Can’t we have differences without ‘branding’?

Chris McDermott

 

Butler Beach

I’m a new fan of the Jaguars. They are winning, and this is, after all, my home for the past 15 years. Some people seem to like the Steelers, and I’ve seen a few Cowboys and Patriots bumper stickers around St. Augustine.

Most people seem OK with the fact that not everyone roots for the Jaguars (or whatever team they like). I don’t see letters and editorials denouncing the loyal fans of the Atlanta Braves or bitter complaints about “fake news” when the sports editors note, factually speaking, that team X’s quarterback can’t throw or the team, in general, is performing badly.

These sports writers point to the facts to buttress their opinion — team has lots of losses, fewer points scored, etc.

My question is why, then, do people who lean toward liberalism, or who lean the other way, brand each other as despicable losers, as if they had nothing worthwhile to say? People are not brands, and they are not just liberals or conservatives.

If they think the current party in power is doing a bad job of it, they deserve a listen. And if they think the opposite, they should explain why.

I am pretty sure that supporters of both parties and even independents stop at red lights, contribute to the “Empty Stocking Fund” and cheer for our local teams. These so-called “branded” people may sit next to you at church, and they may like (or not like) your team. Why then, are the letters denouncing them so hateful? Suggesting they are less than human, branded by some label (socialist, liberal, conservative) which, according to the author, seems to automatically imply they are always wrong and worthy of disdain?

Never mind the branding, how about the argument: the facts on which your opinion is based?

We should remember that we count on those same others (who support some other team) to serve on jury duty, to serve in the Armed Forces and police, to keep their trash off the beach and to raise their kids as positive members of our community.

Let us not be unmindful of the terrible toll countries pay when neighbors are branded with stars, labels or names of disrespect. It can happen here, and it’s up to us to stop it. Go Jaguars, Stop Branding people.

 

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