Tomi Lahren’s firing reflects conservative media's intolerance
In an age in which political issues are reduced to gossip fodder, it is hardly a surprise that Tomi Lahren’s firing from the conservative news network The Blaze has captivated the eager fascination of American political consumerism as though it were a celebrity pregnancy or breakup.
For those “special snowflakes” who haven’t been caught up on the drama surrounding the conservative right’s sweetheart, Tomi Lahren is a bitingly sarcastic, fast-talking, spitfire political commentator who routinely attacks liberal stances on the many controversial issues that plague our nation today. Or at least she did, until this past month, when her pro-choice comments earned her an abrupt dismissal from The Blaze.
Like unwilling viewers of a dreadful reality show, Americans reacted with a plethora of vehement opinions, from betrayed conservative anger to liberal disgust for her hypocrisy to reluctant sympathy from pro-choice supporters.
The true issue at conflict here, however, is not about Tomi Lahren, The Blaze, or even the abortion debate — it is about the fatally divisive hypocrisy that afflicts both ends of America’s political spectrum.
In one of her many irate, incendiary rants, Lahren criticized the political left for “preach[ing] tolerance and understanding, but only for those people and issues they believe in.” This type of opinion statement won Lahern widespread approval among conservatives. How ironic, then, that when she gives an opinion that her bosses don’t agree with, all her opinions are subsequently silenced.
Vilifying the opposition for their commitment to fundamental beliefs, while refusing to budge from your own principles, is hypocritical and detrimental to this already sickly political climate. Invalidating every opposing argument by citing it as intolerant is also fatal to the function of a democracy such as ours, the advancement of which depends upon conflicting viewpoints and compromise.
The Blaze is a network that caters to a very conservative audience; it is unsurprising that they would fire even their most powerful, recognized speaker for her rejection of a value so sacred, so inviolable to most conservatives. However, Lahren is also a nationally recognized pundit, and her dismissal makes an enormous statement regarding the image that The Blaze, as a representative of conservative views, projects to the world — complete rejection of any alternate belief. In the spirit of its own professed tolerance, The Blaze should have retained Lahren as a commentator whose beliefs are not wholly restricted by political party, thus forcing honest discussion and respectful, open-minded debate.
The difficulty with tolerance, though, is that people are only tolerant until a fundamental principle is challenged — when something is no longer a mere opinion, but an inviolable belief, such as racial equality or the sacredness of life. In fact, this sort of belief-level intolerance is essential to one’s moral character, and has historically been the fuel that keeps morality alive in this country. Intolerance of racial discrimination forced the passage of the landmark Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s and drove thousands of Americans to protest in Black Lives Matter protests, just as intolerance of bigotry inspired the Women’s March in Washington.
It is a very narrow path, therefore, that Americans are now forced to walk in this new political wilderness. One must tolerate others’ rights to hold their own beliefs, without wavering in the defense of one’s own principles. The Blaze, therefore, should have kept Tomi Lahren without sacrificing its own pro-life values, but rather respecting her right to hold an independent belief. Perhaps this, coupled with other groups’ efforts to tolerate and defend, would raise the standard in politics from rejection and repetition to actual conversation. It is the only way to escape the unproductive political rut that we’re stuck in now.