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The Right: An odd reaction.The Right: An odd reaction.

2006-06-27 - 11:21 a.m.
Searching for information on Global Warming, I came across this article from The Canada Free Press, which appears to be a mostly conservative e-Zine. Still smarting from how embarassing it felt to be part of the Great American Consumption Experience after watching An Inconvenient Truth, I decided to email the author of the story, apparently the last guy on the planet that thinks humanity is not crapping in its own soup bowl.

Dear {name},
You are an idiot.
Yours sincerely,
{name}

Not particularly erudite I'll grant you, but there comes a point when you simply get tired of explaining to people the relationship between atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and planetary libido.

And yet we find in this article questions like this "What would cause so many so-called climate scientists to issue alarming reports about the state of the earth’s climate and draw the kinds of conclusions that engender the current hysteria?"

Well, one possible answer - and I admit I'm going out on a limb here - might be that the state of the earth's climate is alarming.

And while we can debate again and again whether or not it is mankind's fault, it doesn't alter the fact that the planet is warming, and we are in danger of suffering severe economic and humanitarian catastrophes on a scale that has not been seen since the Flood. The embarrassment I mentioned earlier comes not from what we have done, but from what this republican government refuses to do. It will not raise our emission standards. It will not give the EPA teeth to do it's job. It will not seriously get behind efforts to wean us off of oil and coal.

There is no longer any scientist that will tell you that we are not in a warming trend. But this individual still questions why the level of debate has reached such levels? That is why I called him an idiot.

So, I wrote the short email to him and was astounded when the following day I got a google alert telling me that this guy had posted another whole article on my reply!

Now PaganNews.com is ranked around 500,000 on a good day. That puts us in the top 1% of all websites worldwide. How many there are is hard to determine. Certainly more than 100 million, but the first 1 million is where the money is, and the first 100,000 is where the real money is. CanadaFreePress.com is ranked 50,000 - an order of magnitude larger than PaganNews.com. So for them to mention us is pretty cool. Not as great as CNN.com mentioning us, but nevertheless it's fun, even if the article the guy wrote, sarcastically entitled The Left: Spirited Debaters is not particularly flattering.

I was stunned nevertheless and I emailed him back. Since I doubt that he will include this reply on his website (it being somewhat longer than the previous one) I am including it here. Please - I don't want anyone antagonizing this guy on my behalf. He is entitled to his opinion, and as much as I appreciate the good intentions of the people who visit here, I think it is better to seek a higher path and let him figure out the truth when he's ready, rather than trying to brow-beat him in to line.

Here then, is my reply to his article:



Dear Mr. {name},

I am flattered that you would give my email (and my website) such publicity over one little email. I would have thought the better course of action would be to simply ignore what was, admittedly, a puerile (although very cathartic) response to what I felt was another example of the Right having lost the plot entirely. Since you have chosen to respond that does give me pause to wonder - do you ever receive negative emails?

Lack of constructive criticism (and I do not imply for one second that my email fell into this category) can often lead one down erroneous paths. Unchecked Democratic ideologies lead to Communism. Unchecked Conservative ideologies lead to Fascism. With a Republican Congress, President and now Judiciary, the US is swinging way too far to the right and in the process it is alienating it's friends and it's own people.

I confess I have not kept up with Canadian politics, but I think you will find that your Tory party is more similar to the Clinton administration in ideology than it is to the Bush Administration, simply because Canada is a lot farther to the left to begin with. I frequently see the difference between a Socialist country and a Conservative one, traveling at annual intervals between the US and the U.K. Certainly, I can understand your conservative frustrations at some individuals choosing to live their lives sucking at the government teat. I have a friend in the U.K. who has been an out of work actor for the last twelve years, and there are times I would like to pummel him into the ground with a cricket bat. But he is happy, healthy and not a threat to others. The world is a better place for having him in it, because he does do volunteer work for the Sally Army. The UK is the better for the social system they have in place. I am sure Canada is the better for it. Certainly the ratio of gun owners to gun violence in Canada is a lot healthier than in the US.

Last year, Hurricane Katrina showed what can happen to a society - to people - when basic needs are not met. The right, ideologically, does not choose to meet those basic needs. The left does. The right does not cater to lazy people, the left does. Personally, I would rather have a society where the bottom rung is sitting around watching Oprah and dreaming of a better life, than have a society where the bottom rung is trying to take my life because it's hungry and wants what I have.

Conservatism breeds isolationism and as a result the US is technologically 5-10 years behind Europe, which is itself 5 years behind Asia. Smart Roads, Smart TV, Smart Cars: these are all things that I have not seen in the US yet. When I told my UK friends about Tivo when it came out, they were very polite, and simply said "Oh yes, we've had that a while now". Another thing the US appears to be missing? Smart People. The US education system has all but collapsed through lack of funding. This is not to imply that most Americans are stupid, but more and more of them are poorly educated.

The US is what will happen to Canada if the right wing is allowed to proceed unchecked. There is nothing wrong with holding opposing views. Opposing views mean that more voices get to be heard, and hopefully more truth emerges. I admit I have a hard time understanding the politics of exclusion, I have a problem with a society that measures itself by it's apex and not it's base. When you have a society of people that are not all the same, you can choose to either accommodate their differences or exclude those that do not share common elements with the majority. I would rather find a way to include such people, because that is how I would myself and my family to be treated. I want government to treat people the same. I do not want government to make them the same.

I see from your letter that you did a little research on me. Again, I'm flattered. You pointed at my religion, I assume because you could not point at my race, gender or sexual persuasion? What if I was a black lesbian Christian? Would you prefer that over a white straight male pagan?

I am not my religion. I am not my color, my gender or my race. I am what I do. I enter the world through my writings, as do you, apparently. That at least, we have in common. Perhaps that's a good start.


{name}


'nuff said :)

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