Posted by: ourvoicestogether | October 31, 2007

Dialogue, Not Diatribe

Dialogue, Not DiatribeOn an anti-Muslim radio program, Michael Savage can be heard making attacks so bigoted, it is almost shocking. His statements are resolved to a generalized hatred of an entire culture that he feels, exists in complete contrast to his own. He questions how a freedom-loving, American government can allow the Muslim culture to exist within its borders. To quote him directly:

“What sane nation that worships the U.S. constitution, which is the greatest document of freedom ever written, would bring in people who worship a book that tells them the exact opposite. Make no mistake about it, the Quran is not a document of freedom. The Quran is a document of slavery and chattel. It teaches you that you are a slave.”

His arguments, in general, completely lack any foundation. To say that the Quran “teaches you that you are a slave” is a completely subjective viewpoint, not to mention contrary to what Muslims believe. Does he mean to say (and I doubt this very much) that after his extensive study of the Quran, the teachings have led him to feel as if he were a slave? For him to talk about the interpretations of an extremely disputed over text is extremely ignorant.

Savage does not use his air time to ask questions in order to learn about the Muslim culture and Islam as a religion. He is not even using his air time to express his own viewpoints based on fact, experience, and explanations. Instead he is resolved to his own bias, which he blurts heatedly with nothing but hatred, contempt, and close-mindedness. He calls the Quran a “book of hate.” But what can be more hate-filled than his words?

Comparisons have been drawn between Michael Savage’s on-air tirades and the ideologies of Nazi Germany. The belief that other cultures are less than human is the kind of belief that made the concentration camps in Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and many other places in the world, possible. To quote Savage: “I think [Muslims] need to be forcibly converted to Christianity…It’s the only thing that can probably turn them into human beings.”

He demeans two groups with this statement: Muslims and Christians alike. As someone who identifies with Christianity, it is appalling that someone could misuse, abuse, and horribly misinterpret the Christian religion. Fortunately, unlike Savage, most people do not generalize the actions of a few to the culture and religion of many.

In order to prevent more people from sharing in his views, we must foster an American culture of dialogue. We must not allow people like Savage to contaminate the general public with baseless and misguided biases and ignorant hatred. His speech violates the First Amendment because it is, undoubtedly, a proponent and supporter of violence. The fact that he is even legally able to continue his career in radio is completely unacceptable.

Our ability to express our views, even the controversial ones, should be protected by the First Amendment. However, we must not allow our gift of freedom to be abused by people like Savage who are a detriment to society as a whole but specifically to the minds of American youth which are still quite impressionable.



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