Friday, April 20, 2007

When Ann Coulter and I Were Children

Ann Coulter and I are just one year apart in age. We grew up in the same United States, she on the east coast and I in the midwest. I was taught that our government was created of, by and for We the People. That the Constitution protected our freedom to worship or not worship a god. I was taught that the United States is fundamentally a pluralistic society. That with the exception of native Americans, if you dug far enough, we were all transplants to this amazing land and owed a debt of gratitude to the people who were here first and to the land itself. That unity in our diversity of belief, practice, and origins was our source of strength even as bloody conflicts played out between various groups (north vs. south, management vs. labor, second and third generation citizens vs. new immigrants).

We were a democratic republic with a free press, free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to make as much money as you could. I trusted my teachers and parents and came to embrace that vision for my country. Turns out, Ann and I didn't really grow up in the same country.

Ann came to embrace a wholly different vision for the United States through the life experiences that formed her. Her vision is one with distinct winners and losers. One where losers deserve to lose because of their own stupidity, weakness and mistakes. To her, our inevitable cultural conflicts reveal the worthy and the unworthy, the leaders and the wimps. If you do not win, you are a moron. She has mastered an inflammatory recipe for bestselling books and guaranteed national media coverage. She has maximized her Michigan Law training in adversarial sparring to convey her vision to the world.

But here's the critical difference in our vision and approach: she lacks heart. Her intellect is shiny, fast and nimble; but lacks awareness of its own humanity. It is assertive, but lacks humility. It is purposeful, but unkind. It is creative, but immodest. Diligent, yet merciless.

She's a winner. I am human.