Do people actually listen to what is said?

Why have knee-jerk reactions to people’s opinions become so acceptable?

It seems as though every couple of months some celebrity or politician speaks his or her mind and controversy erupts.

The latest incident involves Hank Williams Jr. and his comments last week on “Fox and Friends” when he compared President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner playing golf together to Adolph Hitler and Benjamin Netanyahu — the current Prime Minister of Isreal — hitting the course together for a round of golf.

The controversy irrupted immediately. People were so upset Williams compared Obama to Hitler that ESPN decided not to use Williams’ song to introduce “Monday Night Football.”

The problem is Williams never compared Obama to Hitler. Although Williams has been a critic of Obama, for all anybody knows, Boehner could have been Hitler in the analogy.

What Williams was trying to convey is that Obama and Boehner are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Both have butted heads in recent months and have been two of the polarizing figures driving the partisan gridlock dominating Washington, D.C.

In that regard his analogy is a fitting one, although it is a poor choice of historical figures. Hitler is perhaps viewed as the most evil person to ever walk the planet and his name should not be used to make comparisons unless you are talking about other men who have supported the mass murder of millions of people.

That being said, people did not listen to what Williams was actually saying and jumped to a false conclusion. The result was the end of a 20-year relationship between Williams and “Monday Night Football.”

In the week since the controversy began Williams has apologized to anybody he might have offended, but has stood by his right to express his opinions.

He should have known better than to make that analogy, but at the same time people should have listened to what he said instead of jumping to conclusions.

That is one of the biggest problems with this country right now. People want to make quick judgments without paying attention to what is going on. This is troubling considering we are heading into a presidential election year.

A similar incident could cause a strong candidate to be portrayed in an unfavorable light and allow a poor candidate to gain office. The country is in such poor shape now that we can no longer afford for bad candidates to take office and make matters worse.

When somebody says something, no matter how unpopular or controversial it might seem at first, examine the comments thoroughly before making a judgment.

Knee-jerk reactions are rarely a good thing — especially when it comes to politics.