What Has Happened To Us?
How did we get to this stage as a country? Millions of Americans can no longer discuss things. Things like elections. And climate change, the Mueller Report. And impeachment and foreign policies.
Too many of us dare not speak of such. Not among friends and family. And certainly not among strangers. Because we fear a blast-back. “WHAT? GOD, YOU’RE ONE OF THEM, EH?”
Many of us face this ridiculous situation: We could gather our dearest friends and family at a party. Two nights before the presidential election. And people would avoid — absolutely avoid — any talk about what was uppermost in their thoughts — the election.
Oh, they would talk with those they knew agreed with them. Otherwise, silence. No politics please, we’re Americans.
How did we get to this sad state? Millions fear speaking out. Because someone at work will retaliate against them. Will bushwhack their promotion. Or socially ostracize them.
Recent surveys reveal hiring prejudices. Reveal? Hah! They are not secret. Many hiring managers won’t hire certain people because of their political views. They unearth those views by checking out the candidates’ social media entries. Facebook revenge.
We know this prejudice is in full force in journalism. Try getting a big job in Big Media if you are an outspoken conservative. We know this prejudice is common practice on college campuses. In many universities you simply won’t get hired if you have the wrong political views. If you do manage to slip by, you had better keep your mouth shut. Otherwise, forget about tenure.
How did we decline to this state? When did we learn to hammer our opinions into weapons? When did we learn to classify others? And to brand them as acceptable, or undesirable?
How on earth did so many of us grow sooooo sensitive to another’s point of view? How did so many students become as delicate as meringue? They shatter into pieces when they hear certain words. Comedians refuse to perform on campuses these days. The students won’t let them joke about anything.
On other occasions students do the opposite. They riot because some speaker might say something that offends them. Who taught them to behave like thugs?
Has some evil force descended upon this country? Has it brainwashed us? So that we insult and threaten people who hold a placard or wear a hat or tee-shirt whose message we don’t agree with. What the hell is the matter with us?
How did our Congress become a nest of vipers? Its members snipe, insult, berate and attack like a cage full of animals. Wait. That is an insult to the animals.
When did Hollywood descend to such vulgar depths. Every other day some star calls our president a vulgar term.
Stars and other critics used to say “I just don’t like him or his policies.” Now they snarl with insults. How did this come about?
When did Big Media toss in the towel? They don’t even pretend to try to be balanced any more. How did we get so many nasty people on television? They take swigs from the hyperbole bottle. Then they spew exaggerated vile upon their opponents. And when did we signal to the networks that we like this crap? That we are happy to be entertained by these vulgarities?
When did this tide of un-civil behavior creep into this nation? Inch by inch it rose, poisoning the well of civil discourse. And polluting the air with its fetid fumes. Why we had more civil conversations among the drunks in my dad’s saloon than we allow on our national scene.
For example, this administration wants to host a national discussion on climate change. A lot of our distinguished scientists wish for this. Because they disagree with the party line. Can we have such a discussion on this important subject? Nah. THESE REPROBATE CLIMATE DENIERS BELONG IN JAIL! NINETY-SEVEN PERCENT OF SCIENTISTS…. (Which is rubbish, by the way. And, recall, that 98.9 percent of the world’s nutrition researchers all agreed on what caused heart disease in 1976. Their beliefs then are pretty much rejected today.)
But my point is that we cannot even stage a national discussion. We are not civil enough as a nation to allow it.
It seems to me that too much of this nation sucks down cocktails of bile. Then knocks off plates of appetizers of vengeance. Then chews on hunks of resentment and revenge for a main course. And finishes off with desserts of purified poison. Some menu. Some heartburn.
How did we reach this point?