Too much of a good thing is never wise. Consider the over consumption of any number of products and the result of over consumption, in many cases, it is disastrous and often extremely dangerous. I believe the same holds true for information especially allowing things to go too far. The availability of information, data, does not constitute knowledge, yet we interchange these words quite freely. Again, too much information can be overwhelming, yet we regularly drink for this data fire-hose and believe ourselves well informed.
The internet is a wealth of information and as media goes, probably the top source. Notice I did not use the word “news” since information is so easily manipulated to fit the agenda of the sender. It can and often is easily twisted or spun for the specific use or to fit the particular agenda. Watch three news programs and how the same story varies among the broadcasters. Read the online accounts and view the myriad interpretations available. They all differ because as we see and relate information, it changes based on our personal biases.
There was a party game called “Telephone” that I have seen used in communications training exercises. One person starts by quietly reading a story to the person next to them, who then repeats the story to the person next to them, and so on. The last person relates the story out loud to the group, and then the original story is reread. It is surprising and often humorous how the story changes based on the individual bias and interpretations. This interpretative recall explains why law enforcement has such a difficult time with eye-witness accounts. Multiple people can witness the same event and rarely if ever agree on exactly what occurred.
Our access to instantaneous information makes us feel empowered and informed, but this is a false sense of knowing. Unless you dig into the story and background, you only see what you are intended to see. Who has the time to dig into the facts to understand? We all live such busy lives, and there is so much data coming at us it is nearly impossible to comprehend the real story. The message the sender provides fits their agenda. Honest reporting died with Walter Cronkite and the evening news, and even some of Mr. Cronkite’s stories were suspect toward the end of his career. When media moguls realized the power in their grasp, the end of honesty came quickly, and the age of the agenda sneaked in. Watch the movie “Citizen Cane” for an incitement of the media of the time; it’s only getting worse.
My issue is with our tendency toward hypersensitivity. I don’t know where it started, but I think the beginnings are rooted in the Political Correctness movement (PC) of a few decades ago. Once the fringe groups gained a voice and some recognition the trend began. It’s now in full rage with the insistence of these fringe groups to destroy and desecrate monuments all over the country because they “offend” someone or some group. How far this will extend creates some frightening possibilities. If allowed to continue, we could be facing the rewriting of our history; and definitively, our Constitution and Bill of Rights to eliminate the “questionable and objectionable” wording. Adjusting our history discredits those that lived through it and those that wrote it. It is often true that the winner writes history, but even then there are some salient truths to gain and remember. Some states are already rewriting textbooks to adjust history and education for a more palatable presentation. We’ve already removed prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance from our schools because it offended a minority who found a sympathetic ear in the courts. Are we richer as a society or as a country by accommodating these minorities or have we started our slide down a slippery slope?
Let’s consider Slavery as an example. The popular conception is that the White Europeans are responsible for Slavery in America. The popular notion that they went to Africa to round up the slaves and drag them to our shores is just not right. In fact, it is their race that captured them and sold them into bondage. And, oh by the way… They were not the first slaves, and this is not just a problem in America. It has been going on for millennia. If you remember your Bible stories about The Israel and Egypt, you begin to see that slavery was a part of world history and from the beginning. Yes, Europeans made huge profits in the slave trade, but they were purveyors of the commodity, not the cause. Capitalism thrives by fulfilling a need. There was a need for workers and a ready supply in Africa. I don’t condone slavery, but honestly, aren’t we all slaves of a sort, and isn’t slavery still rampant today, and not just among the Black people of the world.
What about the slaves still in this country. We sell ourselves into bondage through credit agreements and contracts. We agree to long-term deals for purchases and business alliances. Are we not all slaves to our Government? Is the US Income Tax a legal tariff or is it an illegal excise on our wages? Do you have a say in how much they take or where it is spent? Are you employed or under-employed? Are you paid what you’re worth or are you forced to work for less money just to maintain your status quo? Isn’t this also a form of slavery; albeit voluntary?
There are slaves in the Middle East as well. Even now many Arab countries import laborers from Southeast Asia. They confiscate their documents when they arrive, and hold them in prison like conditions without pay and with little hope of release. Where is the moral outrage and protests for these people?
How about religious slavery? Millions of people are in bondage to outdated theocracies even in this country. Muslims in America hold their women as chattel. These women have no rights. Islam allows that their husbands/owners may beat or even kill them for any number of documented religious reasons without trial and with only one verbal witness. Christians are told what to believe and how to believe it; required to submit to rituals in fear of punishment in Hell. Where is the outcry for this bondage? Or are we now desensitize and ignore this as acceptable?
The misinformation about slavery everywhere is based on the absolute requirements of that society to operate in a normal fashion. Without slaves, much of the manual labor would go undone. Even in the United States, we rely on the illegal immigrant to perform much of our undesirable work. They are paid substandard wages and forced to live in unacceptable conditions to survive. They are singled out and subjected to a legal system biased toward the majority populous or forced into hiding. Industries exist that prey these illegal immigrants for all over the world, not just those south of our border.
There was a film made in 2004 about the results of losing these workers in suburban America. It’s called “A Day Without a Mexican.” It points out our reliance on these low-wage employees and slaves in our daily lives and depicts the results of their disappearance.
There are thousands of jobs in our country that go unfilled because they are beneath someone’s level of dignity, yet these same people have no issue lining up for welfare and food stamps only to complain that this ‘entitlement’ is substandard and insufficient.
Our new found penchant for destroying and rewriting history to placate the easily offended is nothing more than pandering to groups that now have a voice but have very little to say. Because the “rights” movements were successful in the later years of the twentieth century it now these malcontents has the impression that their complaints are more important than our history and certainly more important than everyone else. They demand that we remove these events from history as not to offend them. Is this wise? They claim that these monuments remind them of their plight and the atrocities of that time. Looking at these objects reminds them of their horrible past. How many of them fought in the Civil War? How many of these protestors were alive during Sherman’s march to the sea. Is it wrong to remember the past? Should we rewrite our history to remove all the instances of our mistakes or should we be more diligent in explaining the circumstances and background?
How many languages should we accommodate in this country or should the new arrivals be expected to learn the local language and customs? How many countries use English as the local language? Should they change to accommodate our needs or should we adapt to their customs when we’re abroad? I have done a fair amount of traveling, and I am continually amazed by the Americans’ that cannot understand why that shop-keeper doesn’t speak English and make a point of telling them so…
There are several people in foreign prisons for breaking laws. One case still in contention in North Korea concerns the Christians that went to that country to teach the bible and preach the gospel. Doing either and punishable by prison is illegal. Some people refuse to abide by their laws and are outraged that they’re holding them. I’m an American they exclaim… I HAVE RIGHT! Then they appeal to the US State Department for assistance and demand release. Really? Are we above the law? Why would we expect deferential treatment in a foreign country?
Taking this hyper-sensitive lunacy to its logical conclusion would require us to destroy almost everything built in the Eastern US after January 1st, 1863 since most of that construction involved slave labor. Most of the eastern United States would be flattened, including most of Washington DC. Is that the intent? How far are we willing to go to satisfy these minority malcontents? Here are the top seven monuments to slavery.
1. The Whitehouse*
2. The Jefferson Memorial
3. The Capital building
Let’s look World Wide –
4. Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue
5. The Blue Mosque
6. Chichen Itza
7. The Great Wall of China
8. The Pyramids of Giza
*The Whitehouse was not constructed by government owned slaves, however; payment records to their owners are registered and incontrovertible.
Even now when I see one of these monuments I don’t think of the slaves that were forced to build them… I see amazing feats of engineering and planning, and I see the testament to the country that strives to remember. I see a testament to humanity, not the suffering and strife that went into them. I don’t discount the labors of the slaves, but that’s not the first thing I see.
Slavery and oppression are part of our history on this planet and as a country. Looking back through what remains untouched and unabridged of world history so far illuminates our history and should continue to remind us of our sullied past. If we remove all reference to uncomfortable instances from our records, we risk repeating them. Is it equitable for small groups to dictate our moral compass and our memory of events? Many great men remind us that failure to learn from our past dooms us to repeat it. Are we willing to relive these horrific events or are we now ready to learn our lessons?
Who’s next on the list of angry people? I would think the Japanese Americans would be the most vocal after their treatment during World War II. Recall that this entire ethnic group was rounded up, stripped of their rights and property, and moved to internment camps where they denied due process, Constitutional Rights, and held for the duration of the war as potential traitors. I’m honestly waiting for the outcry for some splinter group as they demand that all Japanese made products are removed from American Homes because it reminds them of this atrocity. Would this not be the next logical step in our crusade to eliminate painful reminders?
There are Holocaust Museums in several countries including ours. Should the Jews worldwide demand the destruction of these institutions because of the reminder of the genocide of their culture? Millions of them were systematically irradiated from Europe. Should all German products be banned or destroyed to save the remaining Jewish population from these reminders? The are entire demographic and major religions that refute the Holocaust. They claim it never happened. I suppose that depending on your perspective, slavery and many other atrocities never occurred either. Our early space program succeeded because many scientists were Jews. Our military was directed to identify and repatriate these scientists to the US at the close of WWII to bolster our new space program. Many of our top industrial break-troughs are a direct result. Should we destroy IG Farben, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Braun, and all the rest because they remind the Jewish population of the Nazi atrocities?
Next time you enjoy a rack of ribs, a plate of greens and beans or BBQ pork or cornbread, or many other Southern culinary delights, I insist no, I demand that you no longer order these and hundreds of other foods since they were originally slave foods. Let’s go one step further. I require that all restaurants in this country divulge the ethnic origins of every dish on the menu. I don’t want to dishonor any slave by eating the food that they created, and I certainly don’t want to eat products that were destined for them, and god forbid that food reminds me of these atrocities. It would not be proper, and I would dishonor them on the process.
Let’s delete Thanksgiving from the calendar as well. Our treatment of our Native American people is heinous. European conquerors murdered entire tribes for their land and possessions. We forced them to live in the worse conditions imaginable after stealing from them and killing them and lying to them. We continue to demean them even today. Where is the outrage for the original inhabitants of this country? How can we continue to celebrate their assistance to the original settlers and their eventual conquerors? How duplicitous can we be, the Black America thinks they got a raw deal… JESUS!
My point in all of this is that as a society we have become so hypersensitive that we can no longer speak our minds for fear of offending someone. We even go so far as to redefine some words, eliminating others from our vernacular to avoid this hypersensitivity. What’s the point? Are we now more concerned with the minority? How does this strengthen our country?
Hypersensitivity is an unfortunate extension of political correctness; the demise of the American society. We are now so overly aware of our language and action not to offend that we carefully adjust our attitude and replies to our world events. We can no longer exclaim “Oh My GOD!” for fear of offending someone. We cannot compliment an attractive person in fear of sexual harassment. We can’t discipline our children publicly or even privately lest someone call protective services. We have legislated away our rights to free expression. We’ve socially redacted the First Amendment Rights to protect our new Hyper-Sensitive society. There was no Congressional Amendment to Our Constitution; it was a simple process of allowing the minority to gain majority status using the media as a lever during slow news days. We watched as the few removed the rights of the many and as the fringe became mainstream. We let political correctness strip away our rights in favor of peace.
All life matters! In fact, we are the only life we’ve sure of in this universe. As far as I know, we have not yet made contact with extraterrestrial life, so we’re it folks. If there are other more intelligent life forms in our universe why would they come here? We’re not smart enough to live together; we can’t even get along. Why would they risk contamination?
We are a society of individuals bent on individualism rather than on living together peacefully. We rail against societal gain and betterment. We deny and eradicate diversity. It should be about compromise and harmony through understanding rather than capitulation.
Seneca wrote, “We create a desert and call it peace…”