When you choose to make yourself a public figure, expect to be scrutinized. Following the announcement this past week that the Washington Post had hired a blogger from RedState.org
, a major right-wing blog, in order to provide "balance" to the Post's supposed liberal leanings, left-wing bloggers decided to take a look at the hire's previous opinions to find out who we would be dealing with. Once it was discovered that Ben Domenech had called Mrs Coretta Scott King a "communist", it did not take long to uncover the fact that he was also a plagiarist
. What followed was a flood of such findings from his previous writings that promptly ended with Domenech's resignation on Friday.
Some of Domenech's supporters over at RedState were absolutely furious, one claiming the "the left has its blood". Domenech did not do himself any favours when he attempted to explain the plagiarism
. His former alma mater's paper, Flat Hat, quickly rebutted his claim that perhaps his editors were the real culprits
. And the National Review Online found even more instances of Domenech's plagiarism
while author PJ O'Rourke staunchly claimed that he had never given young Ben permission
to copy his work, as Domenech had stated in his so-called apology.
Now, here's why all of this matters, Ben. We, on the left, are sick and tired of being lied to by people who claim to stand on the moral high ground
. As I've said before, if you stand on that ground watch the first step - it's a killer.
For years we've been lied to by your president, all of his neocon buddies, "journalists" like Judith Miller, Armstrong Williams and Robert Novak, right-wing media icons Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, people like Karl Rove whose only mission in life is to destroy those who would dare confront Republicans, politicians like Tom DeLay, Bill Frist and Duke Cunningham, and lobbyists like Jack Abramoff. The list goes on and on. And we are sick and tired of it.
This culture of lies has so sorely divided Americans and the world that it seems an almost impossible feat to ever heal the rift. And, the way you begin to do that is not by creating even more lies.
Domenech claimed he thought his new blog at the Washington Post could provide a vehicle for rational discussion of the issues that divide the left and right. He set himself up as a beacon of conservative thought. Then, after he resigned, he was quick to call his WaPo editors "fools"
- going on to say this:
"I guess the thing that bothers me the most about this is that the Post didn't give this a chance to either blow over or work itself out," he said. "And I feel that if they had done that, the blog would have been a great addition to their site."
Blow over? Work itself out? Plagiarism isn't like a case of the flu that you take medication for - bouncing back after a few days of sickness. In Domenech's case, it is a pattern of behaviour that goes back for years. The Washington Post should have fired him before he had a chance to resign, thus setting himself as some sort of right-wing martyr. He's no martyr. He's a thief. Even rabid, right-wing blogger and author Michelle Malkin, for whom Domenech served as an editor at Regnery Press, recognizes that fact
Here's the moral of this story: we lefties are "mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore"*. The right-wing has absolute control of the American congress and the media. Too many have made grave mistakes that have cost thousands of lives in an illegal war in the name of moral superiority and they continue to flaunt their power without regard for humanity or truth. In this long struggle against the right, it is no surprise that we on the left would feel a sense of catharsis when one of their own falls flat on his face due to their lack of integrity and intellectual honesty.
This civil war between the left and the right has had many casualties and it is far from being over. The right-wing has to expect that they will not come out of this unscathed and that they will not be greeted in the public square with flowers and candy in some warped, Cheneyesque fantasy of what was supposed to happen when America invaded Iraq. This expectation of the world bowing to Republican America's so-called greatness is a seriously delusional myth. We are sick and tired of being held hostage by people who refuse to acknowledge reality and who, when faced by facts, refuse to accept responsibility.
That is the disease of the right - the inability to coalesce even one iota when their world is crumbling down around them and that is what already has begun to cause their inevitable demise. They only have themselves to blame
. That is the lesson young Ben and his party needs to learn.
Don't expect the left to back off any time soon. It's not going to happen. We will live to fight many more days and we will claim victory where we find it - real
victory - not the type of illusion-filled, Orwellian-style victory that the right is so infamous for. And, when we claim victory, we do so with humility because we know that every battle won brings us one step closer to bringing authentic humanity and reality back to the public square. We are the true healers in all of this and we do not take on that task lightly.* quote from the movie "Network".