If you turn on the television on any given night, in any given city, in any given state in this nation, you will see we are in difficult times. Some might argue that the current state of affairs rivals that of the turbulent 1960s and just might possibly be worse.
There are protests in the streets and we seem to be involved in a war that never seems to end, but the enemies keep evolving. We have a president in office who is equally one of the most popular and the most reviled presidents of modern times. We have radical groups of both right and left wings of of our political spectrum literally fighting in the streets, with innocent parties getting injured or killed after getting stuck in the middle.
Where we used to be able to talk and to discuss, we have reached a level where people have gotten tired of talking and begun striking out violently in order to prove their point. It seems that our culture of instant gratification has gotten us to a point where we can no longer wait for the wheels of social and political evolution to turn and we want what we want and we want it now. Some have decided that they will get what they want by any means necessary. What once was a nation of spirited debate has turned into a bare-knuckles brawl in a back alley of our society where the only way to win is to be a dirtier fighter than your opponent.
We have allowed this country to reach a point where our history is being closeted. Monuments are being taken down and destroyed. Historical events, we are being told, are offensive to some and should not be discussed. What we have seemed to have forgotten is history is just that — history. Events of the past that we have learned from. History is the backbone of our society. History, warts and all, is what cements us as a culture, but also allows us to grow and learn from past mistakes and ensure the present is as good as it can be and the future can be better. In order for us to be as good as we can be and as moral as we can be, we must not forget the ugliness that dotted our historical landscape. For every five or 10 triumphs, there were failures. In order for us to be a well-rounded society, we must not only be reminded of our wins, but of our losses as well. We must not become complacent and carefully choose which historical events we recognize. We are taught as children to celebrate our accomplishments, but to keep our failures in the backs of our heads so we don’t repeat them.
There are a few hot button topics in the last week or so that have garnered incredible attention on television, newspapers and social media. Tensions are high and passionate opinions are being wielded like sharp knives looking for somewhere to be stuck. It’s gotten to the point where it is ridiculous. Longtime friends and family are turning their backs on each other. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters have vehemently condemned each other because of a difference in political ideology.
Stop it. We are looking like fools to the world. I have stated before I will not discuss my political leanings in this column and, like before, I won’t now. For the record, I have voted for both Democrats and Republicans. I once wrote the name of my cat in as a write-in candidate for water commissioner, so that might tell you something.
We are Americans. We are Democrats and Republicans and Libertarians and whatever else. We are Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims. We are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and so on down the line. It’s about time we start acting like Americans again. If you don’t like the president who is in office, vote him or her out. If you don’t agree with your representation in Washington, vote them out. Don’t sit around and name call and point fingers. Folks, you all need to grow up. Quit being offended by every little thing and live your life. Any group that calls for the supremacy of any group over another is wrong. You know it and I know it. Don’t give them the attention they desire and their validity goes away. It really is that simple. You are in control. Don’t be told otherwise.
I’m a columnist. I am not employed by any news agency. I am not swayed by bias or corporate control. I write what I write when I want to write it. I told the editor of this very paper what I thought about mainstream media.
“News is entertainment. Entertainment is news.”
Chew on that the next time CNN tells you something and FOX News tells you the opposite.
Contributing columnist and Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.