New Agents of Intolerance - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
New Agents of Intolerance

Students and faculty attending New York’s New School commencement ceremony stood last weekend with their backs facing Senator John McCain and hissed and booed as the senator from Arizona encouraged a revival of civil discourse in our national affairs. These students and faculty embarrassed the historically liberal school by protesting Sen. McCain’s speech, which encouraged them to be “respectful of the goodness in each other.”

But who can blame them? They are enlightened college graduates from “a legendary, progressive university,” after all. What do they have to learn from some old geezer who hung upside down but his elbows in a tiger cage for half a decade serving the United States? What does he know about the relative horrors and justness of war?

This sad story even has a built-in profile in courage. Ms. Jean Rohe can now stand on the stage with Joe Wilson, Richard Clark, Cindy Sheehan, and Jack Murtha and collect her Moonbat Hero of the Week award. Hey, she’s even got inconsistencies in her story her story, a feature no left-wing hero should be without.

But of all the angles to this story, the most intriguing is the one that contrasts the attitudes of these putatively open-minded progressives with those of the close-minded bigots at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, to whom McCain delivered a commencement speech only a week prior.

One might expect that the unpleasantness between McCain and a group of students would have occurred in Lynchburg, Virginia. After all, Sen. McCain did refer to the Rev. Falwell as an “agent of intolerance” while campaigning for president in 2000. And the senator did imply that the Revs. Falwell and Pat Robertson were “evil” for taking offense to his signature campaign finance measure (perhaps these were the youthful indiscretions Sen. McCain expressed remorse about in his speeches). And yet here was the troglodytic minister after McCain delivered the exact same speech in Lynchburg that he did at the New School:

“My intent was to say that John McCain and I are friends, that I respect him and that there are no problems with yesterday.”

Therein lies exhibit, oh I don’t know, 4,972 of the bizarre upside-down-ness of our national politics. George W. Bush and the Republicans are said by their detractors to be dividers, not uniters. And yet it is the fringe left (also known as mainstream Democrats) who can’t stop fighting with everyone.

Some more examples?

The Republicans are said to be overtly partisan. And yet it is the other side who has made politics a way of life, even lusting over the financial ruin of stores (Wal-Mart) and restaurants (McDonald’s) in pursuit of political purity.

The Republicans are said to be intolerant of dissent. And yet it is the so-called progressive movement that literally seeks to silence the opposition.

Iraq is said to be in complete disarray; an utter failure. And yet Iraqis have held three successful elections and set up a new government in three years.

We have an economy that is by almost every measure stronger and more vibrant than the economy of a decade ago, which pundits called the most prosperous time in human history. And yet a plurality of the people has been convinced by an administration-hostile media corps that we are on the edge of ruin.

We are living in “Bizarro America.” On a bad day I might come to believe I’ve forgotten to take my crazy pills. But then three things hit me:

First, a liberal blogger friend of mine confessed to me recently that he used to like and respect John McCain but he no longer does because McCain doesn’t still hate George Bush for the ugliness of the South Carolina primary in 2000.

Second, a liberal loved one insisted in my very kitchen that Howard Dean would have performed better against George Bush than did John Kerry had he won the Democrat nomination in 2004.

And third, an animated film called Ice Age II provides a more reasonable treatment of “global warming” than the film featuring a former Vice President of the United States giving lectures on the subject.

It is then that I conclude I am fine; perfectly sane. But the other side is howling mad. And the thought of them running this country after 2006 makes my bowels clench.

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