I came across this bit of Native American wisdom that I think best encapsulates, in just a few words, why Operation Hilarity is such a bad idea:
A Native American wisdom story tells of an old Cherokee who is teaching his grandson about life. 'A fight is going on inside me,' he said to the boy. 'It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil--he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good--he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The fight is going on inside of you--and inside every other person, too.'
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, 'Which wolf will win?' The old Cherokee replied, 'The one that you feed.'
(as recounted by Kristin Neff, Ph.D., in Self-Compassion
, her book about transformation combining the latest Western psychological research and Eastern meditative strategies.)
This battle between two wolves--an evil one of hatred, anger, arrogance, lies, false-pride, resentment and self-pity vs. the good one of hope, empathy , generosity, compassion, love and kindness--is also one being fought in the national political arena.
With Rick Santorum as the embodiment of hatred. ( Since Santorum's manichean view of the world sees it in black and white terms as a struggle of light vs dark, of good vs. evil, of us vs. them, here's right back atcha, Rick.)
No one is more subject to Santorum's lies, anger, hatred and bigotry than the LGBT community which is why so many of us are opposed to Operation Hilarity. (The tragic joke is on us.)
It's All About the Framing
For there is a phenomenon in the media, specifically aimed at the LGBT community, in which their he/said she/said steno-journalism gives voice to the some of the most reactionary, hateful, life-negating vitriol that would never be allowed against any other minority (though some of the anti-immigrant rants against Latinos they air come close).
For instance, they do not routinely give voice, say, to the grand wizard of the KKK, but they do not hesitate to give voice to similarly reactionary voices against LGBTs, (such as Santorum comparing gayness to bestiality--this is the danger of giving him a forum.)
It's as if equal rights for LGBTs are not human rights guaranteed by the Constitution, but rather something "controversial."
And in the framing is the judging.
The point is to get to the point where hatred and bigotry against the LGBT community are beyond the pale and not open to debate. (And some progress is being made here as we have seen countless celebrities--even a news reporter--pressured into apologies after making homophobic statements. This is something new and good.)
Giving Santorum a forum thwarts this goal, and he knows that and works it, knowing that even if he loses, he wins.
We may be powerless to stop the madness going on in the Republican Party this primary season, but we must not feed their disease, we need not feed that evil wolf.
Which doesn't mean we don't dispute them. Obama is actually doing a good job at that, now--fighting the rabid wolf rather than feeding it--and this is reflected in the polls. This is where we need to lend our support.
A Preemptive Strike: The Urge to Shut People Up
Here, I am anticipating the inevitable, dismissive, belittling, derisive comments (so prevalent on DailyKos these days) saying "oh no, not yet another diary about OH" or "give it a rest" or "been there done that" or "move on nothing to see here" (you can add your own here, if you're a regular you've seen even nastier, zippier ones), etc., etc.
If you don't want to see another diary on OH, then don't read this one. Scroll away. It's as simple as that (don't feed this OH wolf).
But the urge to shut other people up is not a progressive one; it's not a liberal one; and it's not a Democratic one.
It is, however, the hallmark of the world Santorum and his controlling ilk wish to impose on all of us (The proposed "Don't Say Gay" Tenn bill is just one example of this.) We don't battle meanness by succumbing to it ourselves.
Don't Feed That Wolf
For we Democrats have a much more nuanced view of human nature and the world than the Santorum crowd's "my way or the highway" "good vs evil" "us vs them" mentality.
Like the wise grandfather (and unlike Santorum), we acknowledge that the battle between the two wolves isn't just something going on "out there," that it is a battle going on within each one of us. It is a battle going on within our Party and it is even a battle going on (gasp) here on DailyKos.
What kind of place DailyKos becomes, whether it is a nurturing place that welcomes reasoned debate and fosters a sense of community, or whether it becomes a place of jeering, derisive comments where people take glee in putting other people in their place with oh so clever jibes; whether it becomes a place which people use to advance their egos rather than to advance their ideas (a phenomenon all too prevalent among people of all stripes drawn to politics, and a leading cause of defeat and failure), or, instead, it becomes a place where people are kind and compassionate to others, even with those they disagree (except for beyond the pale republicans like Santorum, of course), well, as the wise grandfather says,
It all depends on which wolf you feed.