It is not an easy world in which to be your own person: to avoid the brain-washing of the media, and the false choices provided by the “true believers” of the left and right.
Unfortunately, many in our society have ordained that everyone must think alike. We see this at our universities and among the clustered masses that gather to demand that you agree with them or remain silent when sensitive issues are brought before the public. Political correctness leaves no room for different points of view, or intelligent discussion regarding ethics or morals. This, in turn, results in bottled up emotions that only finally surface in “surprise” events like the recent election.
We have become a nation with too much time on its hands and not enough perspective to know how to use it. Instead, many in our population create imagined slights, or overreact to affronts and disputes, resulting in a steady stream of angry confrontations that split society and cause us to feel like a nation coming apart.
The saddest part about all of this is that too many of our young people are totally unprepared to deal with the “group think” movements. Their lack of historical knowledge leads to little understanding that our nation was built on compromise and evolution, not the absolutes that too many now try to cram down our throats.
Too many have been processed through a shoddy educational system, and have been raised in an environment where they have been told they are smarter than they are. They have not been confronted with anyone questioning their brilliance and never learned to actually do their own due diligence on issues.
I wonder how many of the children born in this century will even know how much they don’t know. We don’t teach them history or civics or geography. For the most part, they are no longer exposed to philosophy, or the great books. Debate and active discussion of sensitive issues is discouraged in most institutions of “higher” learning.
The sad result is we are not preparing people to lead. Who are the future inspirational guides for our country? Certainly they aren’t the ethically-challenged celebrities or sports figures who think that achieving one skill makes them an expert on everything. Most of these folks are like the action figures that promote them. They are images, not reality. Most are less informed on real life in America than the average shopkeeper or garbage collector. And I have not seen many true statesmen/women evolving out of the meat grinder of our current political structure.
We are being carried away in a sea of platitudes and hyperbole, and no one is standing up and talking about it. We are dying as a nation because we no longer know what we are. We are a people that is being taught to believe in nothing. And if we don’t wake up soon, that is what we will become.
I wrote a poem a while ago that asked its readers to have the courage to use their common sense and strength of character to hold fast against panic and crowd frenzy when those with an agenda try to force us to rush to judgement.
I wonder how many still have that strength. We will learn much about ourselves in 2017. Many have already drawn the battle lines. There are many things that need to be fixed in our country. No one has all the answers. I pray that we are smart enough as a nation to demand that our leaders sit down together and work on solutions, rather than playing the petty games of stonewalling and obfuscation.
“Am I a Man” is from Daydreams (Snap Screen Press, 2004). I hope they are words you all will consider as we move into this new year.
Glenn K. Currie
Am I a Man/Woman
I am a man, I am a man,
A man I am, if only I can,
If only I can, take a stand,
If I can stand, and raise my hand.
When honor calls, calls me to stay,
While others called, are fading away,
I hope that day, I can display,
The strength within, to find my way.
When I see crowds, in panic fly,
And in that panic, the truth deny,
Trampling in hate, those who defy,
The panicked flight to invented lie.
Then I’ll find if I am a man,
If against that crowd I can then stand,
Can I stand and raise my hand? Stop
From saying, “I’m only a man”.