Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An Exercise in Hypocrisy

Last week, the College Republicans announced they would be bringing Ann Coulter to speak at their Lincoln Day Dinner in April.  While I have always known this particular student group to be a beacon of hypocrisy and the illogical, even I was struck by this announcement. 

The irony in this case stems from the president of College Republicans, Mark Gianfalla, authoring a viewpoint in The Observer last week that declared that the GOP embraced tolerance, unlike the Democrats.  Gianfalla states that they simply believe in “the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution.” 

It is with this backdrop that Gianfalla and his friends publicly announced their decision to bring Ms. Coulter to campus, a decision that baffled most and inspired rage in many.  The same group that called for tolerance last week is bringing one of the most intolerant and blatantly ignorant political commentators to grace the media today to campus.  Sarah Morris represented the thoughts of many in her compelling viewpoint, and I’ll take this opportunity to expand on her arguments.  The University’s reaction to this decision should be swift and forceful—issue a statement condemning this decision by the College Republicans.

The College Republicans, among many other groups and students on campus, wrap their arms around the right to life as among the most important issues facing the United States today.  I will not argue that the right to life is not a necessary political consideration, but rather that we should all embrace a more complete definition of the right to life, and evaluate Ann Coulter’s rhetoric and statements with this lens.  If the College Republicans claim to defend the right to life as the most sacred of rights, they will have to defend Coulter’s statement regarding Dr. George Tiller, where she explains that she doesn’t “really like to think of it as murder.  It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester […] I am personally opposed to shooting abortionists, but I don’t want to impose my moral values on others.”  Ms. Coulter’s stunning mathematical talents aside, speaking sarcastically about the murder of a doctor performing legal operations is by no means respecting his right to life. 

Coulter has shown her penchant to joke about the death of other political adversaries many times.  In a statement regarding presidential candidate John Edwards, she remarked, “if I’m going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.”  Finally, speaking about the Oklahoma City bombings: “my only regret with Timothy McVeigh is that he did not go to the New York Times building.”  Coulter’s propensity to speak flippantly about the murder of those who do not share her views is a reason to object to her arrival on campus, and is a microcosm of the hypocrisy that the College Republicans represent.

Gianfalla and his Republican allies will also open up a forum for Coulter’s predictably racist, xenophobic, hateful language that she has directed at functionally every group of Americans with which she does not identify.  To briefly summarize her thoughts on Arab-Americans and their homelands, she declares, “the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East” and “Congress could pass a law tomorrow requiring that all aliens from Arabic countries leave.” 

Discussing the mistreatment of an Arab-American Secret Service agent, she said, “This man should not be allowed near the president with a loaded gun. At the least, he's an immature nut. At worst, he's a ticking time bomb.” 

Coulter’s openly intolerant remarks are morally reprehensible, politically indefensible, and should inspire awe even in the most conservative Republicans.  She makes facetious references to the literacy test and the poll tax, two laws that were implemented under Jim Crow and were designed to keep African-American voters out of their polling places.  At what point in the last paragraph do the College Republicans believe Coulter most vividly displayed her tolerance?  My vote would be for her consistent use of the word “faggot” in conversations about homosexuality, which would make a truly wonderful statement on the part of the College Republicans given the University’s recent strides in acceptance.  Readers should recognize a pattern that is beginning to emerge.

Finally, and on a more personal note, Coulter repeatedly speaks violently and offensively about “liberals” and Democrats.  It only takes a cursory glance at some of her quotes to catch some colorful remarks, including her advocacy that the United States execute captured enemy combatant John Walker Lindh in order to “physically intimidate liberals by making them realize that they could be killed, too.”  She further asserts that religious liberals do not exist, stating, “Liberals hate religion because politics is a religion substitute for liberals.” 

The author of this article as well as many of our fellow students identify as Democrats and lead a religious life.  I would encourage members of the College Republicans to have conversations with so called “liberals” on campus and see for themselves whether they all seem godless. 

I don’t take issue with the misinformed drivel that Gianfalla and other College Republicans publish in student newspapers and on Facebook pages.  I don’t take issue with the College Republicans bringing inflammatory speakers to campus to stir controversy.   I do, however, take issue with the presence of Ann Coulter on our campus, a hateful and vacuous woman who has shown that unless you are a white Republican, you are inferior.  I would encourage my fellow students, especially the College Republicans, to consider whether bringing Coulter to campus is consistent with valuing tolerance. 


Anonymous said...

I agree with your assessment. I would like to further point out that whether Democrats or Republicans for that matter are religious or not should be a non-issue. While I admit I know a good number of Democrats that are religious, I feel that it should not matter at all if liberals are "godless" or not (insert statement about the non-existent separation of church and state). The great majority of atheists are not amoral, whether their viewpoints are liberal or conservative.

Anonymous said...

This article is well-written and the arguments are convincing. However, I would warn the author that slandering Republicans/conservatives at every chance does not add to the effectiveness of the article. Describing the Republican group as a "beacon of hypocrisy and the illogical" that spouts "misinformed drivel" is unnecessary and narrow-minded. Don't criticize conservatives for generalizing liberals when you do the same about them. Use your arguments to make your points, not your attacks. Overall though, the article was interesting and informative and hopefully many will read it and become enlightened about the issue.