Opposing viewpoints are an interesting topic. Two people who agree on almost anything can completely disagree on one issue and their debates can get so heated that it can cause a rift in a otherwise normal friendship. Typically, though, the respect remains.
Respect is something we have lost over time as we have become so entrenched in what we believe that we think it absolutely impossible to believe in anything else.
Recently I posted a blog where, even though I wanted to stay away from finger pointing, I finger pointed none-the-less. My comments caused quite the firestorm. I would like to think that it was mostly from misunderstandings about what I had actually said. Some posters took my statements about four particular conservative politicos and talking heads to mean that I was going after all conservatives. This was not the case. I offended some with my statement and for that I apologize, but I do stand by my original statement that those four in particular have been and are guilty of using extremely vitriolic and eliminationist rhetoric.
Are they the only ones? Hardly, there are people of all faiths and all political ideologies that use this particular extreme rhetoric and it is those that I believe to be the most guilty in causing the deepening gulf between the opposing viewpoints.
The reason I focused on these particular four is because for them their rhetoric is nothing new and they often seem surprised and confused when people react angrily to their words. I also knew that these particular four would play the victims card so fast it would make your head spin. I had thought about including Keith Olbermann as well because he has the same type of rhetoric representing his side of the issues. A funny thing happened he immediately came out and apologized for his comments and promised to do better in the future. Whether he can muster this remains to be seen.
One key point I would like to address about the comments section of that particular blog was the absolute divide in blaming me for going after conservatives but not after liberals by posters who have never gone after a conservative but continually go after liberal posters, bloggers, politicos (whether those people are actually liberal or not), and talking heads.
Less than an hour and a half after I had posted my blog, the posts were already flying declaring the assassin as a liberal or a "leftist" based on one person's Twitter account.
I was personally called: ideologue, hater, disgusting. There were demands that I pull that particular blog, pull all of my blogs, calls were going to made to the paper, people were going to pull their advertising. What is most revealing about all of this is that many of these posters who were saying that I was doing exactly that which I was railing against were doing the exact same thing.
Posters had not problems, apparently, with painting the assassin as a liberal or "leftist" or blaming liberals for the act itself, but they just lost it when I went after four conservative public figures. I never once assumed this guy to be liberal or conservative. I also never solely blamed conservatives for what happened in Arizona. That was completely lost on some.
I find it reprehensible for anyone, defending their words or actions, to use the term "blood libel". If you feel comfortable defending someone who has used that term than go for it.
If you are going to decry my calling out conservatives but not liberals (though I have and will continue to do so) for their vitriol (in other words if you want me to clean my porch before cleaning another's) then it is not the best idea to do the exact same thing (just the opposite way). I know this statement will be completely lost on those that it is actually directed, but the finer point is do not criticize others for doing something that you yourself are guilty of.
Even though my first amendment rights were never actually challenged nor is anyone's who posts on this site, it was eye popping to me that some of the very same posters that not a couple of months ago were decrying that the website was somehow violating a person's freedom of speech by removing one of their comments for violating the terms of service were now not only calling for me to remove my blog but calling for the Gazette to pull it for me.
I already know the reaction that this blog will invoke; I will be called just about every name in the book, told that I am being hypocritical, that I am "driven by hate, and hate alone". I expect it and I understand it. I do not like it but I understand that until or political and talking head leaders change their rhetoric and start toning it down it really is not going to change that much on the local level.
Here's to hoping anyways.
I feel that it is within my best interests not to respond to any posts on this particular blog. These are simply my thoughts. If you want to rant or get your feelings out feel free to do so.