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August 5, 2014

To the Political Left, Dissent Equals Hatred

A recent Twitter exchange between the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson and New York Times reporter Josh Barro perfectly captures the growing political polarization in America today. Anderson, rapidly becoming the go-to voice in defense of traditional marriage (his book was cited twice by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in last year’s same-sex marriage cases), is about as unassuming a character as one can imagine for a defender of such a suddenly controversial issue. He is, by his own estimation, “bookish”, and your never hear him raise his voice during debate, nor hurl a personal insult at someone who disagrees with him, even when he is being attacked.

While defending the position of traditional marriage, Anderson has also made it perfectly clear that he believes that ALL human beings have intrinsic worth, and should be treated with kindness, respect, and civility. The NYT’s Josh Barro, on the other hand, disagrees mightily. In that recent Twitter exchange, Barro accused Anderson of being “anti-LGBT”, and declared “some people are deserving of incivility”.

Think about that. To the liberal left, people who disagree with them on certain topics are worthy of condemnation, disrespect, and incivility. No longer can reasonable people approach the same issue from different perspectives, with different worldviews, philosophies, and political or religious viewpoints, and still be friends. No, for the left, to disagree with someone is to attack them personally, to discredit their intrinsic worth, to demonize them. Barro, exposing a deep sense of insecurity, claims that Anderson’s differing view on the topic means that he thinks “you’re better than me.”

Then great William F. Buckley once noted that “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” That seems to be truer today than ever before. More and more, liberals are demanding that contrary viewpoints be silenced.

Less than two decades ago, the Defense of Marriage Act was passed by a vote of 342-67 in the House of Representatives, and by 85-14 in the Senate, an overwhelming bipartisan vote by any measure. House Democrats voting in favor included Elijah Cummings and James Clyburn of the Congressional Black Caucus, John Dingell, Dick Durban (now Senate Majority Whip), former House Majority Leader Dick Gephart, former House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer, and Chuck Schumer. Senate Democrats voting in favor include current Vice President Joe Biden, Max Baucus, Robert Byrd, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Frank Lautenburg (known as a “gay rights” advocate), Patrick Leahy, former Democrat VP candidate Joe Lieberman, Carl Levin, and current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

To the political left, support for traditional marriage as the law of the land is prima facie evidence of hatred and bigotry towards homosexuals. If that is the case, does that mean that every one of these Democrats, all risen to positions of power within the Democrat Party, were also hate-filled bigots? Were Barack Obama, the party’s leader today, and Hillary Clinton, the presumptive presidential nominee for her party in 2016, also anti-homosexual haters and bigots, considering that both publicly declared opposition to same sex marriage just a few short years ago?

While I disagree vehemently with each of these Democrats on virtually every political issue, not for one second do I believe that any of them possessed hatred of, or bigotry towards, homosexuals, either now or in the past.

Likewise, those of us who still embrace and defend upholding the legal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman do not hate homosexuals, nor do we want them deprived of respect or basic human rights. We just worry about the harmful impact that a sudden and drastic change to the definition of marriage would have on our society in general, and families in particular. We worry, with justification, that our religious beliefs would be trampled on when LGBT’s become a government-protected class, as we have already seen in case after case where practicing Christians are being sued for declining to provide services for same-sex commitment ceremonies.

The left seeks to silence opposition by crushing dissent, and by vilifying those that disagree with them. A few months ago Brendan Eich, co-founder of web browser Mozilla, was forced to resign as CEO just after being named to that position when it came to light that years ago he donated $1000 in support of California’s Prop 8 in defense of traditional marriage. A week ago ESPN’s Keith Olbermann named former NFL coach Tony Dungy the “World’s Worst Person” for saying that he would not have drafted the NFL’s first openly-homosexual player, Michael Sam, because his sexuality would have been too much of a distraction. Though Dungy was lambasted by the political left, in a business (the NFL) where athletic talent trumps all, it is worth noting that Sam’s pre-draft work-outs were mediocre, which is probably why 248 other players were drafted ahead of him. If Sam had looked like Lawrence Taylor in these work-outs, is there any team in the NFL that would not have drafted him high in the first round? I doubt it. In Sam’s case, his lackluster performance was not much of an incentive for 31 other teams to take a chance on him, knowing the media circus that would surround the team for months.

The homosexual marriage debate is just one political issue where the left seeks to crush dissent though.

Despite the fact that the Earth has been cooling for roughly two decades, and the fact that instance after instance has been exposed where temperature data has been falsified to maintain a political narrative, those that question the validity or the degree of anthropogenic global warming (climate change? Climate chaos? Climate disruption?) are called “deniers”, and accused of not caring if the Empire State Building ends up underwater, so long as we get to burn coal and oil.

Those of us who understand the basic laws of supply and demand, and therefore support reducing taxes and government spending, are accused of being greedy, and of wanting poor children to stave. We are accused of wanting dirty air and dirty water, of wanting children with autism to go without treatment, and of caring more about profits than people.

The left protests as university commencement speaker such a distinguished luminary as Condoleeza Rice, a black woman raised in Birmingham, Alabama, a descendent of poor sharecroppers, who rose above her humble beginnings to become the Provost of Stanford University and eventually the first black female Secretary of State. Yet that same university, Rutgers, paid reality TV star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of “Jersey Shore” fame a whopping $32,000 so she could tell the students to “Study hard, but party harder.” The difference? Rice is a conservative Republican, and therefore must be silenced, and not allowed to speak at a place that supposedly values diversity of opinion. Over at Columbia University, faculty welcomed as a speaker none other than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man who has actively aided terrorists and who calls for the destruction of America and Israel.

Obama has a record low approval rating among the American people, and Congress’s approval rating can only be found with an electron microscope. The sides are as polarized as they have been in decades, with seemingly no end in sight. How do you find comity, how do you reach compromise, when one side (liberals) views the other side as not only wrong on the issues, but hateful, bigoted, and just plain evil?

There are major problems to be addressed in America, and they need to be addressed quickly. We have a nearly $18 TRILLION deficit that grows larger each day, a flood of illegal aliens pouring over our border, bringing diseases we eradicated decades ago; we have a struggling economy, entitlement programs on the verge of bankrupting us, and violent chaos throughout the world.

I don’t have the answer as to how to restore civility between Americans with opposing viewpoints, but we had better figure it out quickly for, as Benjamin Franklin declared at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

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