Kmiec the Martyr
(Hat tip: Chris Blosser)
Prof. Doug Kmiec writes at Commonweal to bemoan the rough and tumble of political blogging in the Catholic blogosphere:
... A longtime Republican who served in the Reagan administration, I nonetheless endorsed Obama last spring. Ever since, I’ve been subjected to unrelenting personal attacks launched from right-wing Catholic keyboards-blogs (and bloggers) so coarse and uncivil they make the insults of talk radio sound like actual journalism. Further, the lack of civility that rules the right-wing Catholic blogosphere has infected mainstream Catholic journalism as well. In a syndicated assessment of the 2008 election, one usually thoughtful conservative columnist employed the following descriptions of Catholic Obama supporters: “decadent,” “tribal,” “immoral,” “certainly stupid,” “mindless,” and in need of basic “adult education.” And those were all in a single paragraph! Such highly concentrated rhetorical venom is not calculated to invite discussion.
Of course, bloggers deny there is anything “personal” in such attacks. My online tormentors like to claim that their beef with me is my alleged abandonment of the prolife cause or willful misstatement of church teaching. Neither charge is true. I remain unabashedly prolife and I have never consciously misstated the doctrine of the church; indeed, I’ve publicly said that were the Holy Father to tell me I had contradicted the magisterium on any given page of my Obama book, I would tear out that page.
No, the real problem with the blogospheric reaction to Obama lay in the responses themselves, which all too often mixed the smallest dollop of substance into a big steaming stew of personal contempt. As the vilification of Catholic Obama supporters progressed over the months, it became something of a bloggers’ sport to conjure up ridiculous explanations for what was wrongly described as my “apostasy.” Bloggers asserted I was angling for a judicial spot (strange, when I had already declined appointment to the appellate bench twice); another imagined me distressed over some apparent snub by George W. Bush or John McCain (not true, unless it be distress that one governed badly and the other promised to “stay the course”). One online source even speculated that I had suffered a stroke.
Noting my continued good health, the editors of Commonweal invited this essay which I submit even as I acknowledge the wisdom of Sr. Pius’s eighth-grade counsel: “Douglas, just offer it up!”
[Read the whole thing]