To The Conservative Malcontents On Twitter Who Are Still Mad At Me For Criticizing The Late Ralph Klein

Read this piece by Glenn Greenwald on talking about dead politicians.

But the key point is this: those who admire the deceased public figure (and their politics) aren’t silent at all. They are aggressively exploiting the emotions generated by the person’s death to create hagiography. Typifying these highly dubious claims about Thatcher was this (appropriately diplomatic) statement from President Obama: “The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend.” Those gushing depictions can be quite consequential, as it was for the week-long tidal wave of unbroken reverence that was heaped on Ronald Reagan upon his death, an episode that to this day shapes how Americans view him and the political ideas he symbolized. Demanding that no criticisms be voiced to counter that hagiography is to enable false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts, distortions that become quickly ossified and then endure by virtue of no opposition and the powerful emotions created by death. When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms.

Whatever else may be true of her, Thatcher engaged in incredibly consequential acts that affected millions of people around the world. She played a key role not only in bringing about the first Gulf War but also using her influence to publicly advocate for the 2003 attack on Iraq. She denounced Nelson Mandela and his ANC as “terrorists”, something even David Cameron ultimately admitted was wrong. She was a steadfast friend to brutal tyrants such as Augusto Pinochet, Saddam Hussein andIndonesian dictator General Suharto (“One of our very best and most valuable friends”). And as my Guardian colleague Seumas Milne detailed last year, “across Britain Thatcher is still hated for the damage she inflicted – and for her political legacy of rampant inequality and greed, privatisation and social breakdown.”

To demand that all of that be ignored in the face of one-sided requiems to her nobility and greatness is a bit bullying and tyrannical, not to mention warped.

You can read (and comment on) my short and, his legacy considered, fairly gentle piece on Ralph Klein here.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

7 thoughts on “To The Conservative Malcontents On Twitter Who Are Still Mad At Me For Criticizing The Late Ralph Klein”

  1. I’m glad I’m not on twitter nor any big social media platform like facebook to see or read all the good/bad/crazy posts.

    Leaders are human too. We forget that. They make decisions that will be viewed as benefitial or bad. Sometimes we need to sit back and say to ourselves, “If we are in their shoes, could we have done it better?”

  2. You’d think the “right” (whatever that may be) comprises only little old ladies, for all the vapours they suffer. The darlings.

  3. Remember how those same malcontents spoke against Harper for using Chavez’s death to criticize his politics? Yeah, me neither.

  4. Such hagiography as described above can last a long time; look at Lincoln. No one remembers that he suspended habeas corpus and ordered the arrest of thousands of “suspected” Confederate sympathizers, censored and seized newspapers, authorized the mass destruction of the industrial South under general Sherman, was renowned for his use of ethnic/racial slurs and humour, and was politically careful rather than principled in the timing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Oh, and he favoured shipping freed slaves back to Africa. Should we also mention that FD Roosevelt, as Secretary of the Navy, purged homosexuals or suspected homosexuals from the service?
    PS: Amnesty International stopped supporting Nelson Mandela as a prisoner of conscience because he and the ANC used violence.

  5. @ Brad

    Oh, and Brad sees no difference between what the leader of a country says on the world stage about a fellow, deceased leader and what non-important ppl say… But okay, point taken.

    But you’re not going to see a world leader criticize Thatcher, or Reagan on the world stage the way Harper took his predictable cheap shots at Chavez. No, you’ll get the drivel Barack Obama spews to ‘look good’ even though Thatcher attacked everything socially just the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for.

    I’m afraid to see what Cam Broten or Mulcair may have felt the need to say, out of embarrassment for its pointlessness and probable betrayal of NDP struggles. Maybe they said nothing. Let’s hope. That would be civil enuf. Gushing would be membership-revokable.

    Gawd, Thatcher wasn;t even my kind of Brit. And what the f*ck are the Falklands for anyway? Fishing rights?

  6. @ Brad – If you want to call this site on bullsh*t & hypocrisy, ask why it so demonizes free dailies and other tabloidish media, but continues to polish the brass of the CBC, when as near as I can tell, the CBC’s news direction now seems to come from trending topics on Twitter, Facebook, and the RCMP/police scanner.

  7. My two cents is that Thatcher was an ol’ bag who took away school children’s milk, put countless miners and family out of work and livelihood (okay it’s dangerous work but how about replacement jobs and or retraining?) and since she entered power 1 in 3 kids were in poverty when before it was 1 and 7. Britian was gradually moving forwards from 1900 she put it all backwards! The country went steadily down hill all thanks to her and her party. I’m apart of those many, many people who are not sorry she is dead and we are not poorer for losing her.

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