Diane Rudolph wrote an article that appeared in the Saturday’s To the contrary. The premise of her article was that she disagreed with those who feel assault weapons, magazines, etc. should remain legal.
She implied that many of these people she disagreed with wanted to retain these weapons in case they needed to rise up against the government. She also noted that it is the people who own large companies (of any industry as far as I could tell) that are destroying this country.
My intent is not to disagree with or debate Rudolph’s beliefs. My opinion on the topics she discussed is irrelevant in relation to my purpose in writing this letter.
As I read her article I was trying to determine her intent in writing it. Her writing ability and references used indicated she is an intelligent and informed person. Based on that I could only assume that she was not truly trying to sway any of these people to her way of thinking since she referred to all of them as “stupid,” “nitwits” and “insane.”
Clearly if her intent is to share her view with those who disagree in order to inform, educate or sway them, she would not achieve that by utilizing insults.
Maybe she just wanted to be sure that everyone knew that she firmly believes that anyone who holds views different from her own are incredibly stupid. And that rich people are to be feared and hated because they are destroying the country, using all the aforementioned stupid people to achieve the destruction.
OK, point made. But to what end? What if our children lashed out at others who simply held different opinions and views with such derogatory language? We would (hopefully) talk with them and explain that everyone has his own views and just because they may differ from ours it doesn’t make them stupid, idiots, or nitwits.
I am quite sure that many people that may have a differing opinion from Ms. Rudolph’s are intelligent, hardworking patriotic people, as I’m sure she is. Sweeping generalizations, assumptions, and negativity only impede progress and encourage animosity.
It reflects to me what I believe is at the heart of many of the challenges our country faces today. What has happened to civil dialogue, respectful disagreements and intelligent discourse?
My childhood friend of 25 years and I have very differing opinions on many topics, political and otherwise. However, I never once thought of her as stupid or nitwitted, nor has she thought of me that way. We can have intelligent respectful conversations with differing opinions, often learn a lot from each other and consider alternate viewpoints. I try to practice that with everyone and on every topic. I won’t necessarily alter my view, but I can certainly respect others.
I think we should all speak up about issues that we are passionate about and that so clearly impact our society. I believe, though, that we can do that in a way that encourages understanding, progress and respect.