That Ann Coulter can be crude, mean and wrong-headed is not news, even to those of us who share most of her views. Was she way out of line in the things she said about activist widows of 9/11? Of course, and it would be idiotic to pretend otherwise. She owes those women an apology… thoughg we’d be wise not to hold our breaths waiting for one.
Thing is… she had a point, one that even liberals would have to concede if she hadn’t been so casually callous and cruel. The point is, being the victim of a terrible tragedy doesn’t give ANYBODY special status, special wisdom, or moral superiority. And nobody is entitled to deference simply because he or she has been the victim of a terrible tragedy. And so, while leftists who lost loved ones at the WTC have every right to speak out on the issues of the day, it doesn’t follow that their heartbreak makes their arguments any more valid than yours or mine. Cindy Sheehan has every right to say whatever she wants about the Iraq War… but if she says or does things that make her look like a fruitcake, the devastating loss of her son does not oblige us to overlook that.
Thing is, most liberals understand this principle, too.
Let’s say that several teenage girls were raped and murdered in Michigan, where the death penalty was banned long ago. When the killer is caught, the girls’ teary-eyedmothers all appear on television demanding that the death penalty be reinstated immediately. Most (not all) liberals would try to be polite, but all would say, “We’re terribly sorry for your loss, but victims’ families do not set policy in this country.” And they’d be correct- emotional appeals from victims of terrible tragedy are a silly basis for making laws or setting policy.
In my opinion, Ann Coulter was right about precisely two things:
SOME victims of the 9/11 attack have tried to use their status to push a political agenda. (And not all of the people doing so are pacifists or civil libertarians.)
Those people are fair game for rebuttal and criticism.
But there are rational, sane ways to say that. Unfortunately, Ann Coulter doesn’t seem to know how to say anything rationally or sanely.