In a column recently published in the NY Times, Robert Reich, - UC Berkeley professor, author and former Secretary of Labor, - wrote about his experience while in an airport to catch a flight. A well-dressed man approached him and said: “You are a Commie dirtbag,” actually using an unprintable profanity. Reich was taken aback, but decided to respond as civilly as he could.
“You’re wrong. Where did you get your information?,” he asked the man. “Fox News. Bill O’Reilly says you’re a Communist,” the man replied and walked away irritated.
“It’s rare that I’m accosted and insulted by strangers, but I do receive vitriolic e-mails and angry Facebook posts,” wrote Reich. “On the Internet and on TV shows, name-calling substitutes for argument, and ad hominem attack for reason.”
“Scholars who track these things say the partisan divide is sharper today than it has been in almost a century. The typical Republican agrees with the typical Democrat on almost no major issue. If you haven’t noticed, Congress is in complete gridlock.”