Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Nation of Ideas (Or Oops, my patriotism is showing)

                When a nation such as ours is faced with the corrupting influence of stupidity it’s hard to keep quiet.  I try my best to put a good spin on the daily developments but it’s getting to the point where all the spinning is just making everyone dizzy.  I’m not sure anyone knows where up or down is anymore. I don’t like to get into one-sided political discussions. I think every American in the United States has the right to freely express their ideas and I can certainly afford them the general courtesy of hearing them out; even if their opinion comes from a place of incorrect information, fear, loathing, spite or ignorance. I can listen even if I disagree. In fact, I want them to persuade me to change my mind. I want to hear their words and believe they are indeed well thought out and coherent and built on tried and tested methods of logical thought. I’m not hearing a lot of that though; not at all.

                What I hear is lot of people that are simply afraid and unwilling to reach back into their shared history for examples, information and precedence. I hear reactionary rhetoric from both sides of the political landscape resulting in landslides of mis, dis, and non-information. I don’t hear anything of substance clearly presented or fully vetted by experienced peers. I just hear a lot of heads, on TV, talking and talking about one issue over and over again on hourly loops which never seem to go anywhere and then abandoned the second a new issue hits the presses. There is nothing resolved, solved, explained or even appropriately handled.

                It amazes me that a country built on the foundations of political discourse can be so easily led down the primrose path of simply failing to ask, “Why?” It is our duty to ask why. It is our mission as citizens to ask why and the duty of our elected representatives to provide the answers to those questions. We want to talk about it. We want to know why. They work for us. They should be able to provide us detailed answers.

Why as a citizen do you feel under represented? Why do you feel unsafe? What are you doing in your own community to help alleviate those feelings? Is what you’re doing negatively impacting those around you or are you doing something to help others? We’re a nation of communities, of close knit neighborhoods, and a generalized expectation of the goodness in our fellow citizens. Why are we so terrified all the time?

                I feel at times we’re like children, afraid of the dark and no one seems to be brave enough to get up and stumble through the darkness for a light. They’d rather sit in the dark, pissing themselves in terror than find a way to stop being afraid. The only thing they are afraid of is the unknown, “Fear itself”, as it were.  We don’t have to be afraid of knowledge. We don’t have to be afraid of intelligence. We don’t have to be afraid of emotional intelligence. We don’t have to be scared of empathy, of sympathy, or that people are, “out to get us”.

                We might be a little punch-drunk in all reality. We were effectively the Global Champions, a nation of immigrants and migrants that successfully built a country from disparate points of view, to stacking up political and military victories like some sort of Rocky Balboa. We took a lot of hits during that time though. We were unsuccessful on a few military fronts, we were held back by puritanical/segregated/populist beliefs at home, social and economic down swings and failed domestic policies. We’re still the best contender but we’re a little jangly in our form. We know what we want to say but we have a hard time articulating now, since we’ve taken so many blows to the head.  We’re a little more reactionary and put our foot in our mouths more often than we used to. Our intentions are good but our execution is somehow muddled due to the number or rounds we’ve been in.

                We’re a nation of amazing contradictions, double-standards, stupidity and sometimes insane points of view yet we persist in spite of ourselves. It has always been that way and it always takes an incredible effort of the people to change anything. This is a country of viewpoints, perspectives and ideals and is far greater than something drawn on a map. We have to remember that the United States of America isn’t a place really, but an idea.

                It is our duty to reinvigorate that idea though diligent exploration of ourselves, our collective desires as a nation and as a people.  We must not be led astray by populist zealots, by fear mongers, by war hawks, racial separatists, or those that seek personal power over the good of the people. We must not be suckered by those that wish to dilute the purpose of the United States of America by keeping us stupid or in the dark. We have to stay alert, sharp, and focused on the things that have made this experimental nation a success and avoid the policies of ignorance that have held us back.
We’re a nation of fighters, idealists, thinkers and innovators from all over the world, believing together in something unprecedented in human history; that a nation of ideas can be stronger than any nation of barriers. We will not let the corruption of stupidity take hold. 

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