Over the last few days I’ve been reading lots of blogs, posts, comments and Op-Eds in which people are giving their opinions on who is or isn’t respectful of the country we live in. The problem with these comments is that the people writing them are doing so in such a way that they only leave room for their opinion, no one else’s.
A football player protests against the treatment people of color get from law enforcement by sitting down during the national anthem. Law abiding gun owners stock up on ammo and weapons because someone on social networking tells them that the Democrats are coming for their guns, again. And they fall for it, again. Veterans with decades of service express views that don’t conform to right-wing norms and and have their loyalty questioned. The President of the United States honor’s a governor’s request to stay away from a scene of a disaster so as not to interfere with rescue and recovery efforts because of the effects of the presidential bubble, and the Republican opposition pounces on the opportunity to make him look like he can’t be bothered to help citizens in need. A presidential candidate cyber-attacks anyone who insults him and cuts off news outlets who don’t give him a fair shake. The United States Congress for the first time in its history actually refuses to even meet with a Supreme Court nominee because they dislike the President so much, even when the nominee is someone they themselves suggested. A Supreme Court justice dies and leaves a legacy of citizens who think there is only only way to interpret the Constitution, and that there is nothing difficult about interpreting it since a straight text reading is the only way to do it anyway, making every AM radio listener an armchair expert in Constituional law. The most popular political attack from the Right during this election season is to accuse your opponent of Constitution ignorance. The Governor of a New England state is so racist and brash that he precedes to blame almost every race (except one) for the drug problem in his state.
And throughout it all citizen after citizen go online and, behind the relative safety and anonymity of social networking they tell other Americans how they shouldn’t protest our country (despite the First Amendment) and if they do they should just leave if they’re so ungrateful. Veterans who once selflessly served their country now erupt into profanity toward anyone who no longer subscribes to Archie Bunker ideals. Why? Because some politician is making this kind of outburst okay again, even toward Vets and POWs.
Everywhere is distrust, hate and suspicion. And why? Because people have gotten it in to their heads that we are doomed. Doomed because people are coming over our southern border and taking their jobs. Not because the free market allows their employer fire them and hire a foreigner for pennies on the dollar since they are willing to work for it. People have decided that patriotism will save us from terrorism, yet fail to see the terror they themselves cause by victimizing Muslims, Sikhs, Mexicans and a dozen other groups of people who came to America to improve their lives and love this country unconditionally, only guilty of one crime, the way they look and speak. Terror is fear, fear of being attacked. And attacks are on the rise against those who protest, against those who rebel, against those who think critically and back equality for all.
I write this because I’m tired of the hate. I’m tired of hearing someone is wrong for exercising their rights as an American. I’m tired of the politics of fear and doubt. Someone isn’t wrong because they disagree with you. Just because you don’t like the way they express their disagreement with our government it doesn’t make them any less of an American than you. Why is sitting down during the national anthem during a sports event any worse than a U.S. Congressman yelling “You lie!” at the President during his address to Congress on the State of our Union?
I guess what I’m asking is… What the hell is wrong with everybody?