It's typically people on the right side of the political spectrum that are accused of engaging in hate speech, and some times the accusations are probably correct.
But it's not only some members of the right who are guilty of the "politics of personal destruction" and similar forms of hate speech. A few weeks ago I linked this blog as an example of unobjectivity. That blogger today posted on Rush Limbaugh's confession of an addiction to pain killers, and the comments... well, they aren't exactly kind, tolerant, and loving.
Besides the hatred of Limbaugh evidenced by those comments, I confess myself not to understanding so many of their charges. Rush is called a hatemonger and a racist innumerable times in these comments alone, when he is nothing of the sort. Why can't these people understand that it is possible for good, honest people to reach different conclusions on the issues? Why is it that someone who disagrees with the liberal take must be a lying, intolerant, racist pig? Again, I know that some conservatives repeat the favor, but that only indicates the widespread nature of the problem... it doesn't excuse it.
What this tells me -- again -- is that there is very little real exchange of ideas between hard-core conservatives and liberals in too many cases. Just listening to Rush or one of his liberal counterparts doesn't cut it, because there is no sustained dialogue. We need to talk with one another and get to the heart of the matter of our disagreements. Yes, people will probably continue to disagree, and that's fine. But it would eliminate the demagoguery that passes as political discourse.
To return to those comments, for a moment, I think Fr. Rob Johansen hit the nail on the head in this comment at this post of Mark Shea's: "I find it ironic that the leftists inhabiting the Atrios site are so free to accuse conservatives of preaching "hate", and to call Limbaugh, et al., hatemongers. I have never seen hate concentrated and condensed to the point of acidity, as I have on that site."
Unfortunately, I have to agree.