Sunday, January 18, 2009

Conservative Thought = Anger & Angst?

It's no secret by now that I tend to lean heavily conservative, both politically and morally. My definition of "political conservativism" would include a desire to see our country adhere to the Constitution of the United States and the intent of our founding fathers. It would be a desire of mine to see others brought around to my point of view (obviously - who wouldn't want to see other people begin to think like themselves?), and I've been spending some time pondering how this would be most effectively done. I've come to a few conclusions:

One, we're not doing it right. And when I say "we," I'm talking about the general atmosphere of many of the conservative spokespeople out front. John Hawkins (of has two articles titled "A 'You Suck' List." The first line of the first article reads, "Just consider this to be constructive criticism aimed at idiots who are too dumb to ever take it." If there is anybody from either side of the spectrum who can explain to me how this is "constructive," I'd love to hear it. I can see why it would sell - things that are vitriolic and shocking often do - but I don't see the benefit to anybody from writing such a thing beyond a monetary benefit to the author. 

Ann Coulter is another conservative who is absolutely brilliant in her marketing strategy -- and yet I have a hard time believing that she is an effective voice for converting others to conservative thought. She's famous for making cutting remarks about liberals such as, "If Democrats had any brains, they'd be Republicans." While such comments are found funny by a segment of the population and sell like crazy, they're not very conducive to starting an effective conversation on the issues. Don't get me wrong, Ann Coulter has some very interesting things to say in many of her columns - and she has an incredible amount of insight. It's just sometimes hard to dig past the angst and cynicism in her writing to get to it. 

I think, though, what bothers me the most about some of these authors' style is that they're purporting to be not just conservatives, but Christians as well. Ann Coulter, Mike Adams, Doug Giles... they very plainly write about their Christian beliefs as well as their political beliefs. But they do so in such a way as to completely lambast their opposition rather than convince them. I don't know if this is because they feel there is no hope for people who don't think and believe like they do or if it's simply an attempt to sell more of their product (which is, I guess, themselves). But regardless of the motivation behind their style, I believe it's counterproductive.

It's a little bit like the difference between a Christian who goes out to those who are hurting and ministers to them... helping to heal their wounds, loving them where they're at - and the Christian who prefers to stay in a pew on Sunday morning, listening to a sermon on how evil all the others in the world are. I'm not saying that either of these people are not Christians, only that one of them is not being very productive in their Christianity. And sometimes it takes stepping outside our comfort zone... maybe not trying so hard to be entertaining (or looking for entertainment)... Maybe we should focus on seeing the "others" as people, created by God, whom we are called on to love and treat with respect regardless of any differences we might have.

1 comment:

H.L.Washburn said...

You are right, and that is one of the reasons I have a difficult time listening to some of these conservative talking heads. It is all about being as "right" as possible even if that means being as harsh as possible, yet claiming to be a follower of Christ. They don't quite match up.