Daily Archives: December 7, 2011

Elijah and Michele and Right Wing Concern Trolling


An earlier target of right wing rage: a brain damaged 12-year-old boy.

There is some controversy today over 8-year-old Elijah’s confrontation with Michele Bachmann about his gay mom. The favored meme, being pushed very hard on the right, is that the child was reluctant and that, in any event, it is wrong to coerce children to say something they might not say on their own. That’s a lot of unsafe assumptions about motive and circumstance. Here’s what an eyewitness to the scene who subsequently posted the video says about it:

I was standing in line with Elijah and his mom. His mom was going to say something to [Bachmann], but she got nervous and told me she wanted to leave. We were about to step out of the line but Elijah cried out, “Nooo!” He grabbed onto her coat and pulled her back in the line, saying he wanted to talk to her.

It is a familiar tactic on the right to ignore the message and attack the messenger or the means by which it is relayed. To express concern for the child in this instance has the marks of concern trolling, especially as advocates on the right — including elected officials — do not worry about the well-being of children if a direct and sustained personal attack has been determined as necessary, whatever the reason. A notorious example is Graeme Frost, whose story is outlined in the clip above.

It is also important to remember that Graeme is not the only one: this is a pattern of behavior.

Frye on Democracy 5

From “The Analogy of Democracy”:

One difficulty about defining the word “democracy” is that it is not the name of a specific form of government, like republic or monarchy. It represents, rather, an informing idea, a process, which, because it has developed out of the past, is traditional, and, because it is moving toward a future goal, revolutionary. . . Thus democracy is to be judged, not by what it does, but what it aims at in spite of what it does. The supremacy of civil over military power, the full publication of all acts of government, the toleration of unpopular opinion, are all recognized to be unchangeable principles of democracy even when they are flouted as often as exemplified. (CW 4, 27)

Tar Sands Update

Having lost out on the Keystone XL deal, the Harper government now wants to run a pipeline west through the Rockies to make good on a threat to ship toxic tar sands oil to China. Aboriginal leaders, however, say that’s not going to happen.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the Harper government has been secretly backed by the Conservative government of David Cameron in tar sands development.  Everywhere politicians on the right appear determined to develop fossil fuels for short term corporate gain, whatever the long term cost to the environment. That determination is increasing fatal in its consequences.

Finally, proving that he is a pulled-wool Republican after all, presidential candidate Jon Huntsman backflips and sticks the landing with marble-mouthed equivocation on global warming.