One of my readers and frequent comment contributors recently noted the myth behind so-called liberal tolerance. My knee jerk reaction to this is to disagree. I do tend to think of liberals as more tolerant and accepting than conservatives. Then, every once in a while I am reminded of the error in my thinking.
I was watching MSNBC’s “Up with Steve Kornacki” (hosted today by Washington Posts’ Jonathan Capehart) and the discussion turned to the anniversary of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the murder of Trayvon Martin. One of Jonathan’s guests, MSNBC personality Joy Reid observed that the prosecutors in the case lacked passion and that contributed to the acquittal. I confess I’m not a huge fan of Miss Reid in the first place, having seen her twists facts in the past to suit her point. After watching her bemoan the prosecution in this case, the following Twitter exchange ensued:
Before all of Joy’s fans descend upon me, let me make clear my first tweet to her. In our criminal justice system the burden of proof is on the prosecution, not the defense. The prosecutors needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon in self defense. Whether we like it or not, Trayvon’s likelihood to be violent — the likelihood that he could beat Zimmerman to within an inch of his life — is entirely relevant. Whether we like it or not, Trayvon was no choir boy. His attorney’s comparison of him to Medgar Evers made me want to vomit. From his Twitter handle “No_Limit_Nigga” on down, Trayvon was clearly embracing the thug culture. Quite honestly, the prosecution had to walk on egg shells to portray him as a wonderful boy who would never beat the crap out of someone. The fact that they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman had nothing to fear was entirely logical. Trayvon turned out to be one of the worst standard bearers for racial profiling imaginable. The fact that the last person on Earth who should have been carrying a gun was wackjob cop-wanna-be George Zimmerman, was sadly beside the point.
So, let’s look at Joy’s response to my tweet. First, the irony of what she said was thick as London fog. I didn’t KNOW Trayvon so I had no right to speak. I stereotyped him. Now unless Joy has been reading my blog on a regular basis (which I highly doubt), she does not KNOW me and yet she stereotyped me as a “stereotyping” (hint, racist) “jerk”. The fact is, both Joy Reid and I know more about Trayvon Martin than Joy Reid knows about me. Yet she was quick to stereotype me while ignoring some unpleasant truths about Trayvon.
Joy stayed true to her dismissive “be gone” and ignored my two follow up Tweets. I wasn’t surprised. To answer my first response, she would have had to admit that she is a hypocrite who finds Trayvon an ignorant thug but can’t admit it publicly. Or she would have had to join the throngs of blacks who toss their self respect out the window, defending the indefensible. On that score, all I can do is recommend to Miss Reid some Bill Cosby videos about proper standards of behavior that know no racial boundaries, and violations of this behavior that deserve no excuses.
On a much more serious philosophical level, Joy Reid proved the point of my conservative comment contributor. The minute she saw an opinion that differed from her own, she went on the attack with just as nasty a tone as any “intolerant” conservative. Now I will readily admit that Twitter is hardly the ideal place for an intelligent exchange. I will also admit my Tweet was slightly provocative. Yet I honestly think I might have gotten a more intelligent response from the likes of Sean Hannity. First, her reply was outright stupid. Did she KNOW Trayvon? I don’t think she did. 99% of the folks weighing in on the Zimmerman case did not KNOW any of the participants. Then she follows up by doing to me the very thing she was accusing me of doing to Trayvon. How she could hit “reply” on that Tweet, without seeing her total lack of self-awareness, is dumbfounding.
A few years ago I made the mistake of visiting a liberal blog and suggesting that some women actually wound up pregnant because they CHOSE to have unprotected sex. I made the wild assertion that women could and should in certain situations take responsibility for their (sexual) choices and not make excuses. What bothered me was a person on the blog who said she “found herself pregnant”. It was as though she woke up one morning, got a positive pregnancy test result and said “how did that happen?” It was as though she tripped and fell upon an ejaculating penis. It bothered the hell out of me. So, I objected. The response was vicious attacks by the ladies who frequent the blog and a successful attempt to out my true identity by one of the readers there. I was stunned. While I am not a “Daily Kos liberal”, I am most certainly an “MSNBC liberal” and here I was being torn to shreds by folks whose basic ideology I thought I shared.
The intervening years made me forget how vicious the left could be. My exchange with Joy Reid brought it all back again. The truth folks is that an ideologue of any stripe is likely to be intolerant because no ideology can square completely with reality. Conservative ideology ignores the truth of honest-to-goodness victims who need help. Liberal ideology ignores the truth of folks not making sufficient effort at caring for themselves. Not only do both ends of the political spectrum refuse to tolerate each other, they don’t tolerate moderates within their own tribe.
Well I’ve got news for you Joy Reid. Your wish that I “be gone” will not come true. I will continue to write pieces (and tweet Tweets) that mostly piss off conservatives and if I damn well want to, I’ll write stuff that pisses off blind followers of liberal ideology who enable minorities and women to dodge responsibility for their own actions.