US – Obama Victory – Oh, When I Call Republican Policies Stupid, It’s Uncivil – But When Bobby Jindal Calls His Own Party’s Policies Stupid, It’s Calm, Reflective Soulsearching – Got It – 18 November 2012

During the American elections, I was repeatedly charged with contributing to incivility by more (presumably) moderate individuals when I remarked (at various times) that certain Republican policies are stupid. What a lack of respect I must have for people to say something like that, I was told. It’s people like me, I was told, that make political discourse so harsh and unfeeling.

Granted, I would typically use the term stupid to describe something like a Republican candidate for the Senate saying that if a woman is legitimately raped, she won’t get pregnant because the body has ways of shutting that down – because most kids in a junior-high school biology class know better than that – but nonetheless, the charge always seemed to stick to me. Who am I, Mr. Know-It-All? How is it I get to decide what is stupid and what isn’t? Of course, I always find this galling, because I know I’m not Mr. Know-It-All, but I do have a few standards regarding presenting things that are not factual as facts, and I’m kind of picky about maintaining them. Hopefully, a lot of you out there are as well.

Anyway, now here it is after the election, the Republicans have lost, and to what does Republican Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal attribute that fact? To the kind of “dumbed-down conservatism” currently prevalent, which identifies his party as “the stupid party”. (I am using quotes in the foregoing, by the way, not because they are my own characterisations of Republicans, but because they are direct quotes of what Governor Jindal actually said about members of his own party.)

Given this, I know those who have implied in the past that I am an uncivil person will now be lining up to apologise to me. Of course, if that doesn’t happen, I’ll understand. Stupid is, after all, as stupid does.

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