WFTV-TV anchor Barbara West in Orlando stirred controversy in her recent interview with Sen. Joe Biden. When she asked Biden, “How is Obama not Marxist … ?” Biden responded with, “Are you joking? Is this a joke?” setting off the beginnings of a media frenzy. West assured Biden that it was a real question.
Since then, West’s bio has popped up as a top search on Web engines, she has appeared on “Larry King” and the YouTube version of her interview has exploded all over the Net.
Responses have been split down the middle. Obama supporters are crying foul, claiming the questions were biased and leading. McCain supporters are celebrating, lauding West for asking the “tough questions.”
From a journalist’s standpoint — West can actually ask any question she wants in an interview. In a climate where most of the media has a liberal-bias, we can see how West’s interview was refreshing to a lot of people.
We also understand that it’s easy to fall into accusations, as this presidential race has been a contentious one. On blogs and message boards all over the Net, Democrats and Republicans are sniping back and forth. Democrats and Obama are being accused as Communists, and Republicans are being called dumb and unethical.
But let’s take a step back from the situation and ask ourselves what the point is in being so antagonistic towards one another. Putting down barriers between party lines creates a divisiveness that is strikingly similar to the racial barriers that Asian American and other ethnic minorities have faced in the past.
One lesson learned from our nation’s history is that people are more productive as a whole, rather than splintered off into groups. We make greater strides when we work across the lines. We need to ask ourselves, did anything get done when we were sequestered away in our isolated Chinatowns resenting the mainstream population? No. Our progress required outreach.
We should ask ourselves why it’s easy for us to embrace ethnic diversity but not political diversity.
We’re about a week away from a new government. This should be really exciting! Change is on the horizon. It’s time to find some commonalities with our neighbors. Of course we don’t all have to agree with one another’s beliefs, but we don’t have to demonize and attack each other. It’s time to work a little harder toward understanding each of our differences.
If you’re a Liberal, go out and hug a Conservative. If you’re a Conservative, go out and hug a Liberal. We are all Americans! ♦