Both sides wrong in debate approach

Posted 4/11/18

Here’s a couple of tales illustrating the shift in discourse in this country, and why I feel that unless we start acting like adults (even the kids), we’re headed for civil unrest the likes …

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Both sides wrong in debate approach


Here’s a couple of tales illustrating the shift in discourse in this country, and why I feel that unless we start acting like adults (even the kids), we’re headed for civil unrest the likes of which only Third World countries experience.

In the aftermath of the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., David Hogg, a senior and survivor of the attack, has become somewhat of a media darling for his passionate activism regarding gun control.

He has been on pretty much every news station, news show, social media outlet and probably even soapboxes demanding Congress or anyone start banning guns.

Amid his rantings about the Second Amendment, Hogg apparently complained — very publicly — about not being accepted at certain universities he was interested in. Fox News contributor and talk show host Laura Ingraham took to Twitter to chide the boy (yes, boy; he’s 17) on whining about it.

Hogg immediately responded by calling for a boycott of her show, and listed all the major sponsors of Ingraham’s show while asking people to express their discontent. In this type of climate, of course many people complied, and many advertisers dropped Ingraham. She later apologized, but Hogg said he wouldn’t accept it and called her a bully.

This is interesting in that Hogg has been bullying just about everybody who has had the temerity to disagree with him about guns and the Second Amendment, and has even used naughty language.

In a completely unrelated case, one that’s closer to home, Houston’s West University Place Council member Kellye Burke started yelling obscenities and other things at several teenaged girls, while buying cookies for church members. Seems one of the girls had the apparently bad taste to wear a Trump T-shirt.

The girls were so shook up, they left without comment; it’s said, though, that Burke had taken pictures of them with her phone.

Police were called, investigations were done, and Burke was charged with a misdemeanor of disorderly conduct. Burke apologized, and the families have accepted it.

This isn’t about who acted better and which side is more forgiving, although the case could be made for the double standard that exists, particularly on the side of liberals. This is about dumb attacks on minors, and about the ensuing debacles that follow.

It’s also about the level of discourse in this country — which currently is at the level of figurative schoolyard shoving matches. My concern here is that at some point, things will escalate to actual physical violence, and then all bets are off. We’ve got to figure out how to pull back from that particular ledge and start talking to each other, not at each other.

There’s also never a good time to attack children, who are only trying to come to terms with the world. Even though Hogg opened himself up to criticism by taking his complaints public, he shouldn’t have been hit by an adult in that manner. It was time for encouragement; try harder, and you’ll succeed, as it were.

In the case of the Houston teens, the example given to them by someone who purportedly was a leader in the community was that your opinion will invite scorn and ridicule, unless it complies with mine. There was no engagement, no questioning, just attack. That’s a terrible example to set for children, who will grow up and mimic that behavior. You know they will.

No one is right all the time, but there are better ways to express that than ridicule. Time to try something different.

•This week’s Headline of Note comes to us from, via California: California judge rules that coffee requires cancer warning.

In its never-ending quest to help people who apparently shouldn’t be allowed to make their own decisions, California (go figure) passed the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, which as draconian as it sounds, requires warning labels for about 900 (!) chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects.

I ask again: what is it about us citizens that makes government think we are completely unable to police ourselves?

Tony Farkas is publisher of the Madisonville Meteor.