HESP October 2, 2017

It’s no secret that our country is divided. Never before in the history of our nation have issues such as race, civil rights, terrorism, immigration, police brutality, marriage, gender, and politics so split our populace. Many will argue that we are long overdue for talks and actions on a lot of these issues, and this writer agrees wholeheartedly. Even after the advent of social media, which included the development of abilities and platforms available for everyone in the world allowing them to voice their opinions, somewhere this country has lost its way. It’s now almost impossible to get anything meaningful done in a world where even a major issue will only hold our attention so long.

Lately it has been a common, almost daily occurrence, to see videos featuring unarmed black men gunned down by police officers being shared on social media, which, in turn, has prompted the subsequent emergence of Black Lives Matter. During the nineties, seeing even one of those videos would have been enough to cause whole cities to be burnt to the ground; it would have been enough to make President Clinton say we need to address this yesterday. In today’s world, we are too uncomfortable with the situation at hand, and actual face to face dialogue, even to acknowledge what the problem is. We are in a state in America where a group, who have been marginalized and systematically oppressed since our inception as a country, wants to be heard, and they are met with opposing protests being put on by Nazis and white supremacists instead of a platform to speak from. WE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF OURSELVES. This has become the rule and not the exception. While this writer doesn’t support or condone the violent actions taken by some members of Black Lives Matter, I recognize the right to and, in some cases, the need for the movement’s existence as a means of peaceful protest for the injustices that have been suffered.

On the flip side of this coin are the brave men and women in law enforcement, who risk their lives every day to keep our cities safe. These brave men and women whose only goal at the start of their shift is to make it home to their families at the end of it. These brave men and women who feel unappreciated, marginalized, and betrayed by the public they are sworn to protect. They feel pigeonholed into a stereotype that every police officer is a trigger-happy racist whose only thought is to find a way to fill someone with bullet holes. They are underpaid, underappreciated, and they carry a target on their backs. Being shot in the line of duty is a risk officers take every time they walk the line, but being ambushed and shot while sitting in their squad cars or walking their beat is just as barbaric as seeing an unarmed man gunned down for a broken tail light. During the nineties this wouldn’t have been tolerated, cities would have been put on notice, and the communities and the police would have worked together to bring those responsible to justice. WE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF OURSELVES. While this writer does not condone nor support police brutality or police officers that act as judge, jury, and executioner, I do recognize and support officers who are doing their job and fulfill the duties of the oath they took to serve and protect.

Does this article still have your attention? If it does, hopefully you see how this article has taken a subject that is a massive gray area and turned it black and blue. Did you see how easy it was? Neither one of those subjects as so simple as described, and yet you may have found yourself already picking a side without thinking about it. We have turned into a country of knee-jerk reactionists, led by the ears to the sweet music of the pied piper that goes by the names social and mainstream media.

Did you even notice the part about Nazis and white supremacists? How are Nazis even around today? By Nazis I mean members of the Third Reich and those still desperately clinging to their vile ideology; I won’t give wannabes the pleasure by referring to them as such. (This writer believes Israel made the wrong decision in calling off future hunting of Nazi war criminals due to age.) Why do hate groups such as the Klan, amongst others, feel so free to come out and expose their hate of anything that doesn’t fit their narrow-minded bigotry in today’s society?

Many of you would point to the election of Donald Trump as the forty-fifth President Of The United States as the reason, instead of a symptom of the real problem, which in this writers opinion is the division of our country into sides. Protests by one or the other over the last couple of years have been more about picking a side to root for instead of standing for a cause worth fighting for. How many times do we need to see a protest turn violent before we wake up and realize the real enemy is hate of any kind, espoused by anyone?

 

Most of you that are still reading by now have asked, “well how do we go about that?”  The answer to that question is not a simple one. I won’t pretend to have a clear-cut answer, but I can tell you where we can start RIGHT NOW is by not letting ourselves be divided yet again on a national platform. As I am writing, there has been a new attempt to divide our nation; President Donald Trump has come out being rude and distasteful in his remarks to professional athletes across many leagues. Amid the comments was a blatant disregard for all the athletes and others who are battling chronic traumatic encrephalopathy (CTE). Besides just belittling the feelings of many people by saying such things, he referred to an NFL that wasn’t the same because players couldn’t hit as hard. He is waxing nostalgic for a much more violent time in the NFL and our nation’s past; a time in which we were almost as divided as we are now. I don’t agree with not standing for the anthem, but I will gladly die for our peoples right to kneel in disagreement. This writer believes in free speech and the freedom of the press, the freedom of the right to assemble, the freedom of religion, and the right to live as free men and women as we choose. This writer believes in the rights of all PEOPLE.

What this writer doesn’t believe in is hate. The hate that is dividing our great nation, our great experiment, the melting pot of cultures and ideas that is AMERICA in all her beauty. I have waited to finish this article until after yesterday’s NFL games to see what would happen and how bad the divide would be. This writer showed up to a Buffalo Wild Wings a bit ahead of the start of the four o’ clock games and grabbed a seat with a good view of the whole room. It was a bad experience, to say the least. With the exception of two fights almost breaking out due to team rivalries, and people being upset and intoxicated, there were more conversations and disagreements over politics and whether people should stand, kneel, or sit. For the first time in my life, football wasn’t fun anymore. Gone was the friendly joking with strangers whose team was playing yours that day, and in its place was tension and uncertainty for the future ahead. Gone was the laughter that can usually be heard filtering through a room on a game day, and in its place was an uneasy murmuring punctuated with a simmering question mark as some teams didn’t even come out of the locker room. Politics has found its way into football and almost every other facet of American life. Gone are the days of trying to find a refuge from it. The time is upon us, as a nation, to have more than just meaningless conversations. We have to find a way to truly come together as people with a common unity to address the strife that is taking over our country. This writer hopes and prays that it’s not too late and we, as people, can heal and overcome the divides and traps that have been set for us, and replace the hate with common sense and a will to prevail.

 

 

The author chose to remain anonymous so he can articulate his opinion in the most honest way possible.

 

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