The night before this column’s genesis, the song “Kids” from the musical “Bye Bye Birdie” came to mind. This thought interrupted my consideration of the notion that so many on the left seem angry and lacking a sense of humor. Having spent years pondering the vast gulf that exists between those on the political left and right, I’ve determined that we all need more humor. In an attempt to lighten up, I’ve altered the lyrics from “Kids” slightly. If you don’t know the tune, Google “kids from bye bye birdie youtube.”

Libs, I don’t know what’s wrong with these libs today

Libs, who can understand anything they say?

Libs, they are overbearing, self-appointed elites

Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy, loafers

And while we’re on the subject

Libs, you can talk and talk till your face is blue

Libs, but they still do just what they want to do

Why can’t they be like we are, perfect in every way?

What’s the matter with libs today?

It’s meant in good fun. If you’re chuckling, you’re likely a conservative. If you’re steaming … well, lighten up. It doesn’t hurt to smile. Not that long ago, good-natured ribbing was acceptable and cut both ways. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that return?

But on a more serious note, let’s address what I really consider a major concern. First, and what many consider truly problematic, is the apparent inability of some people to listen to opposing points of view. That used to be essential in higher education. Listen to others, argue respectfully if necessary and part as colleagues. Good friends could have opposing points of view.

Look at Berkeley today. Riots, personal injury, property damage over differing opinions. How many colleges reject speakers because the kids don’t want to be exposed to differing opinions? Yale and Columbia (among others) come to mind. College students refusing to listen and preventing free speech bodes ill for our future. Also notable is the habit of rioters wearing masks to hide their identity. Those of you who know history or are old enough to remember will recognize this suppression as reminiscent of activity in Europe prior to World War II? Those who won’t learn from history are repeating it. We are witnessing anarchy in our streets.

Left-leaning people are often heard accusing the right of only listening to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc. All this while they refuse to listen to the same people. I have received such accusations from readers of this very column when, clearly, they know not to whom I listen. In fact I do check in with Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, and others. NBC’s Matt Lauer is, however, unpalatable. When he’s on, I switch to “Good Morning America.” I can better stomach them.

If I were king, I’d require that we all listen to each other respectfully. We are all entitled to our opinions. It isn’t required that those with opposing opinions be treated rudely or disrespectfully. Listening to differing opinions can be enlightening.

Free speech and expression of opposing views is the basis of this country’s founding. Is the attempted suppression not bothersome to everyone? Why do those who don’t have open minds wear masks? Who do they represent? We are witnessing and permitting anarchy in our streets. Will it be tolerable should it turn on you?

OK, folks — some of this was tongue-in-cheek and some is more serious. I’ll close with the words Paul Simon penned in the ’60s in his song “The Sound of Silence”— “… people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening …”

Sadly, it seems that Paul was prophetic.

(41) comments

shiftless88

If I were king I'd like people to listen to others, and I would also like people like the author to admit it when they have made blatant errors and false accusations in print. When shown to be wrong the author has yet to fess up.

public-redux

Yup, it has been over three years in my case.

jwcmac

I appreciate the importance of really listening to others views. But I am sorry that you felt it necessary to use the same name calling tactics that you dislike to catch our attention.

Hayduke2

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

fnfn

Sorry Rick, the progressives may seem angry and without humor to you, because you seem to have too much anger in you. There is not as much regressive humor, because being regressive is dark. It is so much easier to joke about the regressive, in all of us. It is harder to joke about progressives, because they just want to make things better for all.

I understand that you see a vast gulf between them and you, because you seem to have that vast gulf in yourself. The progressive in you, is just too far buried. Most progressives and regressives can laugh at the song, because we all have some of the opposites in us [even you do, just go search for it].

I have friends and relatives, which do not agree with me. I want to listen to them in peace and learn more. IF I upset myself, I know how to fix myself, so I do not have a need to fix them!

At my university, I had a professor that I did not agree with, but I was smart enough to give him what he wanted. I could even slip in some ideas, which could be considered, because I am a peacemaker at heart. People that choose to fight just have not found the wisdom of Jesus, Gandhi, ML King, Mandela, etc. Fighting is their problem, not mine. You may want to be king to use force [require] your opinions, because your opinions are not selling.

It would be nice to see more respect and even love, but I cannot require it and we are not ready for it.

Rick, I know you are doing the best you can, considering what you believe and know, so far. I bless your journey.

DickD

That was a great comment, fnfn, let me applaud you.[beam]

Dwasserba

"This thought interrupted my consideration of the notion that so many on the left seem angry and lacking a sense of humor." Could be true. We didn't vote for Trump.

DickD

Rick, if you want us to listen, why are you so insolent to liberals. Sounds like a double standard to me.

veritas

I gotta hand it to you, Mr. Blatchford, you sure know how to push the right buttons to bring 'em outta the woodwork all fuming and sputtering. Kudos, sir.

Hayduke2

If that is how you view this ( and I agree) , kinda makes the point of his column is hypocrisy. So, you also see that this really is another denigration of a large portion of the population of the US.

des21

Unlike you who never denigrates those with whom you disagree right Hay? As you would say "come man!"

Hayduke2

Not sure - if you refer to pointing out the obvious, like in the post identifying Rick's real purpose, I am guilty. However, unlike you, I work very hard to refrain from attacking folks who post here unless they , like some, troll and cite obvious lies. As I said earlier to Rick, look in the mirror.

des21

If you seriously "work really hard" at not denigrating those with whom you disagree, well, its not working. You need to work harder.

veritas

Now THAT'S (Hay's comment about hard he tries to be nice) FUNNY. Thanks!

Hayduke2

Thanks guys - coming from someone who also posts positive and inclusive things it means a lot. [whistling]

threecents

Rick, I am impressed that you find the time and interest to listen to Fox and CNBC. Personally, I don't listen to either them or NBC. I mostly limit myself to the FNP and public radio. I also listen to WFMD for their late night big foot conspiracy show, so I actually do listen to people like you - people who think Yale is a bastion of liberalism.

Hayduke2

Rick- practice what you preach. Your columns and comments are always one sided.

des21

Kettle, meet pot.

DickD

des, be nice to Hay, he was an excellent teacher for 30 years.

Hayduke2

Pot, meet Kettle....[beam]

des21

Whatever, archaic sayings are not necessarily my forte. I find it comical that you don't see yourself for who and what you are Hay. It amazes me. One reaps what one sows. Call it "trolling" (you old hipster you) or whatever you like. Then when someone is critical of you your response is some rendition of "I know you are but what am I....." Its really bizarre.

Hayduke2

Just think des, I could be your administrator.... [beam]

des21

I guess, you certainly seem like an administrator. Why would I care? I am in the enviable position of being more needed than needing. I have always tried to be in that position employment-wise.

Hayduke2

[huh] Better watch those inflated opinions of your value and skills des...

des21

You're scaring me Hayduke. [beam]

Do you live in fear? I don't. You should try it. Its quite liberating.

armillary


Rick, he lobs a bomb and then disappears
Rick, poor dear, there's nothing between his ears
Rick and Brent express the small tent, conservative view
back to back their columns smell P.U.
And while we're on the subject

Rick, advance, retreat he pokes gentle fun
Rick, Paul Simon wishes he owned a gun
Why can we be like Rick is, perfect in every way?
What's the matter with Rick today?

Thewheelone

[thumbup][thumbup] Arm!

DeePeDe

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

fnfn

[thumbup]

sevenstones1000

Shouting"lock her up!" Is not really listening to each other respectfully, is it?

The Republicans colluded with Russian hackers and lied and smeared their way through the last election. And we should just all forgive and forget?

Oh, and don't ask me to lighten up and talk to you respectfully until you get your boy Donnie to apologize personally to Obama and the American people for the six year long Birther Lie he told over and over again.

You really think you can get away with that stuff and not be held accountable?

threecents

No, Rick thinks they were shouting "lighten up!" He thought Hillary was too serious - all about helping people in need, listening to experts, believing scientists, not threatening to use nuclear weapons, not raping people, or ogling girls in locker rooms, and such.

fnfn

[thumbup][thumbup]

Hayduke2

[thumbup][thumbup]seven

Thewheelone

[thumbup] seven

Dwasserba

[thumbup] seven Let's see tax returns too

des21

Let me know when you find eveience of that "collusion" 7. As you know, your elected representatives have found none. That's called circumstantial but you all have fun with it.

Amazing how some liberals who always cry "innocent until proven guilty" seem to forget that when partisanship enters into it. Hypocrites eh?

threecents

A lot of kettles and pots today.

sevenstones1000

Waiting for that Birther Lie apology, des. Don't talk to me until you have one.

des21

Was that "treason"? No, that was silly. You all are essentially trying to hamstring our government over allegations for which the FBI has said- repeatedly- their is no material evidence. As Hay would say, "come on man!"

gary4books

Until the investigation is completed they must say "we have no evidence to report." That does not mean there never will be any. Of course we should consider all innocent until proven guilty. But that does not mean they are clean now. Just to be treated a we would treat an innocent person. Even President Nixon was reelected.

gary4books

[thumbup][thumbup]

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
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