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Of Dixie Chicks and Chik-fil-A. August 4, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Is it just our friend Ben, or is America becoming so polarized that we’ve entirely forgotten the meaning of moderation? Either you’re rabidly for or rabidly against something. Either it’s black or it’s white; forget about shades of grey.

Conservatives villainize and victimize a country music group, of all things, publicly burning their CDs in mass demonstrations, because one of the trio made an offhand remark against then-President Bush. Liberals savage a fast-food chain because its owner, a conservative Christian, speaks out in support of the Biblical concept of marriage. Everything’s an instant issue. Whatever happened to free speech?!

What makes the polarization so clear is what happened then in each case. As far as country music was concerned, the Dixie Chicks dropped off the face of the earth, but the liberal establishment rushed to give them a Grammy for their next album. While the liberals bashed Chik-fil-A, the likes of Sean Hannity rounded up thousands upon thousands of conservative supporters (he claimed the lines stretched for three miles) to eat at Chik-fil-A this past Wednesday to express their support.

In both cases, the knee-jerk actions and reactions are alarming to our friend Ben. Nobody is forcing us to buy a group’s CDs or eat at a particular restaurant; as Americans, we’re free to vote with our wallets for what we wish to support. But to publicly burn CDs because you disagree with someone’s views, to create a media event because you disagree with someone’s views, to villainize people left and right for expressing what they believe, and to do so on such a grand scale: What is this saying about us as a society, a society founded on the belief that diversity was healthy?

I recently read an article by the thoughtful columnist Leonard Pitts in The Wall Street Journal where he said that polarization in this country had reached a stage where it seemed time to create two separate nations. For all I know, he was writing tongue-in-cheek. Had we created two separate nations when the South seceded from the North, America would never have become a world power. If we create two separate nations now, our friend Ben believes that America will sink from the world stage. But I agree with Mr. Pitts that, internally at least, we seem to be fracturing, losing our founding concept that America is big enough for all of us, whatever our views, whatever our beliefs.

And once that fundamental belief is lost—and that fundamental belief is based on tolerance and respect—I dread to think what will follow.

Comments»

1. narf77 - August 10, 2012

Its a world wide epidemic and not solely centred in America.

I’m sorry to hear that, Fran!

2. Lynn Long - August 10, 2012

There are so many reasons not to eat at Chik-fil-A that have nothing to do with his position on gay marriage! But, what’s the deeper meaning of the polarization in our country? I don’t know. All I can do is try to remain open to others’ viewpoints. This is why I have a few really close Republican friends with whom I have regular civil conversations about polarizing topics as a way to practice openness to diverse viewpoints.

What a civilized approach, Lynn! If we all did that, perhaps the polarization would cease.


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