Why was I banned?
Am I more dangerous than the Russians?
I’ve commented here occasionally about my addiction to Powerline — a right-wing blog I’ve been reading for years. I comment there and am attacked for being a communist, for being clueless, for being paid by George Soros, for being anti-Semitic, for hating America.
It’s one of the habits I want to get rid of in my daily life.
But I struggle with that. When I first started reading Powerline, there was the occasional post that was reasonable and rational. I think it’s important that anybody who wants to be informed about any country’s politics should read and listen and talk to people who represent other views, including those diametrically opposed to yours. It’s a concept I think fewer and fewer Americans consider to be a valid exercise. As far as I’m concerned, if we can’t talk to each other, we are doomed as a country. When I first started reading Powerline, I thought it was a place where there might be an opportunity for an rational exchange of ideas. A discourse.
Something happened once Obama was elected President. Ever since, the four guys who write the posts on Powerline have become more and more extreme and more and more one note in their obsessive distaste and hatred for all things Democratic, liberal, and progressive. And their commenters are even more so.
It is impossible to comment on Powerline without being attacked as an American-hating communist, so all I do now when I comment on the site is point out their hypocrisy and foolishness.
Today, there was a comment on a post that I wanted to respond to. I was actually going to generally agree with the comment. But when I started to type my comment, a note popped up indicating that I had been banned by Powerline.
Here are my last three comments made over the last week on Powerline:
When you start posting about the over use of “communist,” “unpatriotic, “anti-American,” and “anti-Semitic” to describe anybody who is left of center, you might actually demonstrate that you care about something that is real and meaningful to the rest of America. Until then, you’re no better than the MSM and others you criticize.
This was a comment in response to a post that catalogued the decades of Democrats referring to Republicans as Nazis and fascists. The general response I got was “yeah, but, Democrats are communists and they hate America.”
In response to a couple of those comments, I stated:
That somebody disagrees with you doesn’t make them a communist, anti-American, etc. But then I’ve asked you multiple times to put or shut up and provide specifics about what I’ve said to fit any of those labels and you’ve never come up with anything at all.
You’re an empty suit and a lot of hot air.
This comment was in response to another commenter who at least occasionally tries to be reasonable in acknowledging that some of Trump’s habits are worthy of scorn and concern. But she has consistently said that she believes I hate America. When I ask for the evidence she either says “you say things that are similar to other people who I believe hate America” or she simply doesn’t respond. The last time she did it, I asked her for specific things I had said that justified her belief. She did not respond. Hence, the last line of my comment — she’s fake.
And finally, my third comment:
Criticism of Israel does not make one anti-Semitic and even if it did, criticism of Israel by some Democrats does not make them all anti-Semitic.
Please provide the evidence that Omar supports Hamas. Supporting the BDS movement is not the same thing.
Powerline is a website that has an image of the Israel flag right next to an image of the United States flag. It is a website, with a commenter base, that truly believes any criticism of Israel is anti-semtic. And they now have a President who is more than willing to play that card to enhance his support amongst his base. I have been accused repeatedly of being anti-Semitic on Powerline and when I pointed out that I married a Jewish woman and raised my kids in the Jewish faith, I was accused of lying about my family.
There you go … my comments on Powerline from the last few days. And today, I’ve been banned. Occasionally the site posts about their “commenting rules.” As far as I know I haven’t violated any of those rules with the comments above, or other comments I’ve posted over the months and years. I refrain from expletives. I might occasionally call somebody a name, but it’s only after first being drawn into the dirt by another commenter attacking me inappropriately — like calling me an American-hater without foundation.
So, why was I banned? I’m pretty certain that is a question that will remain unanswered forever.
As for the second question I asked at the outset …
One of the other frequent commenters on Powerline who challenges the orthodoxy over there is a guy who describes himself as a Rockefeller Republican. In other words, he is a moderate, establishment Republican — the kind of person that the current Republican Party and the pro-Trumpers simply cannot stand. He has been called a “libtard” by commenters on Powerline.
Over the years, he and I have occasionally communicated via AOL Messenger about things going on at Powerline. Today, I messaged him that I had been banned. We had a subsequent conversation via Messenger about Powerline and America.
At one point, I commented that
What is most frustrating to me is that the Russians, and others, have figured out how to use social media to sow chaos and division in our country. And all of these smart people on the left and right who could unite and put an end to it are instead allowing it to continue because they think they can use it to their advantage. A hostile foreign power has figured out how to weaken us from the inside and nobody is doing anything about it.
His response was incredible and spot on:
Most readers of Powerline honestly see you as a greater threat to America than Kim or Putin. That genuinely astounds me.
Here’s a lifelong Republican, who told me during this back and forth on Messenger that his soon to be former wife was a “Fox News Babe.” He is embedded in the conservative community.
And yet there is so much truth behind his comment. The right-wing in this country has decided that other Americans are more dangerous to their way of life than Kim or Putin. On Powerline, there is never a post about the threat of Russian interference and what America should do about it. But there are literally dozens and dozens of posts and thousands of comments about how dangerous Americans on the left are.
And the other truth? If you delve into the liberal/progressive blogosphere — they are concerned about Russian interference and meddling and want to do something about it.
It’s such an odd conundrum. For decades Republicans were so in lock step against the Soviet Union. Anti-communism defined the Republican Party for all of those decades. Now, for some reason, they don’t seem to care about Russia (the descendant of the Soviet Union) to our country, while the left is up in arms about this threat.
It’s all just amazing. What is going on in this country.
Where is my shack in the woods so I can escape all of this.