While channel surfing I caught the last few minutes of Glenn Beck’s show. Today Beck warned America about the Left’s assault on the freedom of speech. I’ve heard the argument before (even from people in my family). I understand why it is easy to come to that conclusion, albeit the wrong conclusion. Yes it is true, liberals tend towards political correctness and a certain savvy with terminology and media but so do ideologues and politically minded people–and perhaps not-so politically minded people too–on the other side of the aisle.
His beef, for today, was the backlash against the rhetoric of folks like Sarah Palin and her unfortunate use of crosshairs on congressional districts that voted for the health care bill on her website. Beck, like Palin is part of the media firestorm surrounding the recent shooting in Tucson that took the lives of six and injured another fourteen. The charge against them is less than civil rhetoric against moderates and liberals not in align with their belief in small government.
Did Beck, Palin or other pundits pull the trigger? Of course not.
Are they to blame personally? Doubtful.
Are they influential in shaping the country’s political climate? You bet.
At the very least someone like Beck has to realize that when he talks about America being under attack and paints the left as a scary group of people out to steal your children’s future in the cover of darkness it incites people.
The American people and politicians are calling for a cooling of rhetoric. People are pointing out in wake of Saturday’s tragedy that um…maybe our political rhetoric should be chosen a bit more carefully. That ‘we’re targeting’ specific districts’ or that ‘I’m not retreating I’m reloading’ are not the best means of explaining a point of view. Maybe there are classier ways of going about the business of getting one’s point across.
Beck says if you have something to say, just say it. There’s no need to speak in secret or hide your true feelings. We have the right and by-golly we should use it. After all, that’s why Beck’s so darn popular, according to Beck at least. He is now challenging liberals determined to take away our freedom of speech to come out and say ‘Yes, we should limit the freedom of speech and here’s why.’
“Have a conversation, like adults.” Beck declared.
What I find personally interesting is Beck’s assertion that because we have the freedom of speech we should not be afraid to use it (which I agree with). So I was thinking about taking Beck’s assertion one-step further.
If I follow Beck correctly, and I prepared for the emails saying I’m not, because we have a right means we should exercise it to the full extent. So what about the Cordoba Initiative’s Park 51 community center blocks away from Ground Zero, dubbed the 9/11 Mosque by conservative circles? We have a freedom of religion. So should we not exercise that right?
Palin argued this past August that the center should be built “somewhere else that’s less offensive and provoking of more pain and anger.” Palin also called for the developers of Park 51 to “be tolerant and understand Americans’ feelings on this. ”
Should public opinion have such sway in the matters of personal freedoms?
Sure Sarah Palin can talk about guns all day long—it most certainly is her right–but should she use militaristic rhetoric in her twitter, facebook and other media forums?
That personal responsibility, the consequences of our actions that conservatives like to talk about, why does it never seem to really seep into their discourse about themselves?
Can Beck see the inherent tension between personal liberties and popular opinion; that it can’t be resolved or teased out during a radio or television programs?