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August 25, 2010
Beware falling into the 'Demonization' trap
Dennis Prager wrote a terrific article over at National Review Online today entitled, "Demonization and the Ground Zero Mosque." Using a multitude of examples extracted from commentary by "mainstream" proponents of the mosque, including Michael Kinsley, Andrew Sullivan, Peter Beinart, Nicholas Kristof, Keith Olbermann, and Frank Rich, Prager states the larger view that:
"Demonization of opponents is a fundamental characteristic of the Left. It is not merely tactical; they believe people on the right are bad...
A related defining characteristic of the Left is the ascribing of nefarious motives to conservatives. For the Left, a dismissal of conservatives' motives is as important as a dismissal of the conservatives as people. It is close to impossible for almost anyone on the left - and I mean the elite Left, not merely left-wing blogs - to say, ‘There are good people on both sides of this issue.'
This is not true of elite conservatives. Leading conservative columnists, leading Republicans, etc. rarely depict liberals as motivated by evil. Conservatives can say, ‘There are good people on both sides of the issue,' because we actually believe it."
I have argued that while emotions on the right have flared due to the implementation of Obama's horrific policies, we on the right must be careful to not reduce ourselves to the same name calling and stereotyping that is so commonplace on the left. I called for rational thought and conclusions to be made on Obama in the context of historical and factual analyses.
As Prager points out, leading conservative columnists and Republicans have not succumbed to the tactics of the left, not because they are avoiding the temptation to do so, but because they simply do not believe their opponents are evil. And while many AT readers may disagree, the point is that it does not help to fall into the trap of allowing emotions to overtake rational debate. We have all encountered friends, family, and co-workers who make vapid arguments which cannot be substantiated. They always conclude with some sort of personal attack on the right using terms like racist, bigot, intolerant, or fascist.
The success of the tea parties has been their participants' ability to remain above the fray of the personal smears, name calling, and classless accusations which have played a role in the demise of the political left. November 2 will be a day of resounding success for conservatives in this country and while the election results will reflect the failure of the Obama administration to lead the country in the right direction, the success will also be due in part to the manner in which conservatives were able to communicate their message to the American people. Understanding that lesson will help lead to continued success for Republicans in 2012 and into the future.