It’s all over the wires. I saw it here. A quick synopsis if you’ve been on a trashy news boycott and missed it: Meghan McCain is a political blogger for The Daily Beast and daughter of John McCain. In a column on March 9th, she comments on Ann Coulter :
I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time. But no matter how much you or I disagree with her, the cult that follows Coulter cannot be denied.
If you haven’t read the whole column, you should. She actually presents an interesting position about extremism within the Republican Party from a unique perspective, and a perspective we rarely get to hear. The media love to show us the extremes from both parties because it’s more exciting and provocative. Here is the daughter of a recent presidential candidate, a self proclaimed “new Republican” thoughtfully wondering aloud about the health of the Republican Party and the ideology she feels they need to leave behind.
Ann Coulter herself actually had no response which is slightly surprising. It was right wing talk show Laura Ingraham who took the discourse to a new low when she said McCain was “just another Valley Girl gone awry.” She then joked that McCain was rejected for inclusion on The Real World because she’s a “plus sized model.” McCain responded on her blog:
Instead of intellectually debating our ideological differences about the future of the Republican Party, Ingraham resorted to making fun of my age and weight, in the fashion of the mean girls in high school.
Forgive me for cherry picking the most mature and thoughtful of her responses; but, go read the whole post here. Her whole response is clearly thought out and raises some good points without stooping to snark.
But, it was her appearance on The View that has sparked the most web chit chat. When left to providing an impromptu monologue on the incidents and without the ability to edit, McCain succinctly sums up with this gem: Kiss My Fat Ass!
At first, I was a bit disappointed in this response; but, the longer I thought about it, the more I came to accept it. For one, it does not attack anyone’s attributes, competencies or even ideologies. It is borderline empowering and I’m pretty sure girls who love and accept their bodies are cheering heartily.
As a big, unapologetic Lefty, I disagree with Meghan McCain on most things (though Kudos to her for supporting Gay Marriage!); but, I welcome her voice to the political conversation. Rachel Maddow has already proven that you can be wildly successful without having to resort to yelling and mean spirited, snarkish commentary. I urge Ms. McCain to leave the ass kissing behind and continue with her thoughful musings.
I have an odd track record at the last couple of libraries I’ve worked at, of befriending the person on staff who I have large, serious ideological differences with. At one of my jobs, I teamed up with a gentleman who was my age, straight and married, and deeply religious and conservative. On so many levels, there were a myriad of opportunities for us to not only dislike one another; but, to keep our interactions to the bare minimum. Yet, he and I forged a friendship and I know that more than one coworker called us The Odd Couple because there was nothing that could be seen that would bring us together as friends. But, we were friends. And it was easy to be his friend.
We found common ground: love of vintage clothes…it probably helped that I tend to like old men cardigans!…and mid century modern design. Every summer, he and 3 of his friends would fly to another city to watch a baseball game and go to museums, eat good food and basically have a boy’s weekend away. I loved hearing about his trips and on a couple of occasions I gave him advice about fun things to do in a couple cities. I was given one of the greatest compliments when he said that if one of the guys ever dropped out he’d want me to join in. Clearly, the logistics of this probably wouldn’t work; but, that he shared that feeling with me, to this day makes me smile.
I was enriched by my friendship with him and I would have missed out on this awesome human connection had either one of us written the other off purely because we were soooo different. He accepted me just as I am: queer, leftist, opinionated, Buddhist and I accepted him without judgement.
What would happen to us if we removed snark? What would happen to us if instead of fighting with put downs and exaggerations, we stuck to intelligent dialogue? What would happen if the airwaves were filled with thoughtful, skilled debaters on both sides of an argument?
No one is going to listen to you if you are mean. You can still be critical; but, delivery is everything.