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Your Views: UNG professors column adds to hostile rhetoric
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After reading Douglas Young’s guest column Monday, I have a few thoughts to share. Dr. Young once described his role as moderator of the Politically Incorrect Club at the Gainesville campus of the University of North Georgia as that of “devil’s advocate.” I wonder if this concept governs the tone of his recent article.

His words were practically dripping with conservative venom and righteous indignation when he described people who support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices as quote “pro-choice leftists” who hypocritically don’t support choice for other issues he cited.

Among those other issues, Young claims “pro-choice leftists” don’t support the First Amendment right to free speech, suggesting they are responsible for proliferation of “hate speech” laws. The most common example of hate speech is anti-Semitism, and politically right-leaning conservatives overwhelmingly support laws against it.

Young goes on to say “pro-choice leftists” are opposed to citizens’ Second Amendment right to choose what gun they need for protection. I agree many progressives support reasonable limits for control of firearms. For instance, most progressives believe an AK-47 is not a sporting rifle but a military assault weapon.

So what’s reasonable, and what goes too far? You don’t have to be a pro-choice leftist to understand there’s a valid reason citizens are not allowed to own machine guns or hand grenades for their personal protection.

Young claims “pro-choice leftists” are against state’s rights and oppose a voters right to choose whether or not to allow same-sex marriage in their state. Of course, he could make the same argument in support of states rights to retain the institution of slavery.

Young claims “pro-choice leftists” oppose educational choices offered by school voucher programs, then says “this is all the more sad considering how studies show poor children do much better in voucher schools.” What he doesn’t say is that charter schools are frequently allowed to pick the students they will accept. This invariably leaves challenged students and kids with learning disabilities in the public system, which statistically favors charter schools in most measures of performance. Young’s position is unfair to those students left behind.

Amazingly, Young goes on to assert “pro-choice leftists” oppose employers having the right to choose to hire whoever they think is best qualified, instead supporting affirmative action policies that mandate race and sex as significant factors for hiring and promotion.

I would say these policies are temporary and only necessary at this time because of the historic economic disadvantage caused by centuries of slavery, male privilege, and misogyny. If Abraham Lincoln was right about slavery, it follows that centuries of obscene inequality cannot be undone by a few decades of mildly countereffective policy.

The incendiary comments from his article make it especially ironic that Young has described the current political environment as “far too hostile,” and lamented that television coverage of political issues often devolves into “ugly shout fests.” I can’t imagine how he could arrive at this conclusion without seeing himself as part of the problem.

Bruce Vandiver

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