Why I hate Ann Coulter and you should too.
It’s not unusual for people to mobilize after a tragedy. Many people, after having lost children or loved ones to sudden death have gone on to focus their energies on prevention, healing and public education.
After the death of six-year-old Adam Walsh in 1981, his father, John went on to spur the formation of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). He became an advocate for victim’s rights and went on to host the TV show, America’s Most Wanted. When 13 year old Cari Lightner was killed by a drunk driver in 1979, her mother Candace and many other enraged mothers formed a group called MADD. ( Mothers against drunk driving.) After the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson in 1992, Denise Brown and other family members formed the Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation, which provides safe houses for victims of domestic violence.
These are just a few examples of how shattered and heartbroken people have found strength in mobilizing and have created causes that are near and dear to them. So I find it curious and sickening that Ann Coulter has chosen to insult and vilify certain widows of 9/11 victims.
Coulter writes in a new book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism,” that a group of New Jersey widows whose husbands perished in the World Trade Center act “as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them.” She goes on to call four 9/11 widows “self-obsessed broads; millionaires - reveling in their status as celebrities.
“I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much . . . And by the way, how do we know their husbands weren’t planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they’d better hurry up and appear in Playboy.”
It is apparent that Coulter is jealous of the attention that these 9/11 widows are receiving. (Several appeared on Larry King Live earlier this week.) While Coulter has to rely on sensationalism and insults to get press, these four widows have bravely chosen to use their personal losses in a public way, demanding answers about what happened to their loved ones in the World Trade Center disaster.
Almost every American remembers what he or she was doing on the moment the first plane struck the World Trade Center. Human beings worldwide were united in their heartbreak and millions came to NYC to visit the steaming ruins of the crash site, weeks and months after it happened. Regardless of party affiliation, race or economic standing, American citizens seemed to be wounded. People were driving more courteously. People sobbed openly in airports and markets as they read newspapers and watched television footage in disbelief. Even in Belfast, Ireland where this writer was on tour at the time of the tragedy, strangers came up and hugged me when they heard me speaking English. It seemed the whole world had been given a healthy dose of compassion. Everyone it seems, except Ann Coulter who must have slept through the entire event.
To blame victims for their own demise is not a new tactic. Right-wingers such as Jerry Falwell have laid the blame on the gay community for the AIDS epidemic. Right wing conservatives have blamed prostitutes for their own murders at the hands of maniacs like Gary Ridgeway. Holocaust revisionists and deniers often blame the Jews for their own annihilation during the holocaust. Anti-Israel activists and most recently, the President of Iran have said that the Jews use the holocaust to spread guilt so that no one can oppose Israeli policies. (Two very different things btw; Jews and Israeli policy.)
I think it’s disgusting that Ann Coulter uses the misery of someone else to sell her vitriolic venom in book form. Her book continues to sell at a rapid pace, but at what cost? She reaps the benefits of the deaths of innocent men and women in 9/11 at the same time as she tramples on the tears of their children and loved ones left behind.
While I am certainly not a fan of Cindy Sheehan and her practice of blurring the lines between Iraq and Israel, I still respect her as a mother making the ultimate sacrifice; losing a son to a needless, thankless war. I may not agree with many of her political views but I would never have the gall to accuse her of “enjoying her son’s death.”
Whether we agree with the 9/11 widows or not, is irrelevant. They lost loved ones through no fault of their own. Children will go to sleep tonight without their mommies and daddies to tuck them in. Kids will graduate and marry without a parent to walk them down the aisle or offer a helping hand. Babies were born without ever meeting their fathers. For these reasons alone, the widows should be treated with compassion and heart.
What’s next for Ann? Maybe she can start picketing the memorials for the fallen victims of 9/11 like the Westboro Baptist Church pickets the funerals of fallen gay and lesbian soldiers. They too, think it’s acceptable and reasonable to verbally abuse the dead and their families.
Ann Coulter has crossed the line of decency. All humans with a beating heart should be appalled. Whether you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or don’t vote at all, matters not. Your sense of compassion and reverence for the dead should cause you to boycott Coulters books. She was fired (and rightfully so) by USA Today for some of the insults she slung at women who attended the Democratic convention. You can fire her too. Keep her off your reading lists and your bookshelves. Send your money instead to a World Trade Center Memorial Fund or to the NYC Firefighters association who give their lives daily, trying to save the dying. Her comments are insensitive and unnecessary. She doesn’t need to insult grieving widows to sell her crappy books.
Or, does she??
The following is the statement from the 9/11 widows in response to Coulters vitriolic name-calling as published in the New York Post:
We did not choose to become widowed on September 11, 2001. The attack, which tore our families apart and destroyed our former lives, caused us to ask some serious questions regarding the systems that our country has in place to protect its citizens.
Through our constant research, we came to learn how the protocols were supposed to have worked. Thus, we asked for an independent commission to investigate the loopholes which obviously existed and allowed us to be so utterly vulnerable to terrorists. Our only motivation ever was to make our Nation safer. Could we learn from this tragedy so that it would not be repeated?
We are forced to respond to Ms. Coulter’s accusations to set the record straight because we have been slandered.
Contrary to Ms. Coulter’s statements, there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive. There was no happiness in telling our children that their fathers were never coming home again. We adored these men and miss them every day.
It is in their honor and memory, that we will once again refocus the Nation’s attention to the real issues at hand: our lack of security, leadership and progress in the five years since 9/11.
We are continuously reminded that we are still a nation at risk. Therefore, the following is a partial list of areas still desperately in need of attention and public outcry. We should continuously be holding the feet of our elected officials to the fire to fix these shortcomings.
1. Homeland Security Funding based on risk. Inattention to this area causes police officers, firefighters and other emergency/first responder personnel to be ill equipped in emergencies. Fixing this will save lives on the day of the next attack.
2. Intelligence Community Oversight. Without proper oversight, there exists no one joint, bicameral intelligence panel with power to both authorize and appropriate funding for intelligence activities. Without such funding we are unable to capitalize on all intelligence community resources and abilities to thwart potential terrorist attacks. Fixing this will save lives on the day of the next attack.
3. Transportation Security. There has been no concerted effort to harden mass transportation security. Our planes, buses, subways, and railways remain under-protected and highly vulnerable. These are all identifiable soft targets of potential terrorist attack. The terror attacks in Spain and London attest to this fact. Fixing our transportation systems may save lives on the day of the next attack.
4. Information Sharing among Intelligence Agencies. Information sharing among intelligence agencies has not improved since 9/11. The attacks on 9/11 could have been prevented had information been shared among intelligence agencies. On the day of the next attack, more lives may be saved if our intelligence agencies work together.
5. Loose Nukes. A concerted effort has not been made to secure the thousands of loose nukes scattered around the world – particularly in the former Soviet Union. Securing these loose nukes could make it less likely for a terrorist group to use this method in an attack, thereby saving lives.
6. Security at Chemical Plants, Nuclear Plants, Ports. We must, as a nation, secure these known and identifiable soft targets of Terrorism. Doing so will save many lives.
7. Border Security. We continue to have porous borders and INS and Customs systems in shambles. We need a concerted effort to integrate our border security into the larger national security apparatus.
8. Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Given the President’s NSA Surveillance Program and the re-instatement of the Patriot Act, this Nation is in dire need of a Civil Liberties Oversight Board to insure that a proper balance is found between national security versus the protection of our constitutional rights.
-- September 11th Advocates
Lorie Van Auken