Sunday, March 04, 2007

Whose Is The Bigot?

Three of the leading Republican presidential candidates on Saturday denounced one of their party's best-known conservative commentators for using an antigay epithet when discussing a Democratic presidential contender at a gathering of conservatives. It should not be any surprise that Ann Coulter is controversial; her speech and her writings are primarily for conservatives and those unfamiliar with her, though this is hard to believe, it does not take long to deduce her extreme right-wing sentiments. Her comments will not repeated in this blog, but I would like to know why she choose John Edwards? He is not homosexual and more to the point there has never been any suggestion that he might be.

Such comments made possibly for shock-effect or considering Ms. Coulter’s audience amusement may be understood within that context though it still is not acceptable. I am reminded of a Slovak politician who is habitually in the media spotlight for unfavorable remarks and actions. The gentleman’s name is Ján Slota and for those readers who have not heard of him let me give you a brief bio: he is the co-founder and President of the Slovak National Party (SNS), and former mayor of the town of Žilina between 1990-2006. In the 2006 parliamentary election, Slota became an MP and his SNS joined the ruling coalition with Robert Fico’s Direction - Social Democracy party and Vladimír Mečiar’s People's Party - Movement for a Democratic Slovakia. As a part of the coalition agreement, Slota didn't obtain any government position.

Slota is frequently criticized for his arrogance and nationalism. In his defence, Slota says he is protecting Slovaks, especially those living in southern Slovakia. However when he has repeatedly made and makes xenophobic, nationalist, abusing statements about the Party of the Hungarian Coalition (the party of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia), and Hungarians in general and strongly abuses in his speeches the Roma (Romanians) and homosexuals, it is difficult to discover how he is protecting Slovaks. His most recent comments regarding Albanians had his coalition parter and former prime minister, Vladimír Mečiar cringe.

Comments by Slota and Coulter touch upon a deeper problem in the world. Ignorance. Both of the individuals mentioned in this post have a particular following of supporters. They both have a set of beliefs that they consider inseperable from their personality, in part, the reason for their celebrity, but the number of accolodes, books, or press clippings still do not change the fundamental inaccuracy of such beliefs. Moreover, such beliefs should embolden advocates, parents, and teachers to do the only responsible action. Educate. The reaction from Republican presidential contenders and public outcry towards Slota’s comments show that both are not in the mainstream of opinion. This is good and it is not only electioneering. Let us hope that the time soon comes when their opinions are not mentioned at all.

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