Food for Thought

The Capitol Riots – Where do we go from here?

While seemingly unprepared and overwhelmed authorities try to sort out yesterday’s events at the U.S. Capitol, we once again have to rely on the various news and information sources who have contributed to the fear and distrust that has generated so much unrest throughout our Republic over the past two decades – especially the past four years.

Let’s start with the MEDIA: I submit that our first step as a consuming public, is to clearly communicate to our media that they are not only the primary cause – but, more importantly, they now need to step up and be a critical component of the cure. This starts with the “mainstream,” or “legacy” media – be it long-revered print such as the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Wall Street Journal; the primary television and radio networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, FoxNews, etc.); or those in social media with the most extensive reach and influence – i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, etc. Cancel subscriptions, diversify your sources, express your outrage to your federal and state representatives.

Education – get involved: With the subordination and/or elimination of Civics, U.S. and World History, is there any doubt that this has created generations of ignorance as to how America came to be? Needless to say, these critical subjects need to objectively include the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to humankind – here and throughout the world. From slavery practices going back thousands of years to even today (e.g. Sex Trafficking, today’s sweat shops and re-education camps in China), our younger generations will additionally benefit from comparative looks at world religions and cultures. Ultimately, we must learn from history – not erase it.

Empty political rhetoric and HYPOCRISY: Enough already of the empty promises to set aside our differences, forgive and re-unite as a country. Enough of the rampant hypocrisy that is overwhelming all Americans, whether conservative or liberal. Speaking of “liberal,” that word used to represent open-mindedness, being receptive not only to new ideas, but to others’ opinions. How and when did our culture become so illiberal and closed-minded?

Cancel Culture and War on Words: Over the past two decades and at least three Administrations, “Political Correctness” has morphed into a “Cancel Culture” intent upon further limiting our ability to honestly and effectively communicate. Instead of promoting introspection and humility, and continuing to grow our English/American vocabulary, politicians and academia seem to have declared wars on words – actually banning utterances that might amount to micro or macro “aggressions.” The House of Representatives just banned references to gender in a law-making body that must rely on clarity and equity. As one opponent stated, “How can you claim to stand for Women’s Rights at the same time you are prohibiting any references to women?”

America has lost its Sense of Humor. We can no longer even make fun of ourselves – lest we might inadvertently insult or hurt the feelings of others. Making fun of our leaders In Washington, D.C. used to be a favorite and even uniquely American pastime. And it was bipartisan. Everyone was fair game. Many Americans ended their day with a favorite late night talk show for some comedic relief.

Tribalism and an endless cycle of Political REVENGE: Communicating and collaborating to solve problems has been replaced by a relentless “blame game” and constant jockeying for political advantage that leads to more money and control. Today, if the new electee does not tow the party line, put party over country, he or she risks being primaried out by their own party when up for re-election.

Does the End really justify the Means? That foundational sense of integrity, accountability and fair play, often rooting for the underdog, has morphed into a philosophical imperative where the end goal justifies the means and methods to get there – no matter the truth or ethics. “Doing the right thing” has become the exception, rather than the rule. All of this has led to…

Too few HEROES and ROLE MODELS: “Hero” is a word that has become overused – too often attributed to a sports star, entertainer, or even a victim. When someone has put his or her life at risk in order to save another, that constitutes heroism. Role models do not have to be perfect, or achieve perfection, but their efforts are genuine, often selfless, and certainly with the best of intentions to do right by their fellow humankind. Integrity has been defined as “Doing the right thing when no one else is looking.”

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