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Opinion: Expressing our opinions shouldn’t come with so much fear of hatred
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“We have lost our way when we malign those we disagree with.” Mark Yarborough, President, Dallas Theological Seminary

We need to take a long, hard look at this quote and do a bit of self-examination. Our country’s future depends on our thoughtful mindfulness around this idea. This country is my native home, and I love it here because of all the opportunity, freedom, peace and order it has given my life. 

As I pondered on this quote, I was reminded of my hometown’s proud motto in the ’60s, “Atlanta is a city too busy to hate.”

Hate is a strong word, yet it describes the current emotion of many of my fellow citizens. This hatred has driven a staggering number of us to irresponsibly define those we disagree with as xenophobes, homophobes, deplorables, irredeemable, racists, and so on — without knowing them. 

The name-calling has fostered unprovoked violent attacks on people and property. Watching these repeated attacks forces us to shudder. Searching for reasons behind this rage, we find our current news media, which used to be a great resource and our trusted watchdog, has become partisan and unreliable. 

We must do our own time-consuming research, using our brains to get at the truth. Asking ourselves, “does what I’m hearing/seeing make sense?”

This hateful maligning has driven people like me into silence, unwilling to voice our political views and reluctant to place a sign in our yard or bumper sticker on our car. Because, when I’ve attempted to apply my First Amendment rights by expressing my views, I face a barrage of name-calling. Consequently, the silence is a tool to keep things peaceful between us. 

When I’m contacted to respond to a poll, I politely refuse. Thus, the skewed polls in the 2016 presidential election. 

What a surprise! Continually insulting others by maligning them either in person or behind their backs because of their political views, will result in a bombshell. Being maligned will not stop we victims. 

Voting is done in private and there are plenty of us who are tired of being ridiculed for our views. We love our nation and are proud of its history, from which we’ve learned many lessons; its generosity, which shares its vast resources with the world; its creativity, which develops many useful inventions; and its freedoms, which allow for individuality. Not the least of which will be the freedom to select our leaders, regardless of being maligned for doing so.

There are going to be many wonderful surprises this November. Borrowing a book title, some may say again, “What Happened?” You were defeated by a “silent majority” because you maligned those you disagreed with. When that happens, you’ll have a choice — whine, complain and dwell in your hateful state or display the tolerance many of you boast about and learn this valuable lesson. 

Allow all of us to express our views publicly and without fear. Who knows? Maybe we can come together again as civilized members of society. It’s a goal worth achieving.


Judy Biggs

Gainesville

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