Saturday, April 07, 2007

O'Reilly-Rivera Explosion: They're Melting Down

Here's what I've been thinking, after watching Bill O'Reilly's display of quivering-lip anger and loudness this week when he argued with Geraldo Rivera about O'Reilly's absurd blurring of the issues regarding drunk driving and immigration.

It's so bizarre for me to see a man behave like this! I grew up in a home with a gentle and wise father who never needed to raise his voice with his wife, with his children, or with his friends. I went through school, then college without ever having to experience a teacher, clergyman, or professor who taught me that anger and loudness is acceptable in civil discourse. I worked in a fast-paced and rather high-pressure career for almost twenty years and never once raised my voice to the seven people who worked for me. I distinctly recall a line from Max Ehrmann's Desiderata. My mother used to remind me of it every time she'd see that an angry or difficult person would throw me off-kilter.

... avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

How does one retreat from that which is allowed to permeate the airwaves? When did it become acceptable and entertaining for so many people in our society to watch a buffoon of a man go ballistic while spouting out ugly racist logic about a problem that is not at all acquainted with race? When did it become interesting to see a loon talking over another person - louder - louder - louder - until the other person is drowned out in his maelstrom of spitting dissonance?

It doesn't take a cave man or an animal to intelligently lead a debate - or a nation. We've seen some talking cave men tear down our nation's strength, reputation, and good standing in the world over the past six years. The rhetoric they have chosen has had an effect on the cheap, loud commercial-filled entertainment that passes as political talk on television and radio shows today. It makes us all worse for having to see it.

We're all the worse for it.

If we are decent people and a moral society, how can this unmistakable brand of madness be acceptable to any one of us?

Passion borne of wisdom and experience is one thing. Sometimes we can come across more effectively than we ever thought possible when we allow that passion to ride along with our speech. Anger is another thing altogether. It invites violence.

The right wing has run out of ideas and have nothing left but their anger.

Edward Keating said that we'll never destroy an idea by killing others. You replace it with a better idea. We will never have to 'kill off' the anger we see today - those who are bankrupt of ideas are destroying themselves with their anger.

We need to believe in and reinforce the fact that we will not accept a language and behavior that is incompatible with our better ideas. Let's show our children that the world they'll inherit doesn't have to be remotely like the angry one they see today. Let's leave them with an understanding of the importance of gentle association and cooperation instead of bitter vexation.


Larry said...

Some think this was for ratings since O'Reilly and Fox have been losing viewers every week.

Whatever the reason it shows two sellouts whose arrogance overshadow any form of reality.