March 16, 2010

What I do not like about certain talk show hosts

I have decided not to use his name, because the talk show host I reference already approaches demi-god (demagogue) status in popularity. I prefer not to build on that. I’ve used his name several times on my Facebook page in an attempt to understand his appeal, and few of his fans have accepted my invitation to explain his appeal.

The best/only answers I received are “he is funny”, “why does he make liberals so mad”, and “liberals have the rest of the media”.

If mocking those you don’t agree with and ridiculing them instead of engaging in sincere dialogue is funny, he is indeed funny. I think that is why I am most angry. My views are reduced to a scornful, scathing label. I am now simply one of those liberals. I am angry at the lack of respect that is encouraged by such media kingpins. I feel defensive around family and friends in ways I never did prior. My friends are encouraged to speak up in such a way that attacks me personally. I cannot tell you the amount of hateful forwarded email and posts I receive with the demand that I answer these charges, because I am one of those liberals. The contempt for my opinion hurts. Instead of dialogue, it is about name-calling. Political differences have taken friends away from me. I would blithely like to reply that “they weren’t that good of friends anyway” but that is not true. They were, it stings, and I miss them.

I have a lifetime of experience that predicates the way I lean and the values I hold close to my heart. I do not insult other peoples’ walks in life; mine is no less valuable than theirs is. In college, I ran for a student government office. A good friend of mine was managing my campaign and advised me to learn to keep my temper under control, that anger and disdain for those who didn’t agree with me would hurt my chances. I learned that lesson years ago and even though I did not win the election, I won something much more important. I won the ability to listen to and respect everyone’s view.

As far as the having a lock hold on the “rest of the media” goes, I beg to differ. That implies that only one side uses the media, buys television time and appears in the newspapers. Our current administration is in place largely due to grassroots efforts, not mass media. Absolutely, as the stories gained momentum, the media reported them, but the media reports what is happening. The same thing has happened with the tea party movement. I do appreciate op/ed pieces and I read both sides, but when one side continually engages in divisive behavior intended to turn us against each other, I stop listening. Incidentally, I no longer listen to Michael Moore, either, because I found the title of his book Stupid White Men to be utterly insulting. To borrow from Forest Gump, stupid is as stupid does. Moore engaged in the same disturbing behavior and subsequently lost my respect. I am not interested in listening to anyone who uses insults to pull us apart.

What most stuns me is his attack on religions that support social justice; the straw that broke my back. I take my faith very seriously. Slight and belittle me, but when my core belief is insulted, watch out. I want to throw my hands up in disgust. Instead, I will try to repair my broken back and build a bridge. My upbringing as a Christian indeed emphasizes social justice, yet I do not feel anything close to a Communist or Nazi. Such statements insult the real spirit of Christian generosity. As a Christian, I know not to store up riches on earth, to share with the poor, and to help my brother or sister however I can. I do not view such choices as a ticket to eternity but rather instructions how to make the world we live in today a better place.

My faith gives me hope in what at times seems to be a hopeless world. But beyond that, what if we substitute the word nice or kind for Christian? What if we just are nice and kind to those we encounter, in every step of our daily walk? What if we do such things not in the framework of an organized religion, but simply as a member of the human race?

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