You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.

Know who stands by you

The Baltimore Sun

For the past several days I have taken to wearing a safety pin in the lapel of my jacket. I understand that this is the cheapest of cheap liberal gestures following the presidential election. But I reasoned that as an old white guy who dresses conservatively, I am the very sort who should broadcast to scorned minorities that he is safe.

Then, because reasoning never stops, it occurred to me that pretty much the only places I ever go are the office and church, so it’s an empty gesture. Everyone there knows that I am a tame liberal, like nearly everyone else in my circle.

But not quite all.

When I posted at You Don’t Say that we should identify the “alt-right” as what they are rather than resorting to an innocuous term that makes them look respectable, Dale Parry wrote this comment:

“Nobody would love this bid for precision more than would the conservative right, who find themselves sullied by an implied association with people who show no respect for individual rights, Constitutional government, or the order of law. We can’t oppose any enemy we don’t accurately identify. Let's call it what it is.”

Dale Parry and I are old friends. We were colleagues at The Cincinnati Enquirer more than thirty years ago. We laughed at the same jokes, shared scorn for cant and pretense, believed that newspaper journalism devoted to accuracy and clarity makes for an informed citizenry. Though we have not seen each other in three decades, we follow each other’s life and career on Facebook.

And he is a thoroughgoing principled conservative. So, even though most of my friends are liberal scum just like me, are a number of others with whom I enjoy mutual respect despite our differing political views.

I know Dale, and I understand his resentment at being lumped with the vicious bigots who have used this year’s presidential election as an excuse to come out into the open. Though ugly trash talk has been a prominent feature of elections since the earliest days of the Republic, it blurs important distinctions, whether it comes from the left or the right.

So I will disagree with Dale on some political issues, but I will stand with him for individual rights, constitutional government, and the rule of law, confident that he will stand by me.

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