We need to keep talking — and listening — to each other

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After reading through the Daily Inter Lake on Sunday afternoon, I determined I should at least respond to a couple of the letters to the editor. The subject matter is of importance since both letters basically attacked the idea of Dinesh DíSouza speaking at the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts on March 10.

I have been hopeful of Mr. DíSouzaís visit to our area for a long time now. Since our choice of voices has become quite lacking in honest and constructive debate, it was an easy pick to invite Mr. DíSouza..

One of the paperís contributors went so far as to insinuate Mr. DíSouza is a provocateur, vile and nasty, unhinged and indefensible. I would suggest he cease watching, reading and listening to those who feed his particular brand of hatred and read one (or more) of the 17 books Mr. DíSouza has written.

As far as the commentary containing so many insults and allegations that are so dishonest, Iíll just leave that to the writerís own conscience. Suffice for me to say, each of those accusations has its own story where truth or simple fact triumphs. The most obvious was the tweet involving the students of Stoneman Douglas High School. Mr. DíSouza agrees the tweet came out as insensitive but the intent was not aimed at the shooting, it was aimed at the legislative vote on the gun ban and the students reaction to it.

He is a parent and felt the same fear and horror like any other parent. In his reaction to the story he quickly apologized for the tweet because he recognized how it may have been mis-interpreted.

In the other article, an old friend of mine needs to know I have never been one to build walls between neighbors and friends Ö A wall between countries might be just fine Ö but not friends. Friends and neighbors can withstand any obstacle for they are quick to understand that each might often have their own opinion. That is how it works, right?

I also want her to know how important it is to hear all sides of the issues. With the media, academia, entertainment and some governmental agencies pushing from the left, we need to know what else is out there. We know freedom isnít free.

We know part of that price is knowledge, and before one judges what another has to say, we need to do the research and know the facts. Dinesh DíSouza is capable of shining a light on those facts.

There was a time when I too was a Democrat Ö but the Democrats I remember are no longer around. They have been replaced by progressives, socialists, fascists and in some cases, even communists. But as I grew older, I soon realized that personal responsibility, individual freedoms, the Constitution and our precious Bill of Rights are the most important things I hold. It is these elements of our society I want to pass on to my progeny.

It is a fact that the loss of free speech is becoming a new norm in America. All of us have been witness to those on the conservative side of issues being shut down, their voices dimmed if not silenced and that the ďleft,Ē at least in my industry, is determining who might be employed, in what capacity, and for how long.

I canít speak to all manner of change but I can speak to that which I know. One of our most precious and revered freedoms is our freedom of speech. Four years ago I was invited to speak to a local high school senior class in Ronan, Montana. I worked for about three weeks putting together a talk aimed at their future in the arts or film and upon the designated day I met my hostess at the school. It was then she informed me my talk had been canceled. When I asked why, she said it was due to my conservative views. I asked who made the decision and was informed it was the principal of the school. I went to his office, where he confirmed the cancellation and that it was due to some people in the area thinking I was too conservative. They ďthoughtĒ I might be too conservative. They didnít know Ö they ďthoughtĒ Ö and that is scary.

Sadly, there was nothing in the speech that had to do with politics or my feelings about left or right or in between. It had to do with their futures and the importance of getting a further education.

We see this happening more and more in our universities, the very places that should be striving to educate, inform and inspire. But nay, the left has made its devious mark on our childrenís futures and that is truly obscene. It should frighten you.

The right to listen is as important as the right to speak. For if we do not listen, then the chance of erring increases. We see it every day. I look forward to seeing many of my friends and neighbors at the Dinesh DíSouza event. They will be able to listen to what he has to say. I can only hope they hear him. Itís not that his message is important ... itís because his message is all important.

Molen is a resident of Bigfork and produced several films made by Dinesh DíSouza.

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