Have you ever thought about what defines you or how in today’s society, media tends to label people in extreme measures?

If I had to ascertain, most people’s belief system is made up of how they were raised, what religious background, political background, area of the country, ethnicity, level of income, and their family values, just to name a few, contributed to what you believe in today.  Just because these beliefs may or may not be the same as my neighbor, does not make him the enemy, but that is what the media is attempting to do.  We, as a society, have allowed decency and respect for others; to be replaced with hatred and anger for anyone who does not agree with my way of thinking.

We have also allowed the media to label people in extreme levels.  I consider myself as someone who defines themselves in moderate, middle of the road ideas, with some beliefs that are at the far right and also far left.  But the media assaults us daily that we, somehow, must fit into this perfect mold of extremism.

For example, you are either supposed to be Republican or Democrat, or labeled as Conservative or Liberal.  Why do most members of Congress refuse to work out cooperative agreements with members of the opposite party?  It’s because the media constantly tells you that you cannot be both, so you have to choose.  Not only do you have to choose, you are also told that if I am a member of the opposing party, than I am automatically the enemy and thus my beliefs and ideas are somehow wrong and should be dismissed.

Other examples of extreme labeling, if you dislike a person of different ethnicity, that that somehow makes you a racist.  I would agree if your dislike is across the board, but there are things that all kinds of people do that I hate, but it is not based on what race they are.  It’s based on how they treat me and my and also others.  I hate pedophiles regardless of whether they are male or female or what their ethnicity is or is not.  It is the act that they perform that I do not like.

If I am in favor of my second amendment rights does that follow that I must be pro- assault rifle?  No, it means that I am against gun control.  If I believe in pro-choice for women, does that automatically say that I oppose abortion?  I don’t believe so.  But, that is exactly what social media and newspapers and news commentators say you are.

Occasionally, you will hear from the far right that the nation’s prisons are predominately occupied by members of races that are non-white and that somehow justice is skewed because these people were somehow taken advantage of and incorrectly convicted and sentenced.  I can tell personally, that the vast majority of people in prison are there because they committed the crime that sent them to prison and most are repeat performances.  If the vast majority is non-white, just maybe, the answer is found in who commits the most crime in this country.  If a black gang member shoots and kills another black youth in any inner-city neighborhood, should we convict that individual or should we just say that we currently have too many people of color in our prisons; so let us go out and arrest and convict a white kid for this crime.  I don’t agree and if I don’t agree…does that somehow make me a racist?

Does it mean that because I am a man, make me a hater of women?  If I am a Catholic, does that mean that I cannot like a Methodist?  Must I conform to the demands of society and allow extremist’s beliefs define who I am as an individual?  I think not.

Civility toward others and how they think has been replaced with loathing, anger, and distrust.  It is a sorry state of affairs, when we allow ourselves to be defined by a broad based platform of belief in which we define others as belonging to a certain pigeon-hole that must conform to our beliefs or be opposed to it and be despised and discounted.