"A conservative group recently started an advertising campaign in Minnesota showing veterans and families of slain troops expressing their support for the Iraq war, only to have the head of the state Democratic Party condemn the ads as "un-American, untruthful and a lie." He furthermore demands that Minnesota television stations pull the ads "and send a message that we will not tolerate this kind of 'swiftboating' anymore." At least one station so far has complied with the request, which is reason enough for outrage.
But there's been precious little of that. Aside from a handful of bloggers covering the issue and an appearance of one of the veterans on Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes," the media has ignored the issue completely, essentially proving one of the ad campaign's main points. The current media meme, at least as it concerns the homefront, is that most returning veterans have turned against the war and those still in field are demoralized and jaded. Meanwhile, parents of slain troops like Cindy Sheehan continue to rack up air time and column inches. The ad campaign seeks to correct this blatant misrepresentation.
Which is exactly why Democrats are trying to stop it with accusations that the ads are somehow "untruthful...."
"...Democrats have also taken issue with the ad's statement that U.S. troops "overwhelmingly" support the mission -- a fact clearly upheld by record-setting retention rates in the military branches. The retention rate in the Army, for instance, is the highest it's been in five years, especially in combat units currently serving in Iraq....
"...The more disturbing issue here is that Democrats are trying to silence a contrary point of view, and are doing so by calling soldiers and military families "un-American." Whenever Republicans attempt to counter antiwar sentiment, be it from the Cindy Sheehans or Paul Hacketts, Democrats shed crocodile tears over the "crushing of dissent." But this is what crushing dissenters actually looks like -- a smear campaign designed explicitly to keep the public from hearing the other side.
Fortunately, readers can see the ads for themselves at www.midwestheroes.com and decide what's so "un-American" about soldiers and families supporting the war. " (emphasis mine)
This is where things get convoluted and twisted in my mind. I cannot tell you how many times in discussion with liberals that if anything "bad" was said about Cindy Sheehan, and by the term "bad" I mean factually contrary to her message or exposing her bias against the war before her son Casey was even killed, was viewed as a Conservative trying to silence Cindy Sheehan's message. Since when did commenting on an issue, a public figure's background, mean you are silencing them? Cindy has had well over her fifteen minutes of fame and the liberally biased media has given only the basest coverage to parents of the war dead who support the war, though they are in the clear majority. One would never know they are in the clear majority if one goes by what the media reports.
More evidence of this effort to silence those who merely wanted to take a look at the source of this "dissent" on Cindy Sheehan's part was the recent David Letterman and Bill O'Reilly exchange wherein David Letterman implied that Bill O'Reilly had no heart because he questioned Cindy Sheehan's motives and statements, though Bill O'Reilly has repeatedly stated his sympathy for her loss and her right to her views, but you see, if one, anyone, counters those views with a little scrutiny they are made to seem as though they are trying to squelch Cindy Sheehan's freedom of speech and personally attacking a grieving mother, the fact of the matter is, by telling people that they are cold heartless fiends if they question a public figure, which Sheehan has made herself, that they are trying to squelch her free speech rights, in essence, is an effort to squelch the free speech rights of the questioners.
Here are excerpts of the David Letterman, Bill O'Reilly exchange:
Bill O'Reilly and David Letterman Clash Over the War
""The United States, particularly the military, is doing a noble thing - the soldiers and Marines are noble," the Fox host insisted. "They're not terrorists. And when people call them that, like Cindy Sheehan called the insurgents 'freedom fighters,' we don't like that. It is a vitally important time in American history and we should be very careful of what we say."
The comment prompted Letterman to admonish O'Reilly, "Then you should be very careful about what you say, also . . . I'm very concerned about people like yourself who don't have endless sympathy for a woman like Cindy Sheehan. Honest to Christ, honest to Christ." (emphasis mine)
"Bill O'Reilly (commentator) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"When O'Reilly attacked the motivations of Cindy Sheehan, Letterman took exception, saying O'Reilly had never lost a family member in a war, and therefore O'Reilly could not speak for Sheehan's motivations. O'Reilly then asked how would those who did lose a member in the war, feel about Sheehan calling terrorists "freedom fighters"." (emphasis mine)
So, evidently, to a liberal, unless you have actually experienced something you have no right to scrutinize anything, anything at all. If you go along with this train of thought this should translate into, unless you've been a President you can't say anything about the motivations of the President, unless you've been a soldier you can't say anything about their motivations, unless you've acted in or written the screen play of a particular movie you shouldn't review it, etc. Is that how it works? No. This is purely an effort to silence those who disagree with Cindy Sheehan and smear them.
Okay. When you are debating or having a discussion with someone on the internet, in a debate group or a comment section of a blog and they:
- Tell you you cannot speak to a particular subject because you have no experience
- Change the subject
- Attack the style in which you write rather than the content and context of what you are writing about
- Laugh at you
- Call you names
- Suggest you have no independent thoughts but are merely a blind follower, a kool-aid drinker, in other words, question your intelligence
Chances are you have struck a nerve and the person engaging in such rhetorical tactics is telling you to shut up. Should you? In most cases, I don't believe you should, however, in the case of commenting at another person's blog, I believe it is similar to visiting someone else's home and the etiquette which would apply to one being a guest in another's home should apply.
So, considering that you are a visitor or guest in another's home, if your host:
- Tells you that you cannot speak to a particular topic because you have no experience
- When you begin to discuss your views on any given topic consistently changes the topic
- Attacks the way you articulate yourself when speaking, corrects the choice of words or tone of your voice incessantly
- Laughs at you rather than with you
- Calls you names
- Tells you that you are not smart enough to form your own opinions and that it is clear that you are only parroting what others say
I wonder if you would feel welcome to return as a guest to that person's home? Even if that person sent you invitations in the mail, called you with invitations and repeatedly told you that you have an important viewpoint to bring to the discussion in his or her home would you feel welcome based on the actions of that host when you were actually in his or her home in the past?
I wouldn't. So, in those type of cases I would prefer not to continue to try to share my viewpoint at someone else's blog who consistently and repetitively has engaged in any combination of those actions.