A friend asked me if I thought that the shooting tragedy in Tucson, Arizona will result in less hate speech, less vitriol. I told her that I thought that it would, but only for a short time. It will not go away because there is money in it. The people who have gotten rich using it on radio and television may tone it down a little because of the fall-out from Tucson, but profits are at stake and some value that above everything.
Not only is money involved, but also power. Just look at what Hitler was able to do with his xenophobic and anti-Jewish diatribes. World War II casualty estimates go as high as 70-million people killed, the majority being civilians. Just look at the powerful grip that Governor Eugene and then later his son Herman Talmadge had on Georgia with their racist speech. And, of course, there are many other examples.
Still, we can hope that people in our free society can disagree in a less volatile and inflammatory way. Just because, for instance, people disagree over how to improve health care for all Americans, doesn’t mean they have to hate one another, or speak in such a way as to cause others to hate.