Friday, April 29, 2005

Liberal Tolerance in Madison

When a group of conservative students at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, staged a rally to support American troops, they were confronted by “anti-war” protestors. According to the (very liberal) campus paper, one of the conservative students pushed an anti-war protestor. But that, as explained by one of the participants in The Mendota Beacon, was not at all what happened:
Having been there to support the troops myself, I can tell you that there were a lot of emotions flying, but everything was physically controlled. In fact, if anyone pushed anyone (which they did not) it would have been the anti-war protestors. The hands that went up, as seen on the front page of a campus paper, were actually an attempt to keep the protestors from spitting insults into our faces, which seemed to be the popular theme that day. The protestors felt a need to steal our flags, take our signs, and bang their large drums inches from our faces. They do not know what respect means, and apparently, freedom of speech is great, unless the rhetoric is conservative in nature.

Our message was clear. We were there to show our support for the men and women fighting in Iraq who protect our freedom so that the protestors can say what they like. We were there to support the liberation and freedom of a country that has been under tyranny and to support the right for all people to be free. All of our chants were to support the troops and our country- none of which were messages of hatred or that would instigate a confrontation with the protestors.

Unfortunately, the other side could not say same. They enjoyed yelling “you don’t fight” and laughing in our faces, making angry accusations that belittled our beliefs. If anyone was there for a confrontation, the protestors were. We stood in our place and said our piece, while the protestors attempted to physically run into our group.
We sometimes have some qualms about bashing liberals for intolerance, because not all liberals are intolerant. But in spite of this, intolerance is a liberal problem in America today. The reason for that is simple: liberals have the ability to segregate themselves and avoid contrary viewpoints and opinions. They congregate in media organizations, academic departments like the English Department at Marquette, foundations and activist organizations. They live in certain neighborhoods like Milwaukee’s East Side. The listen to National Public Radio and read the New York Times. They had very few, if any, conservative professors in college.

If they should, by accident, have to confront a conservative opinion, they feel comfortable dismissing it out of hand. After all, none of their friends think that way!

Their environment, in short, is lacking in diversity. In such a setting, the demonization of one’s opponents is easy, and hate festers. Michael Moore and Al Franken and Howard Dean become heros.

In different circumstances and in a different historical era, it might be the conservatives who become the bigots and the haters. But for now, intolerance in America is something coming particularly from the left.


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