Updated: Apr 4
I have written several posts on this blog about the need for greater civility in today’s polarized society. They have been well received, and I thank you for reading them. In trying to determine what to write next, I came across this quote on Facebook by Thomas Paine:
“He who dares not offend, cannot be honest.”
Then, it hit me why I’ve struggled to write on this topic – I’ve been trying a little too hard to be civil! For starters, let’s begin with today’s increasingly PC society. Being politically correct (PC) isn’t all bad, certainly, as there was a time when we’d use words like “retarded” that clearly weren’t right. That part I get.
But when a new buzzword is introduced and someone isn’t willing to automatically jump on the PC bandwagon and is called racist, sexist, etc., how is it the accuser isn’t prejudiced while the accused is automatically labeled a bigot, or worse? The person on the Left is supposedly “tolerant” of others, but this same individual isn’t tolerant in the least toward the person who disagrees with him! Huh? Millions on the Right don’t get this mixed-up thinking. As one example, can anyone explain why we shouldn’t say Native American anymore? We’re just told the term is now “Indigenous.” Who makes up this stuff? Aren’t we all AMERICANS?
Now, I do NOT try to offend anyone with a given point of view. If you’re all PC, all the time, that is your right. But why is there something “wrong” with someone who disagrees? Isn’t that a key reason why our Founding Fathers spelled out the right to free speech?
In some earlier posts and other musings on this topic, I have tried my best to understand the Left point of view on various topics. Scroll to the “Understanding Basic Differences Between Right and Left” post on this blog for a synopsis of some extremely key points.
I suggest reading that post, because they explain some of the bedrock, philosophical differences between Left and Right that are at the heart of SOME of the difficulties in society. I stress “some” because I believe many Americans, like our founding fathers, are quite capable of compromise on many key issues.
As stated, I know a lot of kind, honest, compassionate people who I don’t agree with politically, but I know them to be good people, I enjoy their company, and as I say I really strive to understand where they are coming from.
But then I got to thinking, why is it that, as someone who unabashedly “leans right,” I am made to feel like I have to be on the defensive? If I am supposed to be tolerant of someone on the Left, don't they also need to be tolerant of my views? Perhaps Winston Churchill put it best:
"Some people's idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage."
Diversity in culture, race, ethnicity are all areas the Left likes talking about. And I agree with a decent chunk of it. But isn’t diversity of OPINION also important? Consider the dangerous precipice our country is on, and it’s a slippery slope I largely blame the media for:
“The greatest weapon is not a gun or a bomb. It is the control of information. To control the world’s information is to manipulate all the minds that consume it.”
Read that again. When all you hear is ONE point of view, how is that good for a free-thinking society that strongly champions individual rights? Or, at least used to. What is the biggest reason for today’s polarized society and lack of civility? As a practicing journalist for better than 30 years, I've sadly, personally witnessed the press devolve in 30 years from a once very respected profession to an often scoffed at public disgrace. So my answer to this question is, even more than the government, the culprit is today’s FAR LEFT LEANING MEDIA.
Some brief history is in order. The press leaned left when I majored in journalism in the 1980s. But I speak from personal experience when I say that it was NEVER this slanted. There WERE conservatives in the newsroom. And I worked with some of them. Good folks on both sides of the aisle, as it should be. The Milwaukee Journal was known as a being the paper for those who voted Republican – the Milwaukee Sentinel for Democrats. Then they merged into the Journal-Sentinel in the 1990s, and there went another Republican point of view, and those of “right” ilk have been disappearing from the national media scene ever since.
The control of information has gotten so bad that so-called “fact checkers” in reality often lean left, and thus strive to silence those with opposing views. If you don’t believe me, a friend of mine was thrown off Linked In for expressing some candid views about the 2020 election. Even worse, reporters and editors are being fired for expressing conservative viewpoints. This is AMERICA?
It is true that honest to goodness objectivity is DIFFICULT, if not darn near impossible. Like it or not, we all have our biases as a result of how and where we were raised, and so on. But when I learned journalism in the 80s, we certainly STRIVED to be as objective as we could – we were taught to get both sides of the story, or you didn’t have a story. PERIOD.
Let’s put this thinking to the test in the 21st century. In a more objective, less biased media, prior to the election the press SHOULD HAVE been reporting on Sen. Joe Biden’s cognitive problems. Didn’t people have a right to know if he was mentally fit for the highest office in the land? Was anything said about it? Not that I recall.
And would a close relative have voted GOP if I hadn’t pointed out all of the economic advances the US made under President Trump? I doubt it. That wasn’t exactly objective either, I know. The point is, if something about Trump was positive, like what I told my sibling, the simple truth is it didn’t fit the liberal narrative of negativity, so it was scarcely, if ever, reported on.
Should the media have reported on negative issues surrounding Donald Trump? CERTAINLY!! But virtually nothing positive? That is not journalism! Journalism means telling both sides of the story and letting the reader or viewer decide what is true. (See another post on this blog – “Journalism or Propaganda?”)
Still not convinced the media is that one-sided? Plenty more examples here https://herit.ag/3h2muPJ
You can disagree with me, but an America in which I cannot express my opinions without chastisement, or worse, sure does not sound like the USA I grew up in. An America in which the views of millions of people on the Right means NOTHING (?) Is that what those on the Left really want?
Below is a quote I read online. If you think it far-fetched, that’s okay, you’re entitled to your opinion. But if, as many of us fear, we’re not all that far from socialism – or worse – you’ll never read a future post like this on this blog because it’ll be shut down.
“It didn’t start with gas chambers. It started with one party controlling the media. One party controlling the message. One party deciding what is truth. One party censoring speech and silencing opposition. One party dividing citizens into “us” and “them” and calling on supporters to harass “them.” It started when good people turned a blind eye and let it happen.”
It ISN’T too late, but the longer we wait, the closer the US is to the point of no return. Do we want to remain a free society grounded in the US constitution in which individual rights are a high priority? Or is it “possible” more Americans would rather become socialist, totally dependent on the government?? On the cusp of Independence Day, I hope and pray it isn’t the latter because that is no longer America, but some cheap copy that claims to be the US.
NEXT TIME: Some grassroots and related suggestions for increasing civility will be presented.
In the meantime, check out this encouraging site: https://www.facebook.com/nicdcsa/