We human beings are by nature a divisive lot, and Americans being a collection of the rest of the world’s castoffs, rascals, and ne’er-do-wells, are among the most discordant of all. Look at it this way; none of us is here because things were going well for our forbearers in the “old country”. I am not being negative. On the contrary, I believe our discord is a positive attribute and has contributed greatly to our successful run of 200 plus years. We value liberty and the right of free expression, and here’s the kicker: from my view of US history, we are no more argumentative today than we’ve ever been. It’s in our DNA. |
Jefferson’s vice president killed a former secretary of the treasury in a duel for crying out loud. Sometimes I think it would be beneficial to reinstate that “tradition”—sort of a political Hunger Games.
Andrew Jackson said, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” (He was speaking about the American aboriginal natives not people from Asia.)
FDR put Japanese-Americans in prison camps.
Harry “Give ‘em Hell” Truman dropped a couple of nukes on Japan, fired the most popular general in the US Army, threatened to punch a reporter in the nose, and said he hated all Republicans. On the other hand, Truman made sure aging Republican ex-President Herbert Hoover was well taken care of in the latter’s declining years. Harry candidly said tongue-in-cheek it was the least he could do since they’d been blaming everything wrong with the country on Hoover through four election cycles. Truman didn’t give a rat’s ass about polls or public opinion; he spoke his mind in an uncultured language that everyone understood. Four years before Truman became President, the scrappy WWI vet tried to re-up in the Army for World War II! He was turned away for being too old. I’ll bet he gave them an earful. Can you imagine one of today’s congressmen having that kind of gumption? The more I learn about Harry, the more I admire the guy.
Yes, we’ve always been confrontational and contentious, and probably a bit vulgar, crude, and uncouth by European and Asian standards. We were like a group of siblings who fought with one another, but united to clean the clock of any outsider who dared interfere. Our roots and traditions come from England, and immigrants from other European countries came here for a new start and willingly adopted the traditions and language that was established. My ancestors emigrated from Switzerland in the late 19th Century because the German Kaiser crossed the border and confiscated their property. My great-grandfather changed the spelling of our name from Maijer to Myers. Why? Beats me; probably thought it looked more American. But with that move my family joined the so-called great melting pot.
I do not count Africans sold into slavery by their own people as willing immigrants; they were most certainly unwilling. Although slavery has existed since the beginning of human history, and continues yet today, that was the US at its very worst. As slavery’s first cousin, Irish immigrants were pressed into indentured servitude; and at Civil War time, Irish males were herded off from Atlantic-crossing boats as they reached the docks and conscripted into the Union Army en masse as cannon fodder. Someone thought tearing people from their friends and families in Africa, and the de facto kidnapping of Irishmen was a good idea. How does a so-called Christian nation justify that? Opposition, if it existed, was ineffective. That’s why we need to be a contentious and argumentative people with each other. Once in a while someone’s got to throw the bullshit flag. Here’s one reason why: Early US settlers with English roots declared themselves to be “native Americans” in an attempt at better-than-you differentiation from immigrants that followed; sort of like Dr. Seuss’s story of Sneeches with stars on their bellies.
Note the past tense of the verb (were) in the second sentence two paragraphs above. That’s because our politically correct police decided several decades ago that diversity was more important than unity, and you—you gullible nincompoops—bought in. Well, you got what you asked for, and the result is diversity = divisiveness. We are as contentious as ever, but now we’re a selfish, divided people given over only to self-interest of our particular clan. Allegiance to our country has been replaced by allegiance to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Africa, et. al., and in addition the apologetic libs go on-and-on about what an evil country we live in.
Let’s take a look at a few facts for the sake of intellectual honesty, okay?
I’ve been to Africa on various occasions, which puts me ahead of 99-plus percent of the American populace on the experience and knowledge scales. The continent probably contains about 27 (my count) different cultures, and overt discrimination according to silly attributes like skin tone, physical deformities, and nose width is rampant. Discrimination has and does live in the US, but trust me; it’s nothing like what goes on in Africa. Some fortunate Africans who receive an education often come to the US for graduate studies. Several have told me first hand they are horrified at the behavior of the stereotypical street thugs prevalent in our urban areas. Two of the fellows I know, one from Zimbabwe and the other from Nigeria, attended Ivy Leagues colleges, and are saddened by what they call sloth and distain for education by their US second-generation relatives. One told me that, other than skin hue, educated Africans have little in common relative to values with their urban American cousins.
The US has made giant strides during my lifetime relative to race relations, which is bad news to (and denied by) race hustlers Jackson and Sharpton. For these cartoon-like characters nothing is ever enough; there’s never any progress. They embrace and create divisiveness. Why? Three words: follow the money.
How about discrimination and racism in Europe? If a news story about me broke in France my religion and denomination would be noted in the story along with mention of any Jews who lived on the same street. When Michael Chang won the French Open tennis tourney the word “chink” appeared in boldface headline letters. No one either side of the Atlantic said a word in protest. Compare that to the over-the-top press coverage relative to an out-of-context remark about former New York Knick Jeremy Lin in this country a few years ago.
To complete this improbable journey of the country’s descent into shitkickerville, let’s examine another great source of divisiveness; viz., political labels. There was a time when people would argue and fight over politics then enjoy a beer together—even in Washington D.C. by Joe Biden’s own recollection. Sadly, no longer. Heated, but honest, debate has been replaced by closed minds, hate, and discontent. Let’s check out some dictionary definitions and compare them to the holier-than-thou-ideologues in DC and the media.
CONSERVATIVE adj. inclined to keep things as they are or were; opposed to change—especially changes to traditions.
From the definition, one can see why conservatives are protective of the US Constitution, which is actually the holy ground of the Supreme Court.
Positive traits of conservative ideologues is that they believe in the two laws of free enterprise; viz., 1) there is no such thing as something for nothing, and 2) supply-and-demand is the engine that drives the economy. They also believe one should be rewarded for personal accomplishment; and teaching one how to fish is more value-added than continually providing fish as a handout. The negative aspects are similar to those English settlers declaring themselves as “the” native Americans; i.e., 1) closed old-boy networks get formed, which leads to protection of self-interest before good of the whole; 2) the supply-and-demand cycle gets abused by insidious manipulation; and 3) accounting-type focus is “king”, which puts profits before people.
LIBERAL adj. generous and tolerant; not narrow in one’s ideas and views. PROGRESSIVE adj. advancing to something better; favoring reform.
The positive side of the liberal definition is that although most who identify themselves as liberal are agnostic or atheist, they espouse Christian values (NOT the religion) of share-and-share-alike and taking care of one’s fellowman. That’s the generous side.
But I have a problem with the rest of the definition because people who identify themselves as liberal are definitely NOT tolerant and they’re very narrow in their ideas and views. (Keep in mind one could say likewise for some conservatives, but it seems to fit practically ALL liberals of today.) These are the people that shout down opposition speakers at colleges, and comprised the Occupy Wall Street mob. They have no tolerance for differing opinion, and those who disagree are treated as enemies. That type of so-called liberalism gave the world Russia, Cuba, bankrupt California, and the blight called Detroit.
I see nothing but positive results from the definition of progressive. The problem is who decides what should be improved and reformed; and that’s where liberals and conservatives battle for our votes. Some Democrats, from Woodrow Wilson to Barrack Obama, have co-opted the word as a political label. Again, what gets in the way is idealism and intolerance.
If I consider the definitions above, and if I consider myself as a representative of an average educated American, I conclude that I am a logical combination of all three—not an ideologue (as in, my-way-or-the-highway). I support certain traditions, and believe in the Constitution as the law of the land. Taking care of each other is important and, I believe, an inherent aspect of being human—but that does not mean supporting the clueless and lazy; those driven by envy and jealousy; those demanding equal “stuff”. I find it a paradox that most liberals are Darwinists, but deny the reality of natural selection as it applies to people. In terms of progress, I am a firm believer of continuous improvement and reform—if the system is not perfect one should always strive to make it better.
I’d be surprised if that’s not a profile that fits many of us. Is the divided nature of this country irreversible? Will we ever find unity again? Honest self-examination is required if we are to reverse the trend and improve the lot of the nation. It will not be easy—maybe it’s even too late—but a first step might be to sit in a dark room and think about what and who is dividing us, and what’s in it for them.
Copyright by Gene Myers, author of AFTER HOURS: ADVENTURES OF AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESSMAN (2009), Strategic Publishing Group, New York, NY – a hilarious account of the author’s overseas travels; and SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE (2010), PublishAmerica, Fredericksburg, MD - a mildly sinister, but amusing work of fiction. Both are available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and available in Amazon Kindle and Nook formats. Watch for SALT HIS TAIL, a catch-me-if-you can crime thriller.
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