Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who's Tolerant?

Here's a fascinating article from the Washington Post about Matt Hiltzik, who handles PR for the currently controversial Glenn Beck. Glenn Beck had plenty to say about the article, of course.

What fascinates me enough to post about it is the underlying assumption of the article. Naturally it's a hit piece that's supposed to hurt Glenn Beck. However, the whole tone conveys a sense of shock and dismay that Matt Hiltzik, a liberal, would do any business with Glenn Beck, a conservative.

It seems like media is trying to make mainstream the idea that people of different viewpoints must vehemently hate one another. People may be surprised to realize that is a fairly recent idea in the U.S. It's also not healthy.

I have friends with whom I disagree so strongly on political matters that we don't discuss them. I've had an ongoing discussion with a liberal friend that has been enlightening, though neither of us has changed his mind at all.

I recently discussed the Balkanization of the U.S. through the perpetuation of insular language groups. Even more dangerous than that may be hatred based on ideological differences. That's something we have seen lead to war on our own soil, and something we shouldn't hasten to repeat.

It's okay for a PR firm headed by a liberal to represent a conservative. It's okay to discuss politics and disagree without hating one another. It's okay to disagree so vehemently that you don't discuss politics with your friends at all--and it's still okay to be friends. That's an idea that's kept America peaceful and prosperous for hundreds of years. We should all staunchly resist the media's assertion, unfortunately repeated by the president, that people who disagree with us are stupid, bad, or worthy of our hate and derision.


Susan said...

I completely agree with you on this point. I think this complete intolerance of anyone whose opinion varies from one's own is sweeping the nation down a fast moving river. So many people are beginning to believe that if someone doesn't agree with them they are clearly not paying attention, or as you stated, stupid. I've experienced this myself and it makes any discussion whatsoever impossible.

Andrew said...

What frightens me most about it, laying aside the prospect of civil war, is that this sort of division permits the politicians to remain unaccountable for their own actions.

All that's happening from the current Presidential administration and Congress is being laid at Bush's feet, even though they've gone way beyond what he did.

We need to make politicians answer for their actions, not let them get off by saying, "Look at what the Democrats are doing/have done!" or "Look at what he Republicans are doing/have done."

I'm aware of the past. I'm aware of who's done what. I don't accept that as an excuse for present incompetence or worse, malignant policy.