FIRST AMENDMENT defense or ‘pro-life’ crazy: Labels used NOT to describe, but to demean

21 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: There is a race between partisans of all types to get the jump on labeling or defining anyone who has a different opinion with a “label.” Usually, that “label” will be as demeaning as possible and often loaded with charged words. For example, calling a politician a “socialist” is meant to demonize. Saying that a political figure supports a “war on women” is another politically charged description. Often, people’s opinions are more nuanced than these politically charged terms describe. Back in the dinosaur days, the aspirational goal of those who were journalists was to accurately report the news. Now, the goal seems to be frame the news to support a particular agenda. A case in point is a Seattle rally in support of the FIRST AMENDMENT.

Mark Miller and KOMO4 News staff report in the article, Pro-life rally continues battle over health care reform:

A boisterous rally Saturday in downtown Seattle shows that the battle over President Obama’s health care reform law isn’t over, even though some of it has already taken effect.

A crowd of about 200 gathered outside the U.S. District Courthouse to speak against the law and stress their belief that the government is trying to dictate morality.

The group consisted of conservative, mostly religious-affiliated protesters who have opposed health-care reform all along, and still want the president to take some of it back. The say the law is an attack on their religious  freedom.

Political Research Associates has a great capsule description of Dehumanization and Demonization:

To understand scapegoating we must consider how we identify and perceive our enemies. A first step is marginalization, the processes whereby targeted individuals or groups are pictured (in the sense of being framed) as outside the circle of wholesome mainstream society. The next step is objectification or dehumanization, the process of negatively labeling a person or group of people so they become perceived more as objects rather than real people. Dehumanization often is associated with the belief that a particular group of people are inferior or threatening. The final step is demonization, the person or group is seen as totally malevolent, sinful, and evil. It is easier to rationalize stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and even violence against those who are dehumanized or demonized.

Demonization fuels dualism-a form of binary thinking that divides the world into good versus evil with no middle ground tolerated. Dualism allows no acknowledgment of complexity, nuance, or ambiguity in debates; and promotes hostility toward those who suggest coexistence, toleration, pragmatism, compromise, or mediation.

Aho observes that our notions of the enemy “in our everyday life world,” is that the “enemy’s presence in our midst is a pathology of the social organism serious enough to require the most far-reaching remedies: quarantine, political excision, or, to use a particularly revealing, expression, liquidation and expulsion.”

We are at a point in this society where ideas and people are labeled not to describe, BUT to demean. This rally could have just as easily been labeled a march in support of the FIRST AMENDMENT, but that probably would not reflect the political views of the reporter. Moi proudly wears the moniker ‘OLD FART’ because that is the way a person who wanted to demean and demoralize moi wanted others to describe her. People stand up to bullies by throwing their taunts back at them. This was a march in support of the FIRST AMENDMENT. People that support this action may have many opinions about a variety of subjects. Moi is personally against abortion, but supports the current law. Moi supports birth control and moi supports the FIRST AMENDMENT. So there

It’s easy to demonize from a distance.
Rick Warren

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