Last time I wrote about the need for greater civility in what we say and more respect for those with whom we disagree. I believe that those attitudes are needed especially by those in the public media and by politicians. Regrettably, some definitely seem to lack those characteristics.
That people will disagree on various matters is certain. And that is OK. What is not OK is using false, misleading, or inflammatory rhetoric. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of the latter going out over the airwaves every day. And most of it is coming from the political right-wing.
Every day (M-F) two radio stations in Kansas City broadcast hours and hours of right-wing talk. On KCMO one can listen to Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and Rusty Humphries eleven hours a day, and KMBZ airs Rush Limbaugh for six hours, Glen Beck for four hours, and Mark Levin for two hours daily!
There are some left-wing talk shows accessible on the Internet and MSNBC on cable TV, but I have tried in vain to find any liberal talk-radio stations in the Kansas City area. It is quite certain that “talk radio” around here is overwhelmingly conservative (right-wing).
I often listen to the Mark Levin Show on the way home from the class I teach at Rockhurst University. Much of my negativity toward repulsive right-wing rhetoric comes from him. His criticism of the President is extreme: he has linked the President to Hitler and Stalin, accused the President of leading the government toward tyranny, and yelled into his radio microphone, “Obama is a bald-faced liar!” as well as “Nancy Pelosi is an idiot!” and other such disrespectful and uncivil ranting.
As for the politicians, I do not in the least think that Sarah Palin has intentionally encouraged physical violence against political opponents. But it is a fact that her website had crosshairs on districts with politicians she opposed, such as Rep. Giffords. It is also true that she posted these words on her Facebook page: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”
It is also true that Sharon Angle, who sought unsuccessfully to unseat Representative Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in last fall’s election, spoke about “Second Amendment remedies” and said that that Amendment, which protects the right of the American people to keep and bear arms, is “for us when our government becomes tyrannical.”
It is also a fact that Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), member of the U.S. House of Representatives and chair of the Tea Party Caucus, said back in 2009 that she wanted residents of her state to be “armed and dangerous” over the President’s plan to reduce global warming “because we need to fight back.” Apparently, she did not mean armed with guns and physically dangerous, although some who heard those words might not have recognized that.
While there are, no doubt, some liberal politicians who have recently made indiscreet statements, I have not been able to find any left-wing officeholders who have made ill-advised statements such as the three examples (all women!?) given above.
So, I rebuff the repulsive right-wing rhetoric that is fouling the airwaves and encourage readers of this blog to join me in calling for more civil, respectful discourse, and less inflammatory public speech on the radio and by our elected officials.