I'm getting depressed about the direction of American politics, especially the self-assured, self-righteous people who refuse to acknowledge that there might be merit in opposing views. You can't fight a hate-monger with love and understanding.
Robert Reich has an explanation for the surging intolerance. He says that "Economic fear is the handmaiden of intolerance," and gives examples from prior economic downturns. I think he's right on this.
I was shocked to learn, years ago, that my own centrist, even-tempered state of Colorado had elected a Ku Klux Klan leader as Governor in the 1920s. And I was surprised and dismayed to visit a city park in Mason City, Iowa, another place of civility and tolerance, where I saw a small monument erected in 1923 by the Civil War veterans group, the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaiming "One Nation, One Flag, One Language."
I wish our political leaders and civic role models would stand up and speak out against the forces of intolerance, especially now and until economic recovery becomes a fact and not just a hope.