A posting on the ABC blog site about a recently released Al Queda tape showing the destruction of the US Captiol was not seminal; it was a continuation of the noise that is daily reminder that we are fighting a War on Terror. What I found most fascinating were the 236 responses that were posted to the piece.
The viewpoints varied from accusations that the video was more Bush Administration propoganda designed to continue fueling support for the war in Iraq. This obviously implies that the propoganda has been going on since the war's inception. The other end of the spectrum chastised ABC for distributing the video since this medium is used to communicate messages to Al Queda sleeper cells.
That there were many varrying views was not so interesting, though some of the more extreme viewpoints were amusing, and frightening in the their zealousy. What fascinated me the most was the almost immediate breakdown in the threads to personal ridicule and insult.
One of the foundations of our country is free speech. What this thread illustrates, however, is the disturbing trend to alienate and defame anyone with contrary opinions. What happened to respect?
It IS possible to listen to a contrary opinion, to absolutely not agree with it, and to still respect that person's opinion. After all, how do you find compromise if the people you are dealing with have no respect for your position? You don't.
And we wonder why our country is beginning to stall in domestic and foreign policies. There should be no question.
Unless zealots on either side of the issues can muster enough support to begin and execute a true revolution in ideological thinking we will continue to meander in this ideological quagmire where the only differences between Democrats and Republicans are the sources of PAC money.
We as a nation will never make any progress against the ideologues driving terrorism until we learn how to forge united fronts despite differing opinions, and that begins with respecting ourselves, and respecting the opinions of others. It does NOT mean having to agree with differing opinions, it means having the uinderstanding that walking a mile in another man's shoes is the only way to truly understand their position.
Imagine if we did that as a nation. Imagine what would change. Imagine a nation with less internal strife, with no road rage, with religious and racial tolerance. It could happen. We just need to respect ourselves and our neighbors.