WD Fyfe

A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society

Margaret Thatcher and Ugly Politics

thatcherOkay, I’ve had enough.  I really thought that I could let it go and maintain the moral high ground by not acknowledging — forget responding to — the hate.  I can’t.  I’m not that fine a human being.  So…

We live in cowardly times, mean-spirited and smug.  We celebrate cheap shots and slink away from honest debate.  We attack those who can’t defend themselves while insisting it is our moral principles which give us the open warrant for this revenge.  We applaud bullies in our streets and on our social media and then wonder why they’ve crept onto our playgrounds.  In our society, many of us are not very nice, and because of that, history will probably judge all of us as vulgar.

The infernal optimist in me thought that we couldn’t sink much lower than making fun of 86-year-old Pope Benedict XVI for wanting to retire.  Old Christians are easy targets, but the same folks, so quick with the jokes, had already loudly refused to publish satirical Moslem cartoons under the guise of sensitivity.  I thought integrity was not a flexible commodity.  I was wrong.  As of last week, the vitriol circus three-ringing itself around the death of Margaret Thatcher proves the “progressives” among us have hit intellectual rock bottom and are now starting to dig.

As a public figure, even in death, Margaret Thatcher’s policies should be (and are) open to vigorous debate.  For those who disagreed with her methods and results there are any number of well thought out arguments they could use to support their opposition.  However, I doubt if “bitch” is one of them.  Perhaps I’m missing something, but I don’t see abandoning my political position on the strength of that thesis.  At least, “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” — although about as original as most leftwing ideas — has a sophomoric air of carnival about it.  However, neither of these responses to one of the most divisive politicians in recent history is exactly a tsunami of intellectual prowess.  If this is all the left is bringing to the table, it’s no wonder they couldn’t convince the voting public that Margaret Thatcher was the personification of evil – on three separate occasions.  And this bringsthatcher1 us to the interesting question: What does one do with one’s political self-righteousness when the ballot box disagrees with them?  (After all, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government was democratically elected three times.)  Does one snarl and cry and demonize one’s opponent, or pout and call her names?  Or perhaps one tantrums through the streets in sanctimonious anger, smashing things, burning cars and injuring police officers?   Or maybe one merely gathers enough explosives to attempt to blow one’s opponent’s head off and thus alleviate the need for any further discussion?  In Margaret Thatcher’s case, the answer is all of the above — plus one more.  Many on the left just quietly waited until the object (she was an object by then) of their hate died and now attack her viciously and personally with no fear of repercussions.  Plus it should be noted that those who profess an absolute abhorrence of hate are among the first to cast a stone.

To those who disagree with Margaret Thatcher’s policies — with measured argument and open debate — I wish you well.  To those who rant their hate from the rooftops and “celebrate” her death: you are the embodiment of all that is dull-witted and crude in our times.  I want nothing to do with you or your politics; you’ve shown the world the ugly face of both of them.

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12 comments on “Margaret Thatcher and Ugly Politics

  1. evanberrett
    April 15, 2013

    Very well said. I’ve had a number of discussions with people, even on topics quite unrelated to politics where name-calling is the primary tactic. Assumptions are also quite hazardous and an unnecessary element to a good discussion. For example, I had a discussion with a number of people regarding the use of Nuclear Power, I took an opposite view and the others said things like “You’re an idiot”, “You obviously say that because you’re making money from it”, or a great one, “Get your head out of the hole”. More often than not, statements like that are extremely ironic given I’ve actually spent months researching the topics, and their arguments aren’t even arguments…they haven’t proved anything other than they have no argument.

    Thanks for writing about this, especially given its context.

  2. amoriarty
    April 15, 2013

    Nasty times, indeed. It reminds me of groups organizing to pray for Christopher Hitchens’ suffering and damnation. I do wonder, though, how much of this nastiness had its roots in the ugly politics of the 1980s. For some, Margaret Thatcher was more than just a politician; her policies were cruel and part of the destruction of the England I used to love. Celebrating her death in the streets?—particularly ugly. Peace, friend.

    • wdfyfe
      April 15, 2013

      I should have written something when the idiots were praying that Hitchens would suffer. I now regret that I didn’t. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that stupidity, once reserved for the likes of Beck and Lumbaugh is crossing political lines with unsettling regularity.

      WD wdfyfe.wordpress.com

  3. amoriarty
    April 15, 2013

    And not to mention that 1 in 5 Republicans believe Obama is the anti-Christ. Such cause for despair!

  4. evanberrett
    April 15, 2013

    amoriarty, do you have a source for that statistic?

  5. evanberrett
    April 15, 2013

    Thanks amoriarty. Though I agree that many republicans are crazy (I’m an Independent myself), I wouldn’t take this poll completely wholesale. It’s only 1200 people in the entire nation which is 0.00003% of the national population. Also, the people most likely to respond to these automated phone interviews are the conspiracy theorist type. Most of us, Republican, Democrat, or Independent would rather not spend the time for a poll like that. Just a couple thoughts.

  6. amoriarty
    April 15, 2013

    Evan, you might be right about these kinds of polls and who responds to them but the fact that there are “lots” of people who believe that Obama is the anti-Christ is disturbing to this Canadian (who btw, has a lot of good stuff to say about America).

    • evanberrett
      April 15, 2013

      Sure, I don’t deny many people believe that, but many people believe lots of terrible things about other leaders of both the U.S. and Canadian Governments. I’m sure Justin Trudeau will get similar remarks. I lived in Canada (Calgary) for two years and saw many similarities (not surprising). I think as a human race we have a hard time giving the benefit of the doubt and giving actual constructive criticism when wrongs are indeed thoughtfully revealed. This isn’t anything new though. Politics a couple hundred years ago I would say was more ruthless. Doesn’t make it okay though, and it would be great if we could approach it more sensibly.

  7. amoriarty
    April 15, 2013

    Agreed for the most part, Evan. In Calgary, you will find more of these types of ideas than elsewhere in Canada. When in Alberta, I feel a bit like I am in the States. But there are certainly false equivalencies when discussing the loony fringe; some parties (ideologies) have more loonies than others. But they are everywhere.

    • evanberrett
      April 15, 2013

      Also depends on your own perspective; what you consider “loony” 😛 good discussion 🙂

  8. amoriarty
    April 15, 2013

    Perspective is always important to consider. But surely reasonable society can agree that because a president is slightly left of centre on social issues and some would argue, because he’s black, that he is the anti-Christ. That’s pretty darn loony. Thanks for the discussion, Evan.

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This entry was posted on April 15, 2013 by in Politics, Social Comment and tagged , , , , , .
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