The ‘Right’ Is Usually Wrong

There is a commonly held belief that we should be accepting of views from the left and the right wing, and assume that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.  We live, after all, in a country that embraces the concept of free speech.  Therefore even people in the KKK have a right to say their piece, no matter how abhorrent their viewpoint might be.

I believe that it is certainly a good thing that we have such a freedom in the United States, and while freedom of speech is perhaps more widespread around the world than the average American might believe, it is certainly a great thing for those of us who happen to live in such a free society.

However, in my opinion, the left is often too willing to tolerate and accept the viewpoint of the extreme right and simply file it away under the heading, “I’m going to agree to disagree.”  But I believe that we need to be very careful about how we do that.  You see, the fact is, some opinions are not merely different, some are just wrong and we should not be afraid to say so.

On this, only my second article for this web site, I hate to invoke a Hitler example but it is a pretty good illustrator of my point.  Hitler, you see, was wrong.  When he decided to begin the extermination of Jews, minorities, and those that were not part of his vision for a German master race, he was doing something that was evil, bad, misguided and wrong.  It really isn’t ever acceptable to say, “Well sure, I wouldn’t exterminate millions of innocent people if it were me, but you know Hitler is entitled to his opinion…”

I bring this up because there are a lot of views expressed from the right which are fundamentally wrong, and there is a responsibility for those of us on the left to call them out when they do and say things that are not right, and not simply accept them as an alternative point of view.

Right now the GOP are busy trying to curtail the reproductive rights of women, redefine rape, roll back health care reform that would put thousands of innocent children at risk, and various other pet projects they have been dreaming up while they were in opposition.  As an aside, it is interesting to see how few of their ideas have anything to do with the economy or job creation; their expressed top priority, but I digress.

One of my disappointments of the Obama administration is a seeming reluctance to call Republicans out on their BS, when they are pushing agendas that are fundamentally unreasonable, and just plain old wrong.  One of their recent moves, for example, was to attempt to trivialize the rape of women, by creating a category of “forcible rape.”  Ignoring for a moment the idiocy of the notion that some rape is not forcible, they wanted to ensure that if a woman was not raped in a heinous or violent way, it would be harder for her to get an abortion paid for with our tax dollars.  This move was intended to save money, but we are talking in all reality about the tiniest drop in the bucket in financial terms, and certainly nothing that is going to help our current economic problems.

Regardless of the potential financial savings, the move to trivialize the crime of rape is disgusting and wrong.  What’s next?  Requiring a rape victim to have two male witnesses before they can claim rape; like in some Muslim countries?

Rolling back health care reform is another pet project of the GOP.  They are attacking it in any way they can, and while these politicians are ironically accepting government health care for themselves and their families, they are pushing to take this away from others.  If their repeal of health care reform is successful it will have devastating effects on human lives, causing vulnerable people and children to lose access to life saving health care.

We’ve all seen the Tea Party protests with their racist signs and likening of Obama to Hitler and various other evil men from history.  And while there have been allegations that some of those images were created when liberals infiltrated the Tea Party protests to make them look bad, I refuse to believe that this is the explination in every case.

And of course as with the health care debate, Republicans are on the wrong side of history when it comes to providing gay people with equal rights.  Apparently it’s okay to hate and discriminate if the Bible says so.

There are many more examples.  I recently had the misfortune of  briefly working with a Republican woman.  When I told her President Obama had visited a city I was in, she made a joke about how she wished someone had shot him.  I was stunned.  But apparently to her, her irrational hate for the man was okay.  Later on as I found out more about her, it turned out that she grew up poor; so poor that she didn’t have access to various essential health care as a child.  Yet still she votes for the party that would be willing to deprive her children in the same way.

Now doubtless Republicans would be quick to point out that not all bad ideas come from their team.  Liberals have bad ideas too right?  Well sure, of course they do.  But let’s face facts, when it comes to policies and philosophies that hurt people, Republicans are the clear winners.  They are the party that pushes for insane lack of gun control.  They are the party that pushes for the death penalty; when all other civilized countries have abolished this practice.  They are the party that is okay with depriving innocent children of health care, because their parents are poor or ‘bad.’  They are the party that wants the judicial system to punish, rather than rehabilitate.  They are the party that want to roll back social reform therefore removing rights of women and minority groups.  And they are the party that keeps pushing failed policies that history has already shown don’t work, like trickle down economics and letting corporations regulate themselves.

Ultimately my point is that we need to be more assertive on the left.  The Republicans have a well oiled war machine capable of mobilizing a lot of people and marching us in the wrong direction.  And too often liberals will shake their heads and simply chalk it up to a difference of opinion.

Some things are just plain wrong.  We need to stand together and call out these people when they say and do things that are wrong.  There are plenty of instances when the left and the right have two different and reasonable solutions to a problem.  But all to often we see Republicans pushing agendas that we must not accept, and it is our duty as liberals to say, this is not right and not acceptable.  We will not lay down and accept hate, bigotry, discrimination, abuse of human rights, homopredjudice, screwing over the poor, and the cacophony of other bad ideas that hurt people.  We must be vigilant, and we must use whatever tools we have at our disposal to tell others when the right is