Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Losing Nathan's (Hi From) Seoul -- And How to Get it Back

The fallout from the Stronach affairs has, indeed, far-reaching consequences. Including some few anticipated.

One result? The Red Ensign Brigade has lost Nathan's Updates from Seoul.

Sure, his link is still up on the Red Ensign's blogroll. But if you go to his site you'll realize the blogroll is no longer there. He's taken it down.

And if you look at his post, you'll understand why:

These are the comments and deeds of some of the Red Ensign bloggers, including the current captain of our merry little band. These are the same bloggers who attack Paul Martin for incivility, who drooled, mouths open, at the sexiness factor Belinda brought to the CPC. They held her up as what she was: a bright, young shining star in the party, a person with moderate views who could attract voters in Ontario and eastern Canada. The same people who call her a "traitor" are those who congratulated Peter MacKay for swiftly breaking his election promise, solemnly sworn to David Orchard, not to merge the Tories with the Alliance. Now this. Frankly, it's disgusting and shameful, and definitely beneath the standard one should expect of those flying the Red Ensign.

If you need more, look at some of the comments for that post, from example from Raging Kraut:

This would all be a nice civil discussion if I didn't detect a high, moral, patronizing tone talking down to me and my uncouth angry ramblings (on my own damn blog, no less!) in your post. If I've misinterpreted this and am short with you, I apologize. If I haven't you can take this up with me personally rather than in front of an audience and I'll have the proper response prepared for you "Daddy."I don't speak for the others you've mentioned, but I for one resent being talked down to in this manner.

Now, people who read Ray know that he's not normally this hypersensitive. But this was written in the grip of anger, and you can see it--particularly the "Daddy" remark.

Look, I won't deny that Stronach's defection hurt the Canadian Right at a time when it's engaged in one of the most important fights in Canadian society. And people who are politically engaged in this cannot help buy feel angry at this turn of events.

But rage is the wrong frame of mind for what needs to be accomplished.

In the event that we go into an election, both the Tories and the Bloc need to convince the voter that they -- and by extension their supporters -- are worthy of the public's good will. If a "Blogging Tory" flies into a rhetorical tamtrum at a setback, how likely is it that he or she will convince the reader that the Tories / Bloc should be supported? Does the casual voter really want to associate with someone who's operating in a snit -- even if that's not their normal personality?

What does a Blogging Tory tantrum tell the average blog reader? More to the point, what does it tell the mainstream media? And why should we assume that it won't reflect badly on the Tory Party or the Bloc as a whole, regardless of whether or not we hold party membership?

The Stronach incident can be neutralized, in terms of its impact. But it won't happen in the grip of anger. Tacking a "just kidding" or "pardon my language" to the end of a post doesn't really netrualize the power of an emotional vent to drive people away--and on a blog, if you drive 10 people away, 6 of them won't come back.

So -- let's cool down. Let's drop the name-calling. Let's continue to point out the power-mad antics of the Liberals, but don't get insulting. Remember that, like it or not, Stephen Harper's Tories are the flag-bearer for the Canadian Right and Right-of-Center. We can help him by voting Tory in the next election. We can help more by convincing others to do the same.

And bear in mind: if we drive votes away from the Tories by rhetorical raging, the next Liberal government won't be Belinda's responsibility. It'll be ours.