By Sarah Berentson
Politics, by nature, divide and separate people from one another. We find it hard in this day and age to have a calm and rational conversation with someone who has a different political view than our own. People get riled up about politics because they are passionate about it. If you are taking the time to be informed, you feel like you have a good grasp on what’s going on. Thus, when someone says something you don’t find quite right, it may be easy to get upset.
However, this is not how it should be. We should be able to talk with one another about our differences in opinions, and, like when arguing about religion, we should go in with the mindset of sharing our opinion, not trying to convert our listener. Many politicians, political speakers, etc., do not keep this in mind. I believe it is those people who cannot hold a rational and mature conversation who are ruining politics for the rest of us.
Let us take, for example, Glenn Beck. Glenn Beck’s slogan on his website states: “Glenn Beck: The fusion of entertainment and enlightenment.” Although he may be achieving some sort of enlightenment for some people, his main goal is entertainment.
On television and on the radio, Glenn Beck’s show is comparable to the drama that occurs weekly on “Jersey Shore.” This is not a joke. I have a hard time listening to what he is “enlightening” me about because I am so preoccupied with his constant facial expressions and his mockery of whomever he is speaking to, not to mention his constant obnoxious outbursts. It is possible that Glenn Beck might have some pretty alright things to say, if only I could get past the clownery.
He, in my opinion, is doing it all wrong. Not only is his concern with dramatic effect distracting from anything political, he is so “passionate” about politics that he has a hard time being able to discuss them rationally.
Furthermore, he really isn’t interested in discussing them rationally. On his radio show he once had a caller who was a proponent of universal health-care. While she was speaking he was constantly making patronizing remarks, and mocking almost everything she said. After “listening” to her side he begins to reject her opinion, and his emotions violently spin out of control. He ends the call by screaming, “Get off my phone! Get off my phone you little pinhead!”
He sounds like he is having a mental break. Good work Beck, you really showed her how sane, stable and trustworthy you must be.
Some may argue that Glenn Beck’s approach to politics is refreshing and might pique America’s interest in politics. I wholeheartedly disagree. He is so controlled by his emotions that he has said things such as he hates victims of 9/11 because he is tired of their whining, and he has also compared reformed Judaism to radicalized Islam.
Although he apologized for the latter statement, he cannot seem to contain his emotions, and he doesn’t seem to want to either. He is more concerned with taking every situation to its most extreme potential. He does this to a point that makes it difficult to take him seriously. He is not an example that anyone should follow for intelligent discussions. He is encouraging the kind of heated, disrespectful and hateful debates that already divide our country.
Glenn Beck is not a model to follow and neither is any other fanatical, political figure (and there are plenty of others). For those of you who are politically inclined, you should be aware of who is representing you. Just because they align with some of your values doesn’t mean they should be your voice. Political debates are always going to be heated, but it is important that those who are in the spotlight are demonstrating a mature manner of discussing politics. If we can’t listen to each other, if we can’t respectfully communicate, then we can’t solve any problems.