Being of a certain age, we can remember a time when liberalism prided itself on tolerance, dissent, and above all a tolerance of dissent. One needn’t be all that old to recall this bygone era, as it came to an abrupt end only six years or so ago.
The change was immediately and conspicuously noticeable, with all the “Question Authority” stickers adorning the bumpers of the shiny new hybrid cars and rusty fume-spewing VW microbuses replaced seemingly overnight with those dawn-of-a-new-age Obama logos. At the long-anticipated demise of the Bush administration dissent was no longer the highest form of patriotism, much less Pulitzer Prize-bait or a requirement for academic tenure, and questioning authority was suddenly regarded as a sign of dangerous anti-government extremism. The results still resonate in the headlines over stories datelined from New York to Hollywood and all points in between, and it’s becoming all too familiar.
After years of being subjected to self-congratulatory movies about the dark days of McCarthyism when Stalinist screenwriters and fashionably leftist actors were blacklisted for their boldly against-the-grain political opinions, we were naturally struck by two recent tales of Tinseltown. One concerned the comely actress Maria Conchita-Alonso being dumped from yet another performance of “The Vagina Monologues” because she had appeared an a campaign commercial for a candidate associated with the “Tea Party,” and the other was about the Internal Revenue Service’s heightened scrutiny of a group of conservative-leaning actors and other show-biz professionals. We can’t say we’ll miss Conchita-Alonso performance in “The Vagina Monologues,” as we’ve never been fans of ventriloquism, and we assume that club of Hollywood conservatives is quite small compared to other groups that have caught the attention of the IRS, but the irony of their fates is galling nonetheless. As a woman of both Cuban and Venezuelan ancestry Conchita-Alonso knows better than the most the rationale for the limited-government objectives of the Tea Party movement, those openly conservatives actors are far more defiantly non-conformist than anyone who was hauled before the House Un-American Activities ever were, and the lack of protest from their left-leaning peers is pure hypocrisy.
While on the subject of the movies, we also heard that the fellow who made a widely-distributed anti-Obama documentary has now been charged by the feds with making an illegal campaign contribution, something that never seemed to happen to the far more numerous documentarians who flooded the Oscar nomination ballots with celluloid anti-Bush screeds. We’ve already expressed our disappointment that the governor of New York has dis-invited us from visiting his fair state because our political views don’t align with his, but we we have since been further saddened to read that newly-inaugurated Sandanistan mayor of New York City has reiterated that we’re especially unwanted there. At least we’re not black, which would make our views even more slander-worthy to the head of North Carolina’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. If misfortune confined us to a wheelchair we would even expect to be mocked for it because of our political, as Texas gubernatorial candidate George Abbott was by the supporters of the eminently respectable but not-quite-accurate Democratic contender Wendy Davis. Throw in the recent fit that the homosexual lobby threw over some Louisiana redneck reality-show star’s crudely stated preference for vaginas over male anuses, and a pattern becomes clear.
Such liberal intolerance isn’t a recent phenomenon, of course, but it has become more brazen since liberalism seized power. We now encounter it routinely in our social encounters, even here in the Republican outpost of Kansas, and are still struck by the cocksureness of its conviction that whatever was said in the past some sorts of dissent simply should not be tolerated. It strikes us as a sort of narcissism, grounded in the belief that anyone who resists their noble efforts to create a paradise on earth must surely be an awful person deserving oppression, but it should be curable. Get another of those nasty Republicans back in the White House, or even the Senate Majority Leader’s chair, and questioning authority will be back on the bumpers and dissent will once again be the highest form of patriotism.
— Bud Norman