Since the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, protests and riots have swept across the nation. The new President has signed executive order after executive order, and the country is more polarized than ever. The more I look at things, the more I can see the origins of a lot of these issues and it comes down to a saying by the late pro football coach Vince Lombardi:
“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
Somewhere along the way, both the left and the right decided that their way was the not only the right way, but the only way to run things. Instead of being open to new ideas and practicing moderation, extremism took root, aided by the absolutism made fertile by talk radio hosts, many of whom have turned out to be, themselves, outright hypocrites. Both left and right pointed the finger at each other, decrying the other’s way as “evil” and “corrupt,” tossing about buzzwords like “income redistribution,” “globalism,” “market freedom” and “indoctrination.”
In the end, both sides are guilty of fomenting national discord for the sake of their own ambitions and avarice. Both extremes are akin to fans of opposing teams in the Super Bowl who use the exact same offensive and defensive strategies. The only differences are the cities represented, team colors and the one massive variable: personalities.
This year’s Super Bowl is a great example. New England’s Tom Brady is a person who draws absolute reactions. You either love him or you hate him. You either admire his guile for exploiting lax rules enforcement with “deflategate,” or he is a cheater. For Atlanta, you either love Matt Ryan for his stoicness in games and his ability to heave the ball downfield with stunning accuracy, or you hate him for his occasional post game showboating and arrogance or the demands of owner Arthur Blank. Long story short, team affiliation and cults of personalities determine the fan base.
America’s political landscape is much the same way anymore. It’s no longer about “what’s right for America.” Rather, many citizens have become so fed up with the demands of either side, their rhetoric, and the approach to life their supporters take, the “win at all costs” attitude has permeated American politics. You either love Donald Trump and what he espouses, or you loved Hillary Clinton. Anyone who isn’t on the side of an extreme allegiance is a gutless moderate, or an independent who is immediately picked apart for which side of the ideological aisle they most identify with, regardless of if their heart is good.
We are no longer a nation which compromises for the good of all; we are a country obsessed with winning and being “right,” even if being right means may the good of the nation be damned, so long as our side prevails. We no longer see shades of gray, or the empty spaces in between the argument where facts get lost in the name of victory. It is now black and white terms: good and evil, order and chaos, life and death, left and right….and zero in between allowed.
Both sides are guilty on this one. The far right has pushed gun rights, the far left gun restriction. The far right pushes free market and free will as the answer to everything, while the far left pushes government as the solution. Both sides point the finger at each other when something goes wrong. A great idea is only a great idea of our side came up with it. If one side comes up with a truly great idea, the other side will do everything they can to stop it, and vice versa. Why? Because it wasn’t their idea. They can’t take credit, so they want no part of it.
This is where our nation has been taken. Compromise is death. Bipartisanship is evil. The left will destroy the rights of all. The right will destroy the rights of all. They are both the same, but they are different. The left wants people to be lifted up, but so does the right. The only difference is the means it happens and who at the very top benefits. It’s old money family rivalries on a global scale. The same monster with two heads and the same master manipulating both heads, in this case the people are the brains inside the heads, to fight each other.
Did it not occur to anyone here that if a world leader with access to nuclear weapons gets into a pissing match with another world leader with nuclear weapons in this age of “pride before prudence,” things could end VERY VERY BADLY? This is not the old Cold War era where world leaders understood the concept of mutual assured destruction. In this era where all that matters is winning, regardless of the cost, MAD isn’t really so crazy anymore. It’s considered “acceptable risk.”
That said, here’s something think about: all the protests and guns on earth won’t mean shit if there’s nothing left to protest or no one to kill. Yes, people are angry at each other and there are powerful people making a ton of money off pitting us against each other, but do you really think any of them give a damn about YOU when the mushroom clouds start rising? They already planned for this years ago. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, anyone who thinks those in position of true power haven’t found some way to gain from a world atomic holocaust are sadly mistaken. They get to rebuild the world, only the way they see fit.
We can stop all this madness, but we need to focus on what we see happening, not the rhetoric being said or the memes being posted. Focus on what’s real instead of what is imagined. We still have a judicial system and civilian control of our military. I know people are saying we need to strike “just in case.” What is that going to accomplish? To all of you wanting a civil war to settle it all, do you really think that dying for SOMEONE ELSE’S CHECKBOOK is more important than the ideals espoused in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, because I guarantee you that most of your radio and television pundits and commentators, liberal or conservative, couldn’t remember the Bill of Rights, much less which state first ratified the constitution. They CAN, however, remember their bank account number and safe combination, easily.
Those want to die, or are okay with friends and loved ones dying, to impose their worldview of America on everyone else, are EXACTLY the sort of danger George Washington spoke of in his farewell address. We need to take a long hard look in the mirror as a nation, stop worrying about who is offended by who said what and what injustice was committed by people long dead, and instead focus on the injustices being committed right now, against us by each other. We need to look at our current immigrants who may not have gotten here legally, but are law abiding otherwise and a great source of tax revenue. We need to look at our homeless and see how much of it is true laziness and how much of it is actually mental illness which, once treated effectively, can unlock the minds of potential geniuses. We need to feed our hungry children so they can feel compassion and grow into compassionate adult instead of bitter children in adult bodies vying for the power they never knew in youth. We need to help our veterans who our leaders have come to view as similar to sanitary napkins; something to absorb political blood in photo ops and rituals, but disposed of once they’ve outlived their usefulness. We need to address the reality that racial tensions exist not so much as the result of what happened over a century ago, but the mistrust formed between races because of old fears turned into old wives tales, which have in turn become cultural norms.
Finally we need to remember and accept that assimilation does not mean elimination. A people can become law abiding productive citizens without being forced to abandon their cultures and customs. Immigrants should have to learn our language, history and abide by our laws but should not be required to abandon their heritage and culture in their own homes.
Yes, there will always be those who wish to harm us, but we should never do the work for them, and our current political climate is doing just that. We are truly doing our enemies’ dirty work. We can, we must, learn to listen to the better angels of our nature. That is what a “more perfect union” is about, after all.