Middle Schooler Harassed Over McCain T-Shirt. GOOD!

From the Chicago Tribune

Immediately, Catherine learned she was stupid for wearing a shirt with Republican John McCain’s name. Not merely stupid. Very stupid.

“People were upset. But they started saying things, calling me very stupid…

Then it got worse.

Exactly as it should be MUST BE! Its time to throw civility out the window. Olbermann has and just resigned for 30 million. Its happening.

The hard right-wing in this country – you know, the one about to take over the republican party with the support of the 23% of Americans who still approve of Bush – must be shoved back into the holes from which they came.

They will not be changed by reason, discussion, or niceties because they are not like us. They must be attacked mercilessly and humiliated at every turn.

You’ll noticed I’ve been practicing diligently. 🙂

Catherine Vogt, 14, is an Illinois 8th grader, the daughter of a liberal mom and a conservative dad. She wanted to conduct an experiment in political tolerance and diversity of opinion at her school in the liberal suburb of Oak Park.

Tolerance be damned.

Do not be fooled into thinking that because McCain (have you heard? Cindy is having an affair.) happens to be of the other party, we should somehow be more tolerant. Hitler AND CA Prop 8 won by a plurality.

Tolerance did not produce equality for Blacks and Women. Tolerance did not prevent the Holocaust, and tolerance will not end the wholesale rape of our Country, our industries, our civil liberties, our planet, THE MIDDLE EAST, our pensions, our Constitution, and our children’s future.

Screw tolerance. I say we try humiliation with a smile. 🙂


  1. #1 by Becky Stauffer on November 13, 2008 - 8:56 am

    Wow, Cliff, I thought you were going to be a little too harsh on that poor little girl (I blame her parents, anyway). But that was a nice touch at the end.

  2. #2 by Cliff Lyon on November 13, 2008 - 9:07 am

    She was doing an experiment. I think thats nice. But today, wearing a McCain T-shirt is like wearing a Hitler t-shirt, or one that says, Bring Back Slavery!

    Christ, this anti-gay shit is mob rule by religious fanatics. We need to start locking people up.

  3. #3 by Kevin Owens on November 13, 2008 - 9:12 am

    You, sir, are a bigot.

  4. #4 by Cliff Lyon on November 13, 2008 - 9:18 am

    Pay attention people! We HAVE no more tolerance! There are LOTS of schools in this country where a kid would dare where a McCain t-shirt (except maybe in Utah) because of what happened in Catherine’s school.

    And that is as it should be. Ignore the mainstream media. They’re finished too.

    Here’s the truth:

    If the last seven days have been any indication, the far-right is shaping up to make the 1990s seem quaint — even erudite by comparison. That which used to be your basic, off-the-shelf intellectual dishonesty has grown into, as Digby pointed out recently, full-on intellectual violence.

    Intellectual violence. While not a new term, it perfectly defines what we’re seeing now:

    This blog is a permanent record of this new intellectual dishonesty thanks to (for the convenience of future historians) Ken Bingham, Richard Okelberry, JD Berger, Bob Smith, et. al)

    Their participation in the sociological experiment is much appreciated.

  5. #5 by Obi wan liberali on November 13, 2008 - 10:21 am

    Hurry someone! I think Cliff needs a hug. 😉

  6. #6 by C av on November 13, 2008 - 10:22 am

    This could get really wordy, because, while I agree on some philosohical level, I won’t entirely discount the notion that the neocons hijacked the ‘conservatives’ and thereby gave them a very bad name. Nor will i discount, that in their fawning allegiance to an ‘Office’, manned questionably by group of murderous twerps, the honest conservatives, really blew it.

    Given that tragic shortcoming, I still believe it’s OK for them to put forward their sense of what justice might look like. More than OK, it’s essential. The’ divide and conquer’ mind-set is what needs to be put away – not smart people’s honest debate. (The date-rape analogy should be owned and sincerely amended- otherwise the deal is off).

    In other words, rightists can no longer falsely claim ‘rightness’ simply because they are NOT left!. So many of the values, that make us who we are, like rejecting torture and pre-emptive war, have been de-valued. Rightist, in their mindless support, and unwillingness to live by their supposedly humane creed, have, instead been led over the cliff by wonton greed-heads.

    Contrition is an accepted human trait. All who falter are expected to mend their ways, or miss the boat. Thoughtful ‘righties’ should simply admit to thier wrong judgement on these issues. Otherwise there will be no crediblity afforded them.

    That writ, engaging ‘them’ can only be harmful if your values are more likely to crack than bend. Will we devolve into a ‘Crack-den where there’s no stepping back from the torture-wall simply because ‘our’ guy promoted it? Better hope not.

    Koo Koo Ka Chewb.

  7. #7 by Cliff Lyon on November 13, 2008 - 11:14 am

    Obi wan,

    Funny you should surface. I am always reminded of your caution to me awhile back whenever I think about the issue of my aggressiveness.

    I wonder if you have read the science of the Twenty-Five Percenters (See John Dean’s book too)

    I continue to insist that you are wrong to believe you can change these people by being polite. And I would ask — and you may contest its relevancy — that the Civil Rights Movement was not successful because people were gentle, understanding, or tolerant. Equal Rights for Blacks had to be forced upon perfectly nice, educated, powerful white people.

    Sure, a narrow percentage came to see the light all by themselves, but as we saw in this election, most racists remain racists until they die.

    They just learn to stop using the ‘N’-word in public (Chris Buttars being our local mascot for bigotry)

  8. #8 by Cliff Lyon on November 13, 2008 - 11:20 am

    Hi Kevin,

    Let me help you sir.

    THIS is a sign
    of something very narrow in your soul and quite possible a source of intolerance.

    Are the people of Bountiful really friendlier than in other places, and, if so, why?

    My theories are thus:

    2. The homogeneity in religion, culture, and heritage help people feel at home with one another. People feel comfortable around people who are like them.

    In the South, they would say, “Ah ain’t got no problem with Coloreds, long as they mind their place.”

    So what your saying is in diverse, integrated neighborhoods, people are not as nice?

    Help me understand.

  9. #9 by Allie on November 13, 2008 - 11:32 am

    When you are nice, people are more likely to listen to you. You often have good ideas Cliff, but when you act like a crass 3-year-old, people stop listening.

    The people who aren’t going to listen, won’t listen no matter what you do, so why get mad because of them? Aim for the people who might listen, and approach them in a way that encourages dialogue.

    Then again, if this makes you feel better, vent away.

  10. #10 by Becky Stauffer on November 13, 2008 - 11:34 am

    Cliff, here in the greater Bountiful area it goes farther than that. It is only friendly if you are one of the homogenized.

  11. #11 by Cliff Lyon on November 13, 2008 - 12:01 pm


    Forgive me. My tactics are deliberate. This is as much an experiment as an outlet.

    Notice how many right wingers comment on this blog. I find that the meaner I am the more they come back.

    When I fully understand how that fits in to the whole political blogging thing, I will probably go back to being more civil.

    In real life, I am a very cheerful, happy, super nice person, believe it or not.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

  12. #12 by Allie on November 13, 2008 - 12:10 pm

    See Cliff, now I’m all skeptical, and tend to view anything you say as sarcasm. 🙂 Perhaps you you ought to come to dinner sometime so I can see for myself that you are indeed a super nice person.

    Becky, I know that’s a problem in this area, I think people get so caught up in their own lives that they don’t realize what they are missing out on by getting to know people with different backgrounds.

  13. #13 by Allie on November 13, 2008 - 12:11 pm

    (that should read: by NOT getting to know people with different backgrounds)

  14. #14 by Jesse Harris on November 13, 2008 - 12:19 pm

    Cliff: You’d be surprised how often conservatives and liberals can agree when you sit down together and treat each other nicely. I’ve found a lot of points of agreement with liberal friends and while we may often disagree on methods and occasionally disagree on outcomes, we make an effort to try and accommodate each other to reach a common goal.

    It seems that you disagree with certain statements regarding honey and vinegar and would instead seek to find more strongly caustic materials. That’s your prerogative, but as Allie pointed out, it will only reinforce the perceptions of those you rail against and alienate people who would otherwise stand with you on specific issues. It’s a fast-track to ensuring that you do not accomplish your desired end results.

  15. #15 by Becky Stauffer on November 13, 2008 - 12:22 pm

    Hi Allie,
    My generalization does, unfortunately gather some very nice people into the bunch of not-so-friendly, and I should make exception for those, including your very lovely parents, you and your husband, and cute kids! I do have a few other neighbors who don’t mind that I’m a heathen.

    Like you, Allie, I tend to be more nice than not, even when my beliefs are being stepped on. They say, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. It’s a habit that’s hard to change, and I could use a little of what Cliff has.

  16. #16 by Cliff Lyon on November 13, 2008 - 12:24 pm

    I do disagree Jesse. Your example is anecdotal is the case of the people I am talking about.

  17. #17 by Allie on November 13, 2008 - 12:26 pm

    (Becky, all generalizations have exceptions, I didn’t mean for you to feel like you had to clarify that)

  18. #18 by Kevin Owens on November 13, 2008 - 12:45 pm


    In-group bias need not correlate to intolerance or bigotry.

    I really like living around people who are like me. It makes me feel safe and secure. I like living among “my people.” Within a group like this, there is less hatred, conflict, and violence. There is more familiarity, friendliness, and support. I think it’s a good environment in which to raise kids.

    I don’t mean to say that harmony and group cohesion cannot exist among racially diverse neighborhoods. The key is to have a community with shared values–in Bountiful, this may be adherence to the Mormon faith or a pioneer heritage; in Salt Lake City, I presume there are other values which bind people together in unity and trust.

    At my place of employment, I would say we have a pretty diverse group. We’ve got people of various backgrounds, races, political views, and religions. Still, we get along well. We have common goals and we often share similar interests. That feeling of unity, which I also feel at home in Bountiful, is of value to me and I think it is virtuous.

    This does not make me any less tolerant of outsiders, and it does not mean I do not value diversity. I have friends who are different from me, but I still love them. I try to treat everyone with respect and politeness, even strangers. I don’t insult people who disagree with me, like you do. That is the difference between a free-thinker and a bigot.

    Conflict and In-Group Bias

  19. #19 by Chief Wind-in-the-Face on November 13, 2008 - 1:00 pm

    “Hurry someone! I think Cliff needs a hug. ;)”

    I recommend trepanation.

  20. #20 by Obi wan liberali on November 13, 2008 - 4:02 pm

    Chief, for the record, I like Cliff. Drilling a hole in his head wasn’t what I had in mind. 😉

    Cliff, I see my weak attempts at humor go nowhere with you. I don’t think anyone could accuse me of appeasing the opposition. I certainly have had my share of accusations that I am in the words of Richard Dawkins, “strident and shrill.”

    But we all have to decide where we draw the line between expressing disgust, and trying to enlighten people. “Political road rage syndrome”, or “Postal Political Stress Disorder” usually gives the high ground to those you oppose. And being a liberal elitist, I like to talk down to people. 😉

  21. #21 by Cliff Lyon on November 13, 2008 - 6:51 pm


    You hug comment made me smile.

    Hopefully most people enjoy whatever it is they do first thing in the morning…cigarette, coffee etc.

    For me, slapping down bigot or two really gets me going.

    I have no illusions about making a difference on this blog. I’m sure I don’t. But I think our other authors do because I make them look nice and reasonable. 😉

  22. #22 by Cliff Lyon on November 13, 2008 - 6:54 pm


    Thank you so much for the invitation. I would LOVE to meet you and your family. You are without question not-your-average-woman.

    My elderly parents are visiting, then I’m headed to Brazil till the Dec 4,

    Lets try after that.


    btw: Rob Miller will vouch for me.

  23. #23 by Larry Bergan on November 13, 2008 - 10:41 pm

    If you’re nice, they call you a cowardly liberal. If you’re aggressive, they call you a shrill and angry liberal. How do you reconcile anything in that atmosphere? That atmosphere has been coddled, nurtured, encouraged, and even mandated by the right wing machine. That is where we are.

    Wingers only tolerate winning though, and now that the Democrats are winning, (amazing, isn’t it!), maybe we’ll see an EXODUS OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS or even full monty contrition on bended knee.

  24. #24 by Kevin Owens on November 14, 2008 - 10:47 am

    Larry – I’d like to make a case for civilized, respectful disagreement.

    As long as someone sees you as an “outsider” or an “enemy,” they aren’t going to listen to what you have to say. It’s like protesting General Conference at Temple Square. It’s not going to get you anywhere. You’ll just be “one of those crazy people.”

    In order to have a real dialog in which people change their minds, you’ve got to come together. You’ve got to focus on what you have in common, establish a relationship of trust, and then you can freely exchange ideas and people will listen.

    As long as you’re drawing a line in the sand and labeling people as “liberals” or “conservatives”, or “us” verses “them”, no productive dialog will happen. You can’t win an argument by screaming louder.

  25. #25 by jdberger on November 14, 2008 - 2:06 pm


    I’m famous again.

    Cliffy, your screeds do nothing but expose you as a facile elitist with an anger management problem and a reading disability. Of course, I’m happy to assist.

  26. #26 by Cliff on November 14, 2008 - 3:01 pm


    As much as we would all like this to be true, it isn’t.

    In order to have a real dialog in which people change their minds, you’ve got to come together. You’ve got to focus on what you have in common, establish a relationship of trust, and then you can freely exchange ideas and people will listen.

    Sounds nice, but its a bunch of garbage.

    Thats why political campaigns don’t bother trying to convert the other party.

    Thats why we simply go for undecideds and new registrations and turn-out (GOTV). That startegy has not changed EVER.

    The Church knows it too. How many people have You baptized? If you are among the 99%, the answer is ZERO and the likelihood that you ever will is a .000001% chance.

    Lets be clear. If I could show you physical proof Joseph Smith was not a prophet, while showing you with love, affection or even money, would it change your mind?

    NO! Never in a million years.

    Don’t fool yourself. Its about us vs you. “Productive dialog” is especially useless with the authoritarian side of our species – to which you belong.

  27. #27 by Jesse on November 14, 2008 - 4:29 pm

    I dunno. Not being here much, but Cliff sounds like an ass to me.

  28. #28 by Cliff Lyon on November 14, 2008 - 4:59 pm

    Takes one to know one girlfriend.

  29. #29 by Larry Bergan on November 14, 2008 - 4:59 pm


    It’s the church that allows Hannity to demonize liberals for three hours a day. Why should I think they care at all about my opinions and concerns?

  30. #30 by Kevin Owens on November 17, 2008 - 1:12 pm


    Sounds nice, but its a bunch of garbage.

    No, it’s not.

    I don’t mean that you can be friendly and everyone will bow to your will like mind-controlled zombies. I mean that if you’re going to convince people to change their minds, it’s easier if you don’t present yourself as an enemy.

    The politicians are so entrenched in their idealogical battles to see the other side as trustworthy. They do come together on some issues, from time to time, but usually they just compromise and throw in some pork to buy votes.

    If I had physical proof that Joseph Smith was not a prophet, I would change my mind. I wouldn’t blind myself to real evidence, if it existed. I’ve changed my mind on many issues over the years. Besides, I find it hard to believe that you could present your point of view using love or affection. It’s not your style.

    I am not authoritarian in the general sense. I am a free-thinker and willing to change my mind. You are wrong to assume this of me.

    I am beginning to see a pattern in some of your responses to my comments. You misrepresent my position, assume I believe something I don’t, and then argue against the absurd invention you have constructed.

    When you mischaracterize me as being close-minded, perhaps you are projecting your own feelings about yourself upon others.

  31. #31 by Bob S. on November 17, 2008 - 1:15 pm


    Great job, you neatly summed up Cliff’s debate style:

    I am beginning to see a pattern in some of your responses to my comments. You misrepresent my position, assume I believe something I don’t, and then argue against the absurd invention you have constructed.

    Then with the Quote of the Day:

    When you mischaracterize me as being close-minded, perhaps you are projecting your own feelings about yourself upon others.

    Keep up the good work.

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