Friday, October 22, 2010
I haven’t posted here in nearly 7 years, so it seems fitting to come back to The 7 Habitus. I stopped writing here because I felt I was unable to write many things without being more caustic, one way to put it, than necessary. Perhaps, now, I feel I’ve calmed down a little, or perhaps watching events of the last couple of weeks, I see more than ever, the need for some rational discourse.
I’m referring, of course, to the Bill O’Reilly appearance on The View, last week, and the somewhat related event of NPR firing Juan Williams for commenting on feeling nervous when he saw Muslims in full Muslim garb in an airport.
I have to admit, I thought The View episode last week was a rather trivial event, not deserving of the attention it was getting. First of all, it was a given that the majority of females on the show would not like Bill O’Reilly, or come close to agreeing with him. It was only mildly surprising that, at some point, one or more of those women would walk out on him. Liberals don’t like being disagreed with, period. Besides, who really cares what Whoopi Goldberg or Joyce Behar think about any topic? They’re entertainers, obviously not thinkers. I really can’t understand why, when someone appears in one or more movies, they are suddenly experts in a wide range of subjects, many of which they haven’t the foggiest notion about.
But then came the firing of Juan Williams, who was fired for commenting on what O’Reilly said on The View.
Many commentators have looked at the Williams episode as a matter of the right to free speech, and to some extent it is. Still, in the end, NPR has a right to fire anyone they please, for whatever reason, as long as they are acting in accord with the terms of any existing contracts between employee and employer. Juan Williams pissed them off, so they fired him.
Yet, taken together, both episodes offer the American public of a severe problem in our country. The problem is the inability to tolerate ideas contrary to one’s own. I’ll have to say, the problem appears to be much more severe among those who take the “liberal” point of view. Whoopi Goldberg and Joyce Behar disagreed with Bill O’Reilly. Rather than calmly discussing the question he raised, whether or not Muslims attacked the U.S. on 9/11 or not, they got mad and stormed out. They simply could either not come up with valid reasons why they opposed his thinking and that left no recourse but to curse him and walk out. It was a very childish, immature display.
In William’s case, NPR, a network that supports so called “tolerance” and “diversity”, couldn’t handle someone who doesn’t agree with them 100% down the line. It may have been that, a factor in that intolerance was that Fox News reaches, by far, a much bigger audience than NPR ever will, but for whatever reason, they couldn’t tolerate dissent, even from one of their own. Even when he wasn’t really dissenting.
Don’t misunderstand, I’ve seen this intolerance from some on the right, but the tendency is much more pronounced on the left.
The thing that concerns me is that we are facing very important issues, the outcome of which will affect us and our descendants for many generations. We face mounting financial difficulties, growing threats from, frankly, Muslims, overseas, and we seem unable to find the wherewithal to sit down and discuss these matters intelligently. Instead, we have to resort to anger and revenge. It’s not a prospect that offers a lot of hope.