Terry Paulson

After all, anyone entering into political discourse should wear a flak jacket and helmet. As a columnist, I’ve been called a simplistic f…ing clown, a right liar, narrow minded, a cruel joke, a two-faced hypocrite, and my favorite—a jackass trying to look like horse. I’ve been asked, “What planet are you living on?” I’ve been told that since I’ve “had enough” of President Obama, I ought to leave the county, the state, and even the country! Such comments go with the territory.

The best response to hateful comments is not a counter attack but to keep expressing your opinions. It’s healthy to learn that you can survive verbal attacks for your views and sleep soundly at night.

When you don’t like what is said, choose to disagree and let their attack slide by or get beyond their name calling and consider changing your opinion. Choosing to be offended is not a constructive choice.

Thankfully, some are protesting “offended” demonstrators. After “offended” students from Michigan State’s Muslim Student’s Association protested the publishing of Danish cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist, professor Indrek Wichman protested the protest. He sent an e-mail to the association: “I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders,…the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims….” In spite of an immediate uproar from the association and CAIR, the university has stood in support of Professor Wichman, saying the e-mail was private and, as a result, warranted no university condemnation.

So, instead of using the courts or the long arm of the government to ban, threaten, or otherwise punish those who refuse to agree with your views, try exposing the supposed “offending” comments. Treat what you consider “hate” speech with more speech, not legal maneuvering that limits one of our most treasured freedoms. Remember, people you try to silence may not get mad; they may get even and work to censor and control you! When it comes to taking offense, don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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