Hello, America! I thought I’d jump on ye olde band waggon and throw in my thoughts about the USA as we celebrate the 241st anniversary of our independence. Read on or ignore as you see fit. It’s still a free country as long as we keep it that way.
I wrote my journal entry this morning with a bit of trepidation. I’m a tad worried about the state of freedom in the country of my birth. Freedom of political speech, in particular, is taking quite a beating. Voice an opinion to the left of Rush Limbaugh, and you find your opinions subject to a closed-minded internet meme, an extended tirade on Fox News, or an unhinged tweet by the orange-hued Chief Magistrate occupying the Oval Office. Voice an opinion to the right of Nancy Pelosi, and you’re in danger of being denounced, thrown off a college campus, or threatened by an angry mob.
Despite all this upset in the body politic, I continue to live among my fellow Americans according to the “American way” I was brought with: treat everyone equally; play fair; don’t force your opinions on others through threats or actual violence; respect free speech even if you disagree with it; debate reasonably; and be willing agree to disagree with your neighbors while expecting to live in peace. If we can’t have a “vigorous” debate without worrying about violence in the streets, then we’re heading down a dangerous path.
So I offer up this cautionary note with a simultaneous note of hope. We were the first nation to stand European notions of order on their head and invest political rights and powers in the people. That investment, however, carries with it the unspoken assumption that the people can govern (conduct) themselves peacefully. The United States of America only work as a united enterprise if the bulk of their citizens believe that they can and should work. And it all starts with the steadfastness and goodwill of the individual citizen.
6 thoughts on “Americanism is a Choice”
Free Speech for Me–But Not for Thee by Nat Hentoff
Ah! I will check this out, thank you! https://www.amazon.com/Free-Speech-Me-But-Not-Thee/dp/006019006X#productDescription_secondary_view_div_1499194889318
I think about this a lot. I currently go to a university where some people express approval for violence that’s directed towards those who disagree with them, and this scares me. While I support their political causes, I am a strict supporter of nonviolence – and this has landed me in some intractable arguments with classmates. How strange is it that someone who agrees with your cause is still your enemy if they refuse to support violent tactics?
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It’s radicalized thinking, and it’s not beneficial to advancing civilized dialogue or real progress, IMHO.
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I tend to agree with you, but I’m afraid you and I are not in the majority on my campus.
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Just look at what’s going on at UC Berkeley to suppress conservative speakers. Pretty scary.