Scoot: Protecting opinions with hate is un-American

Scoot
August 24, 2017 - 11:16 am

Being honest about your political views in 2017 comes with consequences.  The controversy over NFL QB Colin Kaepernick’s protest of racial injustice by refusing to stand for the National Anthem is a reminder that freedom of speech is guaranteed, but there is no guarantee how speaking freely might impact your life.

Whether it’s on the air as a radio talk show host or among friends in a social setting or with family members at a gathering, being honest about your political opinions in a world so divided creates intense conflict.

Americans are as passionate as they are divided.  Those who love President Trump or hate the President are biased to the point where many refuse to even consider objectivity.  More Americans seem to have a strong opinion of President Trump, and apathy toward the President and the state of politics today is rare.  

Never before have Americans seemed so territorial with their political views, and the slightest invasion of that territory is met with vicious attacks to protect that territory.  

Maybe we have it so good in America, overall, that we can afford to fight intensely over out political beliefs.  Relative to the world, most of our needs are met.  Americans living in poverty does not compare to living in poverty in many countries around the world.

Political debate is good and is the foundation of our nation, but the degree of hate that has dominated political debate is not healthy.  Have we forgotten that in every election there is a winner and a loser, and there are those who celebrate and those who are disappointed?

In 1993, at the Inauguration of President Bill Clinton, I was in Washington, D.C. doing a talk show on WWL.  I was talking about the feeling in Louisiana that the election of Bill Clinton was so horrific that our country, as we know it, would be damaged forever.

When George W. Bush was elected in 2000, the talk of a president destroying America ramped up and with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the fear that America would be irreversibly hurt reached a fever pitch.  

In 2017, the fear that a new president would destroy our country is over the top.  Clinton, Bush and Obama did not destroy America; but that doesn’t quell the conversation that Trump will destroy America.

With each election, since the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, the predicted collapse of American society progressed to a high point today.  The power of social media has played an increasingly important role in the escalation of fear mongering.  Are we, as a nation, going to survive this?  Will we get through this turbulent time just like we lived through other turbulent times?

Whether our society survives or is destroyed is up to us, the American people.  History tells us that we will survive this great divide, but that does not appear to be likely in the middle of the political storm.

As a talk show host, I am most bothered by the loss of respect for our precious First Amendment.   Recent videos I have posted on the WWL Radio and the Scoot on the Air Facebook pages have inspired post comments that included personal attacks and then further personal comments from the posts defending my position.

I received a text to the show the other day from someone who was so upset with my opinion that the text said I was such an “N-lover” that the person hoped I would get physically attacked again (I was attacked by four black men on my way into work one morning).  I am a law-abiding citizen.  I have great compassion for those who are less fortunate.  I do all I can to be self-sufficient and contribute to a civilized society.  But to share an honest political opinion about the President or the monuments or any controversial issue, which I have a right to do, inspires some to spew hateful, and sometimes personal, comments and insults.  Why?

If we have lost the ability to simply disagree as Americans, then we have lost who we are as a nation.  The hate that is used to defend political territory is truly un-American, and anyone from any side that reduces political discourse to hate has no right to call themselves patriotic.

 

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