Here are the two comments (with Gann's responses) that I posted on Kyle Gann's blog in response to his post, Fear vs. Hope: Fear Lost. Although he moderates all comments and only posts them after he's approved them, he later chose to remove my comments, I assume in response to my posting about them on my blog. I'm not even particularly proud of the comments (he's correct that I come off as a bit smug, and it's possible that there's some "sore loser" syndrome in play on my part), but I'm posting them here so that my blog post makes sense. No disrespect to Mr. Gann is intended by reposting them here, and I certainly acknowledge his right to have removed them from his blog.

FIRST MM COMMENT, posted at 10:13 am on Nov. 5. (This was the third comment attached to his post.)

With all due respect, I have to say it's odd to have you both celebrating hope as victorious over fear, and yet using blatantly divisive language in talking about our current president. I think the election of Obama is a wonderful thing on many levels; I wonder if you've noticed that one of those levels is that, on balance, those who voted against Obama are nonetheless accepting the results respectfully and graciously, with widespread good feelings about the symbolic importance here. In other words, many of those 40-something percent that you seem happy to demonize are people who honestly opposed Obama on legitimate ideological grounds, not as a matter of hatred. I think Obama definitely understands that, but I get the sense that you're happy to assume the worst about any McCain voter. Your celebration of this bit of writing certainly suggests that you have little respect for those who disagree with you, something that's not characteristic of your writing in general.

I really enjoy your blog and your comments about music, and I understand that there's a pent-up frustration at work here. Still, I think you've missed Obama's point about there being no red America and no blue America. Just as people once were much more likely to make simplistic judgments about people based on skin color, you seem content to assume the worst based on state color.

KG replies: You may well have opposed Obama on legitimate ideological grounds. I don't know you. But McCain and Palin made fear (Bill Ayers, socialism, What do we really know about Obama, coded racism) the centerpiece of a very ugly campaign. We've been barraged with videos of their masses of supporters eating it up. I will assume, though, then, that you, at least, held your nose and voted for them despite your disapproval of their vicious tactics.
Besides all which, after the last two elections we were told by all kinds of media (including NPR) that Bush won because we liberals don't have strong moral values (like, we oppose torture, which isn't Christian of us). We've been told over and over, as though it were fact, that liberals are traitors, that we aren't part of "real America," that we're "soft on terrorism," that we don't "support the troops," that we "want to raise the white flag of surrender." If you, as a Republican, want to suddenly act all innocent and claim you had nothing to do with that, and that you, unlike all the Republicans we see in the media day in and day out, always had plenty of respect for liberals, you were simply voting for the people who call us these names for legitimate ideological reasons - well, this just may not be the moment.

Finally, given Bush's approval ratings, I fail to see how denigrating him can be considered "divisive" - the Republican politicians can hardly bring themselves to say his name even at Republican rallies.

SECOND MM COMMENT, posted at 3:17 am on Nov. 5. (This was the sixth comment attached to his post.)


I never said either that I voted for McCain or that I am a Republican - your rush to make assumptions is exactly what I find troubling and contrary to the spirit of Obama's stated ideals. That kind of attitude shuts off dialogue as much as what you accuse the Republicans of doing for the past eight years. It honestly doesn't seem that dialogue about any of the talking points you've raised would be fruitful. I happen to believe there's more nuance in most of those matters than you do. My point is not to disrespect the honest frustrations you and others have felt, but rather to be concerned about the sort of groupthink that stifles actual debate.


P.S. Ok, I'll come clean. I voted for neither Obama nor McCain. However, I admit I would've preferred that McCain had won between those two, for reasons that would take much too long to explain here. Still, it's interesting how your take seems to have been, "he's suggesting Bush isn't evil; he must be either a McCain-votin' hater or some very rare confused individual." If there's one thing I'd like to take the time to affirm, it's that I know many conservatives who I know for sure not to be hateful people. I realize it's easier just to assume they're all idiots, but it's just not true.

Still, I'm honestly happy for those who have been so depressed over the past few years about our country. I really do hope that Obama will manage to help heal some of those wounds. It's not my point here to try to rain on anyone's parade.

KG replies: So you said you voted against Obama and acted hurt that I dissed Bush, and I drew the obvious hypothetical implication, which happened to be mistaken, and therefore you get to feel smugly superior to me? And from this you derive enjoyment?

When accompanied by support for a regime that normalizes torture, extraordinary rendition, and secret prisons, nuance is immoral.