My heart hurts today.
I woke up to learn that five Dallas police officers were killed at what had been a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally.
My heart hurt yesterday.
Yesterday, I was thinking of the death of a black man, Philando Castile, in Minnesota, who died at the hands of a police officer who was sworn to protect him, because he was legally armed and black.
America is at war. We’re at war with each other.
It seems whenever I turn on the television, read the newspaper, look at my Facebook feed or news feed, my head hurts. Everybody is yelling. Nobody is listening. IT’S ALL (insert politician’s name/unit of government/political organization) FAULT!!!! Nobody is taking any accountability. Nobody’s listening to other opinions and views.
To combat that noise, I stopped listening and have focused on my life. I have focused on my job and family, both which can be 24/7 gigs. I get up every morning and drive myself into the loop from the sheltered comfort of Northbrook. I listen to Mully & Handley on The Score (sports talk) so I don’t have to listen to the chaos and killing everywhere in Chicago. Then, after a day of work, I return home and watch Little League baseball, dance recitals, go to kids’ birthday parties and barbeque and cocktail with my neighbors.
I have insulated myself from the chaos that is tearing our country apart. Work, family and friends have filled my weeks so I can ignore the incivility. If you watch television news, you know incivility sells. Talk Radio? The internet? Incivility rules. People we respect and listen to make millions of dollars by tearing the country—YOU AND I—apart. So much so that it is now “OK” to shoot someone for cutting you off on the highway.
It’s “OK” to do so, because chaos is the norm.
I thought ignoring the chaos and incivility was the right thing to do.
It’s not. It’s time to stop the noise and stand up to incivility. If we ignore the problem, our country will become more fractured. By failing to stand up to incivility, our culture will only continue to deteriorate.
The sad truth is incivility is profitable.
We listen to Fox News and/or MSNBC which make billions of dollars selling us incivility. We listen to talk radio or other political commentators who are lining their pockets with millions of dollars selling us incivility. They have told us to hate the president, our elected officials and each other. We are told to hate cops. We are told to hate BLM. And we eat it up and listen. All of the sudden, it’s OK to hang President Obama and/or President Bush in effigy. It’s OK to shoot police officers protecting protesters.
IT IS NOT.
And the noise is getting louder. Joe Walsh, a former Illinois Congressman (who fortunately lost his reelection bid) and current radio show host tweeted last night (since deleted): “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch our black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.”
I should be ill with that tweet, but unfortunately, it is just predictable.
And that’s the problem: These deplorable voices get the most airtime. The normal people out there—you and I – go back to our homes, fire up the barbeque and try to forget that the country is falling apart. And that’s the reason why it’s falling apart: because we’re not doing anything about it. We sit back, pay our bills—and work harder to earn the same money if not less—and have allowed the discourse to deteriorate to where it is now OK for Americans to call for the assassination of the President of the United States of America.
Joe Walsh is the problem. Joe Walsh is part of the reason why we are at war with each other. Joe Walsh must be condemned.
The left has plenty of blame to go around. Let’s start with the Black Lives Movement—or at least factions of it. The aim of the movement—from my perspective—is that our lives matter too. The police are here to protect us as well. And police should be held accountable for their actions. Being frustrated by the police killing black men—and not having to account for it—birthed the movement. These are all laudable goals.
However, BLM has to live within the larger community rather than segregate itself, otherwise, it becomes an “us and against them” mentality—which only feeds the Joe Walshes of the world. If we want change, then we need to work with the police.
Blue Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter are not mutually exclusive.
I am responsible. Defeated, I looked myself in the mirror this morning and thought: “what can my one little voice do?” Then I got pissed at myself for that mentality. What would have happened had Abraham Lincoln said that? And trust me, I get I’m no Abraham Lincoln—but our individual voices DO matter.
I looked at myself. I want to be a good father. Would a good father tell his children to run and hide? Or would a good father tell his children to roll up their shirt sleeves and help make America better?
I am an American. I am a patriot. I love our country. So if doing my part means taking some time to get a viewpoint out, then I have to do it. I need to be a voice.
But this is not just about me. If it’s just me, I might as well go in my basement, drink scotch and talk to the wall. It’s about us. It’s about all of us calling for change. If you don’t think we need change, look at our two presidential candidates. The two most polarizing people ever to run for the office are left running. That’s because we have stood by quietly, while politicians and the media have separated us into two completely disparate camps.
Change needs to begin with the silent majority saying that there is more that brings us together than separates.
It’s time we come together—Democrats, Republicans and Independents; God fearing people, atheists, and agnostics, Christians, Jews and Muslims, gay and straight and say ENOUGH.
I seem to be able to live a life with different races and religions and we all seem to get along. I assume you do too. The silent majority in this country is the majority of people that are fed up with what the media and our politicians have been feeding us so we do our best to ignore it.
And that the thing: If the Fox News/fire-breathing, Obama is part of ISIS person actually got together with a Black Lives Matter, transvestite, Trump protester and talked to each other, I bet I could get them laughing in 20 minutes. I bet I could get them to shake hands at the end of the meeting. Because all of us really want the same thing: to be heard and respected. And if we go into meetings with mutual respect as another American, rather than going into a meeting with the enemy because of a pre-packaged label the media and politicians have fed us, we would come out of the meeting with a handshake. And with that, we can come to more win/wins, rather than win/lose. There is much more than brings us together as a people than separates us.
Unfortunately, the media and politicians have made billions of dollars—and come to immense power—by separating us.
And now we’re literally killing each other because of it.
Our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, said: “A nation divided cannot stand.”
It’s time to take back our country, one voice at a time. We need to shout down the Joe Walshes; take away those voices that seek to separate us. America will only be great again if we all come together. All. Of. Us.