Guest editorial: Conservatives in Park City are our neighbors, not a ‘bogeyman’ to be ostracized |

Guest editorial: Conservatives in Park City are our neighbors, not a ‘bogeyman’ to be ostracized

This is a response to Lilah Rosenfield’s guest editorial on Nov. 21, entitled “Perhaps our community should be less welcoming to conservatives.”

In her piece, Ms. Rosenfield suggests that contemporary conservatism is hateful and bigoted in various ways (racist, anti-Semetic, etc.), and that therefore conservatives should not be welcome in our community.

She concludes “We should feel no regret in ostracizing those who support this hate-filled ideology until they choose to recognize the hurt they cause and make T’shuva, a Jewish tradition of returning to the path of righteousness.”

As a liberal, I find that language extremely disturbing. I feel it does not represent the views of the people in this community.

Of course, if the conservatives in this community really *did* hold such hateful and bigoted views, then maybe Ms. Rosenfield is right: we should not welcome them. But I think she would be surprised, if she could really could get into the mind of her fellow Parkites, how similar the values of everyone in this community are to her own.

The thing about hate is not that people are somehow brainwashed into hating some group for superficial reasons, such as skin color. No, they believe they have good reasons. They truly believe that “those people” believe and do hateful things, and that they deserve to be hated in turn.

What Ms. Rosenfield is attacking is a bogeyman. A caricature. A cartoon villain. The bigoted conservatives she believes are lurking in this town, and must be told in no uncertain terms that they are unwelcome, do not exist! They are a product of echo chambers, partisan politics, cable news and manipulation of social media.

One of the most common mistakes people make is assuming that we all have the same information, and therefore conclude that people who disagree with us are stupid or just bad. It is critical to recognize that good people, with different information and experience, will naturally come to different conclusions.

Sure, there *are* some conservative bigots, even in this town. What makes them bigots is that they have come to believe, like Ms. Rosenfield herself believes, the horrible things they have been told about “those people,” without actually understanding what those people really are like. It is all of our responsibility to encourage those of us who do hold these harmful beliefs to get out from under the influence of a toxic media environment, and get to know the people in this community for themselves.

Although I think many of us have made mistakes, and said things we shouldn’t have said, I would have a hard time pointing to a Parkite — liberal or conservative — that I think is really a bigot, and who is not 100% welcome in my book. I think I speak for 99% of this community. We are all welcome here.

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