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View Diary: Slate gets it wrong on "liberal schadenfreude." (290 comments)

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  •  I agree and disagree. (3+ / 0-)
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    weatherdude, raincrow, PennBrian

    I do think that part of being liberal is our belief that empathy should guide our public discourse and policy, at least to some degree. This is both in the philosophical underpinnings of liberalism (Rawls's "random person" idea) and in the moral/ethical principles ("There but for the grace of God go I.")

    With that in mind, remembering how I felt in 2004, I'm troubled by the circulating images of grassroots Romney supporters' anguish. They didn't choose to be on camera, or to put themselves out there; just as we didn't like it when they laughed at our pain in 2004, so too should we not laugh at theirs in 2012. I have many right-wing family members, and I'm trying to refrain from that kind of schadenfreude because this election has already done quite a bit to fracture our relationships.

    But when it comes to freakouts from television commentators or Internet commenters, that's a different story altogether; the second someone voluntarily broadcasts their own feelings to the world, and particularly when someone is paid to sit in front of a camera and spout one's views, their emotional state becomes fair game for my mockery. I have no problem mocking Donald Trump's Twitter freakout, or Karl Rove's little moment on Tuesday night, or Rush Limbaugh's despair. They have forfeited any right to mercy by sitting in front of a camera or microphone.

    I also have no such mercy for the emotional reactions of opponents of marriage equality, no matter at what level; since they actively oppose my LGBT brothers and sisters having rights, I rejoice at their despair. That, I think, is in a different category from mere partisan differences, going to something fundamental about how one views the world and the country.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 02:04:26 PM PST

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