Earning the Editorial Badge of Honor with feedback

Bill O’Reilly is a loudmouth. Really, Bill, if I had your number, I’d call you and express my gratitude.

by Adam Elrashidi

I’d like to take this time to personally express my appreciation for Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly. And heck, while we’re at it, I’d like to address some of the remarks I’ve received from many of you ” our loyal readers ” regarding the editorial cartoon I made of him Nov. 16.

Mr. O’Reilly, thank you for being your fatheaded self and giving me material for an editorial cartoon. Really, Bill, if I had your number, I’d personally call you and express my gratitude. Well, not really. I’d be a little freaked out if I knew what you were doing on the other end.

To those of you who took the time to send me feedback regarding that editorial cartoon, I tip my hat. Feedback is like the Badge of Honor to the editorialist. It means you made someone think, and that is all I’ve ever tried to make any of you do in that 5-by-4 box above the 50 letters flip-flopping on intelligent design. But really, the ad hominem arguments I read opened the door for me to discuss a topic I feel hasn’t been dealt with appropriately by most political pundits: the severe polarization of the United States’ political spectrum and the “gang mentality” keeping it that way.

But first, let’s make some things clear about Bill “1(900)” O’Reilly’s comments regarding San Francisco.

The reason O’Reilly said what he did is immaterial. His comments were totally inappropriate and a true display of the kind of unpatriotic rhetoric he and others like him so readily accuse anyone of having when they express simple disagreement with any part of our current political establishment and/or reasons behind our present militaristic engagements.

Regardless of one’s personal views, O’Reilly’s comments were tasteless and uncalled for. Furthermore, it’s a safe bet that if a liberal or major nonconservative partisan were to make similar comments, O’Reilly and his colleagues would condemn that person relentlessly for acting “un-American.”

For an American citizen (and a well-known one at that) to give al-Qaida the “go ahead” to blow up a piece of America seems along the lines of treason. But that’s just me thinking here.

I mean, last time I checked, San Francisco still is a U.S. city. O’Reilly didn’t just disagree with a policy; he gave the OK to attack American soil. For that kind of disrespect to our nation, I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t associate Bill O’Reilly with terrorism.

However, it’s the responses that wholeheartedly support O’Reilly’s claim without regard for their poor taste that bother me the most. Specifically, one comment stated, “The Daily embarrasses itself by wasting paper and ink on such absurd depictions.” Now, this just might be me being a “loon,” but what part was the “depiction”?

The cartoon was comprised of a legitimate photo of O’Reilly alongside his quote regarding the situation in San Francisco. My personal view of O’Reilly isn’t physically presented anywhere except in the title of the work. And let’s be real, I was being nice calling him “hideous.” If anything, O’Reilly would be proud I didn’t “spin” the cartoon.

The touting of a party line is not reserved to conservatives ” people at all points of the spectrum suffer from this “gang mentality” problem.

We need to wake up. We are stuck in a war based on poor information and personal agenda. A war with an increasing body count because members of one party kept their mouths shut out of fear of losing personal power, while members of the other idly sat on their hands because they were too afraid of offending someone and too slow to get their act together. We are led by a president who often appears more interested in staged displays of leadership than actually leading. We live with an administration tangled up in its own web of lies, smear tactics and inconsistencies. We are stuck with politicians ” from all viewpoints ” who don’t answer to the people who depend on them to represent their needs, and rather, to the party they wish to gain influence in.

And yet, no one is paying attention to those who are screaming that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

The growing indifference for the direction in which our country is going and the complacency for the actions all our elected officials perform are the real threats we as American citizens ” regardless of affiliation ” need to be aware of. If we keep playing “follow the leader,” we’ll never get anywhere and the problems we’re seeing now will be seen by the next generation.

It’s fine to be conservative. It’s fine to be liberal. It’s fine to be whatever you want and believe whatever you want, just as long as you honestly know why and think critically about why someone else may feel differently. But it’s not fine to blindly support someone because you happen to share the same label.

This country and its future deserve more from its citizens than apathy.

Oh, and about me being a “loon”; I’m a moderate ” it even says so on my Facebook.

Adam Elrashidi is the Daily’s editorial cartoonist. He welcomes comments at [email protected]