting on the Democratic Party's condescending slivers of pie before deciding to make their own pies. They could explain voting for a man who values what small business contributes to America, and who wants a tax code that won't waste their valuable time. Then Mo can head down to Miami and talk to some folks who can tell her firsthand what a dictatorial regime really looks, feels, and smells like. And somewhere along the way she should speak to a few of the one—in—four Jewish voters who cast their votes for the President, free to speak their minds because they don't live in Manhattan.

There are so many places for Dowd to go and so many people with whom to talk. Slowly, but surely, perhaps, she'll realize that supporters of the President come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and perspective. Yes, many Christians support the President because of his beliefs, but there is no 'jihad,' and there is no modern—day Crusade at work here. There are plenty of Christians who voted for John Kerry. But there is wide support for a man who stands up to evil and calls it such, and who defines values a little more broadly than the New York Times wishes he did. Perhaps when Maureen returns to her office to tap out out that first column following her trip, surrounded by the creature comforts of her island, she will have come to understand what diversity really means.

Matt May is a freelance writer and can be reached at matthewtmay@yahoo.com

Isn't the op—ed page of the New York Times just the best?

The other day, its star columnist, sudden camera—hog, and world's oldest gossipy high schooler, Maureen Dowd, weighed in with her take on the results of the presidential election:

The president got re—elected by dividing the country along fault lines of fear, intolerance, ignorance and religious rule. He doesn't want to heal rifts; he wants to bring any riffraff who disagree to heel. W. ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq — drawing a devoted flock of evangelicals, or "values voters," as they call themselves, to the polls by opposing abortion, suffocating stem cell research and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

Leaving aside the typical leftist sneering (though most would argue that a jihad these days involves cutting off heads and crashing hijacked airplanes into buildings, not being introduced by Lynn Swann and Curt Schilling at rallies in Pennsylvania), her analysis is as instructive as it is trite. Many in the mainstream media — Dowd very prominently among them — have concluded that the election was once again a tie, with the notable exception of the stark—raving mad, gay—hating, bigoted, intolerant white Christian evangelicals whose secret 700 Club decoder rings signaled them to rise simultaneously and vote for President Bush on November 2, delivering him victory and a second term.

It's time for the Times to give their bright shining star some on—the—job retraining. Dowd needs to be voted off of the sheltered island upon which she lives, and get out and talk to the nation she thinks she knows so much about. Her newspaper colleague Paul Krugman is currently on something called 'book leave,' so Dowd could similarly be put on 'education leave.'

For two or three months, Dowd should travel to the 'red areas' of the nation, otherwise known as the place where nobody cares if you aren't carrying a Kate Spade bag. She could spend time just talking to and living among average voters — all without writing a piece for the Times. Mo will no doubt learn that out here in the sticks we have these new—fangled things called televisions, and if ya' hook a cable up to 'em, by gosh, you can get the news, sports, weather, and everything else of the world right there in the family room. Same with them thar computers sittin' by the butter churner. Once she returns to New York, perhaps Dowd will have some new perspectives, a better understanding, and a more interesting column to read.

Dowd could start her sojourn in Michigan and speak with some Iraqi immigrants whose cousins were tortured and murdered by Saddam Hussein. She could talk to people in Macomb County who voted for the President and against the state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. They could explain the complexities of supporting the President's overall agenda while simultaneously thinking social issues don't have a place in constitutional amendments. Assuming this sort of nuance among the rubes does not literally blow her mind, Dowd could move south to Ohio, and talk to people who realize that the President can not give people their jobs back by waving a magic wand and making false promises, and who are savvy enough to realize that in the history of mankind, there has been exactly one Boston Brahmin who ever uttered the words 'I'd like to git me a huntin' license.'

Maybe Maureen could then travel to Iowa or Nebraska and talk to a farmer who drives a super duty pickup truck not for the purposes of destroying that bothersome ozone layer, but to actually haul feed for her dairy cows so that the trust—fund kid wearing the Che Guevara t—shirt can get his venti Brazil Ipanema at Starbucks with a dollop of foamed milk. Perhaps in Kentucky she will run into the gay cousin of a soldier killed in Iraq, who realizes the President is interested in rounding up al Qaeda, not homosexuals.

Dowd can drive her rented American—made car through the Georgia night and talk with some of the ever—growing number of African Americans who live in gorgeous houses in the suburbs of Atlanta. They can tell her about becoming sick and tired of waiting on the Democratic Party's condescending slivers of pie before deciding to make their own pies. They could explain voting for a man who values what small business contributes to America, and who wants a tax code that won't waste their valuable time. Then Mo can head down to Miami and talk to some folks who can tell her firsthand what a dictatorial regime really looks, feels, and smells like. And somewhere along the way she should speak to a few of the one—in—four Jewish voters who cast their votes for the President, free to speak their minds because they don't live in Manhattan.

There are so many places for Dowd to go and so many people with whom to talk. Slowly, but surely, perhaps, she'll realize that supporters of the President come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and perspective. Yes, many Christians support the President because of his beliefs, but there is no 'jihad,' and there is no modern—day Crusade at work here. There are plenty of Christians who voted for John Kerry. But there is wide support for a man who stands up to evil and calls it such, and who defines values a little more broadly than the New York Times wishes he did. Perhaps when Maureen returns to her office to tap out out that first column following her trip, surrounded by the creature comforts of her island, she will have come to understand what diversity really means.

Matt May is a freelance writer and can be reached at matthewtmay@yahoo.com