Well, 2017 finally arrived. For some of you, it’s a chance to pour gasoline on 2016 and light a match. For many, it’s a chance to once again make yourself or your life better. But what about your country? Whether you like it or not, we can’t change the 2016 presidential election. While you’re working on giving up chocolate or alcohol, how about resolving to help bring us together by giving up these bad political habits we’ve picked up over the last several years:
Protesting–Stop protesting protests. Yes, I know. Americans don’t think it’s a good protest until they throw a cinder block through a plate glass window. Complain about that. But protesting remains a fundamental piece of American democracy. Plus, the reasoning behind hating protests is always flawed, be it after a police shooting or a presidential election as contentious as this one. If you’re a Trump supporter saying, “I know he said some hateful things, but I needed to do what’s best for me and my family. Why can’t you guys unify behind that” you need to work on your unification skills.
“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men” Abraham Lincoln
Patriotism–This goes hand in hand with protesting. If you stand at attention every morning, hand over heart, as your pet bald eagle raises the flag while your children read the preamble to the Constitution that’s tattooed on your back, you definitely love our country. Guess what? So do people who kneel or sit during the national anthem. Or burn or step on the flag. Or protest wars. Stop calling those people “un-American” or telling them to leave the country. They are just as patriotic as you. They’re just showing it in a different way.
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” Howard Zinn
Name-calling–I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Hell, our politicians do it. But if you want to win a debate or change someone’s mind, calling them a “racist” or “libtard” usually isn’t a good way to go about it. You may call someone names who is NOT involved in the conversation. But don’t attack your opponent. Any “kumbaya” moment around the campfire usually ends when someone tosses around “xenophobe” or “stupid.”
“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser” Socrates
Political correctness–You morons don’t even know what this means (see the political incorrectness there?) Originally, liberals used it to mock each other for using “correct” terms about a group for political gain. Then, somewhere in the late 80s, both sides weaponized it. The GOP began calling it the “thought police” in an attempt to peel away working-class whites while the Democrats used it to appeal to minorities like women and African-Americans. Now, everything offends everybody and we must always apologize even if it’s completely insincere. We really need to purge it from our vocabularies. Lefties, stop getting offended if I say “fireman” instead of “firefighter” or when a celebrity wears a Native American costume. Righties, stop calling liberals “snowflakes” while at the same time wailing about the lack of them on a Starbucks cup.
Compromise–People constantly bring up how this word doesn’t exist in Arabic. Well, it doesn’t really exist here either. A Pew research poll shows most Americans believe compromise means getting at least 60% of what they want. I’m pretty sure this describes both our Congress and marriage. If we, the people, can’t even agree on what compromise is, how do we find ways to compromise politically? Maybe the Arabic language got it right. It uses the word “taaradhin” [tah-rah-DEEN] which implies a positive “win-win” mentality.
Religion–Religion should be a personal relationship with your God. Go to church, post Bible verses on Facebook, pray. But stop with the Darth Vader “I find your lack of faith disturbing” public tirades. Stop voting for fringe evangelicals like Dr. Ben Carson and Pat Robertson. Stop re-electing politicians who try to pass overtly religious bills like State Rep. David Moore of Montana (who wanted to add yoga pants to the state’s indecent exposure law) or Arizona state Sen. Sylvia Allen who suggested making Sunday church service mandatory. Stop blaming the country’s problems on a loss of faith. Our problems stem from the lack of faith in government and lack of acceptance of others beliefs, not the lack of acceptance of God or Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.
“Religion is like a penis. It’s perfectly fine to have one and take pride in, but when one takes it out and waves it in my face, we have a problem.” Author unknown
Diversity of thought–Did you know the FBI agent suspected in the Hillary Clinton email leaks committed “suicide?” Or that Donald Trump was born in Pakistan and his real name is Dawood Ibrahim Khan? Well, millions of you believe it despite factual evidence to the contrary. That’s called “confirmation bias” and it’s killing diversity of thought in America. “Confirmation bias” means people search out or interpret facts in ways to back up their own beliefs. Enter slanted commentary and “fake news” websites. We surround ourselves with re-enforcers of our beliefs. Our friends, news, and politicians must say what we already think, otherwise they are biased or liars or pinko Commie bastards. This is the single biggest destroyer of unity in our country. You need people around you who think differently and push back against each others’ preconceived notions and beliefs. Being a Democrat shouldn’t mean you can’t be pro-life or pro-gun rights just like a pro-gay marriage stance shouldn’t disqualify you from being a Republican. Remember, 2+2=4. But so does 3+1.
“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together” Malcolm Forbes
Voting changes–Yes, we need to make some changes. But getting rid of the Electoral College is so 2012 (Fox News and Forbes both published anti-EC commentaries when they thought Romney may win the popular vote and lose the presidency.) Pushing for term limits shows desperation: “Hello, Congress? Hi, it’s ‘We, the People.’ We’re too stupid and lazy to vote senators and representatives out of office. Could you handle that for us? Thanks!” Neither of these will pass. Plus, we need to find ways to get MORE people to vote. Why not set up a national voter registry like most advanced industrial nations while changing all Congressional terms to four years. All federal elections would take place in the same year, when most people come out to vote because it’s a presidential election. Weird, I know. That way, we can overhaul the White House and Congress, and everybody starts fresh at the same time.
Blame–This is the single biggest reason we now call Donald Trump President-elect. He played the blame game, plain and simple. Illegal immigrants steal jobs and drive down wages. Muslims scare us because they’re trying to sneak in and kill us. The media is biased. Our elections are corrupt. Many of you drank it in like a Bill Cosby cocktail, complete with the memory loss of who to really blame. We did this. Let me repeat myself: WE DID THIS. I’ve said it hundreds of times: “Government is a reflection of the governed.” Any problem in this country can be traced back to what we as citizens, voters, and consumers do or allow. We blame Obamacare for job loss instead of blaming the business owners who actually cut the jobs or the insurance companies who hike rates. We want illegals kicked out until we have to pay $20 for a watermelon. We complain about our crumbling infrastructure while refusing to pay more in taxes to fix it. And we complain about government gridlock while re-electing the politicians perpetuating the gridlock. Time to stop blaming everything else and start fixing the real problem: We, the people.
“In a free society, government reflects the soul of its people. If people want change at the top, they will have to live in different ways. Our major social problems are not the cause of our decadence. They are a reflection of it.” Cal Thomas