If you haven’t heard, “The View” is changing.
On ABC’s hit morning show, Elisabeth Hasselbeck bid a tearful farewell to her co-hosts and audiences after a decade of table talk. Maintaining a positive attitude, Hasselbeck expressed her sadness to leave, but said she is excited about her move to the curvy couch of Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” Despite the kerfuffle surrounding her departure, I recognize that Hasselbeck’s time on this daytime talk show taught America — Christians, conservatives, atheists, and liberals alike — an important lesson about civility.
“The View” consists of five women with diverse backgrounds coming together to discuss political, cultural, and socio-economic hot topics. Hasselbeck is a conservative Christian, while the mainstream political views of her co-hosts (both past and present) are either Left-leaning or full-blown liberal. To be clear, Hasselbeck is not the most ardent social conservative around. However, her absence from “The View,” will mean a little less in variety and, ultimately, a lack of honest discussion at the table.
Do we really need one view five times?
We’ve read countless headlines concerning name-calling and heated debates amongst the show’s co-hosts. And who can forget the infamous quarrel between Rosie O’Donnell and Hasselbeck over the Iraq war back in 2007? These types of divisive arguments make the show.
But what struck me the most about Hasselbeck’s last day on the show was that she did not drudge up past scuffles between her and her colleagues, nor did she focus on her own success. Instead, she offered gracious words of love to the very co-hosts with whom she butted heads. Most notable were the words Hasselbeck offered her most notorious liberal rival, Joy Behar:
Joy and I have spent the last ten years sparing over politics. But, you know, I have the most insane amount of respect for you. I completely honor all the conversations we’ve had, I love your knack with lasagna, and I even love when Joy has the ability to throw a one-liner in and make me laugh even when I don’t want to. So I love you. I truly do.
Neither woman held back in defending their moral values over the last ten years. It’s their passion. It’s also their job. But it’s admirable that Hasselbeck and Behar were able to approach heated issues from very different ideological viewpoints, disagree, and still come back to the “table” as friends. This is not only a good lesson; it is a touching challenge for conservative women.
Even left-leaning Barbara Walters conceded that, “We do feel that you [Hasselbeck] always brought a fresh voice to the show. You stood by your opinions even when things were very heated. That’s not an easy thing to do. And you have been a big part of this show’s success.”
“The View” depicts a tough cultural climate. At times, co-hosts stopped listening to the other side, opting instead to loudly shout out their opinions. And this cultural battle between the Left and the Right is getting more intense, because neither side is looking to be persuaded. We have simply stopped listening to one another. What’s worse, we have stopped loving one another despite our differences.
As a conservative, Christian young woman, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to express my values without being ignored or ejected from the cultural conversation. Honestly, this is infuriating, and my initial response is to fire back with a snarky blog post. Unfortunately, this is akin to kicking the door closed on public discussion.
So how do conservatives — young and old — maintain an open dialogue on heated issues with those who oppose us while still being willing to stand up for our beliefs? The answer may seem clichéd, but it is true, nonetheless: Speaking truth through love and compassion.
This was clearly demonstrated on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol during a women-led pro-life rally supporting HB 2, a bill that aims to stop abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy and implement reasonable health and safety standards on abortion clinics in Texas. Every single speaker did a great job offering encouragement to supporters fighting for life but did not miss the opportunity to extend words of respect, love, and hope to the pro-abortion protestors hurling insults their way. This is truth in love. And this is what keeps the cultural conversation open.
Make no mistake; there is a major difference between compassionate communication and conformity.
“Conformity” these days means that one jettisons their convictions in favor of a “compassionate acceptance” of that which one knows to be wrong. Speaking the truth in love means being able to knit your beliefs to your compassion in such a way that one is never communicated without the other.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s presence on “The View” offered us a good example of this. The petite, blonde woman never backed down from a hostile argument. For that she will be missed. But the real lesson — or legacy — she leaves the show is her refusal to sacrifice neither her passion, nor her compassion.
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