Hatred, Religion and the Far Right
I am too young to remember the political and social undercurrents associated with the Vietnam War. I was old enough to know about the war and that many were opposed to it, but I have no recollection of whether or not the nation was truly divided. I am very aware of what is going on in the present day. Largely through the efforts of talk-radio (Rush, Savage, Hannity and Bortz) those who are left of center are labeled as lunatics. The left is no better when they refer to the far right as 'right wing wackos'. I'm as guilty as anyone for tossing about derogatory terms when it comes to dealing with people whose ideologies I may not agree with. I'm going to stop. No, I won't stop poking fun of the right (or the left when required), but I think that the division in this country is destroying it from within. My favorite topic (creationism/ID) is pretty much divided along left-right party lines. That's painting with a broad brush to be sure, but if you ask a liberal about evolution they are likely to tell you that it is sound science. If you ask someone on the far right, they are likely to launch into an argument for intelligent design.
In some cases, those on the left and right exude hatred towards each other. I'm not talking about simple animated disagreement, but real hatred. There are a couple of discussion boards that I frequent. On one, a person named Hemi (not his real name--obviously) is one of the angriest (and most passionate) haters of evolution and any issue that is to the left of the farthest right. On yet another board there is a person who goes (ironically) by the handle of 'liberal' who also simply spews hatred toward anyone not in complete agreement with his point of view. There are liberals of a similar ilk on these boards as well. It seems that very few people want to have a sensible dialogue.
We are divided as a nation along political and religious lines far more than I can ever remember. Even when Clinton was in power, there was disagreement but never to the level of pure hate that I see today. I don't know where this country is going. I don't know the solution to the problem. Lines have been established that make no logical sense. Evolution/creation is one such issue. The issue has evolved into a political issue where we typically demand that all sides be heard. As a scientist, the notion of democracy is silly. A good idea will be heard no matter the political affiliation of the scientist. So, is it hypocritical of me to demand reasonable dialogue on political issues and refuse to have them on the creation/evolution front? Perhaps it is. Perhaps this divide we've created cannot be overcome by dialogue.