Saturday, January 26, 2019

Is America Still the Land of the Free?

I recently came across a story where some high schools students were send home for wearing t-shirts with a picture of President Trump on them. The claim by the school was that they had received complaints from other students that they didn't feel "safe". The students were told they either had to turn their shirts inside out and leave the school grounds. They chose to leave. That wasn't the only instance.

There's been numerous examples where people have been harassed or even assaulted for wearing "MAGA" (Make America Great Again") ball caps. These attacks have come in restaurants, shopping malls, or even on the street. The attackers, as a rule, don't know their victims. In fact, they know nothing about them other than the fact they're wearing a "MAGA" hat or t-shirt which either shows their support for President Trump or for being conservative. What's most interesting is that the attackers, when caught (and most are), were questioned about what they did it, all claimed that they felt threatened! That's right, they were the ones who felt threatened! So, when they attacked some guy or gal waiting at the bus stop or while someone was ordering food or trying to enjoy their meal, it was the victim who was at fault, not the attacker.Of course, none of this includes that name calling, threats, or harassment these "threatened" individuals like to inflict or the blocking of streets and expressways, nor the random destruction of property.

But, of course, this hasn't been just about "MAGA" hats or t-shirts with Trumps picture on it, people (including school kids) have been attacked for wearing shirts or hats with American flags on them or pro-2nd Amendment slogans, or actually, anything patriotic. Can you imagine being told in a school to either turn you t-shirt inside out or face being expelled for the day all just because it had an American flag or something patriotic on it? Heck, you can even opt out of saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school! We have professional athletes making millions yet disrespecting American servicemen and women as well as first responders by taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. They claim injustice and inequality, yet where are they during off season? Certainly not protesting! They are in fact enjoying their very lucrative salaries.

In the past, kids were sent home for wearing t-shirts, jackets, or hats which featured a Confederate flag or something else dealing with the Confederacy (it was deemed "offensive" or "racist"), yet kids wearing a black power or black pride t-shirt, Afro-centric jewelry weren't. Children who show up wearing a "Che" or "Malcolm X" t-shirt are fawned over, and of course, nothing ever is said to anyone wearing a Hillary or Obama piece of paraphernalia. Why is that? What's going on? We have seen historic statues removed in the dead of night; some destroy and many vandalized because someone claimed to "offended". Does that "being offended" work just one way or can anyone be "offended" and get what they want?

Just recently we had the incident where high school kids on a field trip from a Catholic school here in Kentucky (Park Hill to be exact) were tried and convicted not just by a politically biased media, but even by their own school without full disclosure of the events. I believe that we're all currently awaiting some public apologies which I doubt will be coming. Apparently a group of "Black Hebrew Israelites", which is a group which claims that they are the actual descendants of the ancient Hebrews and thus chosen by God, were taunting the mostly white school group with racial slurs when, in response, the kids starting chanting their school cheer rather than get into some pissing contest with this apparent racist group. I guess school pride trumped racial hatred!

Then in came a small group of Native Americans led by an activist and self-described Elder named Nathan Phillips claimed they were trying to "separate" the two groups (which were already well separated) except the Native American group got in the face of the school kids and starting chanting and banging on drums. The schools kids refused to be goaded into doing anything, and yet they were portrayed by the biased media as the aggressors.

Why this group of Native Americans didn't do the same thing to the "Black Hebrew Israelites" is another interesting question which remains unanswered. It took a few days before additional clips became available, but it certainly appears that the Catholic schools kids were being taunted and harassed by two racially motivated groups. Well, in my opinion, kudos to the kids for taking the higher roads and know race baiting when faced with it. It further damaged a corporate media and members of Congress who have already lost the trust of the American People. Meanwhile, I think some serious heartfelt apologies are due to these kids both as a group and individually starting with their school.

It's getting harder and harder to be patriotic American in this country. That is seriously something which I find to be hard to say. We were once seen as "melting pot"; a nation where you could come and start over in life, leaving behind the political, religious, ethnic, and class restraints of wherever it was that you came from behind. Here, everyone had a chance to improve their lot in life, to get an education and believe what you wanted to believe so long as you left other people alone. Not so any more.

People used to do whatever they could to find a way to come to America. They even tried to learn English before they came or on the trip here. They wanted to speak the language. They wanted to be Americans, not some hyphenated "half-American". Yes, the majority had a sense of pride of the culture, but that took a backseat to being an American first. Ultimately, much of their cultures and traditions became added to pool of other cultures and traditions to create something new; something genuinely unique. Something genuinely American.

In my own family history, my immigrant ancestors learned and spoke English. At home, in private, or in church, they may have spoken German, but out in public it was solely English. Their children were taught English and to think and behave as Americans, not "German-Americans". Even my Irish and Scottish ancestors did their best to learn the laws, traditions, and values of their new homeland. Mine family was far from unique. Many immigrant families did the same thing. Some even refused to teach their children the native language of their former homeland so strong was their desire to become Americans.

Nowadays, it's the opposite. Many immigrants, both legal and illegal, demand that we must adapt to their way of doing things. They not only refuse to learn to speak English, but insist that we find ways to enable them to continue speaking in their native language. Heck, in some places, even the street signs are in a foreign language, and government forms---paid for with US tax dollars---are printed to accommodate them.

I'm not saying being an immigrant is easy. It's not by a long shot. New laws, language, values, not to mention sights, sounds, and even smells. Practically every group which has immigrated has face discrimination in one fashion or another--the Italians, Jews, Germans, Slavs, Irish (and Scots), Chinese, and so forth. It's natural to seek out or form a community with those with whom you familiar. America has had various enclaves in nearly every city and town, and to a certain extent, still do. But still, the objective has always been to become an American.

Nowadays, we see people actually encouraged not assimilate; to stay separate. Whereas before, the goal of every immigrant was to become a citizen, it's now to find a job and send money home. There's no real desire to become an American. Ultimately, that creates a sense of separate identity. When you don't "buy in", you have no loyalty to the host nation. You want what's best for your particular group without regard to the nation as a whole. Eventually, that leads to division and the desire to create a independent community or state much like what happened in Yugoslavia.

Of course, this goes way beyond that just immigration. It's pretty common for people to complain about what you say if it's differs from their worldview. Somehow having a different opinion is deemed "offensive" or even "racist", especially if that comment comes from someone who is white. Why is that? Shouldn't everyone be able to say what they feel, so long as no one is physically abused? After all, the Founding Father's expressly provided us with the right to free speech. But there are groups---mostly those under 30 (the so-called "Millennials"), especially on campuses where free thought and rational discussion was once the norm---demand that those who differ in opinion from them actually be denied their 1st Amendment right to speak, even when they've been invited to!

There have been numerous instances where invited speakers have been shouted down, stormed on stage, physically assaulted, or simply "disinvited" by the school administration at the last minute. During the 1960's and early 1970's when campus unrest rampant, there was still open and free discussion of ideas. In fact, one of the key premises to higher education has been to the exchange of ideas, even with those with whom you disagree. No so anymore. Nowadays, that's actually discouraged. Students demand "safe spaces" so they don't have to hear opposing views. This has even gone as far to certain racial or religious groups demanding segregated "safe spaces", which to me borders on the absurd.

We are also facing new forms of discrimination, whereby religious groups, again, demand, that other religions be denied the right to display their religious symbolism or pray...even on their own college campuses. Whatever happened to our tolerance of religions? America never faced the religious hatred or violence which plagued Europe and the Middle East. People have been allowed to practice their faiths (or even lack thereof) in relative peace. That too seems to be changing as we are increasingly being told what is and isn't acceptable. Even the wearing of religious themed jewelry is becoming taboo.

Religious freedom has always been one of the beautiful things about this country. Naturally, there are those who try to claim that America was founded as "Christian Nation", the truth of the matter was that America was founded to be free from a state imposed religion like other countries in Europe. The Founding Fathers intended that America was to be a place where every religion was welcome and no one had to secure permission from government to practice their religious beliefs...or to have no beliefs at all! We are now starting to see where some are trying to impose their beliefs on others, including the creation of "no go" zones, no pets, restriction on certain consumable items, mandatory clothing, etc which violates several of our core rights as a country. If you that's what you want, have it, but don't try to impose it on others.

America has always been a nation which focused on roughed individualism, yet we've always been willing to lend a helping hand to those in need of it. Today, we have a government which is increasingly sticking its nose in our personal business. It is mandating what we can and can't do in our own lives. We find ourselves losing our personal freedoms almost daily. Some of it actually taken from us by the government through mandates by unelected bureaucrats which leave us no recourse. Some is through laws by those elected to office but who are unaffected by the very laws they pass. And some of it through corporations who, in partnership with government, seem to use us as economic resources to be exploited and discarded.

I can't help wonder what our Founding Fathers would have thought of our America if they could see it now. I wonder if they'd be proud of how we've progressed or would they hang their heads in sorrow? I think that in some respects they'd be pleased with what we've accomplished. Certainly with our technology, which would have stunned them into silence, as well as growth as a country from the original 13 colonies which stood toe to toe with the mightiest empire in the world at the time. I have no doubt they'd be most pleased that slavery ended long ago, but sadden by its cost on the nation just as they would have by all the wars we've faced as a nation. After all, they warned us about entanglements in the affairs of others.

Women's suffrage would have perhaps amused them, but I think they would have approved, however, the notion that we willingly accept that there is more than two genders would have appalled them to no end (I can't imagine what they'd say about the body piercings and tattoos). The notion that unsavory elements within government were trying to deprive the citizens of their expressly given right to bear arms would both alarm them but wouldn't surprise them. After all, to disarm the citizenry is the first act of any individual or group intent on tyranny.

What would surprise and disappoint them would be how few are willing to stand up and fight back (or just how many are willing to go along with it). They understood firsthand the cost in lives in creating a nation and what it took to maintain it. They would understand that we will again either have to bear an even greater cost or face eventual enslavement, even if it's a benign one. They would be pleased with all those who chose to come to this nation, but deeply disappointed about how many of those have chosen not to be become Americans or even show enough respect to learn the language.

While the majority of our Founding Fathers were capitalist of the libertarian variety, the power of Corporate America over its citizens and especially the government would terrify them. The "Deep State" along with corporate and government control over our lives would rouse their ire as did British taxes or the commandeering of homes to house British troops. State mandated control over our children or healthcare would freeze their very souls. They would demand of us an explanation as to why we had allowed government such power. Had some madness ceased the country that we allowed a corporate-government state---a ruling elite---to emerge which could dictate how we lived our lives, or pass laws without our approval---especially taxes---or which this new ruling elite was exempt? Why do we allow corruption and treason by these elites to go unchecked?

Ultimately, I think our Founding Fathers would be stunned into disbelief and silence. They would find themselves sitting, head in hands, wondering what had become of the America they founded. It would appear to them that the "Great Experiment" had failed. We had gone down the path which had destroyed all other democracies and republics. We proved too willing to sacrifice truth for illusion; freedom for the promise of security; honesty for silence. I think that collectively, they would reach into their pockets and pull out whatever money remained and hand it to us, saying "Here, give this to the Crown to pay its damnable taxes and restore things as they were". I hope we can avoid their disappointment.

Black Hebrew Israelites

The Media Botched the Covington Catholic Story

How the Covington Catholic firestorm reinforced America's divisions

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