The other day I entered the fray of a debate on Facebook about which is better, Fox News or MSNBC, and their commentators. I am referring about talk show hosts such as Fox News’ Glenn Beck, Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and their radio counterpart Rush Limbaugh. The original comment was derisive of commentator Keith Olbermann, but we might as well include other liberal commentators such as Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews.
One of the first comments was from a conservative that made the comment that she watched MSNBC and Olbermann in order to “know the enemy”. I would hope that this turn of speech was figurative in nature, but there are those in our country that believe that those on the other end of the political spectrum are literally enemies.
This political war analogy speech is destructive to our country. Why are those with ideologies different than our own so easily called enemies? We are all Americans, and our debate should never use terms that should be reserved for war. Such terms are divisive in nature, and when our children hear such terms they may not distinguish between true enemies in the world which seek to harm us with bombs and bullets, versus those who are simply putting forth a differing worldview or ideology as the best way to proceed in this world.
This country is built on debate and compromise. Whether the debate happens in the court system, the legislature or the television airwaves, debate is good, especially when the debate actually helps each opponent understand better the position of the other. The debate becomes destructive only when we dig our figurative heels in the ground trying to win at all costs and fail to come away from the debate more informed or compassionate of opposing ideals.
A nation of individuals such as America will never agree on every point of discussion, but there should at least be an understanding of what others believe, not just so we can strategize against those so called opposing beliefs, but so that we can incorporate the best of all beliefs. Politics are not a football game that is won or lost, but a way that we as Americans decide how to align our culture and laws to the needs of all citizens.