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Jan-10-2010 17:37printcomments

Partisan Bias Taints MLK Legacy

Is inflicting pain the newest social sport?

Dr. Martin Luther King addressing thousands
Dr. Martin Luther King addressing thousands

(SALEM, Ore.) - With Martin Luther King Day soon to arrive, we as a nation are seeing exacerbated bias and namecalling on the basis of political belief. There is a distinct lack of real civil discourse. In its place lurks the demon of partisan bigotry--that's for certain.

One wonders how Dr. King would have addressed this divisive issue. Have we sunk to new depths of verbal mud-slinging?

The Bible clearly advises us to "Love thy neighbor as thyself". How ironic that some of our so-called Christian brethren are ignoring that message. They are pawns of a dire sort of blasphemy: wound thy neighbor with accusations and exaggerations.

Is inflicting pain the newest social sport?

Are we twisting the truth in the name of Free Speech merely because nobody swore us in to give truthful testimony?

In other words, what we utter under the influence of political propaganda may be tantamount to de facto perjury, minus the witness stand.

Last week I attended a Town Meeting held by Sen. Ron Wyden in Dallas, and comment was respectful from all sides.

In sharp contrast, a Salem Town Meeting hosted by Rep. Kurt Schrader was reported to be ultra-raucous. Some partisan extremists appeared to want to hijack that meeting, and drown out anyone who didn't agree with their views.

This runs counter to the American spirit, for which countless generations of soldiers have spilled their blood around the world. Such need-to-control audience arrogance is not worthy of Americans to support. It seems more like imported Taliban tactics.

NOTE: Lee is an independent-minded nonpartisan writer devoid of party obligations.


Salem-News.com Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address: notcoy@netzero.net

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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