If you have been even mildly active on Facebook over the past few months, Tomi Lahren has likely made an appearance on your newsfeed. Her conservative political commentary and famous “final thoughts” videos, have gone viral many times for their strong takes on current issues. While Lahren is no stranger to controversy, she recently found herself in the midst of a controversy stemming from her comments made during an appearance on ABC’s The View that sparked outrage within a different group, the conservative base. While on the show, she expressed her stance as a pro-choice conservative. She labeled herself a “constitutional conservative” and criticized limited government advocates for what she believes to be inconsistencies in their stances on abortion. “I am someone that’s for limited government,” Lahren said. “So I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but say what women can’t do with their bodies. I’m for limited government so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well.”
Many individuals have criticized her for her stances. Among these critics is owner of the Blaze multimedia news network and Lahren’s boss, Glenn Beck. The famed conservative radio personality took to Twitter Monday, as well as his daily radio show to discuss Lahren’s suspension as well as voice disapproval of her views.
Though Lahren has long been criticized by many left-leaning individuals for her inflammatory and often divisive rhetoric, concerns regarding those issues fade in the face of this latest controversy. Regardless of your opinion of “Tomi” or “Final Thoughts,” this represents a much broader issue within both political camps. Each side of the isle has developed a hive mind mentality towards stances on issues. This collective consciousness has created the current polarized and hostile political landscape present in our world today. An unwillingness to discuss and disagree with those who think differently has become pervasive and inescapable within both the progressive and conservative movements. There is no room for the voices of different perspectives or contrasting viewpoints; only those that reinforce the ideology that the group has deemed right.
For example, progressive entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, champion of workers rights and the $15 minimum wage, was ridiculed by liberals after showing support for charter schools. One progressive website in his hometown of Seattle turned their backs on him very quickly. The man who has created many opportunities for liberals to get involved in the political process was called “stupid” for his pro-Charter School stance that he expressed on Twitter and Reddit. “I find it hard to get behind Hanauer's talk of creating ‘deep structural change’ in America,” says Ansel Herz in his Stranger article ridiculing the billionaire. “On the issue of… education he sounds a lot like Donald Trump, and he has billions of dollars in the bank to change the system however he sees fit.” Herz is taking a clear shot at a fellow liberal thinker, creating division within the group where none was needed.
Both political ideologies reject or dismiss any ideas that may challenge their stance. Those who dare question the status quo are treated like a virus by their peers. They quickly suppress and silence the dissenter like white blood cells attacking a foreign body. Those who subscribe to a single liberal or conservative ideal are expected to conform to the entire mindset of the group. They are expected to join into the collective brain and participate in a gigantic example of groupthink rather than add their own unique voice to the narrative.
I may disagree with Tomi Lahren and Nick Hanauer on their stances on schools, guns, or health care; and that’s okay. We can disagree on ideology or issues, but still respect the right to be an individual thinker. I respect their right to form their own opinions and develop their own stances on today’s issues. Does Tomi Lahren’s pro-choice stance mean that she is secretly a big government liberal for stringent gun laws? Of course not! Does Nick Hanauer’s stance on charter schools mean that he secretly want to abolish the minimum wage? Certainly, not! Liberalism and Conservatism are not a strict set of guidelines that one must conform with to be considered as such. Instead they are broad terms representing ends of an infinite spectrum used to describe a person’s general ideology.
Instead of attacking Tomi Lahren and casting her away from the conservative movement for holding a different position than the majority of conservatives, perhaps we should discuss the differences of opinion. We need an open dialogue if conservatives and progressives alike want to create positive change within our country. Disagreement is not inherently bad. We need to disagree in order to have a productive discussion; but without discussion, there can be no progress. True progress can occur only in a climate where various viewpoints are expressed rather than merely two fighting political agendas. When everyone can express their opinion, we can find solutions that can work for everyone. Perhaps when that day comes, America will truly be great again…