Tomi Lahren's firing sets a dangerous precedentBy Cassie Kuhn | 03/27/2017 12:10am
CW / Kylie Cowden
In today’s political climate, we love to put labels on people and policies rather than taking the time to understand them in their totality. All too often, we’ve made up our minds about someone immediately after learning which political party they belong to. We don’t spend much time considering that every politician has an entire history behind him or her, filled with varying opinions on different topics and possibly some back-and-forth as the politician grew older and re-evaluated their ideologies and values.
The all-or-nothing attitude adopted by the majority of us when it comes to political party has kept us divided and at odds with one another, and this has made politics more about party than about policy. The reality is that most of us, politician or not, have views that don’t always match up with the platform of our party.
Whether you’re a Democrat who can’t stand the Affordable Care Act or a Republican who supports environmental regulations, it’s important that as informed and critical thinking members of society we don’t abandon our views in favor of going with the mass-mentality of our political party. This is why it’s so ridiculous that Tomi Lahren was suspended from The Blaze this week for telling The View that she’s pro-choice.
Lahren’s views on abortion are clearly a major deviation from her typically conservative beliefs, so it comes as no surprise that her primarily conservative fan-base would be shocked and angry with her pro-choice stance. However, suspending Lahren from her show for expressing her honest opinion seems like a harsh punishment — perhaps harsh enough to deter Lahren and other political commentators from expressing their candid beliefs in the future, for fear of retaliation.
The Blaze could have publicly disagreed with Lahren, announcing that the company was firmly pro-life, without attempting to silence her voice. The problem is not that Lahren and the TV network that plays her show disagreed on the topic of abortion. The problem is that The Blaze punished Lahren for speaking freely on an issue that was important to her the moment that their agenda was no longer served by what she had to say. The Blaze loses credibility when it functions in such a despotic manner; if the suspension on Tomi Lahren’s show is lifted and she returns to The Blaze, her viewers will be left wondering if she actually believes a word she’s saying, or if she’s nothing more than a figurehead peddling the agenda of someone richer and more powerful than she is.
The action taken against Lahren by The Blaze is just a microcosm of the larger problem wherein compromise and diversity of thought is accepted neither within American political parties nor outside of them. We generally expect our politicians and political commentators to stick to the script, and we don’t like it when they blindside us with ideas that don’t seem to fit the box we put them in, or that they put themselves in.
Obviously, there are some issues that are more essential than others to the platform of a political party. Being pro-life is a pretty basic tenet of the American Republican party, as I’m sure most Republicans and particularly the higher-ups in The Blaze would agree. However, alienating a member of your party for not agreeing with you on one issue is self-defeating and creates unnecessary divisiveness in a nation already severely lacking in unity. By punishing Lahren for dissenting from the majority of Republicans on the issue of abortion, The Blaze is entrenching American politics even further into a state of polarization, where everyone from the other party is your complete opposite and your greatest enemy.
Going forward, Americans and particularly American companies like The Blaze who have large, impressionable followings should stand up for individuality and freedom of thought. The process through which people develop, determine and voice their beliefs is an important one, and it is one that ought to be protected. Pushing conformity onto others is not an admirable practice, and it creates an environment in which independent thought, which we value so fiercely as Americans, cannot thrive.
Instead of casting out any and all dissenters, we should recognize the multi-dimensionality of politics and political issues and appreciate the abilities we have as human beings to think for ourselves rather than to simply go with the crowd. This mentality could go a long way in bringing Americans together, because we can’t “Make America Great” if we see each other as red and blue, as conservatives and liberals, and as Republicans and Democrats. In reality, we’re not red and blue. We’re a million different shades of purple, and we should appreciate that so we can get to work solving the many problems our country is currently faced with.
Cassie Kuhn is a freshman majoring in mathematics and political science. Her column runs biweekly.