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Gayle Nichol's picture

We are not the enemy

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:20 -- Gayle Nichol

There is a frightening trend taking hold in North America – a “with us” or “against us” mentality that refuses to validate the existence of an opposing opinion, even while disagreeing with it.

It casts shades of an ugly and deadly European past. If you are not “one of us” than you are the enemy. It is a lunacy that is taking us to the edge of civility.

Ironic that in the age of global communications that we choose – even refuse – to hear each other anymore.

My firm belief is that political correctness has made us feel too awkward to use phrases like: I disagree. I don’t see it like that. I think your information is incomplete.

I feel awkward about many things, but being disagreeable has never been one of them.

Lively debate and an exploration of the experiences of others pushes us to explore, to wonder and dream. We only discover different paths, ways of doing, and possibilities through dialogue. Conversation.

As we age, and life moves us into new lanes of life, our perceptions change as we look forward and back along the journey.

Now, the elected leader of the US has declared war on the media – the very institution that has always been charged with informing the masses. All of them,

More than just declaring war, he is using the “against us” stick to beat them into frenzy. Going so far as to declare that media – all media, anyone who asks questions and reports the answers, who provides those who are not following him on the inside with a public system of checks and balances – are now the “enemy of the people”.  Chilling words, and an ugly phrase invoked by the likes of Joseph Stalin.

Most chilling of all is a willingness by people to decide that one outlet with a particular left of right bias is an enemy for viewing the world through a different set of circumstances.

I read from everywhere. The whole story, not just the headlines.

I choose to listen and watch a wide variety of media sources.

I question almost e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, beginning with: what’s in it for the person who is sharing the information.

I make my own decisions about what and who to believe. And I speak out against those I believe are wrong. Passionately, but with enough respect to listen to those who believe I have it wrong. That’s a conversation. Communication. It is civil to do so.

This widespread vilification of media is wrong.  So dangerous. But I’m not terribly interested in what Donald Trump is doing in the US. I am a Canadian, and there is more than enough going on at home to occupy my attention.

But then Doug Ford’s Tory’s have begun their own campaign to subvert the efforts of Ontario media outlets, silencing reporters with raucous applause that drowns out those seeking answers for us – the people.

It is an obvious move to control the information accessible to the press from the Premier’s office. A press that Ford, beginning with his campaign, has tried to rein in through limited contact and controlled access to information. At first it seemed like it might be to keep him from verbally shooting from the hip. Now it seems more likely to control what and how information is shared.

It is ugly, and on the slippery slope.

I was not a Kathleen Wynne supporter. I’m not terribly interested in Ford’s personal life and his family squabbles. I am interested to see what he will do to turn the tide in Ontario.

But I will not support the Ford government’s attempts to control the rights of Ontario citizens to a free press.

There is nothing applause worthy in that.

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