How did we get to where we are today in America, divided along lines of ethnicity, religion and wealth while embracing socialism now more than at any other time in our short history? Our country was built on individualism and freedom which is the antithesis of Socialism. We embraced independent thought and discussion and we weren’t afraid of failure but used those trials to create something better. When someone needed help out of a tough situation the people of the US were the first to help regardless of where in the world they were because we could and because it’s the right thing to do. When our own citizens were suffering and changes could be made to improve conditions, we made changes, even if it meant going to war with ourselves. Have we been perfect, are there warts in our history? Of course, people like Margaret Sanger sadly attempted to create a monochrome society with her eugenics theories. Segregation and Jim Crow laws were terrible ideas as well, but we discuss issues and make changes to improve as a society, sometimes at glacial speed and against the odds but we continue to discuss issues openly and change because it’s the right thing to do. This summer we faced “peaceful” riots where businesses were destroyed people were threatened or killed because they were in the wrong place or they believed in the wrong idea. Now we’re silenced in the public marketplace of ideas if we dare to raise legitimate concerns about inequities occurring all around us. This country was founded in a time that was just as difficult, if not worse, and look what we created – Amazing. We will do it again because we are a freedom loving society and the few boisterous people who want to suppress us won’t succeed because freedom and helping individuals succeed on their own is what we have always done.
This past year we’ve been faced with a few thorny issues that need us to pull together as a society to resolve them. Issues like a pandemic virus, a portion of our government fixated on removing our freedoms and shutting everything and everyone down. Unrest and riots in a few of our cities over the summer, leading up to outright censorship of ideas. We can’t discuss the merits of what is happening in our country, we can only hold a single homogenous belief under the threat of ridicule or outright banishment from society. Our country was well designed to deal with these issues very smoothly and efficiently. Once we began understanding the virus better, we began opening up different parts of the country. The government with the aid of private enterprise not only began working through a vaccine for the virus but when it was discovered we no longer had protective gear stockpiled, private industry jumped in and created it. This is not a surprise to anyone who knows our history. If there is any surprise, it is how quickly the brakes were applied to this rapid movement towards success and this is where the question of how we got to where we are, comes in.
There was no single event, and there is no grand conspiracy with a single individual, such as George Sorus, pulling strings that has brought us to this point of discord within the country. I’ve found this is a result in changes over the long term of generally held beliefs leading to changes in behavior. A simple redefinition of a common word or phrase is sufficient, followed by a steady, persistent accumulation of many like-minded comments that moves the bar of what is considered reasonable. What we’ve seen over this past year, (& throughout history), is the politicians and most of the news anchors don’t seem to require actual truth to make their point, only the perception of truth. Something’s said that sounds reasonable on the surface and said with a sense of confidence and with a sense of authority that implies “You’re a fool if you disagree”, (substitute racist, misogynist, homophobe or other words for fool and you get the picture), and it becomes easier to accept it at some level than to try to dispute the accuracy. The first few times you hear it you might think it ridiculous but after a time … Ya, that makes sense. One of my favorites and least inflammatory is “science-denier”. It gets applied to everything from how much society can affect the environment, to almost all things related to CoVid 19, especially related to the question of lock down or not to lock down. In every case the challenger is relying on emotion to make their case because legitimate facts, as opposed to pseudo facts, are not present to support the argument. The latest example of this persistent incremental change has been implemented by Ms. Pelosi with the changes in the House rules to be gender neutral. Any new legislation must not carry the gender label, no more reference to father or mother, now it’s parent, sibling instead of brother or sister, cousin of sibling instead of niece or nephew, you get the picture. To what end? You can draw your own conclusion of this but with comments made by Hilary a few years ago and other member of congress about the village, or comments by Obama about how you didn’t build it, (speaking of your company), it occurs to me this is slowly taking away what truly makes the US unique among all other countries and over time – our independence and individualism. Before you pass this off as wild conspiracy theory consider this is one of philosophical idealism. Independent individuals are much more difficult to control. They think for themselves and thus have no need of others to tell them what is best for them. The British elites did that to their subjects 300 years ago and attempted to do that to us 250 years ago. It didn’t work then and won’t work now.
Along these lines of incremental comments a little thornier issue of systemic racism has been creeping into our daily lives this past year. My previous article about “What is America …” addresses a small portion of this subject and I let people know where I stand on it. Racism of any kind is unacceptable but most of it comes from a lack of knowledge and an unwillingness to look at someone else’s point of view. The Lincoln Project and 1619 project both cover one side of the issue without attempting to address all the different aspects. The result is over generalization and simplification of issues. It makes it easier for people to make blanket statements such as the one by Netta Jenkins, a Diversity & Inclusion Executive and Advisory Board Member. From her comments about last Wednesday’s riot she seems to know exactly who was responsible for breaking into the Capital building. First off, she shows a picture of Eugene Goodman of the Capital Police confronting the crowd in the capital building. She describes him, rightfully so, as a hero for redirecting the crowd away from the House chamber. This has been a summer of hell for our police officers across the country so it’s nice to give them credit for the good work they do. My objection to Ms. Jenkins comments stem from a very easily overlooked reference to the White Supremacists implying it was only they who overran the Capital building. To be certain there may have been some White Supremacists in the group, but the implication is they were all White Supremacists. I don’t believe for a minute the blacks involved in this group would want any association with White Supremacy and the Antifa supporters that have already been identified in the group were more likely there to foment chaos and destruction, certainly not supporting White Supremacy. So why create the implication? Small steps repeated over and over until it becomes the norm.
Words matter and generally when labels are applied, it is not a good thing. As intelligent, thinking people we have to discern everything media tells us as fact – it wasn’t just white supremacists who breached the Capital building, but several different factions did for their own purposes. We must question authority whether that is in the form of the Press or the Government in order to keep either of them accountable to “We the People”. This means all authority not just Trump. How many times has the press in general or Obama, Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, Swalwell, or Schiff told us to believe something that never was true? Affordable Health Care Act would drop prices, you can keep your Doctor, shovel ready jobs, we can’t bring manufacturing back to the US, we have evidence he Colluded with Russia, it would take a miracle to produce and distribute a vaccine by summer 2021 let alone the end of the year. None of these issues were ever challenged in any meaningful way. Let’s do something different for a change, unlike our societal snowflakes, (Twitter, Facebook, AWS), let’s discuss the issues without shutting down anyone who holds a different point of view. Words matter and the interpretation of facts matter. The smartest person in the room is not one person but the objective discussion of differing ideas, that’s the true benefit of diversity, not “labeling-absolutism.”