Bigotry [big-uh-tree] – noun – (the) stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” – Clarence Dupnik, Pima County Sherriff.

I am shocked, stunned, and heart-broken at the events that transpired yesterday in Tucson, Arizona, as should every single American.

So how did we come to this place – a place in which we believe there is nothing wrong with putting a map on your website with cross-hairs on the political opponents you would like to see eliminated or where an elected official can tell their constituents that she wants them “armed and dangerous?”

I believe the answer is very simple – bigotry. People want to correlate bigotry with being a racist; however, in my opinion, people like Michele Bachmann, Sharon Angle, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck are all bigots because of their intolerance of those whose opinions and beliefs differ from theirs.

What is that you say? They have freedom of speech and therefore can say whatever they want. I am sorry, but I do not agree with you.

As a nation, we all want to cling to our right of freedom of speech, however, as so eloquently said by Sherriff Dupnik to those earning a living off spewing vitriol to inflame the American public – “that may be free speech, but it’s not without consequences.”

Sadly, as we all learned on Saturday – these consequences cost people their lives.

Don’t you find it ironic that shortly after the horrific news of the Tucson shootings broke Sarah Palin removed the “Crosshairs Target map” from her website? A map on which unfortunately Representative Giffords name had appeared.

If this horrid, senseless act does nothing but cause people to stop and think before they open their mouths, it would be a good start. An even better start would be to turn off those who use their fame as their personal bully pulpit and they fan the flames of bigotry and fear for those whose only offense is simply thinking differently than they do, as if that somehow gives them a license to encourage people to do harm to them!

I believe that Keith Olbermann said it best in his show Saturday night.

No matter what our political leaning, we as a nation are long overdue to repudiate these people. If we do not speak up, with our silence we become part of the problem instead of being part of a solution.

America is a diverse nation – and one benefit of that diversity is the broad range of beliefs. We need to begin to become tolerant of opinions that differ from ours, begin a respectful dialog, and actually spend time listening to each other. If we do, we just might find that we have more in common than we thought, but if we find that we are miles apart on issues – perhaps we can just simply agree to disagree because only then can we begin to shed the cloak of bigotry.

Pin It on Pinterest