Saturday, January 15, 2011

"I'm Right and You're Evil"

It’s a little shocking to read it that way, right?  Yet that’s the position of so many people.  This type of thinking permeates the airwaves of radio and TV.  For some reason, we have come to tolerate a violent rhetoric in our society today.  Congressmen can shout “you’re a liar” at the President during a speech. Homeland Security committee members are spit upon. Talk show hosts scream at their guests.  This display of disrespect has reached a Jersey Shore level, even in places where we expect decorum and civility to be present during discourse. And these are simply the tips of the iceberg.

Everyone needs to repudiate these kinds of actions and ways of communicating. Openly. Without hesitation.  We need to eliminate visuals, such as putting people in crosshairs for visual effect. We need to openly oppose those who say, “if the ballots don’t work, we’re not afraid to use bullets.” That’s just unacceptable language.

While I know many people are not Bill Clinton fans, he said this:
It’s not that we should reduce our passion,  But we have to think about our word choices. They fall upon the serious and the delirious alike. The connected & the unhinged.

We have stood by while radio personalities and politicians have uttered incredibly hostile comments.  All in the name of Free Speech.  But free speech has its limits. You can’t yell “Fire!“ in a movie theatre, or make comments about bombs in airports.  So when those on the TV and radio cannot stop with the vitriolic speech, then we simply have to speak up and say “Enough.”  It’s wrong. And there IS fallout from it. The media is about ratings - and screaming banter draws a crowd.

Maybe it’s as simple as mothers standing up and saying, “Don’t talk like that.”  or “if you see/hear something bad and say nothing, you are now a part of the problem.”  Or maybe just turning off the Talking Heads who rail against others in a way that does nothing to create solutions.   Instead, it entertains those who are evidently so frustrated they are wishing for some bully to come in and do their dirty work.  Real solutions are difficult to find and create. But we need to stop tolerating the banter that only creates obstacles.

 It is up to us to have conversations with our families about acceptable and unacceptable ways to communicate. We need to be clear about ramifications that come from sitting by quietly when those with opposing views are demonized. No solutions can come from that style of communicating - whether it’s an altercation on the playground or among politicians talking about our economy.

originally posted on Facebook after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot by someone who was apparently caught up in all the drama in the media.

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