Letter To The Editor: Americans Were Able To Talk About Topics

Editors Note: The views and opinions expressed in this editorial are not necessarily the views or opinions of Oskaloosa News.

Something has been weighing on my mind lately. This is a lengthy commentary on what is bothering me and is based on a conversation I saw here where someone was saying that just because they saw a bumper sticker supporting 2nd amendment rights and pro-life that they were a lunatic and not worthy of talking to. For clarification, I am White, Conservative, Moderate, believe in the Constitution, Christian. I have friends who are LGBT, Pro-Choice, Anti-Gun, and Liberal, yet I can still sit down and talk with them. It bothers me that because I am all these things above that assumptions will be made.

Where has America gone? The country that I have grown up in has disappeared. Throughout my life Americans were able to talk about topics without being outraged, offended or “triggered”. One of my favorite teachers, Mr. Kammin, taught social studies in high school and we would often have discussions on politics, especially after I bought a Republican sweatshirt at the Iowa Republican Convention. This was a time where people had the ability to express their feelings and opinions without fear of being labeled as a looney or a radical.

We knew we weren’t perfect, that changes had to be made, and it was acknowledged that a lot had been done, with a lot more to come. Today in America words have become weapons, the whisper is lethal, social castigation has become acceptable, where jumping on the newest band wagon has become the norm. Where has the civility that was an American value and trademark gone to? If you were to believe what is said on news outlets and social media, it is dead and gone.

Talking heads want us to believe that everything wrong with this country comes from the unwillingness to change, that racism and fascism are alive and well in this country and we’re worse off than where we where in the 1950’s. The loud voices believe that talking over people, dismissing their ideas, physical assault and public humiliation is the only way to deal with those of dissenting ideas.

If you don’t take what pundits say to heart, if you don’t think like them, talk like them, and believe the same things they do, you’re a crazy lunatic who’s full of hate, has a dictionary full of phobias and a despicable human being who’s not worthy of being listened to. If you dare to stand up for something you believe in which goes against what the talking heads want you to believe, you are a worthless piece of crap and deserving whatever comes your way.

Since when has it become socially acceptable to draw conclusion and judge people before you get to know who they are and what they think? Isn’t that what a lot of the 1960s was about, abolishing prejudice, ridding the world of hate and becoming better people through mutual respect and understanding where the other person is coming from?

The negativity and division must end, or our country will fail. It’s time for the ordinary people to come together and reject the extremist. Ordinary people need to push back against the extremists, the talking heads, the pundits and “influencers” and tell them that enough is enough. It’s time to be civil towards each other again.

There are those who wish to tear the soul and fabric of this great land apart. They would like to create a culture which thinks and acts the same as they do. Where is the diversity in that? We are a diverse nation, our cultures come from all over the world, we accept any and all to our shores and celebrate their backgrounds. Without the diversity we have, we would be incapable of being the beacon of hope to so many and yet the loud voices spout how ordinary Americans are afraid of accepting outsiders, that we fear diversity and change.

Extremism has become a societal norm which has been embraced by politicians looking to make their names at the cost of ordinary people. T.V. and social media look to create targets of anyone who stand out rather than meekly following the herd.

These divisions are being created out of perceptions, misconceptions and the unwillingness to listen to each other. We must stop taking for granted that the 30 second sound bite is fact and start thinking for ourselves. We must stop believing in labels and accept people have thoughts and opinions different to our own. We must institute civility and demand it from our representatives, no matter who they are. We must start accepting others. We must be the ones willing to engage others in thoughtful discussion rather than hanging labels.

Chris Raynor
Formerly of Montezuma

Posted by on Aug 24 2019. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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