Dear Ann Coulter,
Dammit, Ann Coulter.
I like you. A lot. I’ve read all your books. No, seriously, all of them.
When I was in my 20s, I thought you were maybe the Antichrist. I didn’t know why exactly I thought you were the Antichrist. All the other liberals did, so I did, too. It wasn’t hard. Liberalism is easy. It makes you feel smart and cool. When the other smart, cool people said your name the way some people say “cockroach,” I got the picture.
They really, really hate you. About a year ago, someone close to me who is a big liberal was at my house. I had one of your books sitting on the coffee table. While I was out of the room, he took a receipt and drew a speech bubble on the back, with the words “Hi! I’m a c**t!” And put it right above your head. Later on, I asked him why he thought you were a “c**t,” but he didn’t have a specific answer. I would bet you everything I own of value (this mainly consists of this laptop, my wedding rings, and my 2005 Ford Ranger, “Truck Norris”) that he has never read a single word you’ve ever written.
Neither had I when I hated you. I think I had read about one sentence of your writing, out of context (obviously), and decided you were in league with Satan. Except I didn’t believe in Satan, of course; that was a fairy tale for dumb Christians. I hated you for the same reason I hated George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Bill O’Reilly, and many others: because I was told you were the enemy. I would not have been able to defend my hatred of any of these people – including you – with much depth. But I “knew” you were evil. The Nation and Mother Jones told me so.
In 2010, I was pretty new to Catholicism and becoming aware of conservatism as something more than “being mean.” I began making my way towards it by reading, for the first time, our nation’s founding documents. I also became familiar with de Tocqueville, Hayek, and the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. I was delving into this because I was pro-life, and ObamaCare – which was in the process of being rammed into law – scared me. The more I learned, the more it started to scare me for other reasons, too.
See, my worldview changed when, for the first time in my adulthood, God convinced me of His existence. That was in 2008. I no longer saw man at the center of the universe, and everything was turned on its head. I tiptoed toward the other side. It took me a few years. I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. I didn’t want to be conservative until I was absolutely convinced that conservatism was right, because I was beginning to discover that being conservative kind of, um, sucks. Everybody hates you. It doesn’t matter how much you tell people that you’re not mean or that you have a good argument. They won’t listen to you.
But you know all this. You live it.
It was sometime in 2010 that I first started reading your columns. My conversion was picking up steam, and I decided that I’d read quite a bit – though not enough, never enough! – of the philosophy that underpinned conservative thinking. I was ready to go right to the fiery furnace that drove the locomotive of liberal contempt for conservatives. That would be you. I figured if I could read your writing, and agree with it, I was a conservative for really real. I didn’t expect that to happen, though. I figured I would scoff and keep you on the enemies list.
But I didn’t. I loved you. I loved your style. Yes, it was somewhat lacking in subtlety. No, it was not nice. But I’ve always thought subtlety is overrated, and I was never that great at “nice.” True kindness – true love – is a lot of things, but it is not “nice.” I am a Christian. “Nice” is for quasi-Buddhists who live in the Bay Area and drive Smart cars and secretly hate everyone east of Oakland. Being nice at the expense of being honest is not kind. It is not loving.
I had to look up the word “polemicist.” (I dropped out of college because rules were for Republicans.) It took me a while to understand what you were doing, but I got it. I started trying to explain to people that you’re honest and funny and nobody researches as well as you. Meanwhile, I was reading all your books and sharing them with people, or buying them as gifts. I pre-ordered your most recent one, Mugged, months before its release. If I hadn’t been in the throes of wedding planning, I would have read it in one day. It was brilliant, and everyone in America should have to read it because it is truth.
I like you because you are funny and you are not afraid. So many conservatives lack courage. They’re scared of being silenced and ostracized, and I don’t blame them. I’m scared of it, too. I’ve lost friends. I still lose them occasionally. It can be lonely.
Then the election happened. And your column, “DON’T BLAME ROMNEY,” came out.
You’ve written about abortion before. Sometimes when you write about abortion, it’s hilarious. That’s something I’m always trying to do: be pro-life and funny at the same time. It’s hard. Nobody’s expecting a knee-slapper on the subject of dead babies. But humor disarms people. It reminds them you’re sane. Only the crazy are deadly earnest all the time. It’s hard to change people’s minds about abortion, but on any subject, if you can make them laugh, you’re halfway there.
I remember when you said this:
I wouldn’t kill an abortionist myself, but I wouldn’t want to impose my moral values on others. No one is for shooting abortionists. But how will criminalizing men making difficult, often tragic, decisions be an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the shootings of abortionists?
That was in 2009, in your column “49 Million to Five,” when you pointed out how absurd it is to call the pro-life movement violent. Anti-life zealots went insane over this, failing or refusing to notice that you were satirizing a pro-abortion argument. To anyone with a brain and a sense of humor, it was obvious that you were pointing out the hypocrisy of those who wept for the abortionist while condoning abortion.
This is just one example of the many times you have championed and defended the pro-life cause.
Then you wrote this:
The last two weeks of the campaign were consumed with discussions of women’s “reproductive rights,” not because of anything Romney did, but because these two idiots [Akin and Mourdock] decided to come out against abortion in the case of rape and incest.
After all the hard work intelligent pro-lifers have done in changing the public’s mind about a subject the public would rather not think about at all, these purist grandstanders came along and announced insane positions with no practical purpose whatsoever, other than showing off.
While pro-lifers in the trenches have been pushing the abortion positions where 90 percent of the country agrees with us — such as bans on partial birth abortion, and parental and spousal notification laws — Akin and Mourdock decided to leap straight to the other end of the spectrum and argue for abortion positions that less than 1 percent of the nation agrees with.
In order to be pro-life badasses, they gave up two easy-win Republican Senate seats.
No law is ever going to require a woman to bear the child of her rapist. Yes, it’s every bit as much a life as an unborn child that is not the product of rape. But sentient human beings are capable of drawing gradations along a line…
The overwhelming majority of people — including me — are going to say the law shouldn’t force someone who has been raped to carry the child. On the other hand, abortion should be illegal in most other cases.
Is that so hard for Republicans to say?
Purist conservatives are like idiot hipsters who can’t like a band that’s popular. They believe that a group with any kind of a following can’t be a good band, just as show-off social conservatives consider it a mark of integrity that their candidates — Akin, Mourdock, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell — take wildly unpopular positions and lose elections.
Ann. Oh, Ann. This hurts.
I am not going to make the case in this column for being pro-life without exceptions. I’ve done it before, and you know the argument anyway.
What hurts is that you would question our motives. This isn’t an issue of tactics – graphic images vs. no graphic images; incrementalism vs. all-or-nothing. This is about the actual lives of actual children. How could you think for a second we are interested in being “pro-life badasses” when what we are really interested in is not abandoning any children – no matter who their fathers are? Those “gradations along a line” are human lives. If we don’t believe that, what are we doing here? Why are we wasting our time writing and speaking and marching and praying and helping women and making our friends hate us?
If any lives are worth abandoning for votes, why not all of them?
It also needs to be understood that what Todd Akin said was stupid and what Richard Mourdock said was said stupidly. Todd Akin, bless his heart, made a truly idiotic comment out of total ignorance. Richard Mourdock said something totally true – that the child born of rape is wanted and loved and intended by God – in a way that made it sound like he thinks God likes it when ladies get raped. Todd Akin should have left the race. Mourdock should have clarified his statement.
I keep hearing all these Fox News pundits talk about how my party needs to start pandering to special interest groups and being “nicer.” And I think: no. Nice is not kind. We have to keep being honest. We have to be who we are, and then we’ll win.
Same thing here, Ann: until we explain and competently defend our belief that all children deserve life, without exception, those children will never have a chance. They will never be protected. There is no one else to do it but us. I am not willing to let even one of them go. I am not willing to win an election by abandoning the children of rape. I know you think it’s better in the long run to get pro-life people elected, but we can’t do it by lying and saying that babies conceived in rape and incest aren’t worthy of life. They are. If we don’t protect them now, we can’t ever. And I’m not okay with that.
Lying is for them, not us.
I freakin’ love you, Ann. You’re smarter about politics than me. You’re smarter than me, period. But you’re wrong about this. I don’t know if I’ve ever disagreed with you, but I have to now. (And not just because you compared me to a hipster. I can’t stand hipsters, although I like European beer and I wear really cool glasses and hero-worship Jack White.)
I am going to continue to be 100% pro-life, without exception, and encourage others to do the same. If that makes me a pro-life badass, fine. If it makes me an annoying purist, fine. But it also makes me right.