This week is about as good a time as any to set some new ground rules for this column. I have to thank public figures like Katie Couric, as well as my liberal friends and readers, for suggesting the idea to me, even though they have no idea that they did so. It’s just that, listening to them talk about what I need to do in the upcoming days, and reading their comments about how I should be approaching the next four years, I realized that I’d perhaps been a bit obscure during the last 100 or so columns. Some clarification is therefore in order.
Let’s start with Katie. The legendary pixie of journalism with the kitten’s smile and the barracuda’s interviewing style was on Bill Maher last week and suggested that Trump voters need to be “deprogrammed:” “And the question is how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump.”
While I don’t really care about Katie showing her partisanship since she is no longer producing real journalism these days, it is a little disconcerting to realize that someone who spent decades coming into my living room thinks that I registered for a cult when I registered to vote. Of course, given the way that Katie treated Sarah Palin all those years ago, deliberately trying to make her look like a fool, I shouldn’t be surprised. I would say that a woman who helped cover up for her sexual abuser co-host is not in a position to judge the character of anyone other than her gynecologist, but that is beside the point.
The point is that Katie Couric is saying out loud what many on the left have been thinking to themselves, but now have permission to enunciate with pretentious precision. It is an update of the “clinging to their guns and religion” mantra, only this time it much more specific.
I have also heard from readers who have told me that I need to ask for forgiveness insofar as I enabled a “monster,” and some have gone so far as to demand public apologies for not empathizing with the plight of the disenfranchised. One person even quoted back to me the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty, the one Emma Lazarus wrote to remind us
of our obligation to accept the “tempest tossed.” The immigration lawyer in me greatly appreciated the reminder.
And most recently, I have been told that my words should be censured like President Trump’s, because they create a dangerous environment for those who cannot deal with what they consider racism in a society where failing to capitalize the letter “B” is now akin to hanging a noose in a tree.
So, circling back to my opening comments, these are the ground rules I will be setting for this column, and for my commentaries as we move forward along a path I did not choose, but one which I will follow with the same docility and cooperation as my friends on the left did over the last four years.
First, I will speak the truth as I see it. If that causes discomfort to those who hold opposing views, I welcome them to email, to write letters to the editor, and to do whatever they need to do on social media and elsewhere to make their displeasure known. The point, here, is that I will continue to put my own words down on paper, and will not accede to the demands of others who think that they can write a better or a different column because they do not belong to a cult.
Second, I will graciously reject the efforts at deprogramming, just as I am sure the women in the Pink Pussy Hats felt no need to be schooled in alternative philosophies and ways of approaching their new reality. To me, the current occupant of the White House is-in his own way-as disrespectful of women as liberals accused Donald Trump of being. President Biden has completely dismissed the legitimate concerns of pro-life women, lumping us into that category of people who want to deprive the sisters of their autonomy. His public commentaries have made that quite clear.
Third, I will not be asking forgiveness for my views. The only person from whom I seek absolution is my Lord, and only then when I have committed a sin. The mantra “Oh My God I am Heartily Sorry For Having Offended Some Readers” is not a part of my sacramental lexicon.
Fourth, I am not interested in truth and reconciliation committees, particularly the reconciliation part. I think that while it is important for people to acknowledge their mistakes, the fact that someone voted for a president that other people despised is neither a crime nor grounds for retribution. If there is a move to silence and marginalize those who remain in the fabricated “cult,” I will (and you should) employ all means to expose those efforts as a violation of the civil rights we are all vouchsafed at birth.
In these times, in this country, it is a privilege to have a platform. Many do not have that platform, and in some countries like Russia, voices that are considered strident, uncomforatble and unforgiving are censored. Happily, that is not yet the case in the United States.
So while I appreciate Katie and the left’s concern for my welfare, I will not be consulting her for the address of a deprogrammer in the next four years.
I like my Kool Aid straight up, with a twist of the truth.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and a Delaware County resident. Her column appears Thursday and Sunday. Email her at email@example.com.