An Open Letter to Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Elisabeth,

I need you to grow up. I need you to develop stronger muscles for compassion, inquiry, and sophisticated – even nuanced understanding. I’ve heard you say, often between the bubbling of tears, that you show up to The View, every day prepared to share your heart, your thoughts, you insights – despite the fact that you are outnumbered. And yes, it takes chutzpah to show up to a job where you may feel you are voiceless. I would submit to you, however, that you may also feel that way becasuse you lack the maturity to as Audre Lorde suggests, “use your voice in the service of your vision.”

Never have I seen you engage in a measured, thoughtful interchange. Instead, almost immediately all of your defenses seem raised: your index finger becomes a pointer, your body language becomes aggressive, your voice raises by octaves. Meaning that whatever you had to say, is lost in the din of your inability to effectively communicate. The job of “youngest” on the panel is not easy. The role of “conservative voice” on such a panel cannot be easy either. And yet, I’ve seen many conservative womyn articulae their opinions with grace, fluidity, firmness (without being didactic), and even charm. Think of Mary Matlin, Mary Todd Whitman, or Elizabeth Dole. Many may not agree with them, but no one can ever say, they aren’t well-spoken, well-traveled, well-read, and thoughtful.

Elisabeth, I want so much to say that of you. I cannot. There’s a lack of compassion, knowledge, and experience evident, not so much in what you say, but how you say it. Screeching, berating, defensive, unable to establish a line of argument, overly emotional, and then surprisingly caustic.  When you cried about the use of the “n-word,” it was clear to me, you don’t have any close friends who are womyn of color (none of the womyn on the panel count). You seemed so entrenched in your own limited perspective and belief, that you couldn’t hear what was being said. Nor, do I think you have the knowledge of history to ground what was being said or the grace to accept you didn’t understand. And no, I don’t believe you when you say that you know how to talk to your daughter about race and the use of words – you could barely do it with your peers. Children can see through words to a heart; they require more than bombastic notions and tears.

It’s clear to me that you are repeating what you’ve heard,  what you’ve been trained to believe, not engaging in thoughtful personal reflection.  I don’t even know that you believe what you’re saying so deeply that you never need to reflect.  But maybe that’s unfair. I think you have reflected – and what you have to work with is so limited it couldn’t provide any other insights. I also think you’ve been placed in a position in which you are so hyper-vigilant, that you cannot move an inch from the ground you’ve staked. You have the tools that you have, and without much other exposure, you haven’t used many of the other tools (compassion, experience, nuanced understanding0 that you need. So, I suppose I have compassion for you… 

And now you are repeating the vieled racist insinuations of the McCain campaign, and here I simply have to draw the line. It’s vitriol and it’s dangerous – and you neither care, nor understand that.

I absolutely believe that conservatives should be at the table, should have a place and a voice. That’s what inclusion is, that’s how we build community. When someone has the ability to dissent – its the dissent that builds the community. In dialogue, we may all discover new things. I don’t believe you possess the voice or character to be the conservative at the table.  You do a disservice to genuine conservatives in your approach and lack of substance. And it’s a shame really…

Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself:

<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/bw9eTpqCvmQ&hl=en&fs=1″></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/bw9eTpqCvmQ&hl=en&fs=1” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>

 

<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/3Rnk8eja3TU&hl=en&fs=1″></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/3Rnk8eja3TU&hl=en&fs=1” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>

 

<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/j-vHRbpWiaw&hl=en&fs=1″></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/j-vHRbpWiaw&hl=en&fs=1” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>

 

<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/r0JBpJA6k4s&hl=en&fs=1″></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/r0JBpJA6k4s&hl=en&fs=1” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>

<tr><object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/xht0HcPryWA&hl=en&fs=1″></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/xht0HcPryWA&hl=en&fs=1” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object><tr>

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: