Kathleen Parker is a conservative opinion writer at the Washington Post, but a soft one. That is, she is willing to take a look at the impact of political correctness on military preparedness, or how a focus on self-esteem creates thin-skinned college students. Yet, she is also willing to smear Trump supporters, on the basis of a rinky-dink study of their supposed "authoritarianism". That is "obvious" because people who want their "children to be respectful, obedient, well-behaved and well-mannered have a propensity to support Trump." Why soon they'll be teaching their children Nazi salutes!
Mostly, and as is obvious from the above examples, she is upset by "extremists" and Americans' failure to call them to account. Just who is "extreme" and the reasons that they are placed in that category is a helpful and clarifying set of questions.
Parker's latest ode to reasonableness, as she sees it, is a column devoted to "Nikki Haley's righteous gamble".
Parker's point of departure is South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley giving the official Republican Party response to President Obama's State of the Union address.
In it, Haley spoke movingly of her response, and those of her constituents and those who had lost loved ones, to the racially inspired church murders that took place in her state last year. And she linked her decision to take down the Confederate flag at the state capital to that sad event.
Of that tragedy, she said:
We lost nine incredible souls that night. What happened after the tragedy is worth pausing to think about. Our state was struck with shock, pain, and fear. But our people would not allow hate to win. We didn't have violence, we had vigils. We didn't have riots, we had hugs.
We didn't turn against each other's race or religion. We turned toward God, and to the values that have long made our country the freest and greatest in the world. We removed a symbol that was being used to divide us, and we found a strength that united us against a domestic terrorist and the hate that filled him.
Whether you agree with the governor's decision to remove the flag or not, she was describing a tragic circumstance in which people came together to mourn and heal. Yet the basis of that effort was an acknowledgement the facts of the shooting — that the shooter was an out-and-out racist, and to acknowledge as well the legitimacy of the range of views that people had about the Confederate flag flying at the state capital.
When Haley called for listening, and not to the loudest voices, she had already demonstrated in her leadership two key elements of her success. First, she did not demonize those who differed with her. And second, she did not deny the legitimacy of other positions than hers on the flag issue.
One wishes that Parker had adopted the same approach in her celebration of Gov. Haley's speech.