Monday, May 09, 2005
Hitch and Spirit
At the last election, the GOP succeeded in increasing its vote among American Jews by an estimated five percentage points. Does it propose to welcome these new adherents or sympathizers by yelling in the tones of that great Democrat bigmouth William Jennings Bryan? By insisting that evolution is "only a theory"? By demanding biblical literalism and by proclaiming that the Messiah has already shown himself?
I hit "Respond To This Article" and replied that if the GOP continues to do this, those Jews will turn around and flee their newfound party so fast it'll make Tom DeLay's head spin around like the little girl's in The Exorcist.
I checked the responses from time to time over the weekend and there were several of which that claimed that Hitchens had misinterpreted the New Testament and a few that blamed the liberals. My response wasn't there, and I said to myself, "Mumble mumble right-wing echo chamber." But then I realized that:
- There had probably been hundreds of responses and they only ran about a dozen;
- Mine had been less like an opinion and more like a smartass remark;
- I'd been replying to the Op-Ed piece, out of force of habit, as if it had been a blog. Apparently, months of reading, responding to and maintaining blogs had overwritten what I'd learned in ninth grade about writing a letter to the editor.
At any rate, Hitch was probably not around to read it, having taken off to some dangerous corner of the world to interview freedom fighters, or around the corner to the bar to get loaded.
Michael Totten would like to follow in the Hitch's footsteps, at least as far as the "Going to strange places to interview freedom fighters" part. He's recently returned from Lebanon, where he traveled with and interviewed Christian and Muslim youth who are working together to create a progressive civil society in their country.
Totten was blogging in Lebanon for a non-profit organization called "Spirit of America." It's a privately-funded organization that "helps American military and civilian personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as people who call to Americans for help in their struggle for freedom and democracy".
In other words, they're dedicated to having the US intervene in ways other than blowing stuff up. For some of us, the picture of the Iraqi woman holding up a purple index finger may bring to mind a Senate Republican holding up a middle finger. But this organization isn't about partisan politics in the US over a war of questionable necessity. It's about helping the people in the Middle East to help themselves.