The Greenwald/Scahill Kerfuffle
Politics is a blood-sport, and you never learn that more keenly than during an election year. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we’re all human beings, no matter what we think of one another’s politics.
Sometimes rhetoric gets overheated and politics becomes personal and it’s at those moments, we need to stop and think. So, when it was brought to my attention that one of my co-bloggers, who goes by Extreme Liberal, implied on Twitter that Salon’s Glenn Greenwald and The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill work for the Taliban and al Qaeda because of their opposition to the President’s use of drones, I realized it was time to take a moment. Although I didn’t write that tweet, it wouldn’t be right for me to pretend that it’s not relevant to me, or that it’s okay to let things like that slide if it’s directed at someone I don’t like or agree with politically. That would make me a hypocrite, and I don’t want to let a personal or political differences make me — or this blog — into someone I don’t want to be.
Greenwald and I obviously have our differences and will probably continue to disagree. We are creatures of our experiences which inform our views of the world, and mine have been very different from his. Nonetheless, he deserves exactly what I want from him and everyone else who reads my work, whether they agree or disagree: to be treated like a human being.
So look, that kind of thing is not cool, people. We need to take things down a few notches from eleventy and remember that opposition is not “the enemy.” This doesn’t mean we all have to hold hands, sing Kumbaya, and pretend to be BFFs, but it does mean that we must not let politics rob us of our ethics or human decency. I truly respect the work that Jeremy Scahill has done in his career — his book Blackwater was a true eye-opener — and although Glenn Greenwald and I rarely agree about politics, (although it may surprise you that I actually do share some of his foreign policy concerns and his concerns about imperialism in the Middle East), that doesn’t mean that he’s a traitor or a terrorist. Any suggestion of such is wrong and grossly inappropriate. I don’t wish him harm. I don’t believe that he deserves to be dehumanized. And I don’t want anyone who supports me or enjoys my writing to think that I support or enjoy extreme, outrageous, or dehumanizing attacks on him or anyone because of public disagreements.
Because I absolutely mean that, I’ve asked Extreme Liberal to step down as a blogger at ABLC, and I’m writing this to let everyone know where I stand and to reiterate that my views are my own and not representative of any of the management of Raw Story or of Raw Story itself.
Here is what I want: I want to move forward with my women’s rights advocacy with PowrPAC and the Team Uterati Wiki Project. I want to get Obama re-elected because he is unequivocally the best choice for those goals. I want Democrats to keep the Senate so that we have a better chance of seeing the thousands of bills passed that harm women’s health and equality stopped, and so we can get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified. I want us to have a running chance at a reasonable Supreme Court so that unjust and discriminatory laws can be challenged and overturned.
That’s where my passion is, and that’s what I want to do with my life. I do not want to spend it in a Twitter circular firing squad with Glenn Greenwald and his supporters over NDAA, indefinite detention, drones, and other issues that I have repeatedly stated are outside the mainstay of my activism. I don’t want to be involved in that sort of infighting, and I do not want my other ABLC bloggers to be involved in it either. So please, if you care about women’s rights and you support what I’m doing, the best thing you could do is throw in and help with my projects and not contribute to this kind of distracting rhetoric that ultimately lowers the discourse and makes us into people we don’t want to be as liberals.
I apologize to the management of Raw Story, in particular Megan Carpentier for this mess. I take responsibility for it. And I thank her for giving me an opportunity to “clean house” as it were so that I can redouble my focus on the things that I know are important, and make sure those who write with me do the same.