Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coexist XXVII - America Divided

In my lowly opinion there is something wrong when someone becomes enraged because you do not agree with them - especially in regards to politics. Like bombing an abortion clinic and killing the doctors because you believe life is so sacred. Doesn't make sense. The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently ran an excellent coexist article by John Campanelli entitled "America's house is divided and we can't stand one another." It addressed the outbursts of rage that seem rampant across the country and on television. It mourns the loss of civility and tolerance for differing opinions. This bugs me too. Here are some excerpts:

Respect for an opponent's positions? Gentlemanly debate? Reflection? Compromise? Those values have been bulldozed by belligerance, name-calling, and most of all, rage.
Joe wilson shouting, "You lie!" at the president and Rep. Alan Grayson calling Republicans "knuckle-dragging Neanderthals."

A man at a Maryland hall meeting in August had a sign that said "Death to Michele and her two stupid kids." I wince just typing that.

Campanelli reports that there has been a return of over 50 militia groups in the past 18 months.

Fox's Glenn Beck has said he hates the families of 9/11 victims and that Obama is a racist with a "deep -seated hatred for white people" or MSNBC's Keith Olbermann who called President Bush a "fascist" "war criminal" and "idiot in chief."
"Beck makes $25 million a year- it really pays to use a lot of venom," says Richard
Perloff, professor and director of CSU's school of communication.

I don't know about you, but I taught my children, and I try to teach my students, RESPECT. Remember the old Aretha Franklin song?

"When moderate mainstream voters are subjected to the name-calling and never-back-down fury, something happens," says Julie Exline, a psychology professor at CWRU. "It reinforces that these sides are completely incompatible and that all people basically have to chose a side. . . People feel they have to chose because there seems to be no middle ground. All of this tends to foster a belief in us vs. them. It gets you to think about the members of the other group as being your enemy - a personal enemy of yours.

The article ends - Enrich yourself to other viewpoints, find common ground and catch yourself when you make generalizations about groups of people

That's all for now. I have more to come. What do you think?


Amy said...

Nice post, Diane. Nice of you to put something positive out in the world, but then you always do. In reading this I'm forced to think of how I'm raising my girls. When they come home w/stories of "he said/she said" I remind them that there are two sides to everything and we need to keep our minds open when listening to those who rant and rave. Just because someone is loud and has a big mouth doesn't mean they're right. There's always another side of the story...

John Ettorre said...

The only thing I'd take issue with, Diane, is the idea that your opinion is lowly. That's hardly the case.

Billy said...

Diane, the far right scares the hell out of me. The disgraceful campaign rhetoric of McCain and Palin has not died out. Everyone said that the GOP would have to moderate to remain viable. But we now have instead the shouting and lack of civility that you mention. There is even talk of states leaving the union. I feel like the country is dying while GOP moms rant and take their kids to soccer practice. We are, to quote a movie, "in a heap of trouble."

Sandy's Notes said...

You speak my mind. If people really knew the energy what comes from negativity and what happens from positive reinforcement, I really don't believe they would rant and hate like they do. It's so sad, it's really so so sad.

I taught my kids how important it is to respect too. I forgot to tell them though that you have to earn it first.

Sandy's Notes said...

I've missed you!

jackie said...

I hear ya! I say the same thing about religious in-tolerance. My family and some friends can't stand the fact that I'm not baptist anymore! That I don't pray in the name of Jesus.. (unless I want to) And don't let me just mention God. Someone will pipe in.. "What about Jesus?" I am so tired of this!! And I am treated differently because I choose to believe in LOVE. And I refer to spirit and my higher self and the universe. And I leave everybody to accept or deny any spiritual or religious heritage.. In other words, I stay in my own lane! And I don't evangelize!

I think we somehow enjoy our sadness on this planet. It gives us something to do besides laugh and play and be glad and enjoy what life is really all about.

It seems to be true. It's us vs. them. I'm better than you. My god's bigger and badder than yours. I'm right, you're wrong.

I'm so glad I've outgrown that. And my teen daughter knows better, too! I think. LOL

Thanks for sharing this.. I needed to vent!