Liberals regularly discredit themselves by their refusal to recognize the existence of evil in this world, and with their notorious reluctance to call that evil by its proper name. As conservatives, on the other hand, we occasionally undermine our cause by crying wolf on evil – imputing wickedness and malevolence to those with whom we merely disagree in ongoing debates on government policy.
For instance, I recently received the following e-mail from a listener named Robert in Frankford, Delaware who felt outraged by my support for comprehensive immigration reform. “Your absolute cowardice (sic) to confront illegal law breaking wetbacks in my country is repulsive,” he wrote. “My forefathers were standup pioneers who forged this nation. This nation was not forged by cowards like your family and the yellow law breakers you come from. People like you don’t fit into any decent country because you are so concerned with rights that you will never confront evil in any form. You’re a disgrace, Medved, go back to the Soviet Union where you fit in.”
I must say I felt more perplexed than wounded by these sentiments. Concerning the “yellow law breakers you come from,” it’s true that my great Uncle Abe (my grandfather’s brother) was a small time bootlegger during Prohibition (as I acknowledged in my book, RIGHT TURNS) but other than that, I am aware of no family history of law breaking. My father was born in Philadelphia, and served in the United States Navy in World War II; my Uncle Fritz, my mother’s brother, served in the Army Air Corps; my mother’s first cousin, Hans, died as a teenager while flying as a tail gunner in the U.S. raid on Nazi oil facilities in Rumania. My wife’s dad, the late Stan Edwards, served with distinction as a Major in the United States Army, and my own first cousin, Aytan, enlisted in the Air Force as soon as he graduated from high school. Our family most certainly contains more than its share of eccentrics and cranks, but after extensive research I remain unable to identify the criminal history to which my correspondent alluded. His statement “people like you don’t fit into any decent country” may contain an unmistakable whiff of anti-Semitism (how else to understand his phrase “people like you”?), but the most disturbing aspect of his note involves its identification of illegal immigrants as “evil” and the peculiar charge that “I will never confront evil in any form.”