And now, some words of wisdom from Andrew WK

posted at 10:01 pm on August 7, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

Yes, he wears a perpetually stained shirt and his profession is partying. And, he drops serious political, spiritual, and philosophical knowledge in the Village Voice. Responding with advice for a man who claims his father is a “65-year-old super right-wing conservative” intent on ruining the world, Andrew offers this (emphasis mine):

Dear Son of A Right-Winger,

Go back and read the opening sentences of your letter. Read them again. Then read the rest of your letter. Then read it again. Try to find a single instance where you referred to your dad as a human being, a person, or a man. There isn’t one. You’ve reduced your father — the person who created you — to a set of beliefs and political views and how it relates to you. And you don’t consider your dad a person of his own standing — he’s just “your dad.” You’ve also reduced yourself to a set of opposing views, and reduced your relationship with him to a fight between the two. The humanity has been reduced to nothingness and all that’s left in its place is an argument that can never really be won. And even if one side did win, it probably wouldn’t satisfy the deeper desire to be in a state of inflamed passionate conflict.

The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they’re truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen…

When we truly believe that some people are monsters, that they fundamentally are less human than we are, and that they deserve to have less than we do, we ourselves become the monsters…

Many of you will likely disagree with Andrew WK and my lauding of his philosophy, but I loathe the idea of a world where my every relationship and every decision is governed by adherence to my political ideology. I want to be friends with people of all stripes and see whatever movie and eat whatever pasta I feel like without running each of them through a political rubric. Not everything that is not of my political sensibility must deeply offend my sensibilities. One of the reasons I’m conservative is because if you increase without end the number of areas in which the federal government meddles from afar, the more politics infects every corner of our lives. And, frankly, that’s a drab life. I recognize the irony that I somewhat inadvertently made politics my life in an attempt to rid our lives of them as much as possible. But, these days, I figure it’s my public service and the service of my fellow political junkies to pay attention to this all the time so others may be spared.

Let me also quote Sonny Bunch’s favorite part of this piece. Bunch is fellow detester of the politicized life:

We must protect and respect each other, no matter how hard it feels. No matter how wrong someone else may seem to us, they are still human. No matter how bad someone may appear, they are truly no worse than us. Our beliefs and behavior don’t make us fundamentally better than others, no matter how satisfying it is to believe otherwise. We must be tireless in our efforts to see things from the point of view we most disagree with. We must make endless efforts to try and understand the people we least relate to. And we must at all times force ourselves to love the people we dislike the most. Not because it’s nice or because they deserve it, but because our own sanity and survival depends on it.

The tagline for my personal website is, “I’m Mary Katharine Ham. I talk about politics, but I like other things, too. I try not to be a blowhard.” Thanks, Andrew WK, for saying it better. Apparently, he talks about partying, but likes other things, too.

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Bmore

Schadenfreude on August 8, 2014 at 3:41 PM

A lot of commenters are upset that AWK says people with different values and beliefs are not fundamentally different from ourselves. They ask: What about Hitler, bin Laden, ISIS?

But I think this reply misses the point. He’s not talking about the violent psychopathic extremists. He’s saying it’s a mistake to lump people you disagree with on policy issues into the same category as violent psychopathic extremists.

When we make the leap from “He’s an Obama supporter” to “He’s a monster who’s destroying our country,” we are becoming part of the problem.

sauropod on August 8, 2014 at 3:44 PM

A lot of commenters are upset that AWK says people with different values and beliefs are not fundamentally different from ourselves. They ask: What about Hitler, bin Laden, ISIS?

sauropod on August 8, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Whether Hitler and bin Laden are “monsters” is beside the point; and frankly, there is Someone Else who will be their Judge. The ideologies that they promoted, and that of ISIS, are monstrous. As we are called to love the sinner, but hate the sin; we should remember both. There is no prohibition on hating the sin, nor on decrying monstrous behavior as being monstrous.

When we make the leap from “He’s an Obama supporter” to “He’s a monster who’s destroying our country,” we are becoming part of the problem.

No, not really. Recognising that someone is destroying our country is a useful observation; and so is assigning responsibility to the culprit. Many problems are best solved at the source. If the culprit looks like a monster, walks like a monster, and quacks like a monster…
there is a reasonable conclusion to be drawn.

ReggieA on August 8, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Much of Mary Katherine Ham’s work strikes me as coming from someone who wants to, first and foremost, seem “reasonable” and “acceptable” to liberal media colleagues.

She basically asks, “Can’t we all just get along? Can’t we please stop dehumanizing the opposition and stop making everything political?”

Hell no. And I’ll tell you why: the other side won’t stop, and so the answer isn’t to relax, hold hands and pretend they are friends. They will smear us, and the answer is really to smear and attack back even harder and more effectively. The socialist, anti-American left-wing ideology is dangerous and deserves to be hated and regarded as monstrous.

Thanks for the unneeded lecture, Mary Katherine, on how we should supposedly show more respect to people who want to destroy the country.

bluegill on August 8, 2014 at 6:16 PM

The tagline for my personal website is, “I’m Mary Katharine Ham. I talk about politics, but I like other things, too. I try not to be a blowhard.”
-Mary Katherine Ham

Aren’t you swell.

bluegill on August 8, 2014 at 6:28 PM

bluegill on August 8, 2014 at 6:28 PM

GTFOOH with your petty jealousies. Seriously, don’t you have some Palin effigies that need burning or something?

S. D. on August 8, 2014 at 7:03 PM

S. D. on August 8, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Sorry, just have to laugh. Been that kind of a day. ; ) Lolz!!!

Bmore on August 8, 2014 at 7:05 PM

I want to be friends with people of all stripes and see whatever movie and eat whatever pasta I feel like without running each of them through a political rubric.
-Mary Katharine Ham

Mary K., have you ever asked any of the people listed below if they have any good movie recommendations? They are people too, just like you and me. We shouldn’t be judging people or movies differently based on politics, after all.

“You old white people. It is your duty to die.”
PRO-AMNESTY ACTIVISTS SPEAK OUT!
Augustin Cebada, Brown Berets; “Go back to Boston! Go back to Plymouth Rock, Pilgrims! Get out! We are the future. You are old and tired. Go on. We have beaten you. Leave like beaten rats. You old white people. It is your duty to die … Through love of having children, we are going to take over. ”
Richard Alatorre, Los Angeles City Council. “They’re afraid we’re going to take over the governmental institutions and other institutions. They’re right. We will take them over … We are here to stay.”
Excelsior, the national newspaper of Mexico, “The American southwest seems to be slowly returning to the jurisdiction of Mexico without firing a single shot.”
Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez, University of Texas and La Raza founder; “We have an aging white America. They are not making babies. They are dying. The explosion is in our population … I love it. They are shitting in their pants with fear. I love it.”
Art Torres, Chairman of the California Democratic Party, “Remember 187 — proposition to deny taxpayer funds for services to non-citizens — was the last gasp of white America in California.”
Gloria Molina, Los Angeles County Supervisor, “We are politicizing every single one of these new citizens that are becoming citizens of this country … I gotta tell you that a lot of people are saying, “I’m going to go out there and vote because I want to pay them back.”
Mario Obledo, California Coalition of Hispanic Organizations and California State Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Governor Jerry Brown, also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton, “California is going to be a Hispanic state. Anyone who doesn’t like it should leave.”
Jose Pescador Osuna, Mexican Consul General , “We are practicing ‘La Reconquista’ in California.”
Professor Fernando Guerra, Loyola Marymount University; “We need to avoid a white backlash by using codes understood by Latinos …”
THE U.S. VS MEXICO:
On February 15, 1998, the U.S. and Mexican soccer teams met at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Mexican even though most lived in this country. They booed during the National Anthem and U.S. flags were held upside down. As the match progressed, supporters of the U.S. team were insulted, pelted with projectiles, punched and spat upon. Beer and trash were thrown at the U.S. players before and after the match. The coach of the US soccer team said, “this is the most painful experience I have had in this profession.”

bluegill on August 8, 2014 at 7:21 PM

My goodness, isn’t someone a little green around the gills? I hope that isn’t why the post went large.

Cindy Munford on August 8, 2014 at 8:36 PM

No thanks. I don’t want to be friends/acquaintances/around/whatever with anyone stupid enough to have voted for Obama in 2012. Okay, I can understand (but disagree with) the allure of voting for him 2008. He was “fresh” and “exciting” and allowed people to wallow in their morbid feelings.

However, after the incompetence he showed and especially after the “flexibility” line to Putin there is ABSOLUTELY no excuse and anyone brain dead enough to give him their vote deserves nothing but pain and scorn.

I have better things to do than play kumbaya with morons.

kim roy on August 9, 2014 at 1:29 AM

My roommate is a pseudo-leftist, who believes GMO’s are killing us, Chemtrails are real, and any of a wide variety of nutty stuff from a variety of crazy sources.

She’s not a bad person, I live in the same home with her, we have very few arguments.

I guess I’m not a “good enough” Conservative to hate good people for being wrong in a single area like politics if they’re otherwise kind decent people.

Maybe I should work up some more hate and despise good people… to make the world better… somehow. Don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.

If your goal is to tell me to shun my friends, and you get to dictate who I can be friends with; why would I think you’re any better than a power-hungry statist looking to control me?

I’m not a slave looking for a better master here guys. So maybe lay off telling me who you think I should shun, despise, and never be friends with.

gekkobear on August 9, 2014 at 3:35 AM

A lot of commenters are upset that AWK says people with different values and beliefs are not fundamentally different from ourselves. They ask: What about Hitler, bin Laden, ISIS?

But I think this reply misses the point. He’s not talking about the violent psychopathic extremists. He’s saying it’s a mistake to lump people you disagree with on policy issues into the same category as violent psychopathic extremists.

sauropod on August 8, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Oh for crying out loud. I just read this gay imbecile’s V V thing. (I skipped it before, because I could already see where MKH was going with this nonsense.)

I don’t need psychobabble advice from a stupid gay ass hippie trying to pretend he’s punk. What a homo.

‘Peace, Love, man.’ Screw you you jerk.

Gah! I hate frickin hippies.

MKH, you have revealed your true colors.

WhatSlushfund on August 9, 2014 at 3:40 AM

So maybe lay off telling me who you think I should shun, despise, and never be friends with.
gekkobear on August 9, 2014 at 3:35 AM

No one was telling you such a thing. I can’t imagine anyone here cares who are friends with, honestly.

bluegill on August 9, 2014 at 3:49 AM

Very sad thread. Very sad indeed.

jrd on August 9, 2014 at 5:51 AM

Interesting thread…it appears the Hot Air a**hole to decent person commentor ratio is roughly 3:1. You people are no better than the Democratic Underground folks. What a shame.

The Grinch on August 9, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Politics seldom enters my daily conversations with most of my interactions. Sometimes I know that people have differing views than I do but most often I don’t. The one thing I have noticed is that some people who eagerly label themselves a bleeding hearts say a lot of things that don’t match those labels. The old saying about walking a mile in someone’s shoes is very helpful because regardless of how inane some views are, they have usually been formed based on personal experiences. And those personal experiences are colored by age, geography and limited knowledge of the bigger picture.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Interesting thread…it appears the Hot Air a**hole to decent person commentor ratio is roughly 3:1. You people are no better than the Democratic Underground folks. What a shame.

The Grinch on August 9, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Which are you arbiter of all that is fair and just? The 3 or the 1?

Bmore on August 9, 2014 at 9:02 AM

,

Bmore on August 9, 2014 at 9:03 AM

I’ll stand by my statement. The “you people” doesn’t refer to all the Hot Air commentors, of course, only the ideologically vicious, smugly self-righteous ones. Unfortunately, they are a rather large percentage as the thread indicates.

The Grinch on August 9, 2014 at 10:20 AM

The Grinch on August 9, 2014 at 10:20 AM

And humans in general, thus explaining the original letter that started all of this.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 10:26 AM

ISIS will take care of all you pious ones.

Schadenfreude on August 9, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Wake up already

Schadenfreude on August 9, 2014 at 12:47 PM

The Grinch on August 9, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Good deal. I’ll mark you down as a 3 then.

Bmore on August 9, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Or is it a 1? No matter.

Bmore on August 9, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Wkae up already

Schadenfreude on August 9, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Excellent! Thank you. Very well put by Mark, as usual.

And now I’ll need to get on to the business of sharing it with several friends, one or two of whom will find the impeccable logic a little troubling, given their larboard-leaning political tendencies.

I’ll know that it got to them, if I don’t hear back from them. Heh!

Trochilus on August 9, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Interesting thread…it appears the Hot Air a**hole to decent person commentor ratio is roughly 3:1.
The Grinch on August 9, 2014 at 8:21 AM

“A*hole” is such dehumanizing term. How ironic that you fail to acknowledge the “humanity” in those who disagree with you. Tsk. /

Look, I’ve seen Mary Katharine Ham get awfully snappy on here with people who disagree with her. She even wrote “screw you” to a commenter on here not long after she joined the site as a blogger. So, I find it a little funny now to see her offer this preachy, corny lecture about the need to not let political differences get in the way of showing respect for one another.

Can we be real here for a second? Obviously most of us know when and when not to bring up politics with other people in our daily lives. But I don’t like the phony, holier-than-thou suggestion that it’s “close-minded” or “a-hole-ish” to allow political opinions and behavior to be a criteria when selecting friends. Am I going to invite some open borders, pro-illegal alien activists into my home in order to “learn about people of all stripes?” The answer to that would be a HELL NO.

bluegill on August 9, 2014 at 6:11 PM

Wkae up already

Schadenfreude on August 9, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Great column.

bluegill on August 9, 2014 at 8:00 PM

I loathe the idea of a world where my every relationship and every decision is governed by adherence to my political ideology

Pretty much this. Kinda why I don’t post much or even visit political sites anymore, as it generally boils down to either political side posting an ‘article’ where they point out how malignant the ‘other side’ is, followed by all the commenters waxing psychological on how ‘they’ behave and what’s wrong with it.

So many people on both sides tar huge swaths of people with a gargantuan political brush, and it’s just sad. Contrary to what many of these people think, most of us would get along with one another if we did not know their political affiliation. And oftentimes we’ll even wrongly assume their political affiliation based solely on one of their beliefs (followed shortly by calling them an ‘in-name-only’ of some stripe)

Reaps on August 11, 2014 at 10:52 PM

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