l’ve decided it’s time to get a little perspective on the things which have been ailing this nation. If you don’t like reading stuff which challenges your way of thinking, or makes you consider other points of view, this may not be the right blog to peruse.
If you have no problem with learning something new and challenging yourself, then get ready for a clinic.
What is the definition of “conservative?”
What is the definition of “liberal?”
We’ve forgotten who we are, and what we really want.
Do we want the America of the 1950s? Some people are stuck in a warped world that has been foisted upon them by pop culture, showing us a nation which was happy, economically robust and had no problems. In the eyes of these folks, we were one big happy country, everyone led moral lives, crime was low, and social problems weren’t spoken of because they didn’t exist. Life was meant to be lived out like a 20 minute television plot, and what was bad for you was only so because some eggheads who weren’t tough enough to make in private life had to control everything. It was “better dead than Red,” and we were damned proud of it. These folks never really grew up, and electing a minority President was their worst nightmare made manifest.
Do we want the America of the 1960s? Others are stuck in a perverse world which states never to trust anyone over 40, get high, stoned, and make love, not war. To them, the world was about railing against “the man,” and nobody should have to work hard to achieve fortune or status. Capitalism was the devil, socialism and communism was groovy, and those in power just didn’t “get it.” The only way to stop war was to overthrow the very institutions which stood for everything evil and wrong. America was the bully, not the hero, and we were running roughshod over smaller nations in the interest of supporting industrial imperialist pigs who merely wanted to enslave. Marriage was passe, God was dead, and the notion of rules was something which was squares and fuddy-duddies. These folks also never really grew up, and a white good ol’ boy from a connected old money family being elected President was the realization of all their worst fears.
Do we want the America of the 1970s? I think everyone can agree that particular decade sucked so much that our brief dalliance with the culture of that time was dismissed as a very bad trip, pun entirely dependent on point of view.
Do we want the America of the 1980s? How about the 1990s? After all, both decades saw Olympic games played in our nation, both eras saw Presidents who were both reviled and adored, and saw culture wars wages on both sides. There were booms, and busts, and national debates and ideological foolishness threatened to tear us apart. Still, we held together, and the nation continued on.
So what America do we really want? Who are we really? Conservatives say we are a “red” nation. Liberals say we are a “blue” nation. Is it really that simple? Are we really a nation which can be explained with a “paint by numbers” template?
As an American, I am both proud and ashamed of my country, and my fellow citizens. Rather than trying to find common ground and compromise, we continue our foolish dash down the ideological road towards an ending which is neither enlightening nor hopeful. Rather than allowing ourselves to consider alternate points of view, we have resigned ourselves to be content with the “echo chamber” mentality of like-minded commentators, pundits, entertainers and politicos. Nobody wants to consider another’s perspective, and few souls wish to express their disdain for a nation which has lost its way.
This entry is written and published in the desperate hope that we can overcome our prejudices towards others, and our seeming unstoppable predilection towards ideology-based conflict. What good is it to fight a war when nobody wins and everyone loses? A war of principle is only worthy when the principle is truly absolute. Fighting wars of faith and morality too often end in extremists taking power, and freedoms squelched in favor of a twisted moral dictate. The words and ideas of Mr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and others are beginning to be regarded as obsolete by so many who feel as though the world doesn’t care about them. Rather than looking for ways to lift others up, those in power have convinced us to look down upon these folks as being malcontents, lazy, uneducated, and backwards.
The most striking example of this attitude came some months ago from retired radio host Neal Boortz, who admitted to being a “culturalist,” a term which describes one as believing their culture superior to others. This mindset is pervasive in the minds of many and, while some cultures are violent and repressive, we are neither superior, nor are we inferior. We merely are.
Here is the sort of America I wish to see someday, and I hope to live long enough to realize that vision.
I would love to see an America in which the promise of the “new world” boldly envisioned by our Founding Fathers is actualized. I would love to see a sundering of our dependence on the words of plutocrats to guide our passions. I would love to see Dr. King’s words ring true everywhere, not just where it is convenient or profitable. I would love to see Abraham Lincoln’s statement of a nation of the people, by the people and for the people, truly be reclaimed as our national birthright. I would love to see Susan B. Anthony’s dream of universal suffrage and treatment of all genders become something that others don’t simply dismiss as socialist nonsense. I would love to see America become the more perfect union I know it is capable of being.
This requires one thing I would love to see happen – those who masquerade as adults but are, in essence, children, step aside and let the grown-ups come in fix things. I’d love to be able to hand this nation to our children and our children’s children in better shape that I found it, and I would love to be able to say “We fixed it. Please, be better than we were, and don’t break it again.”