Skip to comments.Doubting Coulter -- At First (Press release politics not best venue for discussing personal loss)
Posted on 06/08/2006 10:59:21 PM PDT by nickcarraway
I was ready to give up on Ann Coulter. Even as a fan and a strong conservative, I found her questioning of the 9/11 widows in Godless hysterical and heartless. I thought it sad that such a brilliant mind had become unhinged. Saying that the Jersey Girls, the four women who lost husbands at 9/11, were "enjoying" their husbands' deaths? Ann -- time for rehab.
But then I saw the response from Kristen Breitweiser and the other 9/11 widows. Despite myself, against myself, a small fissure found its way into my disappointment. Don't bring it up, I told myself. To question grieving people is an attack not on their politics but their personhood. It is beneath you. Let it go.
But the more I saw the Jersey Girls' press release, the more that fissure widened. They defended their criticism of the lack of preparation for 9/11 -- a lack they claim continues to this day -- and called for civil right oversight, stronger border security, and better defense at ports and airports. Before the list came this: "Contrary to Ms. Coulter's statements, there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive. There was no happiness in telling our children that their fathers were never coming home again. We adored these men and miss them every day."
I read that, and a thought came to mind. I tried to push it away, ignore it. But I simply could not get that line out of my mind: "there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive."
But I couldn't get around it.
What person describes the death of a loved one in such detail?
Think about it. Think about people you've loved who have died, and how they died. When I was in high school in the early 1980s a friend was killed in a devastating driving accident There was an open casket at the funeral, and afterwards me and a group of buddies went to the roof of one of their houses and sat there talking all night. We talked about football, girls, sadness, the weather, depression, our parents -- everything except what we saw in that coffin. To this day it's referred to as "the night Dale (not his real name) died." Ten years ago, my father died of cancer. I can hardly bring myself to say the word, much less describe what he looked like and went through in the last months. When I meet someone who had a loved one suffer a similar fate, the conversation always trails off when we mention our common story. One of us will mutter, "it's a terrible thing," then change the conversation.
Curse me, I know I'm going to hell for this: Why did the Jersey Girls describe the deaths of their husbands with such startling precision? "Men that we loved burned alive." My mind wanders back to the victims of the Lockerbie bombing. In one powerful episode that was recounted in Harper's magazine, the father of a girl who was killed when the plane went down asked about justice. He turned on the reporter and said, "How can there be any justice in this cruel world?" It is to make one weep. This poor soul gave no details, but delivered a powerful existential wail of pain: how can the cosmic scales of justice be righted when I've lost my girl? Think of that space in death (and the ineffable splendor of love) that unites us as humans created by God. It's the space that creates a zone of quiet respect, mystery, and even fear that stops us short of details when the death of a loved one comes up. We evade out of deference to the tragedy of death, its inevitability, and the idea that it is a mystery allowed by God that we may at some point get to understand. It is where we are equal as persons, and politics disappears.
To inspect the details of death, reveal them, announce them, is often the province of the propagandist or social activist. It's the gun control advocate who announces at the town meeting, "My son's brains were splattered all over me." The seatbelt champion showing slides of bodies in pieces. The reporter who will pick over every drop of blood spilled at Haditha.
It was the Paul Wellstone funeral.
When Ann Coulter doubted the 9/11 widows' grief, one way to prove her wrong would have been to respond not with a bullet-point memo about the failures of George Bush, but to simply say: Ann, you have entered a sacred space and violated it. We will not describe how our husbands died -- that is a silent place of pain between us and God. We have political differences with Miss Coulter, but we do share a common humanity. It is that humanity which she has soiled. We will pray for her, and for the United States of America.
Instead, they created a visual that no American doubts, or wants to contemplate. Not because we are cowards, but because we know the reality all too well. Our rage -- some of us anyway -- has hardened into steel resolve to see this through and support those fighting for us. One gets the sense that Breitweiser & Co. decided to rachet up the imagery to score political points. Saying our husbands died because we weren't prepared just doesn't pack the same punch as: they burned alive, and Bush could have prevented it -- and may cause more of it. One is philosophy, spirituality, and love of country. The other is politics.
Mark Gauvreau Judge is the author of God and Man at Georgetown Prep: How I Became a Catholic Despite 20 Years of Catholic Schooling (Crossroad, 2005) and Damn Senators: My Grandfather and the Story of Washington's Only World Series Championship (Encounter, 2003).
Thank you so much for posting this.
Ann is the vanguard right now against Victimhood politics. Rather daring--and iconoclastic in the classic sense of the word--if she succeeds in this volley against the leftist Sacred Cow, she'll have done quite a job for us in the rhetorical battle against liberalism.
Terrorist use innocent humans as targets and shields. The left uses victims as targets and shields. A common denominator of enemies of the Republic.
My first rection to Ann's words were shock and outrage as well. But then on closer examination, it is one of those statements that sounds horrible taken out of context, but is reasonable in the larger discussion.
I hadn't followed the 911 group of 4 like I have Cindy Sheehan. I find Sheehan's behavior despicable and a dishonor to her late son.
So Ann wasn't attacking all of the victim's of 911, just those that are using their victim status to push a defeatist political agenda. And the larger point is that these "human shields" are the foundation of the left's strategy to win symapathy for their defeatist position.
Ann has challenged the sanctity of the victim propogandist. Letterman asks "How can anyone question Cindy Sheehan?" Very easily, when her statements are examined. Zarqwi was no freedom fighter despite what Sheehan says, and her and any other person's defeatist drivel can and should be attacked.
Mark Gauvreau Judge has a "fissure" in his perinium for whatever is in fashion to be inserted there to suit him via the MSM.
Hey, don't fall for the liberal crap... What Ann is saying is to the point and factual. If the MSM and other disagree, then let them, but do not give in to the PC line about the widows.
Their latest response is consistant with their past drippings and is just another example of how leftists worship their god of liberalism.
Liberals daily reveal their spirituality (their lack of true spirituality) by putting liberal politics above all that is sacred.
You were right in the initial show at Ann's words...but if you stop and try to understand what she is trying to get accross, you will agree that she is right... The MSM is always pushing the liberal widow viewpoint and they can NOT be questioned since they are 9/11 widows... Hmmm...
It seems to me that if you are the victim of some tragedy, your opinion about related political issues shouldn't be elevated, but regarded with more suspicion. Your emotions could get in the way of clear thinking if you're a victim. Too many people already have trouble telling the difference between thinking and emoting.
I wasn't shocked by the 'offending statement' even taken out of context as the lefties have tried to do..... Because I noticed the very same things myself during the 911 Commission hearings and later during the Kerry Campaign.
I really wasn't planning on reading 'Godless' much less purchasing it until I heard the reactions and statements of Hillary, Letterman, and the usual leftist suspects AS WELL AS those of some of the pundits that are normally kind of on the conservative / libertarian side.
So, I ran out to Walmart and bought a copy of it this afternoon. So, You lefties and pseudo-conservatives can pat yourselves on the back for making your hated Walmart, Crown Publishing and Ann Coulter all a little richer than they otherwise would have been.
15 pages into the book, and all I can say to them is "Thanks for making me buy a book that I am quite enjoying".
I guess I wasn't shocked because I knew immediately what she meant...and I agreed with her. My first thought was "it's about damned time!"
Rolling Stone cover photo (taken on the deck of one of their multi-mill buck mansions?)....
I wasn't shocked either, in fact the first thing I thought of was Murtha.
"Vote for John Edwards.. He uses a ton of hairspray like me!"
I had allowed the spin doctors on the left to tap into my dignity and use it in a most insidious way to shroud my judgment with phony victims..
If I had any doubt, I watched Nick Berg's father, Michael Berg, blame George W. Bush for his son's death, and not Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, even though we all witnessed his brutal beheading at the hands of al-Zarqawi..
These liberals are not to be trusted or believed because they HATE! THEY HATE AMERICA AND THEY HATE US, but most of all they hate THEMSELVES!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.