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Published: November 10, 2012 11:24 am to Opinion Column

My big fat embarrassing opinion

Life is like a wave pool: it’s full of strangers on floats, and if you get stuck underneath one, it’s terrifying. Or something? Editor’s note: come back and work on this later.

There’s this thing going around. I don’t know if it’s new. Maybe it’s not. But it’s new to me.

People are embarrassed by opinions.

I was watching “South Park” the other night. I love South Park. Yes, they make fun of Jesus, but they also make fun of everyone else. So anyway, I was watching “South Park” the day after the election and in the episode, Obama ends up winning the election by cheating with the help of China – haha! But then Mitt Romney is a duck that shoots brown doo out of its mouth, which in “South Park” world is a way of depicting someone incredibly dumb and lame.

I don’t know why they think he is that dumb and lame, but it’s a thing. A lot of people feel that way. I don’t really get it. Yeah, he’s a square old white guy, but even if you don’t agree with his politics, you can’t deny that this is a man who in his personal life is extremely helpful and kind and generous. He refused a salary as governor and promised to refuse one as president. People from his church lined up to talk about the ways in which he helped them – not just with money, but with time and effort. He gave like 30% of his income to charity. That’s a lot of dough.

I believe that anyone who runs for high political office has to have a large ego. But a large ego is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it comes from knowing you’re the man for the job, from humbly knowing that. Kind of how the Jews believing they’ve been chosen by God is actually a very humble attitude: “We didn’t do this ourselves; it was God.” I don’t believe that all politicians are pathological narcissists. Some are, for sure. But I do believe that it is possible to have an ego large enough to run for president and still have a heart for service. Politics aside, whether he was the right candidate aside, I believe that Mitt Romney is one of those people.

But even if he’s not, even if he’s maybe just some politician, do people really believe he gives ladies cancer and hates black people and drinks puppy blood? Do they really see him as a cigar-chomping evil capitalist who has a hearty belly laugh while he stuffs pink slips into envelopes? I don’t know.

Governor Mitt Romney

Anyway, he’s a duck that spews brown doo from his mouth. Okay.

There’s this thing – and you see it on “SNL,” “South Park,” “The Daily Show” – where it’s kind of embarrassing or not cool or totally mean to have a passionate opinion. Especially a passionate conservative opinion. It makes you a doo-spewing duck. You’re just not cool anymore. At all. You are hateful and judgmental and mean, or, at the very least, super-duper lame.

I made some people angry on election day because of my mean Facebook comments. Were my comments intense and fiery and passionate? Yes – more so than usual, for sure. But were they hateful? I guess that depends on how you define hate. Is hate a passionately expressed opinion that differs from yours? If so, they were hateful. But to me, “hate” is a serious word that should be reserved for speech with evil intent. Racist diatribes and threats leap to mind.

My comments were intense, sure. But why? What was my intent?

I read once that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference. I believe that. I’m passionate because I care about people, I care about my country, and I feel that it’s my duty as a good human being to speak the truth. Sometimes the truth is difficult to hear, but that doesn’t make it hateful.

I am the type of person – and two of my brothers are the same way – who can disagree about politics and we get rowdy and we yell and I call you an idiot and you call me a moron and then we’re like “Let’s order a pizza” and we watch Lord of the Rings. Not everybody is that way, and I’ve hurt some people’s feelings, and I apologized for it. (Every four years, I should probably hire an Election Day Censor to sit by me and say “Don’t do that” right before I hit “Post.”)

“Ma’am, I wouldn’t post that if I were you.”

But it’s not just fire-and-brimstone election night passions that embarrass people. I have friends whom I dearly love who kind of don’t really like me anymore because of my opinions, or at the very least think I’m not as cool as I was, or not as happy. I wish I could explain to them - and to”SNL,” “South Park,” and Jon Stewart – that being serious about some things doesn’t mean you can’t be light about others, and light in your heart.

G.K. Chesterton said something about how being light is closer to the angels than being heavy. He knew the darkness of life on earth, that we live in a fallen world, and that we have to use our wits to lift up the good things and fight the bad. He was an outspoken critic of many modern ideas, but he critiqued with humor, and in person he was a jolly, happy person, always laughing, his big fat belly shaking while he smoked a cigar.

I think it’s expected that I be intense on election day – a lot of people were. But most of the time, I consider myself a happy warrior. Especially now: I’m living a very blessed life. But what is life if we don’t pay attention to the stuff that shapes our future? What is life if we don’t stand up for life? We need to recognize darkness to appreciate the light, understand the bad to know how precious the good is. What good is laughter if we don’t know how blessed we are to be laughing?

Pro-life activists, I wish our intentions were better-understood. I wish all the people who believe that detachment and irony are the only way to be cool would understand that having a Seth Myers smirk doesn’t necessarily make you lighthearted and awesome.

My point – and I’m 80% sure I have one – is that we can’t be afraid to speak the truth in love. And I’m not a doo-spewing duck.

That is all.

About Kristen Hatten

Kristen is a writer and comedian who makes people mad on the Internet. She is Vice President of New Wave Feminists and enjoys taxidermy, yachting, and 19th century French poetry. Stalk her relentlessly for fun and profit.
View all posts by Kristen Hatten

  • Sparky

    Kristen –

    I don’t believe Romney is stupid or dumb. I think he is an incredibly smart and gifted
    man. But I also believe some of his policies and those of his party, especially as represented by his running mate’s budget, would have hurt a lot of good, honest people. I believe that if he had been elected he would have governed as a moderate. I think that is his nature and would have been his inclination. On the other hand, I think that the last thirty years of Reagan’s legacy has left the middle class poorer and worst for wear, and rather than creating wealth for the whole country, created a small group of very fortunate individuals while leaving the great majority with a lower living standard and fewer opportunities to improve it than they would have had otherwise. And finally, I believe that the most unfortunate consequence of Reagan’s legacy was to elevate the Christian Right well beyond its due. It’s my most sincere conviction that because of the Christian Right’s
    insistence of dividing the world up into Good and Evil, our political discourse and our ability to govern has devolved into uncompromising dysfunction. We can all debate whether our beliefs are accurate or not, but you are absolutely right about one thing. We must never be embarrassed to share our opinions with one another. We all have them. Most of them stink, but one thing is certain – sharing them is the keystone of our democracy and our only way forward.

    • MOS was 71331

      “It’s my most sincere conviction that because of the Christian Right’s insistence of dividing the world up into Good and Evil, our political discourse and our ability to govern has devolved into uncompromising dysfunction.”

      It’s hard to characterize 0bama’s enthusiasm for killing infants born alive after botched abortions as something other than evil. Don’t forget that this issue was so important to him that he voted for it FOUR times while he was in the Illinois senate. During that senate career, he voted “present” more often than he voted “aye” or “nay” on other bills.

      I can only wonder how this possibly good man thought the newly born infant crying on a table would be killed by the abortionist, the baby’s mother, or someone else present in the room.

      • Sparky

        You know we’ve all heard this right wing bubble babble but maybe if you bothered to just do a little research you would know that voting present in the Illinois legislature is equivalent to voting no.

  • Bubbalouwee

    We can’t be afraid to speak the truth in love. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” I believe people reject the truth because they reject God. Science also proves that human life begins at conception, but this truth is also rejected by the culture of death. I believe prayer is the highest form of love, thus us pro lifers need to pray for the conversion of sinners. Bernard Nathanson, Carol Everett, and Abby Johnson were once on the side of the culture of death but converted and joined forces with the side of love, the pro life side.

  • Robert L. Olson

    Kristen, you are a really cool lady as far as I am concerned. However, you must realize that to have strong moral values will always make you an object of scorn by the atheistic secular humanist culture. We just re-elected the “coolest man” on Earth. He is cool because he supports gay and “feminist” rights. Look to the Republicans to want to get some of that “coolness” as they abandon people like us. Christ said that we would be hated for following him. You are not a “hater”. You are a truth teller and people hate that.

  • eurekagal

    I don’t think I’ve read your posts before, but I kinda like this one. That’s my opinion…

  • Jeff Tilley

    Southpark?? Really? For a minute, there, I was thinking that we had something in common.

  • simplythursday

    I love you. I love your opinions. I love the way you put things, and I love the way you answer to haters. I have been following you for about a year and 1/2 now. I’ve read almost everything you’ve posted on here. Listen, I feel the same way you do! i feel like no one (especially people in my age range) has any morals anymore!