Lanterns: Folks, We’ve Got Issues…


Folks, We’ve Got Issues…

These days, I just don’t recognize my country. The hysteria that's gripping us is both incredibly toxic, and incredibly ridiculous. Don't you troublemakers ever take a vacation? Don't you need a break? Personally, I need a nice long sabbatical somewhere without news or media. I've actually been on a self-imposed hiatus from the news for several months. It's almost impossible to stay completely shielded though; even if I'm only posting cat videos on Facebook, I'm still seeing loads of one hundred percent, pure, organic, sustainably harvested, crap floating by. Trust me, I don't need this constant negativity in my life. How do I handle all that offends me? I scroll on by, like an adult.

Stop telling me to unfriend you on social media, if I don't think in lockstep with you. If you believe you can read my mind, and think me evil, unfriend me. On my page, I provide the freedom for friends to respectfully speak of whatever they feel strongly about, sans name calling. In the United States, the most detestable speech is as protected, as the kindest words. There's good reason for protecting the ugliest and most offensive speech. Our Founders were committed to the free exchange of ideas. They protected the most important things first, such as speech, religion, and assembly. I’m distressed and disheartened over the Mayors and Governors, Congresspeople and Senators, lauding and urging on these counter-protesters while they are breaking the law.

Those assembled, if they have obtained the proper permits from their local government, are absolutely entitled to be there and be heard. Their message is irrelevant; you don’t like it? Don’t listen. The counter-protesters are not permitted to interfere. Communists, Socialists, Racists, Naturalists, Catholic, Jew, Evangelist, ProLife, ProChoice, White or Black Supremacists — all are welcome to speak their minds. It doesn’t make you morally superior to shut down their permitted assembly; if you want to protest against them, by all means, get the permits and let your freak flag fly. Perhaps I’ll join you if you follow the law. If you’re bullying or screaming down or assaulting permitted assembly, however, you’re as wrong as whatever and whomever you are protesting.

The primary problem, as I see it, is a complete and total unwillingness on each of our parts, to look beyond the end of our own noses. Before you say it doesn't apply to you, let me stop you. Yes, sorry to say, it does apply to you. It applies to me too. It's human nature to seek out your tribe, a community of like-minded people with whom you can mind-meld. Each of us has our go-to sources, and we believe them.

All journalism has a strong bias. It cannot be avoided, and it seeps into our work even when we are consciously attempting to block its nubile efforts. We're certainly aware of the bias from "the other side" but, we fail to acknowledge the bias of those aligned with us. When others in our group also believe, it's vindicating. Then we trot it out to the world on Facebook or Twitter, and before you can say Fake News, there's a maelstrom brewing. Social media is an addictive and toxic cesspool of political lies and misinformation on every side; like it or not, disagreement, discourse, and debate are the hallmarks of a great society.

I'm glad the Founders were critical thinkers. I thank God every day I was born to this land, this amazing country that people worldwide still clamor to reach. It's incredibly sad, tragic even, that so many have forgotten, or never learned, the basic tenets of our governance. It's what makes our country exceptional.

Let’s face it, we're all being played. There aren't too many in government who truly give two hoots for any of us. I do not tend toward conspiracy theory, but there’s no doubt in my mind that someone is pulling the strings behind the scenes of these “protests.” Those who seek the downfall of America have the most interest in trying to divide us. We can choose to be grownups about this stuff and not fall for the puppeteers pulling the strings. We make the choices.

What I see across the nation, are first-world problems. When you are ill, or hungry, or homeless, you don’t waste your time on insignificant drivel. We’ve got it too good in America, leaving groups of miscreants and malcontents with nothing better to do than antagonize. The finger pointing and name calling must end, or the darkness creeping closer and closer with each protest, will envelop us; by then, it will be too late. The same groups who've brought us to this point will then say the blood in the streets is on the hands of their detractors. It's happening already. I really and sincerely pray for America, that her best days aren’t over yet.

Written by Julie Custer

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