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Jewish World Review Dec. 28, 2000 / 2 Teves, 5761

Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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Consumer Reports

Nice people think nice thoughts -- NICE PEOPLE were outraged when vandals chainsawed Luna the Humboldt Redwood. Mean people care about the fate of loggers and their families.

Nice people live in wood houses while they support anti-logging demonstrators squatting on timber company land. Mean people talk about property rights, as if property rights apply to everyone.

Nice people make fun of Linda Tripp's looks. Mean people make fun of Bill and Hillary Clinton's marriage.

Nice people were outraged in 1994 when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich arranged a $4.5 million sweetheart book deal with media mogul Rupert Murdoch's HarperCollins. Bowing to pressure, Gingrich eventually cut a deal that awarded him regular royalties and a $1 advance. Mean people believe New York Senator-elect Hillary Clinton should do the same with her $8 million book deal with Simon & Shuster, which is owned by media giant Viacom.

But don't you worry. Nice people dismiss Clinton critics as partisans, so they don't even bother to pay attention when mean people try to hold a Clinton accountable to the same standard to which Gingrich was held.

Nice people want every vote to count, even illegal votes and nonvotes. Mean people believe voters have an obligation to make sure that they vote correctly.

Nice people want to bend the rules so that nonvotes count as votes. Mean people wonder why nice people want politicians and judges to guess what double votes and dimpled chads were supposed to mean.

Nice people make fun of Katherine Harris' looks and makeup, then rage at the nastiness of political discourse when mean people call the Florida Supreme Court partisan.

Nice people want Bill Clinton to be the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party. Mean people want Bill Clinton to be the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party.

Nice people support laws that make it difficult to conduct vital medical experiments with lab rats. Mean people support medical research that saves human lives.

Nice people are outraged when biotech companies genetically engineer seeds that allow farmers to grow healthy food that could save millions form vitamin deficiencies. Mean people don't hate corporations so much that they are willing to overlook the death of Third World children.

Nice people make excuses for cop killers like Mumia Abu-Jamal and FBI agent killer Leonard Peltier. Nice people care so much about these convicted killers that they won't even want to know about the evidence against these guys.

Mean people ask why, if Mumia is innocent, he never took the stand in his defense. Isn't that mean? And mean people believe Peltier should spend the rest of his miserable life behind bars. Meanies actually think the victims in the Peltier saga are the families of the two FBI agents Peltier killed. They are soooo mean.

Nice people insist that President-elect George W. Bush is not a unifier and can never be a unifier. Mean people wonder why nice people think that charges of divisiveness and partisanship only stick to other people.

Nice people say that Bush has to abandon his tax cut to show that he is bipartisan. Mean people think it's odd that nice people think Bush is supposed to abandon a pledge dear to the people who elected him -- while acting more beholden to the people who didn't vote for him.

Nice people feel, and their feelings are so noble, so grand, that they shouldn't stoop to having to think about what mean people think. After all, if nice people had to think, if they allowed themselves to be ruled by something other than their sensibilities, maybe they wouldn't be so nice.

Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.


12/26/00:The Clinton years: Epilogue
12/21/00: 'Tis the season to free nonviolent drug offenders 12/18/00: A golden opportunity is squandered
12/15/00: You can take the 24 years, good son
12/13/00: Court of law vs. court of public opinion
12/08/00: A salvo in the war on the war on drugs
12/06/00: Don't cry, Butterfly: Big trees make great decks
12/04/00: Florida: Don't do as Romans did
11/30/00: Special City's hotel parking ticket
11/27/00: No means yes, yes means more than yes
11/22/00: The bench, the ballot and fairness
11/20/00: Mendocino, how green is your ballot?

© 2000, Creators Syndicate