Here are a few pieces of advice that you’d think no one would still need to hear in these days and times.
Don’t compare people to Hitler: Andy Warhol once said that, "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." Well, the future’s here and you could just as easily say that everyone gets compared to Hitler for 15 minutes. Comparing someone to the mustachioed madman is meant to be a biting insult, but it’s such an overreaction that it generally reflects more poorly upon the person making the comparison than the target of the insult. After all, if you indicate that someone is like Hitler over some sort of minor disagreement you have with them, the implication is that perhaps you don’t really think Hitler was all that bad of a guy. So people should think long and hard before they make that Third Reich comparison.
Don’t make jokes about killing public figures, particularly the president. In a hyper polarized world full of nutjobs and Al-Qaeda terrorists, it’s generally a poor idea to imply that you wouldn’t mind seeing a public figure die, especially if you’re talking about the president of the United States. The idea may be to say something funny, but it generally ends up coming across as mean spirited and obnoxious.
Don’t be quick to accuse people of treason: The "T" word is inappropriately tossed around far too lightly these days given that life in prison or a death sentence should be the traitor’s lot in life. Before calling someone a traitor or accusing them of treason, people should ask themselves whether they would be willing to publicly call for that person to be hung from the gallows for what they’ve said or done. If the answer is no, then the "T" word shouldn’t cross your lips.
Don’t mock people after their deaths: Every time a public figure dies these days, it seems that you have people coming out of the woodwork to insult them immediately after their passing. What a classless thing to do. Out of respect for the family, can’t people at least wait until the body is in the ground before they start posting on an internet forum about how much they hated the deceased? Anyone other than a terrorist like Osama bin Laden deserves at least that much courtesy whether you agree with them politically or not.
Don’t be a conspiracy theorist: Regrettably, conspiracy theories have made a comeback in politics. On the right you’ve got people mumbling ominously about "Red China" and NAFTA super highways being part of a plan to merge the US into Canada and Mexico and on the left, you see people claiming the WTC and Pentagon were damaged with bombs planted by the U.S. government instead of planes hijacked by al-Qaeda. Whether it’s because of a hyper partisan environment that causes people to wink at even the most ludicrous theories proposed by people on "their side" or because, for whatever reason, an increasing number of people have difficulties with basic logic, bizarre conspiracy theories of this sort increasingly are going mainstream. But, as you’d expect given the nature of conspiracy theories, the wild conjecture almost never pans out and the people touting these theories usually end up having their credibility destroyed over the long haul.
Don’t treat every Muslim like a terrorist: There are certainly Muslims out there, including members of al-Qaeda, who have been inspired to kill infidels by their twisted interpretation of their faith. That is undoubtedly true. But, it’s one thing to call an Islamo-Fascist an Islamo-Fascist and another thing entirely to lump every Muslim on the planet in with the jihadists. Our troops, some of whom are Muslims, are fighting shoulder to shoulder with Muslims in nations like Afghanistan and Iraq. There are many Muslims in this country and all over the world who admire America and hate bin Laden. There are Muslim authors, bloggers and politicians out there talking down terrorism and talking up freedom. It is an enormous mistake to lump all these decent, friendly, people who view themselves as allies of America, in with the Osama bin Ladens of the world. For most people, that goes without saying. But, there seems to be an increasing number of people out there who need to hear that message again.
Don’t engage in Clinton/Bush hatred: Anybody who runs a blog called, "Right Wing News," can certainly understand partisan dislike of political adversaries, but how about a sense of proportion? The sort of red-hot, venomous hatred that was unleashed against Bill Clinton in the nineties and George Bush during his time in office has gone too far and has become unseemly. Whatever their faults may be, neither Bill Clinton nor George Bush is the epicenter of evil in the known universe, which sadly, is something that some of their worst critics need to be reminded of yet again.
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