Written by: Matt Seyer
The theory of evolution is not a legitimate scientific theory. 9/11 widows are harpies who enjoyed their husbands’ deaths. The Jewish religion is deficient and is in need of the perfecting grace of Christianity to make it whole. Women should not have the right to vote, because they don’t vote in the country’s best interests. Excess radiation acts as a cancer vaccine. All terrorists are Muslim, and we should invade Islamic countries, kill their leaders, and convert the populace to Christianity.
It’s rare when so many bizarre and abhorrent views are held by one person. But such persons exist, and Ann Coulter is one of them, and she’s pretty proud of that fact. She’ll be at Truman tonight, and she’s being sponsored by the College Republicans (CRs).
I’m not mad. I’m not going to go protest the event. I’m sure Ms. Coulter won’t be speaking about any of the above views in her talk (though the Q&A is wide open to such topics).
More than anything, I’m confused.
I know a few of the CRs. We’re not bosom buds, but we’re respectful to each other, friendly even. For the most part, they’re kind and intelligent people. They recognize the fringes of both the right and the left, and they detest and/or dismiss such extreme points of view. Last semester, they brought another speaker, S.E. Cupp, who, though I disagreed with her on almost everything, was not…well…a nut. She said her bit, fielded questions, and fairly accurately represented modern-day conservatism.
Ms. Coulter is an entirely different story. Sure, she holds all of the usual views: gays and lesbians shouldn’t be allowed to marry; climate change is a farce, etc. That’s not what bothers me about her. It isn’t what has me confused. What bothers me about Ann Coulter is that she embodies the worst kind of attitude imaginable: she’s mean and she loves it. What confuses me is the notion that anyone would want that attitude and those fringe and often cruel views to come to Truman and to represent their organization and their ideology to campus. It eludes me that the CRs whom I know would want to put this woman up in front of everyone and say, “When you think of a Republican, when you think of a conservative, think of her.” I genuinely don’t get it.
When the College Democrats held our Exec retreat, we deliberated on the best speaker to bring to Truman. We had a long list that included many popular and less well-known names. One of the potential speakers was Bill Maher. Lofty, I know; he’s not cheap. It wasn’t very likely that we would bring him. But I very loudly (too loudly) protested, going so far as to say that if we actually decided to bring him then I would actively fight against the decision and do everything I could to keep him from coming (ask someone who was there…I made an ass of myself). Why?
Because Bill Maher is a prick.
I don’t care that Maher probably agrees with me on almost everything in terms of my ideology. If we’re going to bring someone to represent our organization and our viewpoints to campus, we damn well better bring someone who is honest, fair, and respectful. I don’t want mean people. I don’t want to bring people who take pleasure in making fun of others, who value mockery and ridicule above careful discussion and serious inquiry, who find it more productive to be stubborn and insincere when dealing with those who disagree with them, who think the truth is something to be treated casually.
But maybe that’s just me (actually, it WAS just me at the retreat).
For me, bringing a speaker isn’t about having someone shout my views to campus. It’s about showing my peers that there are decent and fair people out there who share my views and the views of the College Democrats. It’s about starting a conversation. It’s about opening new areas of discussion with those with whom I disagree.
I somehow doubt that Ms. Coulter will accomplish any of these things.
Ann Coulter isn’t a Republican. She isn’t a conservative. She isn’t to the right of the extreme right. She’s just mean, and she enjoys it and uses it to sell books. I have no idea what happened to her in her life to make her so spiteful, but whatever it was, I feel very sorry for her. It baffles me that the College Republicans want to implicitly or explicitly tell Truman,
“This here, this is a Republican.”