If your apparent goal is to leave the world a little bit worse than you found it, do you deserve to die alone? That's the question Ann Coulter unwittingly posed via Twitter Friday afternoon: "We singles live empty lives of quiet desperation and will die alone," she wrote. Coulter, a staunch opponent of equal rights and human decency, was voicing her opposition to Sen. Marco Rubio's plan to grant working families a tax break.
"Now," Coulter continued, "Rubio is demanding that we also fund happy families with children who fill their days with joy." The implication, of course, is that Coulter's life is filled with sorrow (if you didn't grasp that from the phrases "quiet desperation" and "die alone"). Some may say she's being facetious, but let's take her at her word for a moment.
The bluntness of Coulter's statement is unnerving. Ann Coulter has opined meaninglessly on many, many things, but never has she invited pity. By contrast, Coulter has largely invited alienation, thanks to comments that reek of homophobia, racism, elitism, misogyny, and general discrimination.
In a twist, Coulter has now made herself the center of an ethical dilemma: If you hate a person as viscerally and justifiably as most of the United States hates Ann Coulter, do you wish them "quiet desperation" and a lonely death?
Let's kick things off with one fact: Ann Coulter is a 56-year-old single women. She's part of a demographic that is already alienated from society, relegated to a stereotype of "past her peak." She's childless by choice, which would have left her demonized by much of America even if she hadn't, say, once claimed that America would be a better place if women couldn't vote.
It's no surprise that some observers will agree that Coulter deserves to live an "empty life." The question is: Why? Does Coulter deserve to suffer because she's an openly racist, sexist, homophobic injury to America, or do we secretly enjoy mocking a divisive 56-year-old women for being "left on the shelf"?
As with every "Is it sexist?" question, consider: If a 56-year-old man, a much-hated far-right blogger and discrimination activist, went on the record with his sadness over being alone as well as lonely, would we mock him to the same extent? If Alex Jones described his life as being one of "quiet desperation," would you be glad because Jones has caused pain to so many, or because Jones is the living embodiment of a sexist stereotype?
Chances are, you wouldn't sympathize with Jones' plight simply because Jones is a terrible human being. With Coulter, however, there's an additional note of sheer joy: But what man would want Ann Coulter? Maybe Ann Coulter deserves to be as miserable as the "lonely old lady" stereotype suggests.
Believe me when I say that almost everybody has a right to despise Coulter, a woman who has rudely alienated almost everybody. While Coulter has every right to her own emotions, she's also a straight white women worth more than $8 million, most of which she's earned by encouraging discrimination.
Yet, when our hatred for Ann Coulter falls in line with a stereotype that hurts woman — hurts the image of another successful, kind, beloved 56-year-old woman, for example, one who believes fiercely in equal rights — we need to consider whether there's an element of ingrained misogyny.
Let's look at Coulter through the lens of Paul Ryan for a minute. Ryan went on the record this week calling for women to have more babies: "I did my part," he said, referring to his three children, "but we need to have higher birth rates in this country." In other words, reducing women to inane baby-machines, directed to churn out progeny for the good of the country.
In Paul Ryan's world, women belong to the dystopian world of The Handmaid's Tale, useful primarily for the purposes of breeding and raising children. Ryan probably doesn't like Coulter much, considering Coulter once compared him to "a mentally impaired actor" and described him as irrelevant compared to other members of his party. Here's the rub: Ryan probably also doesn't like Coulter because she doesn't fall in line with what he thinks a woman should be.
Coulter, for all of her faults, is outspoken, brave, and a master of her own universe. Coulter has chosen to end relationships that weren't right, to hold back from having children, and to be open about her marital status. To Ryan, she is wrong. To Ryan, she probably deserves to be miserable, being a woman who has not "done her part."
You want to hate Ann Coulter? Fine. Be careful, however, that your dislike of her principles doesn't overlap with what men have tried to teach you about women for centuries. If Coulter is miserable, she doesn't deserve to be because she's a single woman. It's because she's Ann Coulter.
Editor's Note: This op-ed does not reflect the views of BDG Media and is part of a larger, feminist discourse on today's political climate.