We’ve seen and experienced a significant change in American society in the US over the past 12 years. There has been a significant yet subtle increase in the divisiveness of political philosophies as well as a furthering of class warfare. For a time we were all working together whether you embraced the liberal, conservative, Democrat, or Republican ideologies. As a result of working together, the US citizens voted in the first Black American to the presidency. Most Americans believed this would continue to bring unity to this country, I hoped this was the case but after reading and hearing about the circle of individuals Presidential candidate Obama surrounded himself with, I didn’t expect it. Then when First Lady Michelle gave her acceptance speech and said this was the first time she could feel proud to be an American I realized the Obama family viewed unity in the US vastly different than many of us did. The press saw her speech, and commented on it as such, saying she was simply proud that we had elected a Black American as President. If the press had been correct about her statement being nothing more than this simple heart-felt message, then that would be awesome!
When thinking critically about what First Lady Michelle said, because words and phrases matter, you must ask a simple question, where was the acknowledgment of the many other aspects of our country’s actions in the world let alone within our borders for us to be proud of? Where was the nod to the millions of $ spent each year on countries that do not have the ability or the willingness to help less fortunate people regardless of political or social beliefs, or how about all the individuals within our country who are willing to set aside personal safety to protect others from harm? I believe many examples in our history define us as Americans and make us proud to hold our heads up high but in her speech, Michelle emphasized the First time she was proud to be an American. Words matter and how they are used matters, as Thomas Sowell teaches, we must be aware of the words themselves and the emphasis placed in the conversation/speech.
If there were still questions, (always question what you hear and read), as to how the Obama family viewed unity in this country, fast forward a short time later to the infamous “beer summit” where President Obama invited the Harvard University Professor to meet with the Law Enforcement Officer who arrested him for disorderly conduct resulting from suspected “breaking and entering” into a residence. They met in the Rose Garden of the White House to discuss their differences. The problem with this so-called Summit is the Harvard Professor escalated what should have been a simple misunderstanding into a major race issue by refusing to cooperate with a Law Enforcement Officer who was investigating suspicious activity reported by a concerned neighbor. President Obama decided he knew better what the underlying issue was without understanding all the circumstances and as we all found out in subsequent days he believed the underlying issue is law enforcement is inherently racist. Maybe there are a few who are but the vast majority are ready to lay down their lives for you and I and our initial assumption should be this point. Racism is a highly emotionally charged subject that is very divisive and hateful. We have laws on the books designed to confront this issue & for the most part, we have an integrated police force with the will to fight racism. The overt reason to introduce racism into a situation that did not involve racism, to begin with, is unclear. I’m not able to read President Obama’s mind but his actions were not those of someone who is colorblind, as we all had hoped, and it had the effect of increasing divisiveness and fomented hatred & distrust.
Over the next 6 years, it seems divisiveness and racism had increased. Reasonable calls to reduce the influx of illegal border crossings were countered with charges of racism and war on the poor and underprivileged, (class warfare). All discussion was shut down if it did not concur with the Democrat viewpoint. Decreasing job participation rates forced more people on welfare and increasing demands for climate control further divided Americans along economic lines and no one seemed willing to step up to look out for the common man other than simple lip service. People like Paul Ryan, John McCain, the Gang of 8, and the Gang of 16 all seemed to be fine with this discourse. It had become the norm to highlight racism instead of the good, the class warfare instead of the ability to create jobs, in short, the hatred embedded in racism and class warfare were the way of life. I still maintain that although we weren’t perfect, we were improving every day as long as we had a path to working together instead of being torn apart by rhetoric.
Throughout Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama we got used to a certain way of doing things. The power structure was settled. Those that understood the “Game” would succeed whether or not they were competent or not and Hillary was next in line, she had played the game and paid her dues. Then the frustration of the general public, the “flyover” country, the “despicable” K-Mart shoppers reached the boiling point and we voted in a candidate promising to listen to us instead of playing their game and suddenly the game changed. We all got tired of politics of racism, politics of class warfare, and of hatred which no one talked about, and decided we wanted good old fashion politics of the American dream of entrepreneurship, independence, and freedom. The attitude of Nike’s campaign slogan “Just Do It” became the de-facto action of everyone who could, instead of the previous “You didn’t build that!” dependency. So what happened in the last 4 years? We’ve suffered through claims of Trump being a Russian spy, (lackey of Putin), a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, a xenophobe, and what else? Very disturbing accusations which it turns out were all lies, pushed through by the democrat party. The accusers could never produce any tangible evidence of cooperation with the Russians, at least by the Trump administration although the surface evidence looks very damning for the democrats, specifically Hillary’s campaign. If Trump had been a racist he failed miserably since black Americans saw their unemployment rates drop and income increase during the Trump administration. More strong women were placed in positions of power during Trump’s administration than any of the previous 4 administrations, kind of a failure in the misogyny department as well. What about all the tweets? Well, they certainly brought to light some personal failures of a number of individuals and they certainly weren’t polite like Obama would have said but then did Obama really tell us anything, or did he just lie to us? Create 5 million green jobs or even create shovel-ready jobs? You can keep your health care plan if you like it? How about that wonderful hot mike moment talking to the Russian President Medvedev when he said to relay to Putin he’d have a lot more flexibility in negotiating with Putin once he was re-elected. Not sure that’s a better person.
So the question that needs to be answered with some honest self-reflection and thinking critically becomes what is the democrat party offering us? Is it one of personal growth, or dependency, a message of becoming a better person or victimhood? Are we racist or do we find a way to overcome our shortcomings, and can we rise above poverty to become middle-class or even upper-class citizens? Are we for a party who seems, at least in general to accuse our neighbor of hatred, or do we try to help our neighbor regardless of what they think of us because they could really use our help? The trending question seems to be is the Republican party split and will Donald Trump be able to garner enough support to continue his legacy? I hear the pundits proclaim, with authority, that Trump will not succeed because he is the party of hate and we’ve all moved on. After thinking critically about it I realize one major change. The American public is not supporting the previous idea of a privileged ruling class that was “guiding us” because they knew better. The few holdovers (namely 7 republicans) will likely face significant backlash in the next election. Of course, there are many people whom I count as friends that lean towards the Democrats and they are all good people. When we can discuss issues, we always find commonality in our desires, unfortunately too often they’ve heard things said or written which aren’t even logical if principles of thinking critically are applied to the subject. To say Trump is the party of hate is to ignore all the people who were helped and to ignore all the lies that were told about him. In the coming days and months, there will be many more issues that come to light. Apply some objective thought to all of it and continue to question the motives of those whom you hear it from, especially if it sounds like it comes from your junior high school days. As always thanks for taking the time to read this article and I hope it brings new ideas to mind. Leave me a message and let me know what you think.
As an addendum to this article I would like to say a heartfelt Thanks to Mr. Rush Limbaugh, arguably the most influential individual in talk radio but more importantly he was able to change how we discuss issues and think about issues we deal with every day. You were someone who wanted to hear objective opinions from all walks of life and all ideologies. May you rest in peace and may your ideals and thirst for knowledge continue on!!!