What’s “Divisive”?

A postscript on the Rush Limbaugh/St. Louis Rams story, which I wrote about here: the conventional criticism of Limbaugh, by those not dumb enough to fall for the fake racist quotes, is that he is a “divisive” figure. That, for example, was the objection that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell voiced: Rush is too “divisive” to be involved with the NFL.
Well: as I wrote last night, it is ironic that Keith Olbermann, who, unlike Rush, is actually a hatemonger, is a network commentator on NFL games. Apparently no one thinks Olbermann is too “divisive” to be associated with the league.
Which raises this thought: has any liberal ever been labeled “divisive”? I can’t recall a single instance. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are trying to dismantle our health care system, an effort to which most Americans object and about which many millions care deeply. So, why are they not divisive? If that isn’t divisive, what is?
These thoughts are prompted by Olbermann’s latest outrage: another attack on Michelle Malkin, in which he accused Michelle of being a “fascist” and described her as “a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it.” It is impossible to imagine a conservative with a network television contract using language like that about a liberal woman. Impossible. It is, to begin with, misogynistic; it’s also aesthetically ridiculous. Agree with her or not, Michelle is a beautiful woman. One can only wonder what kind of twisted, sick psyche could produce this sort of venom. (Michelle writes about Olbermann’s bizarre outburst here.)
But let’s apply a much lower threshold: by what conceivable standard is Keith Olbermann not a divisive figure? It would be impossible to be more intensely partisan or to be more vicious toward those with whom he disagrees. How can that not be considered divisive, by the NFL’s standards?
The only answer is that “divisive” is a criticism that applies only to conservatives. It is not possible for a liberal to be “divisive,” however crazed he or she may be. This is true even though the whole point of a political system is to decide issues about which people disagree. If people don’t disagree, it isn’t a political issue. So to argue for any political point of view is necessarily divisive. But divisiveness is a one-way street. When liberals express liberal views, that’s just being a patriotic American. When conservatives express conservative views, it’s “divisive.”
That is, sadly, how much of our country’s establishment thinks.

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