I watched the news this morning and was horribly offended by some statements that were made recently. I wrote a big post on how racist and offensive these statements are (references to Republicans sitting at the back of the bus and Latinos punishing their enemies and rewarding their friends), but I happened to come across this article and deleted my draft and began again.
It’s amazing what happens when someone takes two seconds to think rationally and look at the fact that “enemy” is not the same thing as “opponent.” Here’s a snippet:
“There’s a difference between disagreeing with people, like newscasters on Fox News that I think are incorrect in their analysis of the days events, and people that threaten to kill you for putting a cartoon image of Mohammad in a bear suit [which is what "South Park" did]. And that’s a line that we too often forget. And it’s very easy to dehumanize — and I will say in this room, I would imagine [Glenn] Beck and [Sarah] Palin are easier punching bags — and we think of it as, ‘Oh, my God, I’m so scared if they take over.’ . . . And you know what, we will be fine. . . .
“I think we always have to remember that people can be opponents, but not enemies. And there are enemies in the world. We just need the news media to help us delineate. And I think that’s where the failing is, that the culture of corruption in the media doesn’t allow us to delineate between enemies and opponents.”
Although I would venture to disagree with Stewart that the media doesn’t need to “help us delineate” (we need to think for ourselves instead of letting others tell us what to think), he’s right about how we can disagree without being enemies.
This great nation was founded on the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, yet it seems that those freedoms are punished anytime they dissent from the accepted point of view.
I absolutely think that the statements made lately–mentioned above–are regressive (ironically from a “progressive”), but getting in a huff and spouting off about the injustice and the sadness of referring to a horrible and embarrassing part of history is not constructive. What is constructive, however, is to remember that we’re all in this together and we’ve got to work together to make something better in this world. Maybe some politicians should read Stewart’s statement and take note.