Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Beth wants a great column by Katha Pollitt linked to and has questions regarding whether or not it will be linked to

Beth e-mailed a story from The Nation yesterday and wanted it linked to. No problem there. I was done posting for the night and said I'd post it Tuesday evening. I explained that I had a two and a half hours sleep the "night" prior and that as someone who pays for the magazine, I'd rather read it in print first (than in the e-mail link that was sent by Beth).

This resulted in an e-mail from Beth this morning where she weighed in that she doubted I would ever link to the column due to it's subject matter.

It's a great column by Katha Pollitt. I've stated before that I've met Jim Wallis and Pollitt's addressing his latest book (among other things). The fact that I've found Wallis to be personable does not mean that an article critical of him can't be cited here. Pollitt makes strong points, but even if she hadn't made them (and even if I didn't agree with her -- I do agree with her, not that it matters), she's earned a right to be linked to by being a strong voice always.

I don't have to agree with her to link to her.

We don't have to agree with everything someone says or take marching orders. We can disagree with other voices on the left and still recognize them. That's really important to me because a number of you have submitted blogs you would like linked to in this month's links.

I did put up links this morning (to organizations) and some of you noted that in e-mails. We'll be discussing those organizations in another post. But last time links were done as a group, we linked to three blogs. And things were great for a week (I remember it as being a week, it might not have been that long) when all of the sudden, a small number began advocating that someone be 'dislinked.'

There was anger over what was seen as an endorsement (the blogger addressed this and stated he wasn't endorsing anyone for DNC chair in that post) and I'm really hesitant to link to a blog as a result.

The links, all of them, are there as resources. If someone's not speaking to you, just don't go there. Certainly if someone we linked to transformed into a homophobic or a racist or a sexist, we'd take off the link. But disagreeing over an endorsement (and it wasn't an endorsement) should not result in, "I hate him! Take him down! I don't want that link up!"

There are people who come to this site that want no criticism of Bill or Hillary Clinton ever. There are people who think that they are not above criticism. If someone's opinion bothers you, you're welcome to weigh in with why you disagree (I'd prefer that we don't attack one another).

But, and I've said this before, we aren't clones of one another. We won't agree with everything that everyone else thinks. Hopefully, when a member shares an opinion, we can listen. We can disagree with the opinion and explain why.

Or we can even just think, "I disagree" and move on.

I don't disagree with Pollitt on this column. But even if I did, that wouldn't prevent us from linking to "Jesus to the Rescue." But I do want to set up a guideline that should have been in place already.

I got a bonehead of the year award (rightly) for linking to a Fox "News" item about the percentage of people wanting the troops home now. The New York Times, that day, had gone all over the country to report on the "mood" of the country but found no one apparently who felt that way. I was attempting to make the point that even Fox "News" could recognize that sentiment so why couldn't the New York Times?

I was wrong to link to Fox "News." As the person who nominated me for the bonehead award in the year-in-review post noted, I could have simply stated what Fox "News" reported and not linked. It was a good point (and thanks for holding me accountable).

So for that reason, we will not be linking to anything by a Peggy Noonan or someone similar.
We don't want to give them anymore traffic. So if you've got a right winger writing something that you think is amazing because it comes from a right winger, you can share that in a comment for the post, but we aren't going to link to the article. (If someone wants to find out, as the person who held me accountable noted, they can do it on their own.)

So that's going to be our new policy. If you're of the left (or if you're a mainstream journalist), we will link. Even if we disagree. And it's okay to disagree with someone. But we're not linking to, for instance, Christopher Hitchens because he happens to make one point that we agree with.
There are too many voices on the left that aren't being heard.

To be a review/resource, we really need to avoid that. We will link to third parties and we will link to Ralph Nader. We do have Nader supporters in our community. And we'll link to John Dean who is now third party. But there are more than enough web sites linking to the right wing. We do not need to assist them here.

Pollitt's addressing Wallis' new book: God's Politics. (As of today, it's a BuzzFlash premium so if you're interested in it, consider buying it there. I'm not interested in reading it.) Her points are solid. Even if I disagreed with her points, we could still spotlight them:

The fact is, "seamless garment" Catholicism aside, the denominations that share his liberal views are prochoice--most of the mainline Protestant churches, to say nothing of reform and conservative Judaism. (Just recently, more than 2,250 religious leaders from more than thirty-five faith traditions endorsed a strongly worded prochoice statement from the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing.) No wonder Wallis would rather talk about something else. Fortunately, God shares his priorities: Wallis often points out that the Bible mentions poverty thousands of times and abortion only a few. I'm not sure what this tells us--first we eradicate poverty and then we force women to have babies against their will? But in any case, Wallis is wrong: The Bible doesn't mention abortion even once. Wallis cites the text antichoicers commonly use to justify their position: "For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb" (Psalm 139:13). Say what? Nothing about abortion there, pro or con. Nobody who wasn't sure that somewhere in the Bible there must be a proof text against terminating a pregnancy would read that meaning into these words.
That so many Christians are firmly persuaded that the Bible condemns abortion suggests that God's politics tend to be the politics of the people who claim to speak for him. Since these men, and now women, have been arguing for centuries without reaching agreement on even the simplest matters, the rest of us are entitled to wonder if perhaps they are reading the wrong book.

Last comments on this general topic, if you're highlighting something I've written, please either try to provide a link or give me an idea of when I said it. I don't go back and read these posts. Beth's points are good questions to ask. But telling me that "you said once" doesn't help me locate when I said or didn't say something. I'm happy to provide the link to whatever I posted (or quote it) but this is the second time this week that I'm stuck trying to find my comments somewhere. (And I can't find the Wallis comment. I believe it was made on a Saturday -- it was made, Beth's correct -- but I'm not finding it.)

I've wasted an hour trying to find my remark on Wallis. And it's wasted because I didn't find it.
I did that on Monday with Beth's questions regarding a comment I'd made about Donnie Fowler at some point on the blog. I really can't read through the entire blog (which is only three months old -- check my math always) to find something on it. If you're bringing it up and you want it quoted or linked to, give me a clue when I said it. (Or, if it's possible to put a search option on the blog, please advise me of how to do that because I think that would be helpful to everyone.)
(I'm a computer idiot.)

Beth was sure I had blogged and blogged on Fowler. I couldn't find it. I'd disclosed once regarding him and I could remember that but, especially in the mornings when I'm trying to pull something together and get it on the blog before I have to leave for work, I really do not have the time to be scanning through a month's (or more) of entries to find something.

[Again, the best answer would be creating a search option for the site but I don't know how to do that. If you do and can talk someone through it, someone who's a complete computer idiot, please e-mail the site common_ills@yahoo.com and I'll try to add that on a weekend when I have time to try and fail without time constraints.]

I agree with Pollitt. She's making a point a very good friend of mine often makes which is that we don't fight effectively by "mudding the line." But even if I had disagreed with her, just because I've met Jim Wallis and found him to be a likeable person wouldn't mean we couldn't link to Pollitt's column. But, to stress the new policy again, if we're linking to a source, let's go for a mainstream link or something left. (With the exception of the New York Times which we link to each morning.)