This morning I did my usually instacheck and found this post, and proceeded to read all of the links therein.
This one is particularly interesting because it presents some interesting experiences, and I have some of my own to share.
I grew up in a conservative environment and for a long time considered myself to be a republican. At college I was one of the two republicans ( I am not exaggerating) and when the whole Bush Gore conflict was going on I was not treated rudely, although I will not say that my views were exactly popular, which is to be expected. But I continued with my support for the Bush Administration through the war in Afghanistan. But after watching the what was in my opinion a gross mishandeling of the lead up to the Iraq conflict and various other things the administration did that I disagree with I withdrew my support.
Well, my family immediately launched into the "liberal arts brainwashing" speech. Absolutely typical, my views are not valid because I was educated at a university which has a liberal bent. Rather than listening to me, they used this to "prove" that my opinions were invalid. (And they weren't very nice about it I might add.) You may think that I just jumped on the band wagon as well, but I don't have to justify myself to you imaginary person who is reading this, so I wont, HAH. I would argue that both sides are in fact guilty of this depending on the environment.
There was also some talk about the Liberals and their dislike of conservative media. And personally, I am not opposed to Fox news. What I am opposed to is people who think that Fox News and commentators like Rush Limbaugh are unbiased. Just like I would be opposed to people who thought MSNBC was unbiased, or any news for that matter. This, is false. If people want to watch or listen to news that includes other people's opinions that is fine by me. But if someone thinks that Fox News is completely unbiased reporting, how do you think they will respond to my opinions? Take my word for it, not well.
And for another example of crushing dissent from the right, how about Bush's Town hall meetings. What's with the loyalty pledges? If you can't ask him real questions, then what is the point. It is about time that the Bush administration answered some of the hard questions that liberals would put to them and acknowledged the dissent among the American people. We aren't all behind you Bush, why don't you try a little harder to convince us, say by addressing our concerns? What am I saying, this is crazy talk.
Anyway, I would argue that BOTH sides of the spectrum are guilty of crushing dissent and that it is simply a matter of geography whose opinions are getting crushed. (New York Dems are probably just as accepting of conservative Dems as Missouri Republicans are of liberal Republicans.) Americans should all work harder to listen to views that are different than our own, not as Democrats or as republicans. But as people who live in the best country on earth and want it to stay that way, we have a responsibility to ourselves to hear what our brothers and sisters are saying and try to do what is best for everyone, not just what we want.