How did we get here?
I keep asking myself that same questions over and over again the past couple of days. How did we get to a point in this society where ideas are not up for debate? How did we get to a point to where someone else’s view is more important than their fellow citizen?
Elections are supposed to help ‘correct’ our government from the problems it has been facing the past many years. The truth is for every extremely happy person with our government, there’s someone who is equally unhappy. The changes in office and parties usually help us to find a balance so that everyone can feel somewhat happy with their government at what time or another. It’s how our type of democracy works. We’re not always going to get what you want and sometimes we’re going to be very unhappy with the end result. We move on though. We try again next time and hope that we get something better.
My candidate didn’t win this election cycle. As a matter of fact, my candidate hasn’t won the election cycle since I’ve been legally able to vote. I’ve voted in four presidential elections now. I accept the results for what they are and keep pushing my ideas for next time. It’s all that can be done. Nothing good will come of me taking to the streets, starting riots, burning dumpsters, breaking windows, beating up people who oppose me, name calling, etc. It just would make me look like a fool. I won’t lie. I do protest in my own way with social media being so relevant. I post things that some might find offensive and others I post just to see what others have to say. I hold no opinion on them necessarily. The point is though, I keep the conversation going instead of trying to silence those who might disagree.
I wrote an article several years ago, ‘The Loss of A Generation: How We Let Fear Ruin Our Children.’ describing the perils of coddling and pacifying a generation. The results of that are the protests we are seeing in our streets today. We are seeing those who do not know how to handle a loss because they do not understand what it means to be told ‘no, you can’t have this.’ They are throwing a temper tantrum in hopes that someone will give them what they want. Instead of going back to the drawing board and attempting to educate themselves they choose to yell at and use profanities at people who disagree with what they are doing. The sad part being, these kids are our future.
Civil discourse is a wonderful thing when its actually used. However these protests go far beyond trying to start a conversation. They’re far beyond anyone wanting to take these people seriously. Why did we get this way as a nation though? We saw this in 2008 when they called anyone a ‘racist’ if they didn’t vote for candidate Barack Obama at the time. They could not fathom that someone actually understood what policy was. They didn’t understand that the very racism they were fighting against, was the very racism they were perpetrating by voting for President Obama just because he was black. Just as the sexism that existed this past Tuesday from those who votes for Hillary strictly because she was a woman.
We are a country with different views, with different ideas among her people. We are diverse in so many ways intellectually that our physical characteristics should be irrelevant. However it’s easier to debate what we see than what we do not. We cannot see into one’s heart and we cannot read their mind so we focus on that which we can visualize. The first election we had in this country where the Presidential debates were televised was in 1960. Many people at the time who listened on the radio believed that Nixon won. However Kennedy was a young and attractive playboy to many and he won the television crowd. Ironically attracting a lot of women voters thanks to this. Nixon’s content was better to those who listened, yet the country elected the ‘more handsome’ candidate at the time. Maybe television took away our ability to think?
The technological evolution from television, to the internet, and now instant updates on smartphones via Twitter, Facebook, etc. We are a society that has others thinking for us. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips, yet no knowledge to back it up. We take little quips and treat them as fact. We take one comment; that was taken out of context many times, and use it to describe someone’s entire moral character. With the lack of knowledge we see the name calling and lack of patience for those who do not share our views. We reward those who just ‘participate’ in events in life and then we do not understand why those same people get upset when they actually lose for the first time.
We have to change the way people live. We have to move backwards as a society to a point where we force the media to be accountable for their actions. I hate to say it, but the first amendment that protects the media is dangerous in this day and age. The media is responsible for so much misinformation and harm that the dishonesty that is put out there makes everything look like a big tabloid. While it’s up to the people to educate themselves, it becomes difficult to educate among so much misinformation. Don’t get me wrong, I am not calling for us to repeal the first amendment at all. I’m simply saying we need to figure out a way as a society to ensure that purposeful lack of integrity goes out the window. The ‘oops mentality’ in an information age has caused much more harm than good. Those that abuse this power know it and continue to do so.
We need to sit down together and talk. We need to sit down together and listen. If we actually listened to our neighbors, listened to their concerns, and didn’t fight back immediately if we heard something we disagree with, maybe we could evolve and grow. We are supposed to be an intelligent species yet we let our animal instincts take control. I’ll debate anyone on any day of the week if they want as long as they give me the same courtesy that I would give them. This is what we should all do. It is what we should all strive to do. Silence only those who are not willing to listen. For if you are not willing to give your neighbor a voice, then your voice is irrelevant as well.