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Let's play "blame the doctor." It's easy. You just take a problem like racism, bigotry or child abuse, and blame the reporter, the messenger, the "whistleblower" for stirring up trouble. The doctor is faulted for using alarming language when he/she says the patient has a cancer and has to face stressful treatments. The whistleblower faces job loss by pointing out injustices and malfeasance in the company.

This form of denial or "blame gaming" was evident in a letter to the Missoulian (May 6) accusing the Montana Human Rights Network of hypocrisy in advocating civil discourse. In citing militias and other groups as harmful and dangerous, this human rights group is accused of fomenting discord. Like the doctor diagnosing cancer and calling for stressful treatments, the human rights group faces denial and blame.

In 1990, this grassroots, nonprofit Human Rights Network formed to counter such troublesome movements as the Ku Klux Klan, anti-Indians and recently resurgent militia groups. Its use of strong language to warn where such radicalism might lead is not blowing smoke or creating false alarms. To blame them is to play "blame the doctor" or punish the whistleblower.

Without curtailing free speech, and with respect for the Second Amendment, let's be aware of the often violent rhetoric heard today, and grateful to the Montana Human Rights Network for calling for civil discourse.

John Carbin, Stevensville

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