Thursday, October 23, 2008
The Dangers of Liberal Bias: An Amazing Article from The Boston Globe
Despite the lofty call to unity from Barack Obama, behind which most of us on the left supposedly rallied, this election looks like all of our previously divisive ones.
The dangers of liberal bias
By Joan Chevalier
October 23, 2008
Ranch women friends sent a call to action claiming that, as "80 percent" of the PBS audience is liberal, nonviewers on the right should weigh in, ensure the poll is representative.
Fair enough, I thought.
Then came the e-mail from the left: "The last thing we need is PBS saying their viewers think Sarah Palin is qualified!"
So, we should keep our polling to ourselves?
My otherwise thoughtful friend on the left prefaced the e-mail appeal with this: "Lord, it just never ends with these people."
According to a study commissioned by the Kellogg Foundation, the Republican base depends "greatly on their strength in rural communities." But due to a vacuum of leadership on issues central to its rural base, the Republican Party was ripe for disaffection among "these people" - farmers, ranchers, miners, foresters.
During the primaries, those same ranch women were open to Obama. They found him "likable." It was inevitable that he would sweep primaries in the west, where the Clinton legacy was Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit's "war" on local communities and economies.
Echoing Obama, another liberal acquaintance asked me: "Well, rural people don't seem to know what is in their own self-interest, do they?"
It never occurred to this NYC musician, living in an adjacent suburb to the Big Apple, that she might not be qualified to know what is in their best interest. With no direct experience of tacking up a crazed horse in below-freezing temperatures, never having sat in a saddle for 12 hours, not knowing what scours are, with no pig bucket under her sink, not having to drive 30 miles down the road to her own mailbox - of course, she knows what is best for them. She recycles, eats organic produce, and there's a bird feeder in her backyard: all signs that she is right with the world.
The ferocity, bordering on fury, with which the choice of Governor Palin was received by the left sealed the deal. We made our views abundantly clear: The heartland is a red monolith of empty space and empty heads; the great rural reach of the country is mired in "ignorance," and their emissary is Sarah Palin.
There are legitimate questions about Palin's experience level, just as there are legitimate questions about Obama's experience level. But according to The Huffington Post, Obama's lack of experience is immune from criticism because he attended Ivy League schools, "was a serious and successful student," is a well-traveled, published author, and has a diverse background. Heck, he's me!
Yet, in every one of my encounters with America's rural communities, the diversity of my privileged experience was eclipsed by the depth of theirs. I had rhetoric; they had well-measured speech, punctuated by forbearing silences. I had easy answers; they knew there was no such thing.
It is not that the Republican base is anti-intellectual, as David Broder claims; they are anti-elitist. An Ivy League education is hardly a universal signal of competence in anything other than the liberal cultural canon.
Despite the lofty call to unity from Obama, behind which most of us on the left supposedly rallied, this election looks like all of our previously divisive ones. Rural Americans are bracing once again for war on their communities at the hands of liberal interest groups sharing cultural preferences remote from the realities of their lives. The most liberal candidate in a generation has indeed raised up fear of his potential presidency, and I have heard nothing from those most afraid about his race.
It's that darned halo that seems to have the man himself and his supporters so enthralled.
Joan Chevalier is a speechwriter and essayist based in New York.
A note from Radarsite: Here are my original comments to the Boston.com article:
Hello Joan Chevalier. What an amazing article to find in the Globe. I will not be piling on with more "Where have you been?" comments. I would much rather thank you for your fairness and your willingness to be honest -- a trait which I find not to be shared by most Obama Democrats. To find an article such as this from a self-described liberal in a paper such as the Globe, which is perceived -- quite rightly, in my opinion -- to have a well-known liberal agenda is a heartening sign.
I have a relatively small conservative website (yesterday I had a little over 5,000 readers), and I have been writing a lot about what has been happening to America in these last few years, especially as these ominous signs have been becoming more and more visible during this fateful election. At times, it has seemed as though we truly are in danger of losing everything it means to be an American, that a frightening majority of the American people have been seduced into some form of mass hysteria and are blindly marching into disaster.
But then I read an article such as yours -- or similar articles that I have found on some notable Hillary sites, and it gives me hope once again. Hope that despite all of the divisive angry rhetoric, and the seemingly unbridgeable gulf that yawns between Right and Left today, there is a solid and untouchable core of American values which will remain beyond Nov 4, values shared equally between Democrats and Republicans, but denigrated or dismissed by the Obama machine. - rg