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Partering Glances

by David Badash on December 9, 2009

in Bigotry Watch,Economics,Marriage,Media,Politics,Religion

Post image for Partering Glances

Realizing Yourself, Leaving Others

It all started last Monday and I blame Charles Johnson. Who? Well, if you read me you probably don’t read him. He’s the guy who writes the incredibly successful right-wing political blog, Little Green Footballs. And he’s a parter.

What’s a “parter?” What? – You don’t know? A parter is someone so well-known for who they are that it seems incomprehensible that they would “part ways” with their current “affiliations.” Johnson did just that last Monday, in his post, “Why I Parted Ways With The Right.”

On his list of ten reasons why he parted ways with the Right, Johnson says, is their:

“2. Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, Lew Rockwell, etc.)”


“5. Support for homophobic bigotry (see: Sarah Palin, Dobson, the entire religious right, etc.)”

and, quite possibly my favorite:

“10. Hatred for President Obama that goes far beyond simply criticizing his policies, into racism, hate speech, and bizarre conspiracy theories (see: witch doctor pictures, tea parties, Birthers, Michelle Malkin, Fox News, World Net Daily, Newsmax, and every other right wing source)”

(Shameless plug: Check out all the writing I’ve done about Michelle Malkin.)

Now, I confess I don’t read Little Green Footballs. (It’s OK; I’m sure Charles doesn’t read me either.) So I can’t tell you that he’s become a huge Socialist, or that he now supports a single-payer option, or really, anything. But I can tell you that the news of “parting ways” made the major media. Most importantly, I can tell you that it’s not he who has changed, so much as it is those around him.

The next day, Tuesday, another conservative blogger, and a man for whom I have great respect, the incredibly intelligent Andrew Sullivan, became a parter. In “Leaving the Right,” he says,

“…there has to come a point at which a movement or party so abandons core principles or degenerates into such a rhetorical septic system that you have to take a stand. It seems to me that now is a critical time for more people whose principles lie broadly on the center-right to do so – against the conservative degeneracy in front of us.”

Wow. Sullivan, who is gay and a strong supporter of marriage equality, has for a while now been embracing his inner Left. But this was a big, bold statement.

He goes on. In his own (unenumerated) list, Sullivan details his reasons, including,

“I cannot support a movement that regards gay people as threats to their own families.”

and offers,

“I cannot support a movement that does not accept evolution as a fact.

“I cannot support a movement that sees climate change as a hoax and offers domestic oil exploration as the core plank of an energy policy.”


“I cannot support a movement that refuses to distance itself from a demagogue like Rush Limbaugh or a nutjob like Glenn Beck.”

And I must throw in this final gem:

“Does this make me a “radical leftist” as Michelle Malkin would say? Emphatically not. But it sure disqualifies me from the current American right.”

Bravo, Mr. Sullivan!

But wait – there’s more.

Just one day after Sullivan made his announcement came yet another parter: Meredith Baxter! She partered big time, by announcing on the Today Show, that she is a “lesbian.” (I’m putting it in quotes, out of respect – not like some conservatives put quotes around the term “gay marriage,” as if it weren’t “real marriage,” – but because it’s the word she used and a lot of lesbians were glad she used that word instead of “gay,” like Ellen did.)

Just one week after Johnson’s announcement, came news of another sort of partering. Yesterday, Al Diamon wrote about the partering of Larry Grard. Who is Larry Grard? Yeah, I didn’t know either. Turns out the Mr. Grard was, and I say was because he no longer is, a reporter for the Morning Sentinel, a Waterville, Maine newspaper. Grard was partered against his will, for emailing HRC and calling them “haters.” (I put “haters” in quotes, respectfully or not, because that’s the word he used. And it’s the word that got him partered.)

I’ll make no comment about Grard, except to say that if you’re going to say something, best be comfortable signing your name, or it’s probably not a good idea to say it. (Me, I sign everything I write.)

But, at least for (formerly Right-wing) bloggers, it’s not a one-way street. Sullivan calls attention to another parter.

In, “Leaving The Left,” Sullivan writes,

“A blogger explains why reading the liberal blogosphere’s routine attacks on Obama has led her to rethink where she stands.”

Here’s what said liberal blogger wrote, in “Why I’m Not a Liberal Anymore,”

‘”The stuff coming out of “progressive” mouths is all too often on a par with Glenn Beck’s abusive rants–both sides (right and left wingers) playing thousand-pound national football with the President as the ball…”

(And later, in, “Leaving The Left, ctd.,” Sullivan shares readers’ responses. I urge you spend the three minutes it will take you to read it.)

So, there’s been a lot of change, a lot of partering, if you will, over the past week or so. I’m not sure quite yet what to make of it all. My friend Cody Daigle might chalk it up to, “Saturn Returns.”

In truth, all of these folks haven’t changed, so much as remained true to who they are, while they saw the world, their world, change. And they responded. Some, like Johnson and Sullivan, taking positive, productive stances. Some, like Grard, taking a negative and unproductive stance. Some, like Baxter, allowing her true being to be seen, and thus, remaining true to herself as well.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. And to chart your own course of action.

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