A Two Roads Post…
I have been wanting to put pen to paper on some of my deeper thoughts and feelings on so much of where we are at right now as a country. I have hesitated due to the toxicity that exists in an on-demand cancel culture where history is being edited in real time.
As I was putting some thoughts together, I was reviewing some of my previous articles wen I came across this one I wrote this on 9/25/2017… unfortunately we still have not learned from the past and our history as we seem to continue to repeat the same divisiveness, only escalating it each time it cycles back through.
We HAVE to do a better job as a people, we HAVE to find a way though this to preserve our perfectly imperfect union. We are and have been under attack, and the sheeple mentality is playing right into their plans. We are giving the game away here, forfeiting without a fight… we must WAKE UP and UNITE!
At any rate, those are just the opinions of one man, an Average Joe…
The older I get, the slower I am to speak on things. I know… a far cry from who I was when I was a bit younger and jumped at the opportunity to speak my peace on all things. A wise man once shared with me the very wise words of Mark Twain, “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” Now I am in no way saying all people are stupid…but most people on the internet and on social media at the very least act stupid when it comes to these types of things.
As I have put forth great effort to remain silent on so many of the events in today’s world in which we live in, I am unable to escape the subjects online, on tv, in sports…, at work, and now at home with my kids. When I hear their opinions and thoughts on such matters come out as recycled points of view of celebrities and athletes and others in the media – it concerns me. When I engage with them and their basis for their position is unfounded and shallow at that – it concerns me even greater. I am in no way trying to raise sheeple. I want my children to be strong and independent thinkers. I want them to be passionate about how they feel and armed with fact to support their points of view. I also want them to never stop listening to other sides of the debate though. They can never stop listening, because that would result in them stopping to think.
“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
I love history because it is a source of wisdom. What concerns me so much in society today is that we do not learn or follow history, instead we make it up. It should be no surprise that in 2017, when we should be seeing the greatest times in humanity…we are moving closer and closer to the dark ages with the divisiveness that plagues our nation.
The irony in more recent polarizing issues is how incredibly wrong both sides are. Take for example the issue of Confederate monuments and symbols. Robert E. Lee is a figure that has gained notoriety in the demands for his removal and erasing from all monuments and buildings who bear his image and name. You have those who have villainized him, and then there are those who are using him as a rallying point to defend the heritage of the south. If only folks would learn their history, they would realize how wrong they all are.
To those who oppose these monuments and symbols…guess what? The general himself was of the first to champion that cause. He spoke out against raising of such monuments, was against the flying of the rebel flag, and demanded that there be no symbols of the confederacy used at his funeral. He believed that the country should move past the war, and that countries that erased visible signs of civil war recovered from conflicts quicker. On a Gettysburg memorial, he wrote, “I think it wiser not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.”
He worried that keeping such symbols alive, would only keep the divisions alive too. In response to the erections of a monument to honor Stonewall Jackson, Lee wrote, “As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated, my conviction is, that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempting in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishments of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labor.” Lee swore allegiance to the Union and publicly decried southern separatism whither it be militant or symbolic.
So, for those still burning the candle for heritage and history not hate…listen to the man you revere the most. It’s over, was over a long time ago, and it is long since time to move on. We are one nation, and we should act as such.
I know many of you may be shocked right now, on both sides of the aisle for this one, the truth hurts sometimes. The beauty of history though, is that we can learn from it. The lesson that should be learned from Lee’s example is one of acceptance of change, acknowledgement that actions have consequences, and a commitment to unity.
Now to dive deeper into the divisiveness our country is facing today, and the now larger than life debate over kneeling during our Nation’s Anthem, along with the battle against the media in all forms. I want to be clear, this writer is a proud American who supports our constitution in its entirety. I do not cherry pick the amendments and pillars in which it was founded to suit my sensibility for the day or the argument I am trying to make. I honor, respect, and express my gratitude to all those who have and are serving in the military, police, and as first responders. That being said, there needs to be a serious look and reality check to what it is all those who serve fight for, what this nation we are so proud of was founded on, and what in reality those protesters are actually doing.
“Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.” – Winston S. Churchill
Leave it to a Brit to simplify an American principle so well. Freedom of speech protects all sides of all arguments, it shows no favoritism or prejudices. The First Amendment doesn’t dictate who is and isn’t protected to freely express themselves, so who are we as Americans to judge one another? I know, I know…it’s the anthem and it’s the flag…I get it, and it isn’t the route I would take either…but it’s not my place to tell another man when they can and can’t freely express their thoughts and feelings. It’s not any of yours either.
“The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened” – John F. Kennedy
“Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man may present his views without penalty, there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.” – Albert Einstein
“To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” – Frederick Douglass
“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Those who have chosen to use the National Anthem as their opportunity to draw awareness to an issue they feel strongly about – you have achieved your objective, you have everyone’s attention now. This would be the time for you to begin dialogues and conversations about these issues, trying to shine a light on what you feel has been kept in the darkness. As you do, your protest is no longer necessary. Moreover, maybe the continuation of speaking out against these issues could be done so in a less divisive manner moving forward. At the end of the day, while your right to do so is protected and celebrated, you can’t deny that your message is being confused and missed by many who see this particular exercise of your First Amendment as very disrespectful to those who have fought for your freedom to do so.
For those of you who are so outraged and disgusted at the kneeling during or absence from the singing of the National Anthem; I ask you this – do you stand with your hat off, hand to your heart, and at attention every time you hear it played? Have you ever gone about your business, sat on your couch, continued your conversation, or otherwise been selective in your response to the anthem? If you are honest, most Americans have done that in their lifetime. I would exclude military from that statement though, as your patriotism unlike so many who are outraged is of service and sacrifice not of words and feelings alone.
The reality of this folks is that its messy…I don’t like it, I may even hate it honestly. I can’t stand the divisiveness in our country, especially how it’s being over polarized in the media – but whether you believe it to be a reality or a perception – it’s not going anywhere and continuing to argue about it without ever taking the time listen and move it forward isn’t going to resolve it. No matter how you feel about the media, silencing it isn’t the answer either. While some may view the media as evil, and view its purpose not to be journalism but instead hype and propaganda; we must remember that not all of anything is all good or bad. Media can be used for us and has in the past, just like the silencing of it and control of it can be used against us.
“It is the press, above all, which wages a positively fanatical and slanderous struggle, tearing down everything which can be regarded as a support of national independence, cultural elevation, and the economic independence of the nation.” – Adolf Hitler, from Mein Kampf
There is a war at hand folks, one that has been raging for longer than we dare to acknowledge. We as Americans have much more in common than we have that divides us. A united America possess the greatest threat to tyranny and oppression that the world has ever seen. There are forces that want us to be a nation divided. We all need to recognize this and actively work towards uniting.
“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” – Benjamin Franklin.
I will end on this note, I may not agree with the politics or the party of the POTUS, but I will always respect the office. I have walked that line regardless of who I voted for and who was elected to that office. I have agreed and disagreed with various positions and actions of them all since I first cast my vote at 18. So, it is with the upmost respect I say this; the office of President of The United States of America is a position that carries the responsibility to protect freedom and liberty at all costs, not suppress it in any form or fashion. I expressed my outrage with President Obama over the firstname.lastname@example.org directive given to Americans to report their fellow countrymen for disagreeing with the ACA while being developed, and I equally express my outrage today with President Trump’s remarks in effort to suppress Americans right to free speech and protest this past week. Mr. President, even though I do not agree with a lot of your tweets, or the use of your time to make them on social media; as an American it is your right to make them. However, even in the highest office of our land, you do not have the right to silence another American’s remarks or acts of civil protest.
America, we deserve better and are capable of so much more. It will remain my hope and prayer that we are able to rise above these challenges to our liberty and freedom, that we may finally unite and serve our higher purpose that we are all created and put on this earth to accomplish. When you next feel compelled to react towards your fellow countrymen, I encourage you to stop and listen first. If you do, maybe they will listen to you too, and from your exchange something truly American can be born – compromise.
“I look forward to a great future for America – a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.” – John F. Kennedy“HOW QUICK WE ARE TO JUDGE, AND HOW SLOW WE ARE TO LEARN”, Opinions Of One Man on September 25, 2017.