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Unfortunately, removing Don Imus from the radio and television broadcast airways will not remove the hate, racism, sexism and homophobia that defines America.
It will not stop those who spew such hate from finding new ways to distribute it or rationalize it.
When Imus met with members of the Rutger's women's basketball team at the New Jersey Governor's mansion Thursday night he learned that many of his fans have sent hate mail to the victims of his racial and sexist slurs eight days earlier. This morning, his wife, hosting the second day of a telethon for kids, asked those fans to stop.
Over the past week, I've had to remove, from our stories on the Imus debacle, more than 100 comments that preached racism, sexism or misogyny.
Don Imus's incredibly vile comments brought racism and sexism into the national debate but the end result of that debate will be a polarization that gives those who practice hate a new platform.
Racism is not limited to whites. Blacks like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton use racism against whites to their advantage. Christians who preach hate against Muslims are religious bigots. So are Muslims who claim a non-existent superiority of their faith.
Hate is a two-way street. Bigotry crosses racial, ethnic, religious and even political lines. The level of name-calling in a political debate would make a Klansman blush.
We cannot continue on this self-destructive path. We cannot allow this racism, sexism, bigotry and homophobia to fester and simmer until it erupts into a full-blown culture war that could tear America apart.
Virginia voters removed Senator George Allen from office because of his racist comments but kept Virgil Goode in the House, another racist who spouts even more hate and intolerance than Allen.
Sen. Joe Biden still sits in the Senate even after he uttered overtly racial comments towards fellow Senator and Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Republicans elected Trent Lott as their new Senate leader even though he previously lost the job for praising the racist Presidential campaign of Sen. Strom Thurmond.
On March 30, I wrote about the nastiness of political debate and noted:
We cannot continue the coarseness that defines the national psyche. We cannot expect to find answers through taunts, insults or threats. We cannot resolve the many issues that plaque this nation by espousing hate or intolerance towards others with differing points of view.
I also admitted being part of the problem:
In the past, I've been guilty of contributing to the anger that makes rational debate impossible. I was wrong and I'm sorry I did so. I can't change the pastâ€¦but I can use the future and this web site to try and promote civility and coalition building for a better America.
I intend to keep that pledge – not just in the political arena but in all issues that affect our socity. I can't change what Don Imus said. I can't change the lyrics of hip-hop songs or the racism that comes from all sides.
But I can make sure that Capitol Hill Blue does not become a haven for hate, racism, bigotry, sexism or homophobia. Those who preach it will not be allowed to do so here and that includes intolerance in a political debate.
America claims to be a civilized nation. Let's prove it with civilized discussion of the issues that threaten our very existence.