A Time For Meaningful Dialogue

As a Centrist and a Libertarian, my Facebook feed consists of a plethora of viewpoints.  If you don’t do this, you actually become brainwashed.  This happens on the left and on the right.  You unwillingly give up your right to be a free thinking individual.  The average Facebook user spends about 50 minutes a day on the application.  That is 5.83 hours a week adsorbing data and viewpoints.  Thumbing through my feed today, I was presented with an example of how bad things have gotten.

Award winning film producer Korey Green has created a film called. “The Blackness Project” which was going to be playing at our local modern art museum here in Buffalo, NY.  The film is an educational documentary about culture and race from the African American perspective. The goal of the film is to educate and engage Americans in an effort to help with the racial divide in the US by creating meaningful and productive dialogue.

My biggest goal and aspiration for the film is that once it is completed and released that the film is welcomed and accepted with open arms and minds from all walks of life and that the film generates a better understanding and approach of race in America. We have to work together!” – Kory Green

The local museum posted the press release for the event, which was immediately attacked by Social Justice Warriors.  Why?  What could possibly be the issue with an event encouraging discussion on social issues?  The event description stated that one of the speakers was local politician and businessman Carl Paladino.  Nationally you may have heard of him back when he ran against Andrew Cuomo in the New York State 2010 gubernatorial election.  Paladino is known for his brash, far-right wing opinions, racially inappropriate remarks, and other outrageous PC violations.  The Facebook public was outraged that he was speaking, calling for the event to be shut down, threatening to cancel museum memberships, and shaming the museum for “giving him the platform to spew hate” (a common phrase used by the far left).

As I sat there reading these comments, it hit me.  Paladino was asked by the film producer to be a part of this.  A black man that has created a special film about bridging the gap of the racial divide, has asked Paladino to be a part of the discussion….and it has blown their minds.  They don’t know how to handle it.  It was like watching a robot in a cartoon malfunction, where puffs of smoke are emitted into the air, and random nonsensical gibberish is spoken before it explodes.  Everyone was saying all kinds of things from, “I can’t believe they are giving him a platform to spew hate” to “the filmmaker must be benefiting financially,” insinuating that Paladino probably paid him to get the chance to speak.   All of the statements were extremely insulting to the filmmaker who clearly had a vision when he decided to make this film.

I started to think more about this.  The far left is so consumed with fighting “hate,” that they are actually trying to stop an event that is set up specifically……to talk about how we can stop hate.  What is happening?  Has everyone lost their minds?

Part of the reason this nation is so divided is because of identity politics.  One side has their strong beliefs, the other side has their own.  These ideas have been categorized and supported in a very tribal manner. The issue of “hate” has been politicized as being a left vs right thing, which is the fault of the news media and social media.  It has gotten to the point where if you are conservative, well then you must support hate.  If you support free speech, then you must support hate.  These simplistic ideologies are what hamper productive discussion, and actually keep our nation divided.  It also doesn’t help things when our President tweets.

This event appeared to be set up to try this different approach, and instead of embracing the concept of creating a dialogue, they wanted to shut it down.  They didn’t want to explore the issue!  They had no interest in really bridging the gap, because that would eliminate one of the social issues that their political affiliation campaigns on.  This is the real problem.  I don’t agree with much that Carl Paladino has said over the years, and I have found his past actions to be offensive, but the only way you can come together as a society is through meaningful discussion.  Not a panel consisting of all Democrats or all Republicans.  That wouldn’t accomplish anything and would just be a replica of the bias viewpoints you encounter on your 5 weekly hours of Facebook.  As much as I dislike Paladino, I praise Korey Green for setting up the discussion, and I praise Paladino for participating in it.

This is the essence of free speech.

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