Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Somebody can Agree with Your Political Views and Still be an Asshole

This column by Leonard Pitts Jr. is titled Why I Don't Like Bill Maher. I personally don't have any opinion one way or the other on Bill Maher.  I don't get HBO so I only see occasional YouTube links to some of his jokes from Real Time With Bill Maher.  I loved Politically Incorrect when it was on Comedy Central and later got moved to one of the main networks.  But I can picture him being a “smarmy, self-satisfied, condescending and just plain nasty” person, as Leonard Pitts Jr. describes him.

I can be somewhat opinionated politically, as some of my previous posts on this blog would indicate.  But I don't hold other people's opinions against them, or assume somebody must be a F#%$$!&%# just because he/she voted for _____________ instead of ____________.

About thirty-odd years ago I worked for a nonprofit health reform organization.  Great cause and all that, but most of my coworkers and supervisors were assholes.  We could have sat around all day discussing politics and not disagreed on anything.  But I've never seen as much backstabbing, infighting, self-righteousness and just plain meanness as I did during the year I spent with that organization.

In contrast, my previous job had been as a telemarketer with a sleazy organization working for an even sleazier cause.  But most of the supervisors and other telemarketers were nice, likeable people.  Workplace morale was very high.

I live downtown in a town of about 20,000 people, and a lot of local/downtown issues completely transcend any sort of political labels.  I often agree with people — whom I know to be conservative — on certain local issues, and vice versa.

And this brings me to the first person I thought of as I was reading Leonard Pitts' column:  a local progressive/liberal city councilman who turned out to be one of the biggest douchebags I've ever met.  I knew him personally; he seemed pretty likeable and we agreed on practically every local and national political issue.

As he was nearing the end of his single term on the city council (more on that later), he e-mailed everyone he knew to announce that his wife — also liberal/progressive — was running for a local office.  He assumed that everyone he knew would jump on the progressive bandwagon and start marching in lockstep behind his wife's candidacy.  Anyone who didn't — I'm in that category — instantly became The Enemy.  A Traitor to the Progressive Cause!  One of Them!

Anyway, his wife got defeated in her election campaign.  Immediately after that  — before his term was up — the city councilman resigned from office, had several embarrassing (or at least they should have been) public tantrums, and the two of them fled to Oregon.

The disgraced has-been city councilman started a blog about a year ago (sorry, no names or links provided) with the sole purpose of condemning and libeling the town that hadn't appreciated him or his wife.  Needless to say, he hides behind a screen name, but there's no question who it is.  I don't know whether anything on his blog is technically libel or not, but he continuously spews out the kind of shit you'd never say to anyone face-to-face unless you wanted your internal organs rearranged.

Every post at this person's blog has 30, 40, 50, maybe 80 comments — all Anonymous — all congratulating him on yet another brilliant post.  “LOL.”  “Hey, thank you for what you're doing.”  “Another courageous post.  Keep up the good work.”  And on and on and on...

Trouble is, this person has alienated virtually everyone he ever knew in this area.  The only explanation I can think of is, the jillions of comments at his posts are all from him.  “The calls are coming from inside the house!”

Kind of sad — once a charismatic politician on the rise, now reduced to sitting at home spewing on his blog, blubbering back and forth with his imaginary friends.  Guided by the voices in his head.

Anyway, to steal the same quote again from Leonard Pitts Jr., this disgraced former city councilman is “smarmy, self-satisfied, condescending and just plain nasty,” in addition to being more slippery than a road covered with wet leaves.

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Blogger Snave said...

Good points throughout!

I know a number of people who I trust implicitly, yet who have politically conservative ideologies. There are even some areas where we might find political agreement.

I also know some left-wingers who I think are not all that pleasant to be around and whose ulterior motives might be questionable, although we might be in agreement on just about everything politically speaking.

I think what it comes down to is that you can't really judge how likeable a person is based on their political ideologies, unless it is to say that the other guy, while intelligent and basically nice, is sorely misguided, and possibly in need of an intervention. ;-)

March 18, 2015 at 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Screamin' Mimi said...

Excellent post! I know the person you're referring to, and couldn't agree more. They have left our town, now they should have the decency to leave us alone! Go away so we can miss you. Or not.

It's true that many good causes are found on both sides of the political aisle, and that we should all be delighted to find any common ground we can. And as you point out, the converse is also true -- assholes can also be found in large number on both sides.

The moral, I think, is judge people as individuals, and above all, THINK FOR YOURSELF.

March 18, 2015 at 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this supposed to be about all Like-minded people doing a Kumbaya? Or just challenging our liberal beliefs of acceptance which conservatives love to ridicule? I don’t have cable and don’t get many chances to watch Maher, I find him entertaining. But I also keep in mind he dated Ann Coulter for many years, that right wing nut that wears short, tight cocktail dresses all hours of the day and gets paid to say outrages things no man can get away with like calling John Edwards a faggot!
OK he’s proving he’s a man, but I would think someone with his convictions would do better than her. This is supposed to be the big Wrestling match of life. Mark Twain (I think) wrote about two politicians going at it fist to blood all over the stage then looking back stage to see them slapping each other in the back. Some might be surprised that right wing Mormon Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, was best friends with Liberal Catholic Left wing Senator Ted Kennedy. Hank Williams Jr didn’t get it when he screamed at John Boehner for playing golf with “the enemy” (President Obama).
I just fear it’s gone too far these days, did Glenn Beck really mean he is the carrier of Kings dream when he had that right wing march on Washington? Rush Limbaugh is supposed to be just an entertainer but makes so many outrageous statements and has shown he can make or break conservative careers. Most of us my tend to believe that George W. Bush is really to simple minded to believe half the stuff he did, but he did it and likewise kindly old Ronald Reagan who preached such hate and did it so warmly.
I am curious, I am interested, I am accepting, I understand the need for attention and I have a pretty good grasp of politics but I can’t see myself having coffee with anybody (except maybe for Twain) I just mentioned.


March 18, 2015 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Exactly. I know lots of people who are thoroughly decent even though their political ideas are 180 degrees from mine. And vice versa -- liberals who are pompous self-righteous assholes.

And in a small town where local issues tend to cut across party lines, you'd be shooting yourself in the foot if you only dealt with people whose politics you agree with.

SM: "The moral, I think, is judge people as individuals, and above all, THINK FOR YOURSELF."

Well said. You can't go wrong with that approach.

Erik: I think I've heard that about Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch, as well as Boehner and Obama golfing together. And as we all know, Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan were drinking buddies (unless that was just an urban legend). But I think these high-profile inter-party friendships are less common than they used to be.

I come from a family of Republicans -- moderate country-club RINOs, not teabaggers or Biblehumpers -- so it's impossible for me to dismiss people just because of their politics.

You never know -- you might have a few lattes with Glenn Beck and find out he's a jazz fan and has every book by Pavel Tsatsouline :)

March 18, 2015 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger jim marquis said...

Good post, Tom. I grew up in a small, very conservative Eastern Oregon town (a couple hours south of where Snave lives)and knew all kinds of very decent folks. Hell, my dad was a Barry Goldwater loving Republican but also very kind and generous when it came to people he actually knew.

I will say one thing I really like about Maher is that he's a really good point man for us progressives. Sometimes we tend to be too nice (because being a progressive is so tied in to caring about folks, even ones you don't know). But Maher is more than happy to shake things up and make people think, even if it means he occasionally ends up looking like not such a nice guy.

March 19, 2015 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jim: That's the thing with most small towns. You can't cut people out of your lives just because you don't agree with their politics, or you won't have many friends or even acquaintances. Good point about Bill Maher -- he certainly doesn't have that soft overly nice super-sensitive manner that liberals are always being stereotyped with.

March 19, 2015 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

I think you put your finger on it Tom. There was a time that both sides would sit down and reach a compromise. That doesn't appear to be the case anymore. Up until the last several years I can't recall the vitriol that has been spewed in congress against the left. I am surprised the 'N' word hasn't slipped out in referring to the president. They've called him just about every other name imaginable.

So I think this country has become very polarized to the extremes or at least that's the impression via main stream media. In which case very little gets done.

Erik - About Maher and Ann Coulter. He would have left her but, The sex must have been great! :-)

March 20, 2015 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Demeur: You're right, the polarization and mutual hatred have gotten way out of control. They don't need to call Obama the "N" word, at least not publicly. They have plenty of code phrases that get their message out -- "he's not one of us," "he's a Muslim," "he was born in Kenya," etc.

I'm guessing your answer to Erik is based on those "Worst Girlfriend in the World" skits from Almost Live.

March 20, 2015 at 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm sure you're right about Maher and Coulter, but when you bring the politics in the mix, She and her right wing crowd always defend restrictive sex laws that outlaw Sodomy and other forms of (kinky, oral, female superior) non reproductive sex, I can almost laugh to think they probably had some of the wildest, non-protected, missionary only sex out there.

Guys like Larry Craig and Mark Sanford might have able to save their seats if they were Californian Democrats.


March 20, 2015 at 4:01 PM  

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