Sometimes I’m really embarrassed to be a Democrat.
While I abhor much of the ideologies (or at least practiced ideologies) of the Right, I’m similarly distressed when those on the Left abandon all pretenses of civility and courtesy through their consistent heckling of those espousing contrary viewpoints.
I think back to my college days, when it was a common yet-still-disgusting occurrence to have conservative speakers booed and yelled at mid-speech by liberal protesters. I was particularly ashamed, because I knew of no similar instances of liberal guests being treated with such disrespect by conservative students.
As most of us sadly realize, angry and impetuous liberals don’t miraculously mature after their heady pot-smoking college days. As fellow blogger Matt lamented recently, Colin Powell was soundly booed by protesters at the World Summit in South Africa.
Like Matt, I make no pretenses about supporting the viewpoints of Mr. Powell, and I sure as hell don’t like our current President or his idiotic and damaging policies.
However, I feel that common human civility compels — or should compel — people to let others speak their mind. I also believe that it is through respectful dialogue that we learn about ourselves and the world around us, whether such learning challenges or solidifies our current beliefs.
How embarrassing and sad it is, then, that even at our most venerable institutions of learning such as Harvard and Northwestern University, even heads of state are unable to speak to an assembly without being screamed at.
Are these liberals so fearful that their viewpoints cannot be effectively communicated before, after, or in a different place concurrently with those ideas they rail against? Cannot their beliefs stand the scrutiny of rational and polite discussion?
Matt argues that civility is now just a “pipe dream” and “about as foreign an idea as a politician with integrity.” But somehow it seems that the greatest loss of respect is highlighted by my fellow liberals.
I wish I knew why this was. And more importantly, I wish I could put an end to the nasty behavior.