In my continuing series of letters, I’ve had the opportunity to write to columnist Andrew Sullivan. “Andy” is a conservative columnist who writes for a number of publications, including “Time” magazine and “The Atlantic,” both their print and on-line publications. The occasion for my letters was being fed up with Andy expressing shock at the latest public outrage by shock-jock Ann Coulter.
Advisory: Don’t click over the fold if you get the vapors from adult subject matter.
Andy is Conservative and openly gay. Ann Coulter, also a Conservative but apparently not gay, has made increasingly vicious and outrageous attacks on various groups of people over these past years she happens to disagree with.
She seems to have a real problem with anyone who disagrees with her bigoted, hateful, narrow-minded screeds that advocate denying “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” to pretty-much anyone not white, upper-class, heterosexual, native born Americans. And a lot of other people besides, which she lumps all together into a group she refers to as “Liberals.” By her description, “Liberals” are some pretty nasty people deserving only to be rounded up into concentration camps and kept away from honest, God-fearing, real American citizens.
On March 2, she was keynote speaker at the Republican’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). In front of the entire leadership of the Republican Party she referred to John Edwards, former US Senator and former Vice-Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, as a “Faggot.”
Most of the Republicans present cheered and applauded. Andy, as a card-carrying Conservative, was also present and took offense at Coulter’s comments. On March 6 he wrote an article for The Atlantic titled “Faggot,” expressing his shock and horror at what happened.
I wrote my first letter to Andy, expressing my surprise over his shock and horror:
Dear Mr Sullivan,
I just finished reading your column “Faggot.” I want to say that this is probably the first time I’ve ever agreed with you – what Coulter said was despicable, intended to marginalize John Edwards as something less than a “real man.” And it was disgraceful that the audience, with many conservative leaders, laughed and applauded.
I am straight, but would not and never have ridiculed any person for their sexual orientation. I happen to believe that we all are expected to show equal respect for individuals regardless of their race, creed, religions beliefs, place of birth, or sexual orientation. It’s part of what being a liberal, a democrat, is all about.
Having said this, I want to point out that you are one of the people responsible for Coulter getting to the point where she is invited to a CPAC event as guest speaker. You control a valuable piece of print media with your column. When in the past have you called Coulter to task for ridiculing a “liberal?” When in the past did you call any conservative/republican to task for mocking, ridiculing, denigrating, or otherwise personally attacking a person whose opinions or beliefs you happened to disagree with?
To paraphrase a famous quote: When they ridiculed liberals you did nothing, because you weren’t a liberal. Then they ridiculed gays, and there was no one left to defend you.
Andy actually responded to me as such:
maybe when i defended kerry from the swift boats attacks and endorsed him in 2004?
or do you just see the word ‘conservative’ and never bother to read further?
I thought it was a pleasant enough response. One that invited an answer. So I followed up with:
Thank you for responding, and please allow me to better explain my position.
You wrote “I was in the room, so I felt the atmosphere personally. It was an ugly atmosphere, designed to make any gay man or woman in the room feel marginalized and despised.”
Did you really think this just happened last week? Or do you think that conservatives are only targeting gays? Let’s talk about being marginalized and despised:
My status as a 22-year Navy veteran has meant nothing to the party of “Support Our Troops,” a party led by people who mostly avoided active military service. Over the past several years, I have been called “unpatriotic,” even “treasonous,” by such luminaries as Karl Rove and “3 deferments” Cheney, simply because I refused to accept this administration’s reasons for making war on Iraq.
I have experienced serious rifts within my family as a result of them buying into the hateful rhetoric of such conservative luminaries as Limbaugh, Malkin, and yes, Coulter.
The hysterical conservative rhetoric against immigration has directly affected my Chinese-born wife in the form of government-sanctioned discrimination.
For letting former co-workers know I was a Democrat and supported Kerry in the 2004 election I became target of a vicious office smear campaign. Co-workers spread incredible lies about me throughout my company and subjected me to a relentless barrage of the vilest e-mails I’d ever experienced. This smear campaign cost me a promotion, left me in a dead-end position, and was one of the reasons I ultimately quit my job with one of the largest companies in North America and moved to a different state.
Sir; you have a unique position in our public discourse. You have the platform and the skills to sway opinions and shape the public conversation. Yes, you defended Kerry in 2004. Yes, you condemned Coulter last week. However, these are exceptions, not the rule, in your writing. Over these past years you have routinely defended the very people that have marginalized and despised me, and tens of thousands of other Americans.
And now you are shocked, shocked, that conservatives are making you feel marginalized and despised because of your sexual orientation.
You can’t possibly be so naive.
I haven’t heard back since. If I do, as always, I’ll be sure to post the response.