Guilty by Ann Coulter
Well, well, the bull dog in mini skirts is at it again. Ann Coulter has delighted us all with another 400-page tirade on, well mostly everything, but specifically, Democrats (quelle surprise), the imbalanced mainstream media, the "irresponsible little tramps," that are single mothers, and the homogeneous mass of individuals who do not agree with her every word, that Ann likes to dub, "the (filthy) liberals."
In Ann Coulter’s view, a cult of victim-hood lies at the heart of the liberal doctrine: unto he who whines the loudest shall be given. She claims that modern America rewards those whose self-pitying complaints are rivaled only by their talent for self publicity. She charges that, in the view of the Democrats and a biased media, those who sell drugs have no other option; they who do not work have been let down by the public school system… they are all of them "victims." Every failure in America is vindicated, but the frat boys, the Tom DeLays and George Bushes of this world are the real "victims of the repellent liberal policies." This leftist conspiracy targets honest Republicans, makes martyrs of undeserving underdogs, and spreads its poisonous P.C. propaganda throughout the land.
Coulter identifies the Democratic Party as the masters of finger-wagging indignation. Together with their merry band of ‘oppressed’ followers, liberals are forever complaining that they have been slighted and marginalized by the ‘Republican Attack Machine;’ in short they ‘always have to be the victims.’ What’s more, liberals highlight ‘hoods,’ transsexuals and Barack Obama as the victims of ‘homophobes, hypocrites, Karl Rove, racists, Republicans and oppressive Alaskan governors,’ for the purposes of their own left-wing agenda. In crying to a highly partial press about their ‘suffering’ they make it impossible to engage in real political debate for fear of offending these ‘martyrs’ and being branded ‘intolerant.’ According to Coulter, it is a case of "he who is first offended shall claim political victory."
Coulter maintains that the liberal thought police pluck at our sentimental strings and make us feel guilt for ‘crimes we did not commit.’ The ‘truth’ is that single mothers are a plague on America! ‘The poor’ are ‘counterfeit victims!’ Unmarried parents are evil! But we have been duped by liberal politicians, a ‘fawning’ left-wing media and ‘trendy air-heads,’ into seeing the world as a place where ‘everyone is either an oppressor or a victim.’ Enough already!
Let’s give the woman what little credit is due to her, and thus avoid Ann’s trap of "if you attack me for telling the truth, you are indicative of the liberal indoctrination of which I speak." It is true that she does occasionally raise real social issues and cultural trends which need to be addressed. Take her well-publicized thesis on single mothers: Coulter seems to have some fairly convincing stats to hand which suggest that some of these women are struggling to bring up happy and well-adjusted human beings– "The strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison is that he was raised by a single parent...70 percent of inmates in state juvenile detention were raised by single mothers… 60 percent of rapists come from single-mother homes… 70 percent of teenage births, dropouts, suicides, runaways and child murders involve children raised by single mothers.’ Coulter is certain that the figure of the single mother has lifted the lid on the Pandora’s Box of social pathologies. She is adamant that the dissolution of the traditional family is producing a parade of rapists and serial killers. Without the comfort of an economically and emotionally stable home, children can be expected to go off the rails, she says.
You might have found yourself nodding in agreement, were it not for the characteristic Coulter style of using such data to simply insult and vent her spleen: "we have a term for the children of divorce… I like to call them future strippers." Or how about this one: "single mothers cost the US taxpayer $112 billion every year. We could have had two Iraq wars at that price." Oh yeah, because that would have been much better!
Instead of hard fact, Coulter offers sweeping simplifications that all single mothers are cruel people: they do not "care enough to give their children up for adoption," and have deliberately chosen to consign their children to "starting life as second class citizens." Quite simply, the woman is galling. She rants that all criminals come from single parent families, yet is not shrewd enough to see the connection between crime and poverty. She provides the evidence against her own argument, when she states that "half of single mothers in the United States are below the poverty line," and that "96 percent of welfare recipients are single mothers." And her view on these women is just one of her broad generalizations and inversions of fact.
Were Coulter a true socio-political commentator she would present her statistics and arguments in an even-handed manner, in order to affect change. Instead, she totally neglects to mention the other side of the story and as ever, ends up spouting a tedious, venomous rhetoric – artificial insemination is an abomination; battered women have only themselves to blame; no Republican ever stooped so low as to smear a Democrat; and the traditional family is always better – no matter how abusive the husband or dysfunctional the relationship between the parents may be. Her tone is so aggressive and relentless that one soon becomes desensitized to her vitriol. Skimming through her pages becomes a numbing task.
Ultimately, she comes across in her book as she does in every manic YouTube clip, every crazed TV appearance, and every wild radio interview. Ann Coulter’s book stirs up controversy, for controversy’s sake. She is like a soldier who would rather fight a never-ending war than win victory: she enjoys the polemics so much that, if she was given a chance to win an argument and thus end the debate, she would try to find a way to re-ignite the discussion. You find yourself scratching your head and wondering, what does she hope to achieve beside self-promotion?
(Crown Forum, $27.95)
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