Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Smithfield Herald misses it on two stories

The first is an opinion column by the editor. Basically, he railed against the counter protesters at the protest rally this past Saturday. He obviously missed the same sentiments that have come from the side of those protesting for a long time. Granted, and I have documented some of this in my talk show, some of the counter protesters were a bit obnoxious. However, he has a few details wrong. The airboat was not one of the counter protesters I was told by the organizer of said counter protest. Secondly, there is no guarantee that anyone has the right to be heard, just the right of freedom of speech. That cuts TWO ways. Why should the Gathering of Eagles folks bother to sit and listen to what they already know is the rhetoric and agenda of the Stop Torture Now folks? Or vice versa? They already know each other's positions. In the example of not shouting down the leader of Iran, remember that in the SAME FORUM, the president of Columbia University had 20 minutes or so to lay the smack down on Iran as it was (and it was a beautiful thing to hear). There was no such opportunity afforded the GOE.

Here is the opinion column:
Politically, we are more in step with those flag-waving folks who turned out Saturday to protest the protesters. Terrorists flew planes into our buildings, not the other way around. And while Iraq seems a poor target in hindsight, pulling out now would create a void that enemies of freedom would no doubt fill.

Still, the "support our troops" crowd didn't make us proud on Saturday. They seemed to care less about being heard than shouting down the opposition. A man standing at Front and Market streets held a sign encouraging motorists to honk their horns if they supported the troops. A nice sentiment, but all of those horns struck us as a ploy to drown out the speeches of the anti-torture, anti-war crowd. Even louder, closer and more effective was the Everglades-type point boat speeding up and down the Neuse River.

When we were growing up, our parents and teachers taught us not to talk when someone else was talking. Unfortunately, civility has since disappeared from civil discourse in this country.

But we wonder if incivility is meant to mask insecurity. Our suspicion is that people who shout down the opposition are really afraid to hear what the opposition has to say.

Personally, we think people opposed to how America fights the War on Terror are well intentioned but wrong. But if America can listen to the president of Iran without shouting him down, can't we extend the same courtesy to our own citizens?

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