This will be a rambling post.
In a sense, I can identify with the companies that have pulled their sponsorship from Rush Limbaugh’s radio program. These companies support such values as civility and respect for people, and they do not feel that Rush practices those values. Consequently, they choose not to support Rush. I understand and I respect that.
But I myself have no intention of trying to get Rush kicked off the air. In fact, I’m getting sick of conservatives getting kicked off of programs, period. I think of Pat Buchanan being fired from MSNBC due to pressure from a left-wing group. In my opinion, we lose out when voices are silenced. And, while we may think that society would be better off if certain voices were simply not heard, I believe that those voices should be addressed and countered through debate, not silencing them. (I’m refraining from using the word “censorship” here because the government did not remove Pat Buchanan from MSNBC, and I define censorship as the government repressing freedom of speech.)
“But you’re a right-winger, James.” Well, I’m more middle-of-the-road nowadays, maybe even center-left. But let me say this: I’m not going to join right-wingers to get things kicked off the air, either! The conservative American Family Association has long liked to target sponsors to get certain programs kicked off. I have not joined them, for I happen to like the shows that the religious right dislikes (i.e., Desperate Housewives, Picket Fences, Brothers and Sisters, etc.). L. Brent Bozell (nephew of William F. Buckley, Jr.) has for years sought to remove Family Guy from television. I happen to like Family Guy. I think it’s funny. It goes too far at times, but I’m not going to support getting it kicked off the air.
Another pet-peeve I have: When someone expresses an opinion, people act surprised and outraged that he has expressed that opinion. I have in mind Kirk Cameron’s recent comments on homosexuality, which GLAAD has criticized. Look, criticize away, for this country is all about debate! But should we really be surprised that Kirk Cameron made those comments? He’s a conservative Christian! Of course he feels that way! There are many people in the United States who still believe that way! I hope Kirk Cameron is not pressured to contrive some phony apology. People are still entitled to their opinion, even if that opinion is wrong and (in the eyes of some, such as GLAAD) outdated.
I tend to admire people—-on both the Left and also the Right—-who acknowledge and respect that there are people with different points-of-view, whether or not they agree with those viewpoints. Let’s go a step further. I admire those who also try to understand why other points-of-view exist.