As much as culture seems to be splitting away from sound rationale, there is much to recognize as hopeful. After observing the overzealousness of the nationalists and the self-righteousness of the neo-communists, it is certain that they are few in number. Society is aware that it does not take many to cause serious unrest. If one is allowed to conquer the other culturally, the collateral damage affects the conqueror as well as the vanquished.
Even though there is plenty to be concerned about, I believe the best action is to step back and breathe. So much of this is has been seen before: riots and politically-influenced violence. It is as if the 1960s have been completely forgotten. The memory has gone the way of tall-tales and myths. America came out of a chemical stupor long enough to experience a cultural renaissance in the 1980s. I repeatedly hear from my hippie-converts to conservative mentors that they have seen this all before, and a revival is approaching. I am compelled to believe them. They should be professing it more often.
The fear of division is not unusual. During the birth of the United States of America, the Founding Fathers anticipated the friction that came with the integration of opposing ideas. They did not want to mistake novelty for uniqueness. Federalist James Madison stated, “...the most wild of all projects, the most rash of all attempts, is that of rendering us in pieces, in order to preserve our liberties and promote our happiness. But why is the experiment of an extended republic to be rejected, merely because it may comprise what is new? Is it not the glory of the people of America, that, whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times… and the lessons of their own experiences?”
Learning is the key component on how we are to move onward. The assertion that something ought to be censored for its possible dissonance inhibits the learning process. Each individual and their expression is novel. Limiting what could be learned is a purposeful violation of discovery and advancement.
The recent deluge of tragedies such as natural disasters and mass shootings have a way of reopening a genuine discussion of what American values are. What are we supposed to be standing for? The standard that was sacrificially built upon which the citizens of the United States rely is exactly what we are desperately attempting to preserve.
The starkest dilemma is that we are now presented with two generations that were never exposed to the concept that America had any fundamental values. In response to this idea, one cannot simply say, “Because I said so” or “Because God said so” or “Because the Bible said so.” In order to effectively expose these generations to this fundamental fact, we must be willing to take time to explain “why.”
Furthermore, any action that obstructs the ability to have this conversation is a direct threat to liberty.
Founding Father Benjamin Franklin stated, “Without Freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.”
Whether a person is conservative, liberal, religious or not, once you assert that an individual ought to be forced to censor themselves in order to avoid challenging you, the result is that all will ultimately be censored. Targeting the individual beyond the bounds of the U.S. Constitution is discrimination. Any variant from this crucial core will decline into a tyrannical and fascist abuse of power.
The Judeo-Christian worldview presents the idea that an individual is not to pass judgment on his neighbor until they have taken the time to realize that they themselves have a fatal flaw or a blind spot. You may feel justified in your perception; however, you can be just as harmful as the person at whom you are pointing the finger.
If you are intent upon the improvement of society and culture, you must be willing to engage in constructive dialogue. Any statement or answer that is unmeasured, either yours or someone else’s, must be tested in order to affect that improvement.
By: Rosemary Dewar