Written by Wayan Buschman
Who is the loud, blond, far-right, and widely despised political television personality on the mind of many Americans? If it’s not Donald Trump, then it may be Tomi Lahren. On a personal level, I am not a fan, but I recently found some respect for Lahren following her suspension from conservative news network, TheBlaze.
In an interview with Lahren on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah began by asking, “Why are you so angry?” In response, she denied her anger when, in fact, it is her angry rhetoric for which she is famous. Her impassioned, often aggressive style of commentary is her chief tool which she uses to inspire a visceral reaction from her conservative fans. The same rhetoric, in turn, prompts useless, antagonistic reactions from liberals. Lahren is incredibly divisive in her anger. And how could she not be, with such controversial opinions? She likened the Black Lives Matter movement to the KKK; she attacked the Obama Administration for what she called its “be-friendly-to-jihadis mentality;” she described the participants in the recent Women’s March as the “largest group of whiners the country has ever seen.” Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it is hard not to succumb to rage when watching her commentary. However, rage is rarely healthy and seldom productive.
On March 20, TheBlaze suspended Lahren from her own show for her public statement on pro-choice during her appearance on The View. Her ideal government is a limited one, so, naturally, she told it to “stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well.” Coming from Lahren, this traditionally left-wing statement was a brazen move. Lahren is no stranger to boldness, but this statement was bold in a different way. She voiced an individual belief, instead of regurgitating an accepted party belief. For that, I give her credit.
Issues are perpetuated by the current American political system. The parties polarize and, for reasons motivated by both strategy and ego, members of each party adopt the collective beliefs of their party as their own opinions. To deviate from these accepted opinions is to be a traitor. Hence why TheBlaze dubbed Lahren a traitor, as did her fans. What began as a week-long suspension is now an indefinite suspension, and ex-fans flooded her Twitter with venomous remarks. It is implausible that every individual that identifies with a political party would share the exact same set of social, economic, and political beliefs, yet, it has become the expectation. Blind party loyalty inhibits the need and capacity to foster thoughtful, individual opinions.
The truth is that opinions are opinions, and in most cases, there is no definite right or wrong. Rather, there exists a spectrum of the two. There are even rights and wrongs that coexist in the same space. The only invalid opinion is the opinion that is too certain of its merit. Such staunch opinions are blind because they are rooted regardless of new or pertinent information. Because it is so difficult to say, “I was wrong,” admittance of wrongness is proof of continuous revision of the opinion in question, which makes the revised one all the more credible. Lahren did not admit wrongness per se but, in the same vein, she did question the rightness of a core Republican tenet. Lahren’s statement on The View lost her the support of her fans as well as her own television program. On the other hand, she has gained 10,000 followers on Twitter since the suspension.
Of course, I am biased in that I found respect for Lahren when she voiced an opinion that coincides nicely with my own liberal political values. What I respect more than the opinion is that she formed it for herself. Indeed, it appears to be especially important to cultivate and express original thoughts at a time when political ideologies have become so extreme. For example, the scores of Republicans, including former candidate Mitt Romney, who spoke out against Trump during the election. I am by no means a convert to Tomi Lahren’s incendiary take on politics; I’m not going to follow her Twitter account and I even felt relieved at the news of her suspension from TheBlaze. However, in a way, maybe we need more people who think like her.