In America, everyone has freedom of speech. I can write my opinions here for anyone to read. Obviously, I do not have the notoriety of a television actor, movie star, talk show host or well-known comedian, so do not garner any the same following. Often, I’ll shake my head and swear that these people should just keep quiet when they decide the world would be better off knowing what they think about politics, but I still believe in their right to say what they want.
Just as she respects her co-hosts’ right hold different positions from her, I respect Whoopi Goldberg for coming out against name calling. But I have a hard time that her message is truly from the heart and not just a veiled attempt to sling mud. In a recent response to Governor Sarah Palin’s speech, Whoopi said Palin and her daughter would get a different treatment if they were black stating her own experience with her daughter as evidence. Whoopi implies that conservatives feel residents of big cities like New York, LA or Chicago can not be patriots. She complains about inaccuracies in the speech and then provides her own by stating Palin belonged to a group that promoted Alaska secede from the US (a rumour proven false). She concludes by comparing the speech to a Nazi rally from the early 20th Century.
As for the issue of fair treatment due to race, I want to believe that there would be no difference if it was Obama and his wife’s daughter involved. The sad fact is that there are still racists in this country and they will throw out their hate and ignorance. I also don’t think that Whoopi’s personal life is really open for general consumption if she doesn’t want it to be. The problem here is the mainstream media constantly lowering the quality bar on what is off limits and a growing reader base who will pick up whatever gossip exists. They want to see that not everyone is better off than themselves.
I haven’t heard any statements either direct or implied that patriotism is dependent on location. There is a defensive posture by those of us in the middle-lands (mid-west just makes no logistical sense) that these “big city politicians” often pander to the higher-populated cities and can/do make comments that denigrate our culture, beliefs or way of life. This isn’t really new. The East and West Coasts often forget there are several states in between and make fun of our less than cosmopolitan, “down home” way of life. We don’t life sex and the city way of lives or hang out with our entourage. We’re probably closer to Drew Carey, Friday Night Lights or that 70’s show. We work the factories, heavy industry and the farmlands and I often am glad we have an electoral process and do not rely on “popular vote” to decide our leaders.
When McCain announced Palin as he running mate, the innerweb and mainstream media was inundated with lies both slanderous and trivial, half-truths and some relevant facts about her past. The pure volume of hateful, ignorant articles can easily lead someone to believe there was malicious intent here. Why someone who is so much in the public eye would not try harder to ensure her facts are correct boggles my mind. In this area, I feel celebrities do have a responsibility to their public to not perpetuate rumours. State your opinions, but be cautious with innuendo. People will believe you no matter how many times you may come back later admitting you were wrong.
Whoopi’s conclusion that Palin’s speech and reception recalled images of a Nazi rally just amazes me. I know it’s meant for impact of the reader, but that’s just an embarrassingly ridiculous comparison. Promoting America is not promoting the “Aryan race”. Not supporting rights for illegal aliens is not against immigration. Having strong faith is not rounding up anyone of color, gay or any other minority and putting them in concentration camps. What I don’t understand is the double standard being employed here. It’s ok for democrats to talk about their viewpoints or beliefs, but if a republican does they are a nazi?
I really just don’t know how to respond to that last point. From one of her followup articles, it appears that Whoopi feels there is still a strong desparity between blacks and whites in this country. I can not disagree with her viewpoint there. I lack the experience. The same as I can’t comment on what it’s like being gay in America. But I can say that stereotyping people is wrong. I do not judge people on their race, sex, sexual relationships, marital status, age or anything else physically (well, maybe body odor… I don’t like smelly people). I look at their experience, education, communication, sense of humor, intelligence and passion. I would hope that I would be subjected to the stereotyping from democrats, but it appears I am.