Friday, February 09, 2007

Weighing in on the Edwards controversy

Let me commit a argumentation faux pas and begin with my conclusion: John Edwards, you're wrong. That said, let's back up a step.

It's interesting to notice how even the "conservative" press are handling this issue. Even Fox News' page on the issue takes a ten-foot pole approach. In essence, they apologized, he's okay with their apologies, so we'll all go on our merry way and whistle past the graveyard. But this graveyard is filled with hate that just won't die. The world of politics is littered with half-hearted apologies of the moment, meant only for sound bite and never intended to have any bite.

Why am I perturbed? Read their posts and if you're not perturbed that someone like this is advising someone in any fashion I'll make a sweater out of the wool that's over your eyes. Let's start with this now infamous quote from Amanda Marcotte as she attempts to explain Catholicism to Catholics:

Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?

A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.

Repugnant? You bet. Ignorant? I don't think so. She wrote knowing full well her sexual innuendo would inflame passions on both sides of the issue. Pure raw meat for the rabid secularist left, outright blasphemy for those who happen to admit that there's something more than me around here. I am impressed, however, that she both managed to rhyme her last line and use the word misogyny against the Catholic Church. It's a tactic that's never been tried before. I'm sorry, was that oozing with sarcasm?

Why do I care? Why shouldn't I just live and let live like we always demand of others in the public sphere? Because these are the very people who stand up and demand firings for much, much less than this. "Fire them, fire them all!" is the tribal chant for those in politics searching for a camera crew and a microphone. But yet when it comes close to them, all of the sudden they're all about "traditional" values and Christian forgiveness. Right. Next.

But what I find funny is how people just refuse to actually look at what's been written rather than just accept pre-formatted apologies that her "intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics." Surely, utterly, unbelievably, beyond belief you jest. Those statements were made specifically to offend, and they had very little to do with public politics. But that's okay, eventually the term "proof by assertion" is something they'll come to learn.

While the overstatement is unfortunate, this apology reminds me of the imams who preach peace in public in English but violence and destruction when they think they're not being watched. Dale has a good list of the coverage this has engendered here and here. The only good news for those of us who care is that by taking such public positions their abilities to pull these antics will be sharply curtailed. I have no doubts their hatred for the Catholic Church remain, but one can only hope and pray that this spotlight on their darkened souls just might provide some opportunity for reflection. Pray for them both, they need it more than they're willing to know.