Monday, May 7, 2007

Weekly Podium: "Guiltmongering"

Republicans (and to a larger extent, conservatives in general) are called many names by supporters of the opposite front (Democrats/liberals). Whether you surf the web for blogs, listen to Air America, or read certain authors...there are certain words that have become part of the cultural lexicon when referring to those of the right-wing.

Racists. Hatemongers. Warmongers. Fearmongers. Elitists. Gun-Nuts. Homophobics. Religious Zealots.

These are all names that I have seen used to describe conservatives, and that’s just within the past week. Not to say that the conservatives aren't guilty of throwing out their own epithets towards liberals at times, but this type of terminology is very popular and very commonplace, especially the use of "insert-epithet-here"-monger. If one wants to bash conservatives, one of the most common ways they do so is to pick a word and end it with the suffix "monger". Lately, I've found myself feeling under attack as an American citizen with conservative views. I feel like I am being "guilt-tripped" for not buying into the hype about the supposed “climate crisis”, for not being outraged at what Don Imus said, or for supporting the troop surge until we can at least see if the situation does indeed improve.

This tactic is known as "guiltmongering."

It's true, it seems like Democrats and leftists everywhere are attempting to make you feel guilty, especially conservatives. Democrats in general want you to feel guilty for voting for George W. Bush twice. Al Gore wants you to feel guilty for the size of your "carbon footprint", even if his personal “footprint” is 20 times the size of yours. Sheryl Crow wants you to feel guilty for using more than one square of toilet paper.

If you support any of the Republican candidates for President (sans Mitt Romney), you get a guilt trip laid upon you for supporting a jowly, old white man instead of the more "progressive" choice. Now, to those who lay this guilt trip on you, progression simply means "Democrats who aren't middle-aged white men". Whether it's race (Barack Obama), gender (Hillary Clinton), or high-maintenence grooming (John Edwards)...they want you to feel guilty for your apparent lack of "progression".

You are made to feel guilty because you aren't on the same side of the fence as they are. If you support more responsible welfare, you don't care about the poor. If you don't believe in a socialized, heavily bureaucratic health care system...then you are against providing medical care to the uninsured. If you're against abortion, then you're against women's rights. If you're against tax increases, then you're against "progress".

Also, why is it that the term "progressive" has been made synonymous with the word "liberal"? I guess that's also another way of guilt-tripping conservatives...guilt-trip them for their apparent lack of "forward movement". Tradition and simplicity have no place in a "progressive" society.

According to at least one blogger I've seen, if you prefer to have a white male as a roommate, you're also a racist.

So why the guilt? Why is it that, instead of selling me on your viewpoints, you attempt to guilt-trip me on my own. This is the tactical mistake of the Democrats, in my own opinion. You can't make people feel bad for beliefs they have most likely formed through their own life experiences. It works for short-term gains, but can be harmful to your cause over the course of time.

A less-explicit example of guiltmongering occurred recently in the state of Virginia. We all agree that slavery is a horrible scar that was left on our nation‘s history and heritage. However, I find it amazing that both the state of Virginia, and the University of Virginia, took it upon themselves to apologize for their individual contributions to slavery. Well, while these apologies are all good and nice, it's odd that we are humbling ourselves to the point of apologizing for actions that took place over 140 years ago.

Let me somewhat retract that's odd that the state is humbling itself for actions that took place over 140 years ago. I'm not apologizing for anything. My mother's side of the family was not even in this country during the time of slavery, and the only members of my father's side of the family fought for the Union in the Civil War.

You don't need to apologize for me, Virginia, for my ancestors did not own slaves. In fact, even if I had ancestors who did own slaves, it's neither my place or yours to apologize for the decisions they made in a world that barely resembles the one we live in today.

Some have said that these "apologies" will "open up discussion about the ills of slavery". What discussion is there left to be had? It was wrong, it was abolished, it had long-lasting repercussions that lasted until late in the 20th century, and we teach children about the horrors of slavery in every history/social studies class from elementary school to high school. These are things that most people can agree upon. Let's be "progressive", and move on to the future of both our commonwealth and our country.

I single out environmentalists for using "guiltmongering" tactics because it's one of their main weapons of choice. Among their "fearmongering" tactics of using scary words and depictions of the future ("climate crisis", Erik Curren's "doomsday scenario"), and their complete dismissal of dissenting opinions (despite the fact that I have literally read over 100 different reports that state that Global Warming is not the catastrophic event we are told it is), environmentalists like to use guilt as a way of pushing their agenda.

They make you feel guilty about the car you drive, your participation (or lack thereof) in recycling programs, and how much toilet paper you use. They want you to feel guilty because your like your home to be 2 degrees warmer than "environmentally acceptable" in the winter, and 2 degrees cooler than "environmentally acceptable" in the summer. It is through guilt (and a bit of fear), that these people want to control what you do, when you do it, and how you do it.

There are those who attempt to invoke feelings of guilt amongst conservative Christians, and force concepts of “acceptance” and “flexibility” when it comes to religions such as Islam. Let it be known, I have no problem with people practicing their religion. It is a wonderful right that is part of the principles that our country was founded upon. However, when someone like Virginia Attorney General Bob McConnell gets attacked for studying law at Regents University, and gets lampooned for first finding out about it on the 700 Club…it becomes an attack on the religious sensibilities of many people. It creates an atmosphere where people are reluctant to express their Christian faith, for fear of ridicule and guilt. That, my friends, is a shame.

Are all Democrats, socialists, and liberals guilty of this? Of course not, there are plenty of people on the “other side of the fence” that can make their points in a clear, concise, non-inflammatory manner. However, it’s the ones that use guilt and fear in place of fact and reason that bother me. Whether you’re right-wing, left-wing, or third-wing…it should bother you, too.

Nobody should be made to feel guilty when they haven’t done anything wrong.

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